Friedrich Frobel Pioneer of Modern Child Education
Today Google Germany and Google Switzerland have changed from the normal Google Logo to the Google Doodle announcing the live and legacy of Friedrich Fröbel who is seen by many as the pioneer for pre-school and kindergarten education. Friedrich Fröbel was born at Oberweißbach in the Principality of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt in Thuringia in Germany. He is famous for his Froebel Blocks as depicted in the Google Doodle of 21 April 2012.
When Friedrich Froebel established the first system for educating young children, he created a series of playthings to provide children with focussed educational experiences. Up until that time, toys were intended for amusement and education was provided through books and instruction.
He lived between April 21, 1782 – June 21, 1852. He left a rich legacy in the forms of books on education and also were the co-founder of earliest educational institutions in Germany.
Friedrich Fröbel Career
Friedrich Fröbel began as an educator in 1805 at the Musterschule in Frankfurt Germany. In Frankfurt he learned about “Learning by head, hand and heart” from his mentor Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi which was also one of the Great minds in early education. Pestalozzi moved to Switzerland and Friedrich Fröbel followed to further his ideas and education from his mentor.
Friedrich Fröbel moved back to Germany in 1805 to further his education in Göttingen and Berlin ironically he did not complete his studies and did not graduate. He once again took up his career as a teacher at Plamannsche Schule in Berlin. The school was focused on pedagogical teaching methods and also a patriotic centre. This allowed Friedrich Fröbel to learn more and to practice his methods of education and teaching.
Between 1813 and 1814 Friedrich Fröbel joined the military and was involved in at least two campaigns against Napoleon. In this time he met Wilhelm Middendorf also one of the pioneers of pedagogue and a theologian.
In 1816 Friedrich Fröbel co-founded the German General Education Institute in Griesheim near Arnstadt in Thuringia Germany with Heinrich Langethal and Wilhelm Middendorf whom he befriended during his military service. In 1817 he moved it to Keilhau near Rudolstadt.
Friedrich Fröbel Publications
Friedrich Fröbel published several books and magazines. Here are some of his educational work he is most famous for:
- 1820 – An unser deutsches Volk.
- 1821 – Durchgreifende, dem deutschen Charakter erschöpfend genügende Erziehung ist das Grund- und Quellbedürfnis des deutschen Volkes
- 1821 – Die Grundsätze, der Zweck und das innere Leben der allgemeinen deutschen Erziehungsanstalt in Keilhau bei Rudolstadt
- 1822 – Die allgemeine deutsche Erziehungsanstalt in Keilhau betreffend.
- 1822 – Über deutsche Erziehung überhaupt und über das allgemeine Deutsche der Erziehungsanstalt in Keilhau insbesondere
- 1823 – Fortgesetzte Nachricht von der allgemeinen deutschen Erziehungsanstalt in Keilhau.
- 1826 – Die Menschenerziehung, die Erziehungs-, Unterrichts- und Lehrkunst, angestrebt in der allgemeinen deutschen Erziehungsanstalt zu Keilhau. Erster Band.
- 1829 – Die erziehenden Familien. Wochenblatt für Selbstbildung und die Bildung Anderer. Keilhau-Leipzig.
Friedrich Fröbel Legacy
Fröbel’s idea of the kindergarten found appeal, but its spread in Germany was thwarted by the Prussian government, whose education ministry banned it on 7 August 1851 as “atheistic and demagogic” for its alleged “destructive tendencies in the areas of religion and politics”.
Other states followed suit. The reason for the ban, however, seems to have been a confusion of names. Fröbel’s nephew Karl Fröbel had written and published Weibliche Hochschulen und Kindergärten (“Female Colleges and Kindergartens”), which apparently met with some disapproval.
To quote Karl August Varnhagen von Ense, “The stupid minister von Raumer has decreed a ban on kindergartens, basing himself on a book by Karl Fröbel. He is confusing Friedrich and Karl Fröbel.”
Fröbel’s student Margarethe Schurz founded the first kindergarten in the United States at Watertown, Wisconsin in 1856, and she also inspired Elizabeth Peabody, who went on to found the first English-speaking kindergarten in the United States – the language at Schurz’s kindergarten had been German, to serve an immigrant community – in Boston in 1860.
This paved the way for the concept’s spread in the USA. The German émigré Adolph Douai had also founded a kindergarten in Boston in 1859, but was obliged to close it after only a year. By 1866, however, he was founding others in New York City.
The pedagogue August Köhler was the initiator and cofounder in 1863 of the Deutscher Fröbelverein (“German Fröbel Association”), first for Thuringia, out of which grew the Allgemeiner Fröbelverein (“General Fröbel Association”) in 1872, and a year later the Deutscher Fröbelverband (“German Fröbel Federation”). August Köhler critically analyzed and evaluated Fröbel theory, adopted fundamental notions into his own kindergarten pedagogy and expanded on these, developing an independent “Köhler Kindergarten Pedagogy”.
He first trained kindergarten teachers in Gotha in 1857. In the beginning, Köhler had thought to engage male educators exclusively, but far too few applied.
Thekla Naveau founded in October 1853 the first kindergarten in Sondershausen and on 1 April 1867 the first kindergarten after the Prussian ban was lifted in Nordhausen.
Angelika Hartmann founded in 1864 the first kindergarten after Fröbel’s model in Köthen, Anhalt.
In 1908 and 1911, kindergarten teacher training was recognized in Germany through state regulatory laws.
In the meantime, there are many kindergartens in Germany named after Fröbel that continue his pedagogy. Many of them have sprung from parental or other private initiatives. The biggest Fröbel association, Fröbel e.V., today runs more than 100 kindergartens and other early childhood institutions throughout the country through the Fröbel-Gruppe. –
Google Doodle Friedrich Fröbel 21 April 2012
Today the Google Doodle is showing building blocks. This is in honor of Friedrich Fröbel who have been one of the pioneers in child education and kindergardens. You should know the building blocks that is depicted in the picture as it has been part of most childrens early education and you may have even played with it when you were a child without knowing that the Education Pioneer Friedrich Fröbel developed this type of educational games and toys to teach children the wooden blocks in the Google Doodle are called Froebel Blocks.
We believed that the person at Google who have created the Google Doodle of the Froebel Blocks have done a great job representing and honoring Friedrich Fröbel for his education legacy!
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