Thursday, March 30, 2017

community helpers

Our first, second and third grade students at the Clear Spring School are beginning a unit of study of community helpers. The idea is quite Froebellian. Froebel had done illustrations of various important roles played by adults in community life and shared the songs of mothers about them in his book Mother Play (Mutter und Kose Lieder), which St. Louis Kindergartner Susan Blow published in a volume, Songs and Music of Froebel's Mother Play. That book can occasionally be purchased online, but is also available as a free download from Google Play.

Some of the community helpers that Froebel honored in song, illustration and finger game were the carpenter, the blacksmith, the baker, the furniture maker and the charcoal maker.

The charcoal maker living in a tiny hut in the woods, and no doubt blackened by making his wares, was given a place of honor in Mother Play, as he was the one who enabled the work of the blacksmith, and kept the child's home safe and warm. It was a tradition in Kindergarten and in Educational Sloyd, that craftsmen of all kinds and at all levels of society, be honored for their work.

While modern kindergartens are focused on making the children read, Froebel's Kindergarten had a higher purpose in mind... integrating the child into the whole of life, consisting of both the world of nature and the world of man. And part of that process was for the child to join the larger forces of creativity in life as a maker of useful and beautiful things.

Froebel came up with an odd German term, Gliedganzes, meaning member-whole and meaning that each part is integral to a larger whole and that the whole itself consists of smaller parts, each reflected in each other and in the whole itself. This may sound confusing, but last night I was party to an example of it, as hundreds of people showed up to celebrate the retirement of our ESSA director, and the growing importance of our Eureka Springs School of the Arts. Great ideas and greater ideals bring people together in ways that some folk may fail to understand.

Make, fix, create and increase the likelihood of others discovering themselves in higher form.

1 comment:

  1. Anonymous2:45 AM

    While you are writing about Froebel, I have got a an internet link to a doctoral dissertation (year 2006). All written in German. But the appendix might be of a (not at least) visual interest - lots of pictures, sketches and writings in ancient German manuscript. Worth a look:

    "Die Mutter- und Koselieder von Friedrich Wilhelm August Fröbel. Untersuchungen zur Entstehungs- und Wirkungsgeschichte" (Friedrich Wilhelm August Fröbel's Mother-Play and Nursery Songs: A Study of Its Genesis and Reception), Author: Christiane Konrad.