Ohio History Journal

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One hunded years ago the first "child's garden" was opened

by Herr Friedrich Froebel, in the little village of Blankenburg in

Germany. To Froebel belongs much credit for the development

and spread of the kindergarten idea. He saw that the education

of a child should begin much earlier than the customary school

age--six or seven years--and that play should be incorporated in

that education. He declared that "the ability to think and to do,

rather than mere acquisition of knowledge, should be the aim of

the school."

Froebel was admittedly indebted to Johann Heinrich Pesta-

lozzi for many of his ideas, but it is perhaps not generally realized

that while he was working out his plans in Germany a similar

movement of great importance was going on in this country,

traceable also to Pestalozzi. With this movement came the found-

ing of infant schools, which preceded by more than thirty years

the opening of the reputed "first kindergarten in the United

States," that which was established in Watertown, Wisconsin, by

the wife of the famous German refugee, Carl Schurz, in 1856.

So far as is known, only one of these infant schools has had

continued existence to the present day. It is the one started in

1830 by Rev. Luther G. Bingham, the Presbyterian pastor of the

First Congregational Church of Marietta, Ohio. The name is

now Marietta College.

The rapid metamorphosis from Infant School to Institute for

Education, to Institute of Education, to Marietta Collegiate In-

stitute and Western Teachers' Seminary, to Marietta College, in

the brief period of five years is fairly breath-taking. The story

is to be read, not in books or records, but in the advertisements

and other items of the newspapers of the period.

Various historians of the college have liked to link its name

with that of Muskingum Academy, which had its beginnings in

the little settlement of Marietta in 1797, almost as soon as Gen-

eral Anthony Wayne's victory released the pioneers from danger

of Indian attacks. There is, however, no such connection by de-