Saturday, April 21, 2012

the usefulness of play...

The following is from Susan E. Blow,"Symbolic Education", 1894, as she describes the importance of play in Froebel's educational method.
"the error of all formal teaching is that it imposes a result without reproducing the experiences through which it was reached; The characteristic of all vital teaching is the development of ideas in the order of their origination. For every thought has its pedigree, and it must be generated in the mind of the individual as it was generated in the mind of the race."

"The heir of all the ages must enter upon his inheritance before he can become the instrument of their increasing purpose. He must recreate the simple arts through which man first asserted his dominion over nature. He must dream over again the dreams of Reason preserved for him in myth and fable. He must stand before the Pyramids, and solve the riddle of the Sphinx. He must fight for Helen before the walls of Troy, and break the power of the Persian upon the plain of Marathon. He must march with the Roman legions to universal conquest, and, sinking himself into the depths of the Roman spirit, evolve therefrom the conception of universal law. He must feel the anguish of the nations 'sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death,' and behold with the awe-struck shepherds the dawning of the world's light. He must learn reverently the lesson of those ten silent centuries which found voice in Dante, then hasten to England to win the victory of Runnymede, and sit at the feet of Shakespeare. He must sail with Columbus over unknown sea, land with the Pilgrim on Plymouth Rock, draw the sword with Washington, and standing with Goethe on the heights overlooking Valmy, behold in that momentous battle the birth of a new era. Thus only can the world into which he is born be born again in him, and the aspiration of his age become the aspiration of his soul."

"The object of education is to aid the effort of the individual to ascend into the life of the species."
The idea was that human culture must arise again in each new generation, a sentiment reflected also in the writings of Finnish Professor, Matti Bergström, and that arising takes place through play. According to Froebel's view, "the individual can develop only by actively reproducing within himself the experience of mankind." In order to touch that spirit and experience, I propose that students be challenged to participate in "noble notions" that lead them to exceed their (and our) thoughts of their own limitations.

I have recently joined the board of Clear Spring School to serve a three year term, and spent the last two days in the CSS annual board meeting. This afternoon the Wisdom of the Hands program was honored by the school and by friends through a fund-raiser/reception at the beautiful home of Jim and Susan Nelson. CSS students Oakley and Alena were on hand to teach the making of wooden tops and each guest was invited to take home pinwheels that CSS students had made. It was a lovely afternoon. Money was raised for my school program, and I am grateful for the support.

Make, fix and create...


  1. Anonymous5:25 AM

    Wish I could have been there.


  2. Me, too. Mario. That would have been very nice.