"A revival of academic interest in Froebel and kindergarten seems at present to be underway, assisted by easily accessible Internet sources." Peter Weston 2002
During the decade before the 240th birthday of Friedrich Froebel on 21 April 2022, the Rennsteig Schwarzatal region of Thuringia has planned events about aspects of his life, work and influence up to the present.
The Education of Children
The longer we consider and examine the present day methods of education, the more clearly we recognise that children lack the care and consideration which would be in accord with their present and future needs, a care which considers equally the child's mental and physical needs and capacities. We notice that if children are not given the care which takes their stage of human development into consideration, they will lack the foundation for the task ahead in school and for their later lives in general.
This realisation has accompanied me for a life time. At first nebulous and a surmise only, but I have been increasingly aware of it during thirty years of endeavour in the educational field. Especially during the last ten years, I have put my ideas for examination before teachers, educators and parents of all social classes, whose deliberations, based on their experiences, agreed with mine, that the present and future living conditions of men and women of all social classes rest on the careful consideration and rounded mental and physical care of early childhood, and that, at the moment, schools and life in general do not possess this genuine and firm foundation to a large extent.
This realisation increasingly directed my educational endeavours in recent years, towards the care of children in their earliest years, up to school age, especially paying attention to their activity drive.
Because I find that one of the basic causes of defective childcare is the unsatisfactory consideration of the activity drive of the child, I have endeavoured to create an institution for this very purpose. An institution under the motto: "Come let us live with our children", which has the task of giving into the hands of parents, families, educators and teachers a coherent system of play activities. These games not only nourish the inner activity drive, but they also teach the use of the child's immediate environment as a means for play and occupation and as educational aids. They are games and occupations, ways and means, which give a presentiment of the connection between human life and nature, and an indication of the laws of it, so as to give an example - at least a symbol - to live up to. Finally, games which are educative and developing for the person who plays with the children, which influence him and in their alternating educational function become a genuine bond between them both.
Friedrich Froebel 1844 translated by J Liebschner, edited by B Watson
Friedrich Froebel changed the way we think about early childhood education. He designed balls, wooden blocks, tiles, sticks and rings to demonstrate that children learn by playing. Known around the world as the Froebel Gifts or Gaben, these objects were an important part of his Kindergarten. The Froebel Gifts have been widely imitated and adapted by educators and toys makers.
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A Centennial Appreciation
My educational method offers to its pupils from the beginning the opportunity to collect their own experiences from things themselves, to look with their own eyes and learn by their own experiments to know things and the relations of things to each other, and also the real life of the world of humanity; this last however, within the limits necessary for morality and not divested of the nimbus of the beautiful and the ideal.
In such a manner a greater inward as well as outward independence will be gained, which teaches one how to stand on one's own feet . . . The too much and too early knowledge with which youth is crammed prevents men from reaching a true and real independence, which is only the fruit of the vigorous efforts of one's own powers, especially by acting and doing.
Friedrich Froebel quoted by W H G Armytage in 1952
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