Sunday, July 08, 2007

The following is Frank Lloyd Wright's account of the effects of his attending a Froebel Kindergarten.

The Strips of colored paper, glazed and matte, (had) remarkable soft brilliant colors. Now came the geometric byplay of these charming colored combinations! The structural figures to be made with peas and small straight sticks; slender constructions, the joinings accented by the little green pea-globes. The smooth shapely maple blocks with which to build, the sense of which never afterwards leaves the fingers: form become feeling.

And the exciting cardboard shapes with pure scarlet face--such scarlet! Smooth triangular shapes, white-black and the edges cut into rhomboids with which to make designs on the flat table top. What shapes they naturally made if only you would let them!

Adding thickness, getting sculpture thereby, the square became the cube, the triangle the tetrahedron, the circle the sphere. These primary forms and figures were the secret of all effects... which were ever got into the architecture of the world.

This tells just a bit of the kinds of experience and pleasure that our children find in the Clear Spring School Woodshop. But, best yet, it is told from the perspective of a man who used what he had learned to have profound impact on modern culture and human civilization. At one point, Froebel had planned to become an architect, but the play with his simple gifts, built the foundation for much more.

We have become a nation whose schools in the words of Emerson, are "at war with common sense." We have a choice, but nothing will happen if we sit, as we were trained to sit, idly by.

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