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Kindergarten made the modern world, help republish the best guide to Froebel's system, the original K-12 design education for children.
Kindergarten made the modern world, help republish the best guide to Froebel's system, the original K-12 design education for children.
139 backers pledged $16,902 to help bring this project to life.

About this project

$16,902

139

Hello everybody! I'm back here at Kickstarter to republish my out-of-print book, Inventing KINDERGARTEN, which first appeared in 1997 and was highlighted as a New York Times Notable Book, was called "Revelatory," by the New Yorker, won an American Institute of Architects award as one of the best books of the year, and has ultimately become a crucial resource for educators and art historians worldwide.

As some of you know, we tried this before but due to naiveté and an incomplete understanding of the publishing industry, I attempted to raise the unfortunately too-large sum of money that was needed to produce these deluxe books in the USA. 

After learning much more about how books are put together, and after exploring many more options for printing, particularly in Asia (where every publisher in the world has their books done), we found our way to a terrific printer in China that can duplicate the original Inventing KINDERGARTEN for less than half the cost we had budgeted for the same high-quality work we require.

Now that the costs have been significantly modified, we are certain that with your help, we will be able to get Inventing KINDERGARTEN to all of you, and back in circulation where it ought to remain for future generations of educators, designers, historians, and parents.

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 routinely garners over 100 million 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.

Froebel Gifts #1 - 10, Just part of the $500 Reward.
Froebel Gifts #1 - 10, Just part of the $500 Reward.
Crystal and Flora Kaleidograph Rewards
Crystal and Flora Kaleidograph Rewards

Risks and challenges

Because Inventing KINDERGARTEN was published before, nothing will prevent its return when funding is obtained. And now that we've found the least expensive path, our goal ought to be easy to reach.

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, shipping. There are minimum print runs that must be met and the amount of funding we seek is based upon simple formulas of price per copy.

I'm absolutely confident that with the help of the Kickstarter community, Inventing KINDERGARTEN will soon be back.

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    Thank you for your support, every dollar helps the momentum toward our goal.

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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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    Pledge $40 or more About $40

    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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    Pledge $75 or more About $75

    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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    Pledge $500 or more About $500

    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 #1-10 - the most elegant and powerful educational toys ever designed.

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Funding period

- (60 days)