Peabody Singing Tower

 North Manchester, Indiana

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Source: NMHS Newsletter Nov 2002

The First Kindergarten

Information from Dr. L. Z. Bunker

First kindergarten was started in 1907 and continued until 1910. A Mrs. Edna Boots was the teacher. Her husband was in business with a Mr. Goldsmith and they had a general merchandise store on Main St. Mrs. Boots had 5 children of her own which included a set of twins. She was remembered as a large woman with blue eyes, dark blond hair worn in a pompadour. Her usual dress was a shirtwaist and skirt. She was a kind, caring woman.

The large living room of her home was given over to the approximately twelve 5-year-olds who came to her kindergarten. The children sat on chairs around a counter type table with legs sawed off to accommodate the children. A one horse cab called a hack was sent to pick up the children, deliver them to the school and pick them up and return them home each day. They attended five days a week.

There was a fee to attend this private school and the children who attended were considered privileged children. Dr. Bunker remembers the Tom Wetzel, Joe Urschel and Vera Hayes were among her classmates. She remembers being sent to school each day wearing a clean white apron over her dress and a clean white handkerchief in her apron pocket. The school was structured; there was a plan for each


day. The children did hand work at the tables such as place mats. They were developing eye and hand coordination. Dr. Bunker recalls carrying a pair of blunt scissors each day on a string around her neck.

The children were very good, quiet and well behaved. No discipline was necessary as that was done at home and the children knew how to behave. Occasionally the children played but there was not much play. They were not taught to read but those that attended were considered ahead of others in the regular school. No rest time or naps were taken at school nor was a snack provided. There was no pressure to perform but projects were done nicely and the atmosphere was a calm one.