Kindergarten and the Building Blocks of Design

Among the visually appealing works in tomorrow’s auction of Art, Press & Illustrated Books is a fascinating pedagogical workbook in the manner of Kindergarten founder Friedrich Wilhelm August Fröbel’s early education classroom exercises. 


Kindergarten Work is an accordion-folded book with 55 pages of paper shape, color and formation exercises comprising 16 string-sewn shapes, 14 woven paper designs and 25 origami folds and cut pattern designs. Each of these is mounted to stiff board and most are signed by the owner/creator/teacher Betsy Ranken Doane. 


Books such as this–and similarly designed educational blocks created Fröbel–were studied in early childhood by architects such as Frank Lloyd Wright and Mies Van Der Rohe.

Thanks to Swann’s Art & Illustrated Books specialist Christine von der Linn–and her passion for architecture–for this post.