Creator of the kindergarten system, 'Friedrich Froebel', is a famous German educationalist, who implemented revolutionary ideas to improve the educational system. He had a shattered and unhappy childhood, being neglected by his father and step-mother. He re-defined the concept of education and emphasized using gifts and play materials in education. He believed that using these tools would help teachers identify the interests and aptitudes of their students. He strongly believed that every individual is productive and creative, and success is achieved through an agreement with God and the world. His meeting with another great educationalist, Pestalozzi, laid the foundation of the new concept of education using educational tools. The term 'Kindergarten' coined by him means 'a garden for children' and was apt for the new concept of education he developed. Froebel introduced educational toys called 'Froebel Gifts', which were quite popular and effective educational tools for small children. Scroll further to gather a quick brief-up about this eminent personality.
Friedrich Froebel was born on April 21, 1782. Friedrich Froebel's father, Johann Jacob Froebel was a Lutheran pastor at Oberweissbach, and his mother passed away when he was just nine months old. His father remarried. Froebel was neglected by his step mother and in 1792 he left to Stadt-Ilm to live with his maternal uncle, Herr Hoffman. He attended a local school there. Due to his passion for nature, he procured a job as an apprentice to a forester in Neuhaus at the age of fifteen. He attended the University of Jena from 1800 to 1802. He lost his father the same year.
Froebel enrolled in Frankfurt University for Architecture, which helped him hone his artistic skills. He made use of these skills to develop 'Froebel's gifts'. He was employed as a teacher and started working under Anton Gruener, headmaster of the Pestalozzian Frankfurt Model School in 1805. Gruener arranged for a short course with the Swiss educational reformer Johann Henrich Pestalozzi at Yverdon-les-Bains. Pestalozzi respected children and wished to create an exciting learning environment for them. Pestalozzi believed that every aspect of life played a significant role in shaping the personality, character, and reasoning ability of a child. Froebel was greatly influenced by Pestalozzi's ideas and wanted to incorporate these ideas in his teaching methods. On the completion of his training, Froebel taught at the Gruner's Model School. In 1808, he returned to Yverdon and spent two more years studying with Pestalozzi. Later in 1816, he established the 'Allgemeine Deutsche erziehungsanstalt' (German General education Institute) at Griesheim.
Froebel married Henrietta Wilhelmine Hoffmeister in 1818, and the couple lived together until his death.
establishment Of Kindergarten
Froebel established a Play and Activity Institute at Bad Blankenburg for children aged 3-4 years old, along with his trusted colleagues. In 1840 he coined the name 'kindergarten' for his institute. The word Kindergarten means 'children's garden' and this name is now adapted to english language and is now used all over the world to represent playschools for small children. He implemented new educational expedients like indulging children in fun activities, songs, stories etc. to make learning easier and effortless. He believed that, children aged 3 to 5, learnt better through activities. The introduction of this new concept made him famous and he earned the title of an early childhood educator. Kindergartens were set up across German states, and Froebel became a luminary soon enough.
Philosophy Behind Kindergarten
Froebel's thoughts were backed by German philosophers like Johann Gottfried Herder, Immanuel Kant, and Georg Wilhelm Hegel. With the support of idealist themes, he mentioned that each child possessed an internal spiritual essence, which he wanted to develop through fun activities. According to him, this special education environment offered social, cultural and educational exposure to the children and promoted self-realization. Froebel believed that a child expressed his/her innermost ideas, thoughts and desires during play. 'Froebel gifts', or Frobelgaben, referred to the educational play materials devised by Froebel that comprised of patterned activity blocks and geometric building blocks.
Fame And Acceptance
Ideas on childhood development and education were implemented into the royal and academic circles of the society. The Baroness, Bertha Marie von Marenholtz-Bulow was his greatest advocate. She helped Froebel in making acquaintances with the Royal House of the Netherlands and various 'Thuringian' dukes and duchesses. With the support of these noble people, Froebel collected donations, which helped him support children. As a kind gesture, the Duke of Meiningen allowed Froebel to train Kindergarten teachers in his hunting lodge.
This educational visionary died on June 21, 1852 and was buried at Schweina.