The Froebel Archive for Childhood Studies was established in 1977 and focuses on Friedrich Froebel’s educational legacy, early years and elementary education.
There is a rich variety of books, administrative records, staff and student registers, minutes of meetings, photograph albums and student work. All these reflect wonderfully on the history of the Froebel College and its student life.
Who is Friedrich Froebel?
Friedrich Froebel (1782 – 1852) is regarded as one of the most influential educationalist of the nineteenth century. His view was that the pre-school is the most important part of schooling and argued that the health and happiness if the individual, the family and the state depended on the quality of pre-school education. He invented the concept and word kindergarten and was responsible for the first training programmes for female kindergarten teachers.
Froebel created the ‘Gifts’ which are being regarded as a legacy to pre-school education. Based on his advocacy of ‘freeplay’, the ‘Gifts’ are an ordered sequence of building block as educational toys. Each gift was designed to be given to the child to provide material for self-directed activity. The aim is to help the child to learn to use the environments as an educational aid, to gain an understanding of the connection between human life and nature and to create a bond between the carer and the child when playing together.
Froebel opened his first Play and Activity Institute in 1837 which he renamed in Kindergarten in 1840. The focus of the kindergarten was:
- toys for sedentary creative play (which Froebel called gifts and occupations)
- games and dances for healthy activity
- observing and nurturing plants in a garden for stimulating awareness of the natural world
Library and Learning Services – Archives and Special Collections: Froebel archive.