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Letters of the alphabet
Title : Letters of the alphabet Letters of the alphabet
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Source : [Alphabet letters] [toy]
Additional Creator : Gilbert Collection
Format : Toy
Dimensions : 90 mm (box) and 10 mm (letters)
Contributor : State Library of South Australia
Catalogue record
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Donated by : Gilbert Family
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Description :

Round container with domed lid containing multiple letters of the alphabet made of bone: each letter is 1 cm high.

This is a part of the Gilbert Collection of books, toys and games given to the Children's Literature Research Collection of the State Library in the 1960s. The Gilbert Family lived at Pewsey Vale from 1839 where they were pastoralists and vignerons. Many of the books and games were designed to instruct as well as to entertain and were sent out from England by the children's aunts, who were interested in the kindergarten system of learning through play.

Alphabet letters and blocks developed as a result of a movement to incorporate play as an essential part of learning. This was first suggested by the philosopher John Locke in 1693 when he proposed placing the letters on the sides of cubes of wood to encourage letter recognition as a precursor to learning to read. Nineteenth century educationalists such as Pestalozzi, Froebel and Montessori further developed the concept of learning through play. Alphabet blocks and letters have become a classic toy.

Alphabet noodles are a modern extension of the concept.

Further reading :

Burton, Anthony. Children's pleasures: books, toys and games from the Bethnal Green Museum of Childhood, London: V & A Publications, 1996

Goldstein, Jeffrey H. (ed.) Toys, play, and child development, Cambridge [England]; New York: Cambridge University Press, 1994

Hewitt, Karen. Educational toys in America, 1800 to the present ,Burlington, Vt.: Robert Hull Fleming Museum, University of Vermont, c1979 pp. 53-63 Alphabet toys

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