Jump to navigation. Born on 21 April Friedrich Froebel was a German educator who invented the kindergarten. He believed that "play is the highest expression of human development in childhood for it alone is the free expression of what is in the child's soul. His ideas about learning through nature and the importance of play have spread throughout the world. Drawing on his mathematical and scientific knowledge Froebel developed a set of gifts wooden blocks and introduced occupations, including sticks, clay, sand, slates, chalk, wax, shells, stones, scissors, paper folding.
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He believed children needed a place where they could be cherished, stimulated and helped to flourish. You can discover more about the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and Paul Klee, for example, via the following links. One of most comprehensive is the Froebel Web — see link below. The name Froebel is pronounced in many different ways by German speakers. English speakers usually say Frurbel — to rhyme with herbal or Froy-bel. For more than a century these have informed the training of early years teachers at Froebel College, which was established at West Kensington, London, in It moved to Roehampton in The College, now part of Roehampton University, continues to educate teachers from around the globe.
The principles are summarised here:. Froebel was an innovator, who was influenced by the key pioneers of education John Amos Comenius and Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi.
Comenius, who lived from to , was a Moravian theologian and educator who became bishop of the Unity of Brethren. Travelling all over Europe, he dedicated himself to helping students to learn. He also implored people to recognise they were part of one human family — rather divide over national rivalries. He believed in providing education for all children — both girls and boys — not just those from richer families.
He produced the first picture book for children and his books were translated into the major European Languages. His ideas were particularly well received in Northern Europe.
He was invited, for example, to restructure the entire Swedish education system. To whom is it not a pleasure to go to some new place daily, to converse with someone, to narrate something, or have some fresh experience?
To hate a man because he was born in another country, because he speaks a different language, or because he takes a different view on this subject or that, is a great folly. Desist, I implore you, for we are all equally human …. Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi was another influence on Froebel. Living from to , this Swiss educator believed in offering all children the opportunity of a good education.
He thought it was vital:. To include the five senses in the learning process. He believed it called for providing learning that connected the hand, heart and head. This also meant learning both indoors and outdoors.
To start with concrete work — then move to abstraction. This called for an emphasis on learning by doing, clarifying the thinking and then practicing. He believed in encouraging children to think for themselves. This attracted wide attention and students flocked from many countries, one of these was Froebel. He had a difficult childhood. The son of a pastor, he was sixth child in the family. He was less than a year old when his mother died and 4 years of age when his father remarried.
He failed to get the love he wanted from the family. His stepmother addressed him in an impersonal way. Friedrich later wrote:. Observing the plant and animal life, he experienced a sense of wonder.
Flora, fauna and animals grew in an organic way with the whole eco-system achieving a certain unity. Surely the same could be true for human beings?
This was a theme that would arise in his later teachings. Unfortunately the lessons were sterile and, despite switching courses, he found little satisfaction. Eventually poverty forced him to leave university. Moving on, he spent the next four years trying many different kinds of work, finally deciding to study architecture at Frankfurt.
During this time he met Anton Gruner, who ran a school in the city. Friedrich taught for a while and then 2 years studying at an institute run by Pestalozzi.
Whilst he found the approach inspiring, he had some reservations. So he vowed to create his own type of school. During the next few years he pursued other activities — such as studying mineralogy and serving for the Prussian army against Napoleon — but he kept returning to his dream.
Whilst serving in the army he also made two friends, Heinrich Langenthal and Wilhelm Middendorf. Both would help him in his future educational work. He founded a school in Thuringia. Froebel was joined there by several devotees, including Langenthal and Middendorf. He married Henriette Wilhelmine Hoffmeister. The marriage lasted 21 years until her death in He would marry again in to Luise Levin.
His ideas also began to reach a wider audience. Friedrich was invited to Switzerland and spent several years there opening schools. Returning to Bad Blankenburg, he founded the Play and Activity Institute and trained play facilitators. The purpose was that in playing with the object the child would learn the underlying concept represented by the object. They encouraged the child to play, be creative and explore designs that mirrored the unity of the universe.
So what were the gifts? The following material is drawn from the Froebel Web and can be found at:. The remaining gifts were used by Froebel in his Kindergarten and published after his death …. The child first seeks to contemplate, to grasp and to possess objects as a whole. The extraordinary charm of a ball exerts a constant attraction both in early childhood and later youth. Eight cubes are presented to the child in the form of a single larger cube. These involve:. The child can use the gifts to create something they find in their life — such as a building, house, table, sofa or tree.
The child can use the gifts to explore maths, science and logical ideas. This enables them to develop their sense of proportion, equivalence and order. Beauty forms appeal to our aesthetic sense. Within a decade there were over 50 kindergartens established across the country.
The ideas also began spreading abroad — more of which later. During this time Froebel started a publishing firm for his books and educational materials. Froebel wanted to sum up his thoughts on education in this book. Froebel also wrote commentaries to the pictures.
During these years Friedrich established the first training institute for kindergarten teachers at Marienthal. Marienthal, the vale of the Marys, whom we wish to bring up as the mothers of humanity, as the first Mary brought up the Saviour of the World. The ban remained in place until Fortunately for the kindergarten movement, however, influential people carried the ideas abroad. Henriette worked with Froebel when he was in Thuringia and became one of the key educators in the kindergarten movement.
See link at the end of this piece. Blazing the trail in a previously male-dominated culture, she developed a training centre for women teachers. She combined theoretical training with hands-on experience — an approach that continues to this day. Henriette educated women from many different countries including, for example, the first Swedish Kindergarten teachers. Pestalozzi-Froebel Haus. She was a driving force in spreading his ideas to the Netherlands, England, France, Belgium, Italy and, through a relative, to the United States.
The Baroness used her aristocratic contacts when kindergartens were banned in Prussia and other German states. Margarethe was born into a prominent family in Hamburg. She was encouraged by her parents to pursue the arts and education. Bertha went on to open several kindergartens in Germany. Margarethe joined her sister to teach in England before moving to Wisconsin with her husband Carl Shurz. Her story is continued on the Froebel Web at:.
The kindergarten in Watertown continued until World War I, when it was closed because of opposition to the use of the German language. The memorial tablet, dedicated in , rests only a few feet from the site of the building where she ran her kindergarten — the first ever in America:.
She ran the school for 8 years and then made a study tour of Europe. Returning to the United States, she spread the message through her writing. This can be found at:. Google Reader.
Froebel, Friedrich Wilhelm August (1782–1852)
He believed children needed a place where they could be cherished, stimulated and helped to flourish. You can discover more about the work of Frank Lloyd Wright and Paul Klee, for example, via the following links. One of most comprehensive is the Froebel Web — see link below. The name Froebel is pronounced in many different ways by German speakers.
F is for Friedrich Froebel: His Educational Work And Legacy
His mother died when he was only nine months old, and he was neglected as a child until an uncle gave him a home and sent him to school. Froebel acquired a thorough knowledge of plants and natural phenomena while at the same time beginning the study of mathematics and languages. After apprenticeship to a forester, he pursued some informal university courses at Jena until he was jailed for an unpaid debt. He tried various kinds of employment until he impulsively took a teaching appointment at a progressive model school in Frankfurt run by Anton Gruner on lines advocated by the Swiss educator Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi. Froebel became convinced of his vocation as a teacher at the school.
Friedrich Froebel was a motherless child. Losing his mother before the age of 1, and being raised by a father who had little time for him and his two brothers, left Froebel with a yearning for something seemingly impossible to satisfy. Froebel spent much of his time alone in the gardens surrounding his home. Here, as a young boy, he would play all day and explore his surroundings. This led to a deep love of nature that would remain with Froebel to the end of his days and influence all of his future achievements.
The German educator Friedrich Froebel is significant for developing an Idealist philosophy of early childhood education and establishing the kindergarten, a school for four-and five-year-old children that is found worldwide. Froebel's mother died when he was nine months old. When Friedrich was four years old, his father remarried. Feeling neglected by his stepmother and father, Froebel experienced a profoundly unhappy childhood. At his father's insistence, he attended the girls' primary school at Oberweissbach. From to he lived with his maternal uncle, Herr Hoffman, at Stadt-Ilm, where he attended the local town school. From the years to he was as an apprentice to a forester and surveyor in Neuhaus.