Froebel’s Gift

Friedrich Froebel developed and modeled his own education philosophy in the early 1900’s.  He disliked the educational approach where children were drilled in memorization.  He suggested that such an approach does not consider children’s basic innocent and curious nature.  He instead developed a system of games, songs and dances for young children.  He trained young women to nurture and care for children as if they were a garden and not to approach them as unruly subjects who needed a firm hand.  These young women were the “Kindergarteners.”  Such a philosophy was liberating for children who were given a purpose for their play and for the women who taught them who were given a socially acceptable means of income.

Curiously as he rejected teaching young children to read he instead developed his own abstract language to communicate his romantic philosophy.  Spheres spoke to infants of unity.  Older children were taught to use sticks to illustrate tables, chairs and houses.  Norman Brosterman in his “Inventing Kindergarten” goes so far as to say that the visual language that Froebel taught created modern art because it was the visual language that these artists remembered from their childhood.  Although it may seem a bit of a stretch to say that modern art was the product of kindergarten, Frank Lloyd Wright did acknowledge that Froebel’s language was “in his fingers”.

One thought on “Froebel’s Gift

  1. Pingback: Architecture for Small Hands « Art and the Everyday

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