Brev. Brig. Gen'l
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- Jan 7, 2013
- Long Island, NY
Many of you have heard of immigrant Major General Carl Schurz, but nearly all of you benfited from an institution his wife brought to America: The Kindergarten. Margarethe Meyer Schurz was a young woman in 1833 toa family that encouraged the education of women. She and her sister were attracted to the radical idea of early childhood education through play-oriented learning pioneered in Germany under the name "Kindergarten." As with many Liberal families, the Meyers were forced to leave Germany after the failure of the 1848 Revolution and they found safety as refugees in London. Margarethe joined her sister's Kindergarten in London in 1851. In England, she met another German refugee, Carl Schurz, and the two came to America as immigrants.
In 1856, Margarethe opened America's first Kindergarten in Watertown, Wisconsin. As was common in the 19th Century, teaching for the students was conducted in German since all of the students' parents were immigrants.
While Margarethe did not invent the Kindergarten, she helped to make what had been a German phenomenon into an international one.