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School or class intended for children age four to six as a prominent part of preschool education. The kindergarten originated in the early 19th century as an outgrowth of the ideas and practices of Robert Owen in Britain, Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi in Switzerland and his pupil Friedrich Froebel (who coined the term) in Germany, and Maria Montessori in Italy. Kindergartens generally stress the social and emotional growth of the child, encouraging self-understanding through play activities and creative expression.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on kindergarten, visit Britannica.com.