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ERIC Number: EJ838305
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2009-May
Pages: 14
Abstractor: ERIC
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2680
"Greatly Changed for the Better": Free Kindergartens as Transatlantic Reformance
Nawrotzki, Kristen D.
History of Education Quarterly, v49 n2 p182-195 May 2009
Historians such as Seth Koven and Carolyn Steedman have shown how visual and literary depictions of children helped move late-nineteenth-century middle- and upper-class audiences to join in child-saving philanthropy aimed at the deserving poor. This essay focuses on an analysis of the promotional literature of the free kindergartens. Starting from the concepts of fact, truth, and intertextuality utilized by Koven in his analyses of nineteenth-century representations of child-saving, this essay analyzes texts written by free kindergartners (that is, teachers in free kindergartens) Kate Douglas Wiggin in San Francisco and Lileen Hardy in Edinburgh during the 1880s and 1910s, respectively. It contends that one can better understand the purposes, messages, and relatedness of Anglo-American free kindergartners' accounts--and the movements of which they were a part--if one reads them as contemporary readers might have; that is, as "artistic fictions" in the mold of the late-Victorian evangelical "true narratives" and as depictions of how child-saving was consciously performed for and presented to multiple audiences. The author demonstrates ways in which a performance perspective can be applied to the "true narratives" of free kindergartens in order to uncover what Shannon Jackson has called " the messy and paradoxical nature of reform work," in this case highlighting transatlantic connections and commonalities. (Contains 4 figures and 45 footnotes.)
Blackwell Publishing. 350 Main Street, Malden, MA 02148. Tel: 800-835-6770; Tel: 781-388-8599; Fax: 781-388-8232; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Descriptive
Education Level: Early Childhood Education; Kindergarten; Preschool Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California; United Kingdom (Edinburgh)