Produced by Ella Steigelman, founding member of the California Kindergarten Training School. Kindergarten teacher’s workbook. 1890
Froebel’s system departed from traditional methods of schooling in emphasizing things rather than words, and doing rather than talking or memorizing. This group of early twentieth-century workbooks, which demonstrate Froebel’s educational philosophy, were all prepared by women, whom many reformers at the time considered more effective than men as educators of infants. The distinct visual character of each workbook indicates the range of creative expression that was possible using Froebel’s Gifts-a system of nonrepresentational objects and materials that aimed to develop recognition and appreciation of natural harmony. These early exercises in abstraction and pattern making paralleled many of the activities adopted by progressive schools of art and design in the early twentieth century.
Learn more at MoMA.org/centuryofthechild