Eliza Ann Cooper Blaker 1854-1926
Eliza Ann Cooper Blaker was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on March 15, 1854. She became interested in Friedrich Froebel's educational philosophies and was trained in his kindergarten methods. The twenty-eight year old teacher was invited to organize a kindergarten in Indianapolis.
As kindergarten attendance grew the need for more competent teachers caused Mrs. Blaker to open a teacher training school in her home. She taught her students that, next to motherhood, teaching is the greatest profession.
Her belief was that the "kindergarten is a miniature world, in which the little one is happy, is harmoniously developed, and learns to think and act as a reasonable being endowed with a high destiny"
Eliza Blaker Memorial Scholarship
The Eliza Blaker Memorial Scholarship was developed to honor the life and work of one of Indiana's most forward-looking and energetic educators. Mrs. Blaker's work began in 1884 with the goal of organizing the first kindergarten in Indianapolis. Her efforts rapidly expanded when she established Madame Blaker's Teachers College. This was the first Normal School for the preparation of teachers in Indiana, which, in 1929, merged with the Department of Education and became the College of Education. Teachers who were trained by Mrs. Blaker formed a society to honor the accomplishments of a woman who shaped and developed Indiana kindergarten and elementary education. Students majoring in elementary education with outstanding academic records and demonstrated potential for teaching are selected by the faculty of Butler University for this award.
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Among other excellent resources for elementary teachers, one finds a wide variety of the early teaching aids on display, including several original Froebel Gifts.
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