Friedrich Fröbel (1782–1852)

Best known for creating the concept of kindergarten or “garden of children,” Friedrich Fröbel held that improvement of infant education was a vital preliminary to comprehensive educational and social reform. The Baroness of Marenholtz-Bülow, carried his ideas to educators in England, France, and the Netherlands. Later they were adopted by other countries. In the United States, the Froebelian movement achieved its greatest success. Today Froebelism is widely accepted and credited as the pedagogic system of this creative German educator..

Fröbel’s most important contribution to educational theory was his belief in “self-activity” and play as essential factors in child education. He held that he teacher’s role was not to drill or indoctrinate the children but rather to encourage and facilitate their self-expression through play, both individually and in group activities. He devised circles, spheres, and other toys—all of which he referred to as “gifts” or “occupations.” They were designed specifically to stimulate learning through activity.

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