Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Elizabeth Palmer Peabody, (May 16, 1804-January_3, 1894) educator who opened the first English-language kindergarten in the United States. She was born in Billerica, Massachusetts. Long before most educators, Peabody embraced the premise that children's play has intrinsic developmental and educational value.
Peabody was a teacher, writer, and prominent figure in the Transcendental movement, editing The Dial, the chief literary publication of the movement, for two years. During 1834-1835, she worked as assistant teacher to Bronson Alcott at his famous experimental Temple School in Boston.
After the school closed, Peabody published Record of a School, outlining the plan of the school and Alcott's philosophy of early childhood education, which had drawn on German models. When she opened her kindergarten in 1860, the concept of providing formal schooling for children younger than six was largely confined to German practice.
Through her own kindergarten, and as editor of the Kindergarten Messenger (1873-77), Peabody helped establish kindergarten as an accepted institution in U.S. education. She also wrote numerous books in support of the cause.
- The advantage to the community in utilizing the age from 4 to 6 in training the hand and eye; in developing the habits of cleanliness, politeness, self-control, urbanity, industry; in training the mind to understand numbers and geometric forms, to invent combinations of figures and shapes, and to represent them with the pencil--these and other valuable lessons. . . . will, I think, ultimately prevail in securing to us the establishment of this beneficent institution in all the city school systems of our country.
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