Each year on April 21st, National Kindergarten Day honors the birthday of the man who started the first Kindergarten. Friedrich Wilhelm August Frobel (April 21, 1782  – June 21, 1852) is credited with starting the very first Kindergarten in Germany in 1837. Frobel was a German teacher and a student of Johann Pestalozzi. Frobel laid a foundation for modern education, recognizing that children learn through play and experience.

The first kindergarten (which means garden for the children) was developed in Blankenburg, Germany, in 1837. The kindergarten fostered Frobel’s social experience for children. It also allowed them to smoothly transition from home to school.

Eventually, the Prussian government banned Frobel’s unorthodox methods. However, the rest of the world was eager to accept Frobel’s idea of kindergarten, including the United States.

In 1856, Watertown, Wisconsin, opened the first kindergarten in the United States. Founded by Margarethe Schurz, this kindergarten was a German-language class, as were many in this region. Kindergarten found its way into private English-speaking institutions across the country. However, it wasn’t until 1873 that it became part of any public school system.

HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalKindergartenDay

National Kindergarten Day offers an opportunity to thank a kindergarten teacher you know. There are several ways to celebrate the day, too!

  • Recognize an outstanding kindergarten teacher.  
  • Explore a career in elementary education, specifically as a kindergarten teacher.
  • Learn more about elementary education.
  • Donate to a teacher’s supply fund.
  • Share your experiences as a kindergarten teacher.
  • Invite families to see how today’s students learn.
  • Spend a day in a classroom.

You can also visit the National Day Calendar Classroom for projects and ideas to help you Celebrate Every Day. 

Share your kindergarten memories using #NationalKindergartenDay on Social Media.


National Kindergarten Day honors the day Friedrich Wilhelm August Frobel was born on April 21, 1782. However, we were unable to identify the founder of National Kindergarten Day.  

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April 21st Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History


President John F. Kennedy opens the Seattle World’s Fair via remote control from Palm Beach, Florida. The central feature of the fair was the 600 foot tall Space Needle. It included a revolving dining room and 360-degree viewing.


Based on the comic strip “Little Orphan Annie” by Harold Gray, Annie debuts on Broadway. Peter Howard directs the award-winning musical. It won seven Tony Awards including Best Musical and Best Original Score.


Chinese students protested in Tiananmen Square in Beijing. The demonstrations called for democracy, free speech, and a free press from the Chinese government. The protest led to mass demonstrations and the Chinese government declared martial law.

April 21st Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) Birthday

Friedrich Wilhelm August Frobel – 1782

The German student of Johann Pestalozzi is credited with laying the foundation for the modern kindergarten in Blankenburg, German.

Charlotte Bronte – 1816

In 1847, the English novelist published her most notable work, Jane Eyre.

John Muir – 1838

The naturalist and preservationist is best known for co-founding the Sierra Club. Through his efforts, natural treasures such as Yosemite, Sequoia, the Grand Canyon, and Mt. Rainier are protected as national parks.

Dorothy Baker – 1907

Author Dorothy Baker wrote three novels in her lifetime earning her a Houghton Mifflin Literary Fellowship and a Guggenheim Fellowship.

Queen Elizabeth II

On February 6, 1952, Elizabeth II succeeded her father King George VI following his death. She has four children; Charles, Prince of Wales, Anne, Princess Royal, Prince Andrew, Duke of York, and Prince Edward, Earl of Wessex. She is the longest-reigning British monarch.