Billeder på siden
[graphic][merged small][subsumed][merged small][merged small][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed]


ual exFor the

sort of

is no mless, hakethis ophie zeal


e al


"The Education of Man" appeared in 1826, under the title: Die Menschenerziehung, die ErziehungsUnterrichts- und Lehrkunst, angestrebt in der allgemeinen deutschen Erziehungsanstalt zu Keilhau, dargestellt von dem Vorsteher derselben, F. W. A. Froebel. 1. Band bis zum begonnenen Knabenalter. Keilhau, 1826. Verlag der Anstalt. Leipzig in Commission bei C. F. Doerffling. 497 S.*

The very title-page reveals the history of the growth and development of this remarkable book. Similarly we read in the expressive countenance of a mature man or woman the life history of its possessor.

Froebel established the Educational Institute at Keilhau, a small village of about one hundred inhabitants, in 1817. It was not a business enterprise in any sense of the word. Yielding to the entreaties of his widowed sister-in-law, he had given up excellent exter

* The Education of Man, the Art of Education, Instruction, and Training, aimed at in the Educational Institute



nal prospects in Berlin in order to undertake the edu tion of her three boys. To these, two other nephe were added, and Middendorff had brought a young brother of Langethal, who himself joined the little ba a few months later. Thus the six boys and the thr high-souled men-Froebel, Middendorff, and Lang thal-constituted the nucleus of this remarkable ente prise, established wholly in the interest of the ne educational ideas of Froebel.

In spite of many difficulties and vicissitudes tha would have discouraged less faithful men, however, th institute grew even beyond the dimensions originall planned for it. Froebel had intended to limit it t twenty-four pupils and the three teachers mentioned but circumstances seemed to render it desirable or neces sary to admit a greater number of pupils. Possibly this very success aroused the hostility of low-minded men, which led to persecution by the Prussian Government on political and religious grounds, and the scattering of the three friends; and would have submerged the institute itself had it not been saved by the tact of Barop, who joined the enterprise in 1823, and assumed its control in 1833. Froebel himself had left it in 1831.

The persecutions on the part of the Prussian Government induced the local duke to send Superintendent Zech to inspect the institution. The report of this visit throws so much light upon the character of Froebel's work and aims that I translate its essential portions in this place. He says, among other things:

[ocr errors]



e educanephews younger le band e three Lange

e enter

e new

es that er, the


it to oned,


ssibly nded



et of










pleasant to me, highly interesting, and instructive. They increased and strengthened my respect for the institute as a whole, as well as for its director, who upheld and maintained it amid the storms of care and want with rare persistence and with the purest and most unselfish zeal. It is most pleasing to feel the influence which goes out from the buoyant, vigorous, free, and yet orderly spirit that pervades this institution, both in the lessons and at other times.

"I found here what is never seen in actual practical life, a thoroughly and intimately united family of at least sixty members, living in quiet harmony, all showing that they gladly perform the duties of their very different positions; a family held together by the strong ties of mutual confidence, and in which, consequently, every member seeks the interest of the whole, where all things thrive in joy and love, apparently without effort.

"With great respect and real affection all turn to the principal; the little five-year-old children hang about his knees, while his friends and assistants hear and honor his advice with the confidence due to his insight and experience, and to his indefatigable zeal in the interest of the institution; and he himself seems to love. in brotherliness and friendship his fellow-workers, as the props and pillars of his life-work, which to him is truly a holy work.

"It is evident that a feeling of such perfect har- mony and unity among the teachers must in every way exert the most salutary influence on the discipline


shown in a degree of attention and obedience that re ders needless almost all disciplinary severity. Duri the two days I heard no reproving word from the li of the teachers, neither in the joyous tumult of int mission nor during the time of instruction; the mer est confusion with which, after instruction, all soug the play-ground, was free from every indication of i breeding, of rude and unmannerly, and, most of all, immoral conduct. Perfectly free and equal amor themselves, reminded of their privileges of rank an birth neither by their attire nor by their names-f each pupil is called only by his Christian name-th pupils, great and small, live in joyousness and serenit freely intermingling, as if each obeyed only his ow law, like the sons of one father; and while all seem un restrained, and use their powers and carry on their play in freedom, they are under the constant supervision o their teachers, who either observe them or take part in their plays, equally subject with them to the laws o the game.

"Every latent power is aroused in so large and united a family, and finds a place where it can exert it self; every inclination finds an equal or similar inclina tion, more clearly pronounced than itself, by which it can strengthen itself; but no impropriety can thrive, for whoever would commit some excess punishes himself, the others no longer need him, he is simply left out of the circle. If he would return, he must learn to adapt himself, he must become a better boy. Thus the boys guide, reprove, punish, educate, cultivate one another unconsciously, by the most varied incitement.


that ren

During the lips of interhe merri

I sought on of illof all, of

I among ank and nes-for ne-the


is own

[blocks in formation]



"The agreeable impression of the institution as a whole is increased by the domestic order which is everywhere manifest, and which alone can give coherence to so large a family by a punctuality free from all pedantry, and by a cleanliness which is rarely met in so high a degree in educational institutions.

"This vigorous and free, yet well-ordered, outer life, has its perfect counterpart in the inner life of heart and mind that is here aroused and established. Instruction leads the five-year old child simply to find himself, to differentiate himself from external things, and to distinguish these among themselves, to know clearly what he sees in his nearest surroundings, and, at the same time, to designate it with the right words, to enjoy his first knowledge as the first contribution toward his future intellectual treasure. Self-activity of the mind is the first law of instruction; . . . slowly, continuously, and in logical succession it proceeds . . . from the simple to the complex, from the concrete to the abstract, so well adapted to the child and his needs, that he learns as eagerly as he plays; nay, I noticed how the little children, whose lesson had been somewhat delayed by my arrival, came in tears to the principal of the institution and asked 'should they to-day always play and never learn, and were only the big boys to be taught to-day?'

"In the last winter semester the pupils of the highest grade of the classical course read Horace, Plato,

Phoodrns and Demosthenes and translated Connolina

« ForrigeFortsæt »