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influence of Friedrich Froebel

Caroline Pratt

wooden unit blocks

Caroline Pratt designed the wooden unit blocks that became a basic material in schools across the United States. Her standard unit block is the same shape as the blocks of the fourth Froebel Gift based on the proportions 1:2:4. Other blocks were derived from this standard block, some smaller and others larger as described by Froebel in The Education of Man 1826. Unit blocks must be sturdy and accurately cut so that children aged two through seven may use them to create, solve problems, and challenge themselves.

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An innovative young teacher, Caroline Pratt expressed the ideas of Friedrich Froebel that open ended materials provided children with the opportunity to represent their world. John Dewey had previously encouraged the use of Froebel blocks for building. Unit blocks are bigger than Froebel blocks, typically measuring about 5 1/2" long by 2 3/4" wide by 1 3/8" in height. Praise for Pratt's work from John Dewey soon brought national acclaim.

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I learn from children: An adventure in progressive education This autobiography by Caroline Pratt, the developer of unit blocks, provides information on the philosophy behind their use.

The School founded by Caroline Pratt

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