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$7,220 pledged of $39,950 goal
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$7,220 pledged of $39,950 goal
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About this project

Hello world! I'm here at Kickstarter to republish my out-of-print book, Inventing KINDERGARTEN, which first appeared in 1997 and became a New York Times Notable Book, was called "Revelatory," by the New Yorker, and won an American Institute of Architects award as one of the best books of the year.

The famous Froebel Blocks that trained Frank Lloyd Wright
The famous Froebel Blocks that trained Frank Lloyd Wright

With great pictures and extensive text, Inventing KINDERGARTEN tells two remarkable stories. The first chapters are a comprehensive history of an institution so universal it garners 147,000,000 results in a Google search while its roots in early 19th century nature study are barely known today. While the final sections delve into the profound influence of kindergarten's design-based techniques and play-driven pedagogy on the development of 20th century abstract art and modern architecture.

The second kindergarten play-gift
The second kindergarten play-gift

Kindergarten, the "garden of children," invented in 1837 as the first pre-school by German crystal scientist, Friedrich Froebel, was a means to teach little children about their place in the universe, and how nature designs. With music, dancing, gardening, nature walks, and play with a series of geometric toys Froebel called "gifts," children learned basic lessons in rhythm, symmetry, unity, creativity, interconnectedness, and self direction. Kindergarten, the best early educational system ever created, was designed to teach children how to learn!

Kindergarten garden, Los Angeles circa 1900
Kindergarten garden, Los Angeles circa 1900
Teacher's paper-cutting, design album, circa 1890
Teacher's paper-cutting, design album, circa 1890

Because the kindergarten gifts - like blocks and sticks, and paper for weaving and folding, were inherently abstract, an unforeseen consequence of the system's widespread adoption in countries around the world after about 1870, was it's influence on the development of abstract art and modern architecture. Frank Lloyd Wright, Buckminster Fuller, Le Corbusier, Piet Mondrian, and Bauhaus Masters Vassily Kandinsky, Josef Albers, and Paul Klee, were all children of the early kindergarten and it's geometries can be found in all they did.

Kandinsky was a kindergarten kid
Kandinsky was a kindergarten kid
Kindergarten blocks and Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie house
Kindergarten blocks and Frank Lloyd Wright's Robie house

Inventing KINDERGARTEN describes the remarkable history of kindergarten, includes a detailed, illustrated explanation of how the original system worked, and, with beautiful art and photography, explores its astonishing influence on the modern world.

But perhaps most importantly, as the best guide in 100 years to Friedrich Froebel's brilliant, but long lost ideal, Inventing KINDERGARTEN has had, and with your support will continue to have, tremendous positive impact on early education and children's development today.

Crystal and Flora Kaleidograph Rewards
Crystal and Flora Kaleidograph Rewards
Froebel Gifts #2 - 6 Reward
Froebel Gifts #2 - 6 Reward

Risks and challenges

Because Inventing Kindergarten was published before, nothing will prevent its return if funding is found. The book was produced before digital publishing but the photographic films have been professionally re-scanned and the layout replicated to match the original publication.The money raised here is for making the actual book - ink, paper, binding, jacket. There are minimum print runs that must be met and the amount of funding I seek is based upon simple formulas of price per copy. If our Kickstarter goal is unmet, it will not be possible to republish Inventing Kindergarten.

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    Thanks so much for your support.

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    A Kaleidograph Crystal paper kaleidoscope pattern-making toy designed in 1915 in the spirit of the Froebel Kindergarten and made today by me.

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    Two different Kaleidograph pattern-making toys - the Crystal, and my design, the Flora.

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    A brand new hardcover copy of Inventing Kindergarten plus a pack of limited-edition, photo note-cards of rare, historical, kindergarten artifacts from my collection, most of which are not shown in the book.

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    A copy of Inventing Kindergarten, two Kaleidograph toys, and a pack of limited-edition, photo note-cards.

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    Pledge $250 or more About $250

    A copy of Inventing Kindergarten, two Kaleidographs, a pack of limited-edition, photo note-cards, and your name published on the book's Benefactor's page.

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    A copy of Inventing Kindergarten, two Kaleidographs, a pack of photo note-cards, your name published on the book's Benefactor's page, and a set of brand new Froebel Gifts 2-6 (aka The Building Gifts) that inspired Frank Lloyd Wright.

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Funding period

- (30 days)