Friedrich Froebel - Creative Activity

Influence of Froebel on Schools

by Miss O B Priestman BA 1952

How far are we doing this or that because we follow Froebel?

Is not a particular practice due rather to Montessori, Dewey, or even to Plato or Comenius? Certainly one of the good things a Froebel training does for its students is to open their minds to the ideas of other great educators as well, and that is why many teachers call their schools Progressive rather than Froebelian. Is it possible to point to a school or a practice and say with certainty: "That at least is Froebelian." It seems best to take certain ideas set out by Froebel and see how they are being interpreted today in schools.

How many Froebel schools are there?

At times when Froebel education is fashionable, many so called Froebel schools exist whose methods would not be at all in line with those advocated by the National Froebel Foundation. In addition to those which have been inspected and registered as Froebel Schools by the National Froebel Foundation, many schools which make no mention of Froebel in their titles are consciously trying to educate children as he would have wished. Froebel's ideas have spread because students trained in Froebel colleges have gone out to train others. Where teachers are allowed to develop in such a way that the school is a harmony in which children may grow by creative activity, there you are likely to get a true Froebel school. By its fruits you must judge it.

The simile of the child and the vine, in some form or other, is probably the piece of Froebel's teaching most deeply felt by teacher's who own his influence. They regard themselves as gardeners watching development, ready to feed the growth, ready to prune, restrain or weed according to need; trying to help each child to grow to the best he (or she) may be; not worried to make all the plants the same.

source: edited extracts from pages 125 - 7 of Friedrich Froebel and English Education edited by Evelyn Lawrence 1952

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