This article explores two themes in the life of Caroline Pratt, founder of the Play School, later the City and Country School. These themes, central to Harriet Cuffaro’s values as a teacher and scholar, are Pratt’s early progressive pedagogy, developed during experimental shopwork between 1901 and 1908; and her theories on play and toys, developed while observing children play with her Do-With Toys and Unit Blocks between 1908 and 1914. Focusing on her early and previously unexplored writings, this article illustrates how Caroline Pratt developed a coherent theory of innovative progressive pedagogy.

Author Biography

Jeroen Staring has a BA in mathematics, an MSc in anthropology, a master’s in special educational needs, and a master’s in pedagogy. He teaches mathematics and science at secondary schools in The Netherlands. His 2005 medical sciences dissertation describes the life, work, and technique of F. Matthias Alexander. In 2013 he successfully defended a second dissertation on the early history of the NYC Bureau of Educational Experiments.



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