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influence of Friedrich Froebel

Milton Bradley

Froebel's Kindergarten Gifts

Milton Bradley was an early advocate of Friedrich Froebel's concept of Kindergarten. Springfield's first kindergarten students were Milton Bradley's two daughters and the first kindergarten teachers in Springfield were Milton, his wife and his father.

Even though this concept was not yet accepted as a part of the American school system, Bradley developed the manufacture of Kindergarten Gifts using local timber and tested them in the first kindergartens in Springfield. These "gifts" (blocks and items to teach basic skills) were added to the company's product offerings even though sales were almost non-existent. A kindergartens became popular, Bradley's Gifts were the standard for kindergarten materials in the United States.

In 1869, Bradley published America's first book on kindergartens, Paradise of Childhood, which presented a list of twenty Froebel gifts.

Bradley's interest in childhood and children's education continued. In addition to printing a series of kindergarten manuals, newsletters, and children's books, Bradley wrote and published four books on teaching color to children, including Colour in the Kindergarten (1893). In 1880 after much experimenting and with the help of local art teachers Bradley established the standard colors still in use today and worked out a formula for each color so each one could be reproduced accurately, by following a similar prescription.

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