Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852)
"hands-on" learning advocate
"The smooth shapely maple blocks with which to build, the sense of which never afterwards leaves the fingers: so form became feeling." --Frank Lloyd Wright
In 1837, the German born Froebel was ahead of his time. He created an enviroment for young children that nurtured self-direction, spontaneous play, and intimacy with nature--the Kindergarten.
In a bookstore some time ago, I discovered an extraordinary book by Norman Brosterman called Inventing Kindergarten. I couldn't put it down. The photos drew me into the world of this visionary edge-ucator. I was especially struck by the sensual Froebel "gifts"--a set of geometric manipulatives that influenced the art and architecture of kindergarten graduates like Paul Klee and Frank Lloyd Wright. I recognized in Froebel's gifts the roots of Maria Montessori's materials to help children discover for themselves. Froebel was clearly one of her mentors. And Swiss educator Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi (1746-1827) was Froebel's.
Programmable Lego bricks and Froebel? The MIT Media Lab continues in this lineage today with their development of digital manipulatives--to help children explore a new set of concepts that until recently have been considered too advanced--"systems concepts" such as feedback and emergence.
If you'd like to explore Froebel in depth, visit Bruce Watson's labor of love, the Froebelweb. And stop by the extensive History of Education site created by Henk van Setten, associate professor in the Philosophy and History of Education department at the University of Nijmegen, Netherlands. That's how I found my way to Mark K. Smith's piece on Pestalozzi on his Informal Education site.
You can read a review of the Brosterman book here.
Do you have a kindergarten tale? Has Froebel influenced your work and/or education? Have you used LEGO/Logo? We'd like to invite you to contribute to a dialogue. Let us know. =CL=
For further explorations into Froebel, visit the Froebel Web Ring. organized by Bruce Watson--follow these links. You may want to open another browser window, so you can find your way back easily to Haven.
(This Friedrich Froebel site owned by Haven).