Friedrich Fröbel (1782-1852) was an influential German teacher of the 18th and 19th centuries. This post will take a look at his life and views on education.
Frobel was the son of a clergyman. At an early age, his mother dies and Frobel moves to live with his uncle at the age of ten after his father remarried. As a child, Frobel developed a lifelong love of nature, which would manifest itself in many ways.
Despite being one of the most influential educators of all-time Frobel was seen as a lazy student by his teachers. By 15, Frobel was working as an apprentice to a forest manager. However, the forest manager was not much of a teacher and had little interest in helping Frobel. This compelled Frobel to study all of the forest manager’s books on his own which allowed him to develop an extensive knowledge of plants.
In 1799m Frobel goes to college and studies science, finance, history, and architecture. After completing school he worked as an architect but was not happy with his job. At the suggestion of a friend, Frobel tried teaching and immediately fell in love with it.
From 1808-1810, Frobel was under the guidance of John Pestalozzi and studied at Pestalozzi’s school. This experience had a deep impact on Frobel’s views on education and help to shape his approach towards his innovation in education know as the kindergarten.
Frobel focused heavily on early childhood education and developed the idea of the kindergarten or “child’s garden”. Frobel created the kindergarten to help mothers with the training and teaching of their small children.
In the kindergarten, the play of the student was systematized and serves as preparation for regular school. The children learn through there play various concepts that will help them in the future.
It can not be understated how influential kindergarten has been. Virtually every state in America offers some form of kindergarten and the majority require it. Frobel has made a strong mark in his work in early childhood education.
Frobel believed that early education was critical and should follow the natural development of the child. He agreed with Pestalozzi that education needs to address physical and spiritual needs.
One point of departure between Frobel and Pestalozzi is in regards to early childhood education. Frobel supported early school training outside the home while Pestalozzi was not as enthusiastic. In many ways, Frobel brought Pestalozzi’s ideas down to the youngest of students.
Frobel mark in educational history is assured as the founder of the concept of kindergarten that is still used to this day. All though there have been changes in early childhood education as the younger ages have become more academic. The idea of kindergarten is still there at least in name throughout the world.
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