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Kindergarten Education: The Training of Kindergartners

by Mary D. Runyan - 1904

For two decades after the introduction of the Kindergarten in this country, it was on trial for its life. Even in the few cities where it was early incorporated in the public school system, there was a frequently recurring panic among its supporters lest the fiat go forth that it should be abolished. Some outburst of dissatisfaction on the part of material-minded citizens, who objected to paying taxes for the support of "play-schools," or some expression from unenlightened members of school-boards, of impatience of this educational "frill," kept the waters in a constant state of perturbation. As a consequence of this partial acceptance of the idea, the salaries paid kindergarten teachers were in most places shamefully small, and therefore the standard of admission to the training schools could not be placed high. The qualities most needed by the teachers were those of the philanthropist and the pioneer. The leaders of the cause in this country had much to contend with in the poor material of the classes, and the training was perforce limited, but notwithstanding all this it contained a vital quality which enabled it to endure. Even where it was most superficial, it introduced a most valuable leaven of idealism into the then dull and mechanical methods of normal training. Nothing so fortifies one's faith in the kindergarten idea as the fact of its persistence and the steady progress towards its realization in spite of the varied absurdities and follies that have been perpetrated in its name. There is something in this idealistic philosophy which has always appealed to the highest womanly qualities of the student, and enabled her often to grasp through feeling the principles which she failed intellectually to apprehend. The great ideal of self-sacrificing service has inspired the deepest consecration and the loftiest aspiration, and where educational theory is built on this rock of spiritual strength it is certain to endure, no matter how faulty and insecure the details of the superstructure.

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 5 Number 5, 1904, p. 6-11
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 9811, Date Accessed: 1/25/2020 5:57:06 AM

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