The kindergarten is an educational experience that has been shared by a diversity of cultures since the 19th century. Invented in 1839 by Friedrich Fröbel, a controversial German educator, the word kindergarten described the educational philosophy he developed for children three to six years old. An aspect of the kindergarten, implied in the word itself , is the garden. In the outdoor play spaces of Fröbel's original kindergarten, children tended to plants, cultivated gardens, and investigated the environment around them. Since the translation of kindergartens into the United States during the I 850s. the outdoor components associated with Fröbel's original concept have been forgotten. Today n the United States, the garden in the kindergarten is considered a metaphor. However, designers and educators are re-introducing outdoor play opportunities and activities, like gardening and nature observation, into schools and day care centers in the United States. With this recent trend away from equipment-based playgrounds to more garden and landscape based outdoor play environments, it is prudent to investigate the historical precedent of outdoor educational systems. This investigation is particularly relevant in light of another recent trend by administrators to enact no_recess polices in public schools. Given it's longevity and breadth of influence, the kindergarten provides a starting point for this type of inquiry. The following asks what were some of the salient features of the original kindergarten? What was the role of the garden and outdoor environments in this educational system? What did children do in these gardens and outdoor environments? With a more complete understanding of this well known educational system, an important historical dimension about the pedagogical use of outdoor spaces can be adjoined to the current and future debates concerning outdoor play.