Who knew that so many firsts came out of Hoboken, NJ, a town directly across the Hudson River from New York City? You might remember it was the setting for the film “On the Waterfront.” What you probably do not know is that the very first Kindergarten in the U.S. was started in Hoboken.
Hoboken was a very German town in the mid-ninteenth century and although a public school system existed, many Germans sent their children to the Hoboken Academy on Fifth and Willow Avenue. On February 11, 1861, the board of education decided to include a kindergarten in the school’s curriculum. This kindergarten was based on a system of education that existed in Germany. Seventy-seven children between the ages of 4 and 6 were enrolled. They learned math, reading, science using toys, music, play, and singing.
Dr. Adolf Douai, a social reformer and professor of music, was the school’s first principal.
It was such a success, the public schools included a grade called Kindergarten.
Get Heaven, Hell and Hoboken through Amazon or B&N and learn what happened to “Kindergarten” when anti-German sentiment reared its ugly head with the outbreak of WWI.