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Büste von Friedrich Fröbel

Life and Works

After his vocational training as a topographic surveyor, Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel (1782–1852), son of a thuringian pastor, became first a private secretary and then a tutor in Frankfurt On The Main. After staying with Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi in Yverdon for two years (from 1808 to 1810), he studied natural sciences in Göttingen and Berlin. In 1816 he founded a private school called “Allgemeine deutsche Erziehungsanstalt“ in Griesheim which he relocated to Keilhau near Rudolstadt in 1817 and managed until 1831. During his time in Switzerland (1831-1835), Froebel set up two private schools in Wartensee and later in Willisau. Additionally, both provided continued educational training for teachers and led the elemantary school situated at the orphanage in Burgdorf.

From 1836 up until his death, Froebel lived in Thuringia (Blankenburg, Bad Liebenstein/Marienthal) again, where he developed numerous toys, which he denoted as “gifts” (“Gaben”) and “means for occupation and education” (“Beschäftigungs- und Bildungsmittel”). Using these, the child is able to appropriate itself to its surroundings in a playful manner, following practical, mathematical and aesthetic categories.

Quotes

“A kindergarten has such beauty in it that while sowing the seeds, one can harvest their blossoms and fruits, even twice, in oneself and in the children.”
(„Ein Kindergarten hat das Schöne, daß man säend schon die Blüten und Früchte gewinnt und zwar doppelt, in sich und in den Kindern“)
Friedrich Froebel, Kindergarten-Briefe 1841

“Playing ist the highest level of child development ... Playing is the purest product a person’s mind can create at that age ... The games being played at that age from the core of the entire of one’s future life ...”
(„Spielen, Spiel ist die höchste Stufe der Kindesentwicklung ... Spiel ist das reinste geistigste Erzeugnis des Menschen auf dieser Stufe ... Die Spiele dieses Alters sind die Herzblätter des ganzen künftigen Lebens ...“)
Friedrich Froebel, Die Menschenerziehung, p. 69f, Keilhau 1826

“Everything a child does proves it to be a human being striving for consciousness. The task of a kindergarten is to raise the child to be that self-conscious being, so that it becomes aware of the essence of man, aware of nature and aware of its relation to others.”
(„In Allem, was das Kind tut, zeigt es sich als ein nach Bewußtsein strebendes Wesen. Es ist die Aufgabe der Kindergärten, das Kind zu einem solchen selbstbewußten Wesen zu erheben, das sich klar wird über des Menschen innerstes Wesen, über die Natur und sein Verhältnis zu Andern.“)
taken from a text out of the „Fröbelkreis“, ca. 1847

“This: acting thinkingly, this: make act thinkingly, is the source of all productive education.”
(„Dies: denkend tätig sein, dies: denkend tätig machen, ist der Quellpunkt aller produktiven Erziehung.“)
Friedrich Froebel, 1821

“A child, playing efficiently, autonomously, quietly and persistently until its physical fatigue, is certainly going to become an efficient, quiet and persistent human being supporting with devotion both the common good and its own well-being.”
(„Ein Kind, welches tüchtig, selbsttätig, still, ausdauernd bis zur körperlichen Ermüdung spielt, wird gewiß auch ein tüchtiger, stiller, ausdauernder, Fremd- u. Eigenwohl mit Aufopferung befördernder Mensch.“)
Friedrich Froebel, Die Menschenerziehung, p. 69, Keilhau 1826

“Only thinking people should teach and educate.“
(“Nur Denkende sollen lehren und unterrichten.“)
Friedrich Froebel, Die Menschenerziehung, Keilhau 1826