To Discuss Proposal At Meeting November 25

Norwood's first Kindergarten was located in this building, at 925 Washington st about 1885, conducted By Miss Gertrude Bigelow
Norwood’s first Kindergarten classes were held in this building at 925 Washington st., known for a time as the “Frog Pond School”, around 1885. Classes were conducted By Miss Gertrude Bigelow.

By Win Everett

If the ideas and plans of Mrs. Edith C. Bloom of 34 Granite street materialize, Norwood will have another grade added to its school system. On November 7th, Mrs. Bloom, who is the mother of a kindergarten daughter and a baby girl, was wondering what she would do when her young lady reached the kindergarten age. Like a flash came the inspiration. “Why not start to agitate the idea of a public kindergarten? Somebody is going to propose it some time. Why shouldn’t it be me?” So the seed was sown and Mrs. Bloom’s efforts plus those of other forward-thinking mothers and fathers, have brought it to the point of a public meeting of fathers and mothers to discuss the need of a school for tots and how to go about including it with the other problems of the school committee.

The meeting open to anyone who cares to attend, is scheduled to be held in the music room of the Norwood Junior High School on the evening of Monday, November 25th, at 8 p.m.

The guest speaker will be Lincoln D. Lynch, superintendent of the Norwood Schools. He is not a member of the group interested in this new educational venture and has been invited by the. ladies to give his view, pro or con, as to the advisability of starting a kindergarten grade. Whatever he decides will be unofficial. But among other things it is natural to suppose he will explain to the parents just what steps are necessary, under the Norwood charter, to establish the proposed grade.

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Norwood has enjoyed the advantages of the kindergarten system from the time the idea was imported from Germany and implemented in the United States. But it has always been a privately operated kindergarten. The first one was started about 1885 in the little “Frog Pond” schoolhouse on the corner of Washington street and Walnut avenue almost opposite the Present Fleming Bindery. The Congregational church had just abandoned it as a vestry and Sunday school and dedicated its new church at its present site.

The teacher was the late Gertrude Bigelow, daughter of L. W. Bigelow. She was a charming young girl at that time and had received her training in Boston to take up this new profession for women in a day when professions for women were few. Her new school was welcomed by the Norwood mothers and the entering class numbered about 40 boys and girls who had determined to make their life work the cutting up of colored paper and getting themselves daubed with clay.

This bright and gay initial kindergarten lasted two or three years, after which the town took the building over to use as the first Norwood high school operating outside of the Everett school. This class used it only a few months! before it was transferred to the old red water commissioner s office on the late Batch school site. From there the school was placed in the new Beacon high school on Beacon street.

Whether Miss Bigelow carried on elsewhere the writer does not know. But over the years there have been many private kindergartens in Norwood. There is one at present in the junior high school, the teachers of which, says Mrs. Bloom, have been consulted In regard to the proposed public kindergarten school.

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The following figures, quoted from the November 16 issue of the Christian Science Monitor, arc pertinent to the question of a new public kindergarten:

NEW YORK. Nov 16 — Here are salaries paid New York City school teachers, bartenders, and elevator operators cited for comparative analysis by Harold E. Stassen before the Parents Institute yesterday: School Teachers— Starting pay: Kindegraten to grade 6B. $I,608. grade 6B to high school, $2,040: high school. S2.148. Bartenders—Starting pay in lowest grade bars, S2.600 yearly. (An increase to $2,860 is now being sought.) Elevator Operators— Starting pay: Apartments. $1,487.20 to SI,732.64 yearly: office buildings. SI.657.96 to $2,018.96 yearly; lofts $1,569.80 to $1,753.96.