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Library Work with Children

A century and a half ago there was born, frail at first but with constant growth, a perception that the great moving forces of life contain elements hitherto disregarded. Rousseau sounded his thesis, Pestalozzi began to teach, and but a little later on, Froebel expounded his tenets. We need not be concerned as to the controversial disputation of rival schools of pedagogues whose claims for one ignore the merits of the other. A new thought came into being, and both Pestalozzi and Froebel contributed to its diffusion--whether in the form of Pestalozzi's ideal, "I must do good to the child," or Froebel's, "I must do good through the child," or perhaps a measurable merging of the two.

Kindergartens in Kaohsiung

The purpose for kindergarten education is to promote children's physical and mental development. The implementation of kindergarten education mostly consists of health education, living education and ethical education to combine with home education closely so as to achieve the following five objectives:

  • to ensure children's physical and mental health,
  • to train children to form good habits,
  • to enrich children's living experience,
  • to reinforce children's ethical concepts and
  • to make children cooperate with others.

What Counts as Quality in Kindergartens

The origin of kindergartens

Frederick Froebel, a German philosopher and educationalist, produced two influential books on the education of young children in the early nineteenth century. His basic belief was that individual life was pre-determined by a divine pattern. In his opinion, children lived more closely to their pre-determined pattern because they were uncorrupted by the world around them and, hence, closer to God. For Froebel the challenge of early childhood education was to release children from the inevitable retarding effects of the world so they could always remain on their divine path.

Froebel believed this could be achieved by allowing children to develop 'naturally'. Children's natural development could be encouraged through nature study, song and creative play. Objects could be used effectively to excite the child's interest in learning.

Froebel divided the process of early education into discrete stages of physical and mental development and designed various educational objects and exercises that related to each stage (Shapiro 1983). He then concluded that the emotional and intellectual environment of cradle and nursery was too limiting for four to six year olds. He was convinced, however, that children of this age were not ready for school.

Froebel therefore proposed that a new educational institution be developed for children midway between infancy and childhood. He called his institution kindergarten or "child garden".

The key characteristics of Froebel's kindergartens were:

  • each kindergarten was to have a pleasant physical environment such as an outside garden area. This garden would allow children to play amongst nature yet be protected from the corrupting influence of society;
  • the kindergarten programme was to encourage children to play freely on child- sized equipment in the garden. The aim of the programme was to cultivate each child's mental, physical and social faculties; and
  • each kindergarten was to have trained staff. A woman who was neither as emotionally attached as a mother nor as emotionally distant as a primary teacher was considered the most appropriate teacher (Shapiro 1983).

Froebel's kindergarten movement was introduced into the United States in the late nineteenth century. It quickly flourished in many other parts of the western world including New Zealand.

Berlin kids

The first foreign word most of us utter is also one of the most beautiful metaphors produced by any language: kindergarten. A garden of children? A garden for children? However you translate it, the semantics of kindergarten are German; a product of progressive, mid-nineteenth century thought that changed our perception of human development forever.

Block play: Building a child's mind.

Blocks may not be as sophisticated as some toys we find in stores or on TV commercials, but they are ideal for learning because they involve the child as a whole-the way she moves her muscles, the way she discovers how different objects feel in her hands, the way she thinks about spaces and shapes and the way she develops thoughts and interests of her own.

Blocks are a good investment because children may continue to use them as they grow. As toddlers, they develop; more muscle control and are able to combine blocks, stack them, or line them up. Two-year-olds may demonstrate their first attempts at building structures and show the beginnings of fantasy play. Around the age of three, children learn how to balance and fit pieces together to build sturdier towers, then bridges and enclosures. Threes and fours begin to recognize designs and patterns, their towers and buildings becoming works of art. In kindergarten and early primary grades, blocks allow children to recreate structures, cities and landscapes from everyday life.

Blocks help kindergarten and primary grade children develop skills in design, representation, balance and stability.

Block play is open-ended, and its possibilities are limitless. Even as children grow and develop new interests and abilities, blocks remain an active, creative learning tool.

excerpts from a publication by the National Association for the Education of Young Children.

Stained Glass Windows by Frank Lloyd Wright

Froebel's mission was to uncover "shapes already latent in nature", and he believed that children should understand the geometry of natural forms. Certain shapes were reflective of particular qualities in life; for example the square represents integrity, the triangle aspiration.

History of design education:

Design education as it stands today has been greatly influenced by the Bauhaus (bauhaus meaning "house for building"). Most consider it to be the first formal design school. The origins of the Bauhaus obviously trace back to Kindergarten (literally, the garden of children), the school system of educating young children perfected by Friedrich Froebel (1782-1851). "Masters Johannes Itten, Josef Albers, and Paul Klee infused the school's revolutionary Vorkurs or basic course, a required class of abstract-design activities, with an emphasis that owed a substantial debt to Froebel's Kindergarten system." (Norman Brosterman. Inventing Kindergarten. p.120). As Norman Brosterman's Inventing Kindergarten book illustrates, the series of "gifts" used by children in kindergarten are very much what young designers were taught to experiment and to "play" with as they are learning about formal principles and relationships. The gifts stimulated imagination and creativity while teaching the designers to think about formal principles in 2D and in three dimensions.

April 21, Friedrich Froebel, kindergarten

On this date in 1782, early-childhood educator Friedrich Froebel was born in Germany. Froebel grew up believing that young children need to be loved and nurtured like flowers, so he founded a school for pre-schoolers called kindergarten, garden of children Froebel believed kids could be creative and productive in a playful environment with plenty of hands-on activities. His system was so well-received, kindergartens were soon popping up all over Europe and the United States. Friedrich Froebel is considered the father of pre-school education.


Froebel introduced paperfolding into the kindergartens as one of the children's recreations, but it was developed mainly by his followers after his death.

The Kindergarten Movement was taken to Japan by a German lady, and it had considerable success there. Paperfolding was taught to the children and became merged with the traditional Japanese Origami. In fact, many of the models were the same. Children's origami was brought from the home and into the schools.

Froebel himself never knew the Japanese word "Origami", and it was never used in the Kindergarten Movement in the West.

Progressive Education

The progressive school reforms, at the end of the 19th Century, were a reaction to what the reformers viewed as rigid and strict, unresponsive subject-centered schools. Children had been viewed as empty vessels into which knowledge was poured. Strict discipline and regimentation were found in most schools, which tended to be cold unfriendly places. By contrast, the progressive reformers promoted a more child-centered pedagogy, in which the child is allowed and encouraged to flow and to grow.

Long before Dewey, the beginnings of the new school were taking shape in Germany where Friedrich Froebel invented the Kindergarten. The spirit of the kindergarten - joyous, free, experimental, and child-centered - was what the reformers wanted to capture for all children. They also emphasized learning by doing, hands-on active learning rather than passive. The progressive reformers believed that the school should be molded around the interests and needs of the child, rather than the child being reshaped to fit some preconceived model of schooling.

The new school elevated the importance and role of the child's experience and experiencing. Learning must start with the learner's experience. Understanding cannot be achieved at a logical, technical level until it has been achieved as a psychological experience level.

Lina Morgenstern

Friedrich Froebel's new pedagogic methods awakened the interest of the young mother. After getting to know his pupils Professor von Holzendorf & the Baroness von Mahrenholz- Buelow, the "Berliner Kindergarten-Verein" was founded in 1862, [whose chairperson Lina Morgenstern became], as well as a seminary for Kindergarten instructors, and in 1864, on the instigation of Henriette Goldschmidt, of Hamburg, a school for kindergarten instructors to teach high school graduates Froebel methods. Lina's first large opus, "Das Paradies der Kindheit" appeared at this time, taking Froebel's methods out into the world, and, in addition to many German editions, was translated into nearly all the major languages.


The influential educator Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852) included ornamental paper folding in his kindergarten movement which he introduced in Germany around 1835. He believed that the purpose of education was to demonstrate the unity of the universe through a set of symbolic activities promoting cooperation rather than competition, the study of nature, manual work to unite brain and hand, and the use of play in developing self expression.

Geometry without Boundaries

Friedrich Froebel, the inventor of kindergarten, felt that playing with geometrical shapes was important and included toys designed to teach young children about solid geometry in his school materials. Although children still have blocks to play with the ideas related to solid geometry have almost all been relegated to high school.

The Millennium in Education

1837 Friedrich Froebel founds the first kindergarten in Blakenburg, Germany. It uses stories, play, crafts, and songs to stimulate children's imaginations and help develop motor skills

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