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Preschool Teachers

History

Friedrich Froebel, a German educator, founded the first kindergarten ("child's garden" in German) in 1837 in Blankenburg, Germany. He also taught adults how to be kindergarten teachers. One of his adult students, Mrs. Carl Schurz, moved to the United States and started the first kindergarten in this country in Watertown, Wisconsin, in the mid-1800s. By 1873, St. Louis added the first American public kindergarten, and preschools for students under age five began to spring up in Europe around this same time. Preschools were introduced into the United States in the 1920s.

Preschool programs expanded rapidly in the United States during the 1960s, due in large part to the government instituting the Head Start program, designed to help preschool-aged children from low-income families receive educational and socialization opportunities and therefore be better prepared for elementary school. This program also allowed the parents of the children to work during the day. Around the same time, many U.S. public school systems began developing mandatory kindergarten programs for five-year-olds, and today many schools, both preschool and elementary, both public and private, are offering full-day kindergarten programs.