Alternative formsEdit


Kind (child) +‎ -er- +‎ Garten (garden). Coined in 1840 by Friedrich Fröbel in the metaphorical sense of “place where children can grow in a natural way”, not in the literal sense of “garden”.[1]


  • IPA(key): /ˈkɪndərˌɡartən/, [ˈkɪndɐˌɡaʁtn̩], [-ˌɡaɐ̯tn̩]
  • (file)


Kindergarten m (genitive Kindergartens, plural Kindergärten)

  1. nursery school; kindergarten; day care center (institution where children below school age play and are looked after during the day)
    Synonym: Kindertagesstätte (widely used interchangeably except that Kindertagesstätte is commoner for religiously and ideologically neutral institutions)

Usage notesEdit

  • The German institution is not regarded as a school, but as a form of day care. There is an element of Erziehung (upbringing, character formation), but none of Bildung (learning, school education). At least with regards to the American sense of kindergarten, the German word is a false friend. The proper equivalent is Vorschule (literally preschool).


Derived termsEdit


  1. ^ Horace Mann; Elizabeth P. Peabody (1863) Moral Culture of Infancy and Kindergarten Guide[1], page 10:
    Kindergarten means a garden of children, and Froebel, the inventor of it, or rather, as he would prefer to express it, the discoverer of the method of Nature, meant to symbolize by the name the spirit and plan of treatment. How does the gardener treat his plants? He studies their individual natures, and puts them into such circumstances of soil and atmosphere as enable them to grow, flower, and bring forth fruit, also to renew their manifestation year after year.

Further readingEdit