Friedrich Froebel

Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Wikipedia.

Froebel, Friedrich


Born Apr. 21, 1782, in Oberweissbach, Thuringia; died June 21, 1852, in Mariental, Thuringia. German educator and theoretician of preschool education.

Froebel attended the University of Jena from 1799 to 1801. In 1805 and again from 1808 to 1810 he worked with J. H. Pestalozzi at the University of Yverdon. In 1837, Froebel founded an institution in Blankenburg (Thuringia) that combined play and learning activities for young children; on the basis of this model, he developed the concept of the kindergarten.

Froebel was an idealist in his philosophical views and regarded preschool education as the sole means of eliminating social evil and improving mores. His system of education was based on the notion of the child’s active nature: his mobility, directness, continual physical and mental development, sociability, and curiosity. Froebel called for the establishment of kindergartens to perfect these natural qualities in children. He organized the training of female teachers (“gardeners”) and designed a system of working with children based on the development of the sensory and motor organs as well as of thought and speech.

Froebel revealed the educational significance of games in childhood. He proposed the use of special didactic material, or “gifts,” in a learning-through-play system: Froebel’s gifts, as they were called, were balls and geometrical shapes—small spheres, cubes, cylinders, and bars—which could be taken apart into smaller and differently shaped segments. The process of building various objects was to help children develop their perception of space, movement, shape, color, size, and number, as well as their combinatorial reasoning faculties. In addition to the “gifts,” Froebel’s system included “occupations,” which involved the use of such materials as sticks, pebbles, and sand. Froebel stressed the importance of activities—specifically, discussion, storytelling, singing, drawing, clay modeling, cutting out paper designs, and gardening.

Froebel’s teachings established preschool education as a separate branch of pedagogy. The defect of his system is the rigid regimentation of the child’s activity. His “gifts” represented in many respects a formalistic and pedantic approach. Froebel’s system was extensively adopted in many countries, including Russia.


Pädagogische Schriften, vols. 1–3. Vienna-Leipzig, 1883.
In Russian translation:
Pedagogicheskie sochineniia, vols. 1–2, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1913. (Translated from German.)


Vodovozova, E. N. Umstvennoe i nravstvennoe vospitanie detei ot pervogo proiavleniia soznaniia do shkol’nogo vozrasta, 7th ed. St. Petersburg, 1913. Chapters 13–18.
Poznanskii, N. F. Ideia trudovogo vospitaniia u F. Frebelia. Saratov, 1926.
Istoriia pedagogiki: Uchebnoe posobie dlia doshkol’nykh pedagogicheskikh uchilishch, 3rd ed. Edited by M. F. Shabaeva. Moscow, 1961. Chapter 5.
Schuffenhauer, H. Friedrich Wilhelm August Fröbel. Berlin, 1962.
References in periodicals archive ?
In the early 1870s Blow observed kindergarten methods in Germany and later studied with a student of Friedrich Froebel in New York.
Editor's Note: Thanks for the additional information about Friedrich Froebel.
In her kindergarten she followed the precepts of Friedrich Froebel, the German educator and founder of the kindergarten system.
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you have Friedrich Froebel to thank.
Friedrich Froebel was born in Oberweissbach, Germany, on April 21, 1782.
The inscription on the sculpture, translated from German, reads, "In viewing of this landscape, Friedrich Froebel founded the term kindergarten.
The beginning of the comprehensive school is to take place in the building of Friedrich Froebel School, Pestalozziweg 6, Nienburg, growing up.
It is reasonable to speak about work and play as different activities or, as Friedrich Froebel termed them, "occupations" (bescheftingungen) and play.
I believe that it was Friedrich Froebel who made this essential discovery, which is why he created his kindergarten so that it included young children of different age groups and from all strata of society (Hoffman, 1982).
In Germany, she studied with the wife of Friedrich Froebel, father of the kindergarten concept.
The start of the comprehensive school is the building of Friedrich Froebel School, made Pestalozziweg 6, Nienburg, growing up.