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ANOTHER great educational theorist to develop the the principles principles of Pestalozzi was Friedrich Froebel, the
of Pestalozzi along different lines from Herbart.
founder of the kindergarten. He and Herbart may be regarded as contemporary disciples and interpreters of the Swiss educator, who was born a generation before them, but they continued his work along rather different lines. As Herbart concerned himself with method and the work of the teacher, so Froebel laid emphasis upon the child's development and activities. The latter was perhaps a more logical successor of Pestalozzi, whose immediate pupil and colleague he had been, but he, too, worked out more broadly and explicitly the implications of the master, and attempted to interpret them after the philosophy and science of the times. Moreover, he developed his system for a period of life totally untouched by Pestalozzi, and formulated principles and methods that have come to underlie every stage of education in modern times.
Froebel was permanently impressed
FROEBEL AND THE KINDERGARTEN
Froebel's Early Life and His Experience at Jena
Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel (1782-1852) was born in Oberweissbach, a village in the Thüringian forest.
in the forest
His father was a Lutheran clergyman, and the religious by his religious traininfluence of the home made an ineradicable impression ing; and his Froebel. The elder Froebel, however, was engrossed upon in the multitudinous cares of his scattered charge, and a little half-brother soon came to engage all the love and attention of the boy's stepmother. Froebel's childhood was consequently neglected, and he spent much time ness." roving about the mysterious woods, and pondering on the birds, wild animals, plants, flowers, and the various phenomena of nature. Thus there grew within him that vein of mysticism and search for hidden unity which afterward entered so profoundly into his educational theories. This desire to find a 'connectedness' in all things was increased by the sporadic nature and the isolation from life that were only too apparent in what little formal schooling he did receive. At fifteen he was for two years apprenticed to a forester, and, although his master could not afford him proper instruction, the youth was enabled to continue his religious communion with nature. He enlarged his wood lore and practical acquaintance with plants, and gained some scientific knowledge of botany through books borrowed from a physician in the neighborhood.
At length, Froebel's hunger for a knowledge of the natural sciences impelled him to overcome parental oppo- Going to the sition and enter the university at Jena. This institution University had become the intellectual center of Germany, and the was affected
of Jena, he
ophy, romanticism, and advanced attitude in sci
by the ideal atmosphere was charged with the idealistic philosophy, the romantic movement, and the evolutionary attitude in science. Although Froebel was at Jena for the purpose of pursuing more practical subjects, he could no well have escaped the discussions upon Fichtian philosophy, which were current upon the street, at the table, and in every informal place of meeting, and he must have witnessed the academic growth of Fichte's pupil and colleague, Schelling. He must likewise have fallen under the spell of the Jena romanticists, the Schlegels, Tieck, and Novalis, and possibly even of their friends and protectors, Goethe and Schiller. The advanced attitude in science at Jena must also have impressed the youth. While much of the science instruction failed to make clear that inner relation and mystic unity for which he sought, he must occasionally have caught glimpses of it in the lectures of the professors. Unhappily, after a couple of years, all this enchanted world was closed to him through financial difficulties not altogether his own fault, and he returned home in scholastic disgrace and disillusionment.
His Adoption of Teaching and Stay with Pestalozzi
Leaving the university in
For the next four years, Froebel was wandering and disgrace, he groping for a niche in life. He tried one occupation after another in keeping with his preparation - agriculture, land-surveying, clerical work in forestry, and management of country estates-but managed now and then to
groped for an occupation, until,
through a Dr. Grüner,
absorb philosophy and romanticism and indulge his literary impulse. Eventually, in 1805, while beginning the study of architecture in Frankfurt, he met Dr. Anton Grüner, head of a Pestalozzian model school, who persuaded him of his fitness for teaching and gave him a position in the institution. Of the result Froebel declared: "From the first I found something I had always longed for, but always missed; as if my life had at last discovered its native element. I felt as happy as a fish in water."
But it was soon evident to the new teacher that he had a sufficient knowledge of neither subject-matter nor the laws of mental development to achieve much success in his chosen profession. Five days after his appointment he paid a brief visit to Pestalozzi at Yverdun, and upon his return undertook a systematic study of Pestalozzianism under the guidance of Grüner. He also began in this period to develop his own principles and methods, and, through the use of modeling in paper, pasteboard, and wood with some private pupils, came to see the value of the creative instinct as a means of education. After three years in Frankfurt he withdrew for further study and practice at Yverdun. The two years he spent there proved most profitable. He gained much from the training in physiography and nature study that he gave the pupils during long walks in the country; he found an opportunity to study the play of children in its effect
upon intellectual as well as physical development; he first came to attach importance to that earliest training of a child by its mother; and his knowledge of music, which was to play so important a part in his methods, was greatly enlarged. Moreover, he came to feel that the lack of organization and the deficiency in unity and connection of studies that were always evident in Pestalozzi's work were an evidence of vagueness in aim and method, and he determined to eliminate these faults by making more definite the underlying principles of his
Crystallization of His Law of Unity' at Berlin
He then renewed his university
As a further result of his stay in Yverdun, Froebel began to see more than ever the need of a broader training, studies, espe- if he were going to unify education, and as soon as pos
cially mineralogy, under Weiss at Berlin,
and crystallized his mystic law of unity.
sible he gave up his work in Frankfurt, and renewed his university studies. He went first to Göttingen in 1811, but was the next year attracted to Berlin by the reputation of Professor Weiss in mineralogy. While with Weiss, he became fully "convinced of the demonstrable connection in all cosmic development," and thus crystallized that mystic law of unity with which he had long been struggling. Of this he declared :—
"What I had recognized in things great or noble, in the life of man and in the ways of God, as serving towards the development of the human race, I found I could here recognize also in the smallest of these fixed forms which Nature alone had shaped. . . . And