Monday, July 14, 2014

making a gift of childhood.

I am working on a new book and have a lot to do to get the first chapter off to the publisher. It is tentatively called, Making Froebel's gifts, but may have another title when the marketing experts get involved.

In Trodheim, Lilli Bratt (1898-1993) was a beloved Kindergarten teacher whose teaching devices are preserved in the Sverresborg Tr√łndelag Folk Museum. Those who read here regularly will recognize gifts number 3, 4 and 6 in beautifully crafted, locally made wooden boxes. In addition, in the margins of the photo you can see samples of stitchery and weaving with both paper and strips of wood.

Froebel's learning process was called "self-activity," and was intended to engage the whole child, body, mind and hands in learning. Now advocates of computer gaming are touting the benefits of embodied learning, as though they invented it.

I am reminded of a magazine correspondent who confessed to being an avid "gamer." He was excited to buy his two year old daughter her first lap top computer, but then had second thoughts. He consulted a child development expert he named "Suzie Joykiller." She informed him of the dangers of getting children addicted at such an early age to digital devices. When he asked Suzie about the wonderful hand-eye coordination his daughter would receive from her engagement with the laptop, she asked him if he'd heard of scissors.

Embodied learning will become one more thing that people, school boards and taxpayers can be charged for... Unless those of us who can do, teach others to do likewise.

Make, fix and create...

1 comment:

  1. Thank you again for all of your work on your site. I was introduced to Froebel through Brostemran's Inventing Kindergarten and have been searching high and low for more information ever since. I have recently inspired the director of my preschool to apply Froebel's Gifts & occupations throughout our curriculum. I couldn't be more excited!