Billeder på siden

intellectual atmosphere Froebel sought to cultivate at Keilhau by coöperation in domestic labor,-'lifting, pulling, carrying, digging, splitting,' and through cooperative construction out of blocks of a chapel, castle, and other features of a village. Similarly, the kindergarten was intended to "represent a miniature state for children, in which the young citizen can learn to move freely, but with consideration for his little fellows."

The Kindergarten.-Beside his basal principles of motor expression and social participation, Froebel made a third contribution to educational practice in advocating as a means of realizing these principles a school without books or set intellectual tasks, and permeated with play, A school with- freedom, and joy. In the kindergarten, 'self-activity'

out books or

set tasks as his and 'creativeness,' together with social coöperation,

third contri


found complete application and concrete expression. The training there has always consisted of three coordinate forms of expression: (1) song, (2) movement and gesture, and (3) construction; and mingled with these and growing out of each is the use of language by the child. But these means, while separate, often cooperate with and interpret one another, and the process is connected as an organic whole. For example, when the story is told or read, it is expressed in song, dramatized in movement and gesture, and illustrated by a construction from blocks, paper, clay, or other material. The Mother Play and Nursery Songs were intended to exercise the infant's senses, limbs, and muscles, and, through the loving union between mother and child, draw both into intelligent and agreeable relations with the common objects of life about them. The fifty 'play songs' are each connected with some simple nursery

Mother Play.

game, like 'pat-a-cake,' 'hide-and-seek,' or the imitation of some trade (Fig. 43), and are intended to correspond to a special physical, mental, or moral need of the child. The selection and order of the songs were determined with reference to the child's development, which ranges from almost reflex and instinctive movements up to an ability to represent his perceptions with drawings, accompanied by considerable growth of the moral sense. Each song contains three parts: (1) a motto for the guidance of the mother; (2) a verse with the accompanying music, to sing to the child; and (3) a picture illustrating the


The 'gifts' and 'occupations' were both intended to 'Gifts,'stimulate motor expression, but the 'gifts' combine and rearrange certain definite material without changing the form, while the 'occupations' reshape, modify, and transform their material. The emphasis in kindergarten practice has come to be transferred from the 'gifts' to the 'occupations,' which have been largely increased in range and number. Of the 'gifts,' the first consists of a first, box of six woolen balls of different colors. They are to be rolled about in play, and thus develop ideas of color, material, form, motion, direction, and muscular sensibility. A sphere, cube, and cylinder of hard wood compose the second 'gift.' Here, therefore, are found a second, known factor in the sphere and an unknown one in the cube. A comparison is made of the stability of the cube with the movability of the sphere, and the two are harmonized in the cylinder, which possesses the characteristics of each. The third 'gift' is a large wooden cube third, divided into eight equal cubes, thus teaching the relations of the parts to the whole and to one another, and

and the other three,

and 'occupations.'.

Superficial faults,

making possible original constructions, such as armchairs, benches, thrones, doorways, monuments, or steps. The three following 'gifts' divide the cube in various ways so as to produce solid bodies of different types and sizes, and excite an interest in number, relation, and form. From them the children are encouraged to construct geometrical figures and 'forms of beauty' or artistic designs. Beside the six regular 'gifts,' he also added 'tablets,' 'sticks,' and 'rings,' sometimes known as 'gifts seven to nine.' This material introduces surfaces, lines, and points in contrast with the preceding solids, and brings out the relations of area, outline, and circumference to volume. The 'occupations' comprise a long list of constructions with paper, sand, clay, wood, and other materials. Corresponding with the 'gifts' that deal with solids, may be grouped 'occupations' in clay modeling, cardboard cutting, paper folding, and wood carving; and with those of surfaces may be associated mat and paper weaving, stick shaping, sewing, bead threading, paper pricking, and drawing.

The Value and Influence of Froebel's Principles.— For one pursuing destructive criticism only, it would not be difficult to find flaws in both the theory and practice of Froebel. In the Mother Play the pictures are rough and poorly drawn, the music is crude, and the verses are lacking in rhythm, poetic spirit, and diction (Fig. 43). But the illustrations and songs served well the interests and needs of those for whom they were produced, and Froebel himself was not insistent that they should be used after more satisfactory compositions were found. Other criticism of his material has been made on the ground that it was especially adapted to German ideals, German

[graphic][ocr errors][subsumed][subsumed][subsumed][ocr errors]

Fig. 43. Der Zimmermann (The Carpenter). (Reproduced by permission of D. Appleton and Company from the Eliot and Blow edition of Froebel's Mother Play.)

« ForrigeFortsæt »