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Interpreting the Evidence

Large Kindergarten Classroom, School 24, Rochester, c. 1900

  • Documents in this Activity:
  • Historical Eras:

    Turn of the Century and WWI (1890 - 1930)

  • Thinking Skill:

    Historical Analysis & Interpretation

  • Grade Level:

    Lower Elementary
    Upper Elementary
    Middle School
    High School
    College University

  • Topics:


  • Primary Source Types:


  • Regions:

    Finger Lakes
    New York State

  • Creator:

    NYS Archives Partnership Trust Education Team

  1. Load Large Kindergarten Classroom, School 24, Rochester, c. 1900 in Main Image Viewer

Suggested Teaching Instructions

Document Description
A large kindergarten classroom at School 24 in Rochester, New York, circa 1900.
Historical Context
The philosophy of kindergarten was established by Friedrich Froebel in Germany in the 1830s. He thought that kindergarten children could learn and grow best by having time to play and to interact with other children. Kindergartens were first established as private schools for upper class children.  By the end of the nineteenth century, kindergartens were found in the public schools and were seen as a way to help the children of immigrants and the poor.  The first free public kindergarten class was in Queens, New York.
Essential Question
How does culture influence a society's education system?
Check for Understanding
Describe the scene in the photograph and identify key characteristics of the American education system during this time period.
Historical Challenges
In what year was the first free kindergarten opened in the United States. Who could attend?
Interdisciplinary Connections
English Language Arts: Create a T-chart showing the differences and similarities of this classroom and the classroom in the photograph titled "Kindergarten Class."