Friedrich Froebel - Sesame Club

England 1895

The Sesame Club, which later became a purely social club, was opened with the intention of forming a rallying point for all societies which were trying to help forward the reform of education, and it was hoped that it would become a recognized rendezvous for persons interested in education in all its branches, whether as professional teachers or as parents. Mr Montifiore and three other members of the Froebel Society were on the committee.

In the last decade of the nineteenth century the majority of upper class and middle class children in England received their first lessons in their own homes. Interesting parents in new methods of education and assisting them in bringing up their children were objects of the Sesame Club.

The Sesame Club provided a platform for various forms of progressive education, and amongst others for Miss Charlotte Mason, the founder of the Parent's National Education Union and author of the book Home Education. She was trying to help parents and governesses in conducting their own schoolrooms and using the activities of a well regulated home for training children's senses. Although her methods differed very considerably from those of the Froebelians, her system did pay a great deal of attention to accurate observation and to nature study.

By 1899 the Sesame Club had nine hundred members, but there were associated with it people who were interested in its educational aims but did not want to belong to a social club: they formed the Sesame League, and resolved to open a house for Home Life Training on the lines of Pestalozzi Froebel Haus in Berlin, and persuaded Fraulein Schepel, who had worked with Frau Schrader-Breymann for many years, to come over from Berlin to become its first Principal.

Sesame House was opened in Hampstead in 1899, and by the third year of its existence had sixty five students, among them two from Finland and four Parsees. The course included the care of children, nature study, and work in the flower and vegetable garden, household management cooking and the right use of foods. Both a fee paying and a free kindergarten were attached to Sesame House.

source: pages 77 - 79 of Friedrich Froebel and English Education edited by Evelyn Lawrence 1952

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