Friedrich Froebel was a German educationalist and a founder of a kindergarten. He was a man who identified the basic principles of pre-school education. He drew the inspiration from his own childhood, namely, the lack of it. Being born in the unhappy family he suffered all his childhood. His mother died when he was a child and his father abandoned him after her death. He grew up under the control of his uncle and did not make a brilliant progress in studying. That was the principal reason why Froebel started inventing new methods of education – he wanted other children to be happier than he was.
Being an educationalist, Friedrich Froebel wanted to develop and improve children’ self-reliance that was one of the key points of successful pre-school education (Watson, 1997). Self-reliance is considered to be an evolution of special features and abilities that assists in realizing hidden ideas. Moreover, it is an ability to set a goal, develop a certain plan and act in order to attain it (Corbett, 1998). Corbett assumes that Froebel was a great contributor to an early children’s education. He was famous for his theory of representing play as a way of catching children’s attention to be self-reliant in order to express themselves. According to Dewey (1990), the play by Frobel was described as an independent play that attracts children’s imagination, thoughts and actions. Additionally, he was confident that the play improves children’s psyche and helps to cultivate their personality. Dewey (1990) also concluded that Froebel’s play is a direct way of growing intellectual and well-educated children by means of fulfilling all instructions one after another.
As it was mentioned before, Froebel was using playing techniques in order to motivate and encourage children. That is why he provided them with various instructional materials called “gifts and occupations” which help children to explore and reveal their hidden abilities (Watson, 1997). Different objects, such as geometrical figures and musical instruments, were taken as gifts, which helped in comprehending the idea of shape, size, color, hearing and their connection. Clay and paints provided occupation for children so that they could express their emotions and impressions with their help. Besides, the occupations were created for children to reveal their creativity.
Another element of Froebel’s educational scheme was stimulating children to be in close relationships with the family and peers. He supported the idea that the family was a part and parcel of the very first impact on children’s educational life. He insisted that children needed to be perfectly familiar with the home environment to the same extent as they were involved in playing with gifts and occupations. The idea was that children, by getting familiar with the house equipment and atmosphere, would resort to imitation that would further lead them to a self-reliant life (Dewey, 1990). Furthermore, being involved in an active pre-school or school life, children would easily socially interact with others.
Friedrich Froebel is also known as an inventor of a kindergarten. His first kindergarten was established in 1837 in Bad Blankenburg. The first name of it was a Play and Activity Institute; however, in 1840 he renamed it to ‘Kindergarten’. With the purpose of arranging his gifts, he created a huge box with more than 500 wooden blocks in it. The aim of such a box was to help children to realize different ways of playing with them. Occupations, such as ropes, sand, clay and paint, were things that could help children in expressing their will and imagination. Owing to developing kindergartens, Friedrich Froebel was known as Froebel Gifts or Gaben. He completely changed people’s understanding of the early childhood (Watson, 1997). He was able to use balls, wooden blocks, sticks, tiles and paint for children’s study.
All in all, kindergarten is known all over the world, however not everybody knows that Friedrich Froebel was the one who invented it. Froebel was an honored man who aimed at establishing a pleasant and harmonious atmosphere where children can grow. His methods of gifts and occupations, play and self-reliance were accepted by the society, and moreover they were imitated. That is why he will always remain the great friend of children who helped to open and enrich their inner world.