Frederick Froebel

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Friedrich Froebel was a German educator of the nineteenth century who developed an Idealist philosophy of early childhood education. He established kindergarten and education for four and five-year-old children. Kindergarten is now a part of education worldwide. Friedrich Froebel was born in the small town of Oberwiessbach, Germany in 1782. His mother died when he was nine months old. His father remarried, but Froebel never liked his stepmother and he led an unhappy life with his father and her. His feeling of rejection and isolation remained with him for life. This had a strong effect on his theory of early childhood education. He believed the kindergarten teacher should be loving, kind and motherly. He wanted his kindergarten to offer a sense of emotional security and self-esteem in children.

At the age of ten, Froebel went to live with his uncle. As a young child, Froebel spent a lot of time playing in the garden around his home. This led to his love of nature and had a profound effect on his educational philosophy. He briefly attended the University of Jena from 1800-1802. Then he studied architecture at Frankfurt University. Although he ended his studies without receiving a degree, Froebel gained a sense of artistic perspective and symmetry he later used to design his kindergarten “gifts” and “occupations.” While in Frankfurt Froebel was hired as a teacher at the Frankfurt Model School, which was a Pestalozzian school. He studied the Pestalozzi method of instruction which emphasized using objects to teach. His method rejected the use of corporal punishment and emphasized respecting the dignity of children. Froebel returned to Germany where in 1837 he established a new type of Early childhood school, a child’s garden, or as we now know it “Kindergarden”. This school was for 3 and 4 year olds and incorporated songs, play, stories and activities. It was an educational environment in which children through their own self-activity could develop in the...
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