“The child-soul is an ever-bubbling fountain in the world of humanity.”- Friedrich Fröbel
Froebel. A much familiar name in the world of early childhood education arena. An educationalist, who identified the need of recognising that children have their own unique requirements and abilities. Throughout the history of education, a proper system of educating the young minds has been argued upon. According to history, the idea of training the children as soon as possible, so that they could contribute their bit towards the production process in the society, is something, which has been widely accepted.
Froebel wasn’t someone who accepted this theory with ease. He believed that every child possesses a full educational potential, and an educational environment, which supported the same was highly important for the encouragement of the child to grow and develop in an effective manner. This is what formed the basis of the Froebel Philosophy.
Froebel’s ideologies stimulated the fact that appreciation and love for children was highly important in an environment, which could provide them with a feeling of belongingness, a whole new tiny world of their own. A world that was later popularly known as the Kindergarten, a place where children could have a world of their own, play with other kids of the same age and experience their first important swish of independence.
Froebel philosophy mainly spoke of four basic components:
(a) Free self-activity
(c) Social Participation
(d) Motor Expression.
He firmly believed in the ideology of self-activity in the childhood stage. Before going on with the Froebel Philosophy, we must understand what self-activity basically means. Self-activity can be defined as the development of qualities and skills in an individual in such a manner that an impossible idea can be converted into a reality. And therefore, going forward with such a vision, he designed a series of instructional “gifts”, portraying certain connections and relationships, which helped the children easily identify the process of comparison, questioning, and creative exploration of various activities.
But what were these gifts basically? A gift was a play object, which a child could use to play with, and these objects held great educational importance, as they consisted of objects like a sphere, a cube, or a cylinder, and with which the child was significantly able to comprehend, understand and internalize some basic vital educational concepts of shape, dimension, size, colour, choice, connectivity and their respective relationships. (Click here to read about the Montessori Philosophy)
Objects like paints and clay also played an important role in the learning process where the children had the choice and the freedom to make and shape whatever they wished for. And therefore, children were not bounded by the geometrical dimensions and were allowed to externalize their own existing ideas and concepts within their creative minds.
Therefore, the process of a child’s own self-activity and independent creative approach in play and learning, the child would eventually begin to comprehend in an effective manner, both the inner, as well as the outer aspects of things as they move towards the developmental stages of the educational process. And therefore, Froebel played a wide role in inculcating the importance of a tiny little kindergarten in a big metropolis driven economy.