Inventing Kindergarten by Norman Brosterman is a beautiful book. Design complements content. Which is fitting in a book devoted to Froebel’s system.

[…] the ultimate lesson of kindergarten was straightforward: the world (nature), mathematics (knowledge), and art (beauty) were interchangeable, and their perceived border was misleading, artificial constructs.

I am always impressed that the gifts, the material support for the learning activities, come in sets. From the get go there is play with combinations and more combinations. This to my mind strikes closely to the story telling core of human activity.

Take for instance Brosterman’s description of what can be done with the first gift, a set of six coloured balls.

In play, it [a single ball] might become a bird as it flew, a cat as it sprang, a dog jumping over a hedge, or indeed any one of a million other everyday events in the life of a child. Mathematically, it was a point and the number one. Together, the six balls represented the realm of knowledge in the form of a line for counting and a set for learning addition and subtraction and the beginning of multiplication and division. In the realm of beauty, the balls together encompassed the primary colors — red, blue, and yellow — and the synthesis of their unions — violet, green, and orange.


And so for day 409

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