Friday, November 10, 2006

As I mentioned earlier, the periodical Hand & Eye was written for an audience of practitioners of Sloyd and the followers of Friedrich Froebel. Froebel was the "inventor of Kindergarten" and established schools in Germany, which for a while were outlawed by the Kaiser for being associated with progressive ideas that were thought to threaten the state.

If you are interested in progressive education, Froebel was a major advocate of learning through play, and one of the best ways to learn about Froebel is a book called "Inventing Kindergarten" by Norman Brosterman. It happens that this book is available inexpensively through It is profusely and beautifully illustrated, showing Froebel's "gifts" which were instructional devices used to stimulate the child's understanding of the world and foster creative involvement in learning.

You will find links to more information about Froebel though for which there is a link at right. It is extremely important that we begin thinking of education in qualitative rather than quantitative terms. Our modern culture seems intent on measuring the life out of our children rather than providing them the time, tools and encouragement to develop artistically and creatively. I think you will find a key to the right course for our children's future in the gifts of Froebel and the tools in the Wisdom of the Hands woodshop. The photo above is from Brosterman's "Inventing Kindergarten" and shows Froebel's 19th gift, Peas Work. The study of Froebel's 19th gift by nearly blind Buckminster Fuller led him as a child to a fascination with the strength of triangular forms and inspired his adult discovery of the geodesic dome. "Inventing Kindergarten" is a great book if you are interested in knowing what children would be learning in school if we were smart enough to understand their needs.

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