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The purpose of education is to encourage and guide man as a conscious, thinking and perceiving being in such a way that he becomes a pure and perfect representation.

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Presentation on theme: "The purpose of education is to encourage and guide man as a conscious, thinking and perceiving being in such a way that he becomes a pure and perfect representation."— Presentation transcript:

1 The purpose of education is to encourage and guide man as a conscious, thinking and perceiving being in such a way that he becomes a pure and perfect representation of that divine inner law through his own personal choice. (Friedrich Froebel 1826 Die Nenschenerziehung, pp. 2) Friedrich Froebel Froebel was born in Prussia in 1782, son of a clergyman. His mother died soon after he was born and he had an unhappy early childhood, brought up by and uncaring stepmother. However he grew up to be a highly spiritual man whose appreciation of the natural world guided his philosophies. Aged 10 he went to live with an Uncle who was kinder to him and sent him to school. His first job was a forester, which allowed him to spend a lot of time exploring the natural world After various jobs he took a post as a teacher at the school of Pestalozzi, a Swiss educator who believed every child had a right to an education based on using the senses, indoor and outdoor learning and development from concrete to abstract ideas. This had a major influence on the young Froebel.

2 Community of Learning In the early 19 th century play was seen as idle and children seen as miniature adults who should be taught to be productive in society as soon as possible Against this background Froebel set up his own school based on his observations of nature and young children and their families – a revolutionary idea! He championed the role of the family in the education of children and this first school was a community where teachers and other families lived together. Froebel left Pestalozzi’s school to study mineralogy. He developed ideas about the links between the patterns in nature (in this case crystals) and the laws of human life. He then served in the army fighting for the Prussians against Napoleon. Let us live with our children, let them live with us, so we shall gain through them what all of us need. Froebel in ‘The Education of Man’

3 Learning through play Froebel moved his school to Keilhau and began to develop his educational theories based on the idea of child centred education. The main focus was developing the creativity of the child through games and exploration. He used nursery songs which he later published as an educational resource. He spent some time in Switzerland working as the head of an orphanage school. This sparked his interest in early years development. His book ‘The Education of Man’ was published in 1826. It was deeply philosophical, discussing his belief in the links between God, man and nature. Although he was married for 21 years, Froebel had no children of his own “Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood, for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child's soul.” Friedrich Froebel

4 Kindergarten Outdoor activities were balanced with intricate indoor tasks designed to develop manual skills and the child’s thoughts about the nature of the world. Frobel invented a sets of ‘gifts’. These were solid geometric shapes which the children used to create structures or explore the laws of nature. The first was a simple ball, which he believed would attract and inspire them throughout their life. The gifts were arranged in sets to gradually develop the child’s understanding. There were complimentary activities, such as weaving, cutting and sewing to develop motor skills. Froebel set up his first ‘kindergarten’ school in Bad Blankenburg. The name is thought to reflect both the idea that children grow like a plant, and the importance he attached to outdoor learning. Each child had their own patch to plant as they wished, but there was also a communal area where things were planned and they worked together. This way the ideas of individual creativity and responsibility towards the community were combined. “Children are like tiny flowers; they are varied and need care, but each is beautiful alone and glorious when seen in the community of peers.” Friedrich Froebel

5 Legacy Froebel’s methods and ideas are still relevant today as seen in: The kindergarten movement in the USA Teacher education in Britain – the Froebel college was amalgamated into the Roehampton Institute of Higher Education in 1975, now the University of Roehampton. In Europe including Germany where his supporters worked to have the ban lifted and kindergarten survives to this day. Learning through structured play – dormant in the UK for a long time, but now back in mainstream EY and infant education. Kindergarten were banned in Prussia in 1851, a year before Froebel death. They were very radical in their time and the Prussian government linked them to the more fiery socialist views of Friedrich’s cousin. Froebel died in 1852, probably heart-broken by the apparent failure of his life’s work. However his ideas had travelled far and wide and his philosophies spread to Europe, the USA and Britain where they have survived to this day.

6 Criticisms of Froebel’s practices Kindergartens were middle class Some saw the theories as universal but others criticised them as not addressing the needs of poor children. However his theories have been adapted for use in inner-city areas in the 20 th century. The role of women as teachers was overstated. Women teachers were unusual in Froebel’s day and he actively recruited them. Many of the early supporters of his work were women. However the presumption in Froebel’s time was that a teacher was a man, so women would be the exception. His methods focus too heavily on fine motor skills. The gifts and occupations involve very intricate manipulation of objects. However he also advocated outdoor occupations such as gardening and nature walks. Child centred learning meant the child would progress at their own pace.


8 Froebel’s key ideas: He valued the role of the mother in a young child’s development and deliberately recruited women teachers He believed in the education of babies and young children at a time when it was not considered possible for children under 6 years to develop socially or intellectually He encouraged children’s own development as saw this as a spiritual activity He believed children should be given opportunities and equipment to make sense of the natural world He considered play (including outdoor play) and singing games essential components of a child’s learning experience He developed structured methods of play and activities and he believed the whole family should be involved in the education of children “Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood, for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child's soul.” Friedrich Froebel Birth Born in Prussia in 1782 His mother died 9 months later leaving him to be brought up by a stepmother who showed him little affection Childhood Aged 10 he went to live with his uncle who was kinder and sent him to school His great passion was nature, but he enjoyed languages and maths Early working life At 15 he became a forester and was able to experience the wonders of nature At 17 he went to university but the lessons failed to engage him and he got into debt Beginning to teach He took a job as a teacher at a Pestalozzi school and studied under him He set up his own school in Greisheim, aged 34 in 1816 Developing theories In 1818 he moved the school to Keilhau in Prussia The school was run according to the principles of child centred education. Publishing the theories In 1826 he published his theories in ‘The Education of Man’ This was a philosophical work reflecting his ideas about God, man and nature Kindergarten set up Education for the under sixes Incorporates the ides of children blossoming like a flower and a learning through nature Gifts and occupations invented ‘gifts’ were resources such as balls, cubes and sticks ‘occupations’ such as weaving and clay work to develop manual skills Death Kindergartens were banned in Prussia for political reasons in 1851 Froebel died in 1852, dispirited by the ban Friedrich Froebel Froebel’s influences: Cornelius (1592 – 1670 ) believed the purpose of education is to open the mind so the pupil’s understanding can develop organically, that all children whether boy or girl, rich or poor should be educated and that all humanity was equal. Pestalozzi (1746-1827) believed in a safe environment where all children could learn using their senses to develop from concrete to abstract studies. Froebel’s first teaching job was in Pestalozzi’s school. Froebel pioneered a comprehensive theory and practice for the holistic education of young children. Froebel’s legacy: The kindergarten system in the USA The Froebel College of teacher training founded in 1892 which is now part of the University of Roehampton. The Froebel ‘gifts’, similar to items now found in every early years setting, were designed to help children recognise the patterns and forms found in nature The idea that children learn through play and outdoor exploration

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