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Friedrich Froebel's Contributions to Early Education

List three contributions or practices from Friedrich Froebel regarding early education that are still in effect today. What do you think Froebel would say about the Kindergarten classes of today?

The enactment of Froebel's original pedagogical theory was different in America. It was based on his German Idealist philosophy, which explored the connection between the individual psyche and the natural and social universe. The kindergarten represented this relationship in the natural world through educational playthings, or 'gifts': a ball was the symbol of wholeness, and blocks and sticks showed the various ways that the whole was constituted through its parts: numbers, fractions, geometry, patterns. Many of these playthings are still found today. The block corner for instance shows the sum of all the parts Froebel envisioned. (Allen, 2006).

A second principle based on Froebel's original schema was that in the social world, the human being's identity both as a free and private individual and as a cooperative member of a public sphere, that is, a community or stateâ?"was acted out in songs and games (Allen, 2006). In kindergarten's today we see, the incorporation of songs and games based on themes children learn. Further, the idea of community is one central to the kindergarten experience.

What would Froebel say about the kindergarten classes of today? I think he would be pleased to see that kindergartens are still in use today. In 1848, the Prussian monarchy banned kindergarten. The propaganda at the time was that kindergartens promoted atheism. Therefore proponents of Froebel were forced into exile. The brief period from 1848 until 1851 saw the founding of several kindergartens, which employed
women as teachers and admitted children of different confessions and religions (both Jewish and Christian) and social classes, policies that ran counter to those of existing pre-school institutions, which were run by churches along strictly confessional lines. The kindergarten briefly became a sort of miniature Utopia in which political and religious as well as educational ideals were tested.

To quote just a little more German history, the brief period from 1848 until 1851 saw the founding of several kindergartens, which employed women as teachers and admitted children of different confessions and religions (both Jewish and Christian) and social classes, policies that ran counter to those of existing pre-school institutions, which were run by churches along strictly confessional lines (Allen, 2006). The kindergarten briefly became a sort of miniature Utopia in which political and religious as well as educational ideals were tested (Allen, 2006). The idea of children attending school together regardless of social class is part of modern schooling in general. However, neighborhoods are often a reflection along socio-economic lines. Sometimes, neighborhoods change and families move away thus changing the demographics of the area (Allen, 2006);

I also think Froebel would be pleased to see mainly women as professionals in modern day kindergartens. In both countries, Germany and the United States, feminist programs invoked ideologies of gender difference to justify a new status for women. They called for the overcoming of the public/private divide, and for the expression of women's motherly mission in the public sphere (Allen, 2006). In Germany, the Baroness Marenholtz Bülow, who in 1863 founded the Association for Family and Popular Education (Verein für Familien- und Volkserziehung) saw the kindergarten as a vast field for the public exercise of spiritual motherhood (Allen, 2006). You will recall that Fröbel had not originally envisaged the kindergarten as a female realm; in fact, he had first proposed it to the teaching profession, then almost wholly male. But when the men rejected a pedagogy that was based on play rather than on academic learning, Fröbel turned to women, whom he admonished to exercise spiritual motherhood as teachers of young children (Allen, 2006).

References:
Allen, A.T. (2006), The Kindergarten in Germany and the United States: 1840-1914, A Comparative Perspective, History of Education35, 2, p 175- 188.
Strauch-Nelson, W. (2012) Transplanting Froebel into the Present, International Journal of Education Through Art, 8, 1, p. 59-72.

Solution Preview

Froebel, Friedrich Wilhelm August (1782-1852) was a German educator and founder of the kindergarten system. He initiated a pedagogy rooted
in creative self-activity that helped prepare the path for art education in schools. He propelled six ideals to help prepare for education (Strauch-Nelson, 2012). It is important to understand that Froebel proposed his ideals in a prescriptive manner, and the English proposed them in a revisionist manner taking into account psychological and philosophical theories of the day.

The enactment of Froebel's original pedagogical theory was different in America. It was based on his German Idealist philosophy, which explored the connection between the individual psyche and the natural and social universe. The kindergarten represented this relationship in the natural world through educational playthings, or 'gifts': a ball was the symbol of wholeness, and blocks and sticks showed the various ways that the whole was constituted through its parts: numbers, fractions, geometry, patterns. Many of these playthings are still found today. The block corner for instance shows the sum of all the parts Froebel envisioned. ...

Solution Summary

Froebel, Friedrich Wilhelm August (1782-1852) was a German educator and founder of the kindergarten system. He initiated a pedagogy rooted
in creative self-activity that helped prepare the path for art education in schools. He propelled six ideals to help prepare for education (Strauch-Nelson, 2012). It is important to understand that Froebel proposed his ideals in a prescriptive manner, and the English proposed them in a revisionist manner taking into account psychological and philosophical theories of the day.

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