Froebel’s Principles for Modern Early Years Practice and Policy

Subject: Family
Type: Exploratory Essay
Pages: 7
Word count: 2005
Topics: Parenting, Childhood, Early Childhood Education, Foster Care


The Frobelian principles, gifts, and building blocks are essential in the academic development of a child in their primary years. The gifts help the children to grow in their thinking and acquire the ability to reason and make meaning of objects and relate them to the real-world. The sense of sight, touch and participating are important aids in the development of a child’s mastery skills. All the senses and the act of involvement are available in the Frobelian gifts and building blocks play. When the latter are well integrated with the principles, children grow having no problems with their academics (Manning, 2005, p.5). 

The main elements of a Froebelian education include the principles, pedagogy and the educational environment. The Frobelian principles particularly provide holistic view of the development of children while at the same time recognizing their uniqueness and integrity as part of the community. On the other hand, the Pedagogy element involves the use of qualified and knowledgeable teachers, working harmony with parents and teachers to enhance child development as well as providing children with activities which involve joy, concentration and satisfaction. Finally, an effective Frobelian environment should not only be physically safe but also promotes intellectual curiosity and enquiry, aesthetic awareness as well as sensory stimulation. This paper discusses Froebel’s principles for modern early years practice and policy based on my reading and experimentations with Froebel’s Gifts and blockplay.

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The Froebelian Principles

The Frobelian principles generally highlight the significance of having a good relationship with children at all societal levels; family, community and with nature, the prevailing culture of the society in which they grow. A positive relationship with a child with the people around them will enable them to have an imperative view of their surroundings as they grow into adulthood. They will be able to pick the positive values and make them part of them. Positive rapport will enable the kids to acquire the desired social norms. They will learn the essence of ethics in society and have respect for their culture. They will also be able to learn from their environment. They will learn to trust and grow into who as well be trusted.

Every child is unique in their way. Children have different capabilities and potential (froebelian-education, n.d). It is a Frobelian principle that needs to be learned by parents and the educators of the latter. A child’s potential can be observed as they learn or whenever they perform particular duties. They will be more interest in the areas in which they are most gifted. Whenever children underperform some tasks, they must not be compelled to the same to perfection but to find a role in which they better perform and help in developing their potential on such. The uniqueness of children is integral to a child’s development as it will help them to learn the essence of complementing each other in group assignments to obtain the best results.

According to Samuelsson and Carlsson (2008, p.88), the principles assert the holistic nature of children as they develop into people in the society. Holistic development of children is significant in helping them to connect with their self. They should be given a chance to think for themselves and evaluate their thoughts to connect with themselves and the surrounding environment. Such will enable them to know the upright values to adopt and those to discard. They learn the essence of separating wrong and right. Sleep is also integral to the holistic development of children as they are renewed to start over again in their unaccomplished tasks. Holistic engagements will aid in a child’s creativity as their ability to reflect ad present the same is developed.

The Frobelian principles identify the significance of allowing children to play and engage in creative activities. The latter is imperative in bring together the important aspects of their development. They get to learn more as they play as their memory accommodates more in the process. Creativity challenges their thinking to make the best of their engagements.

Every child should be protected as they grow. They must never be exposed to any harm or abuse. Safety is an important aspect of their growth as they feel secure enough to concentrate only on the activities they are participating in at the moment.

My experimentation with Froebel’s Gifts and Experience with Blockplay

Based on my experimentation with Froebel’s Gifts and Experience with Blockplay, integration of the principle and the Frobelian gifts is critically important ass it enables children to have wider perspectives on their academic learning and in attending to their assignments and other duties. The third Frobelian gift is the eight cubes (Whinnett, 2012, p.3). It can disassemble by removing the smaller cubes forming it. In the process, children learn of different shapes formed. Children can learn the various form of life, knowledge, and beauty. They get to acquire logical reasoning in math. They can the objects in real life and make patterns. The gift enhances the children’s ability to create. 

They are used block play to make various life forms of equipment within homes. The creativity of the child can make it easier to identify the child’s potential and their capabilities as they grow up. If the children can arrange the cubes to enhance their understanding of mathematical logic then perhaps they can become academic eccentrics. It can aid in identifying the befitting profession of the child at early developmental stages so that it is easier to develop their potential. Inclusive engagement in the activities also creates the essence of role-playing. As they combine their knowledge in building the objects. The latter is also significant in making children relate to their communities and nature. They build objects that are accepted in the society and culturally familiar to them. Building the blocks also creates a child’s holistic engagement. They have to engage their minds and relate the shape to the real life. In so doing their body soul and spirit work in unison as they make the best of the thoughts. Creating the best objects bring to them a sense of completeness and fulfillment. They get the urge to learn more to create more complex objects. 

Similarly, the gift of the cube is integral in introducing the children to block play where their brain get more open to further learning (Manning 2005, p.8). From the skills learned to arrange and to dismantle of the cubes, children can apply the same in their later classes to advance their knowledge in math, science, art social studies among other disciplines. The building block and materials are important tools from which they create the forms to show their understanding of the real world in which they live. When children experiment with the block, they are capable of authoring their texts and make meaning of the same. Children, therefore, can get to know the opportunities in life that are open to them from using the blocks.

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The fourth gift is also a cube with similar dimensions as the third but having eight identical blocks each having the identical volume as the previous. They are, however, twice as long but same thickness. They form a larger cube with two stacks each containing four cubes (Bruce, 2012, p.37)). The gift is a creation of beauty from the rectangular shapes. In combination with the third gift, they form complex life forms. The fourth gift can be used to bring out the Frobelian principle in a child in their developmental stages. The gift creates a sense of creativity. The ability of the child to create more life forms will bring out the uniqueness of their thoughts. The latter can aid in defining their potential and area of interest. It is also a clear depiction of the relationship between nature. It also shows how far the child is connected to their community and families and the objects in it. Extraordinary creativity of a child shows how holistic a child is in deep connection with their selves as it takes an incisive thinking for a child to come up with a perfect creation.

Children can transfer the knowledge from the fourth gift into block play as with the case with Otto. Assembling the block gives Otto a sensational joy. He is capable of using the block to build a real-life situation. Otto makes a table using the long blocks and assumes it is a roundtable to be used for eating at school. After making the perfect seating arrangement for the number of people around the table, he goes to sleep tired. He prays first before sleeping, God. In so doing he thanks God for the seasons and the blocks. He then carefully stores the block coat for easy finding should they travel. The love for the block creates a sense of responsibility in Otto. The child has adapted to their lifestyle owing to the blocks and mother is largely impressed.

The fifth gift is an expansion of the third gift. Theoretically, it is made of twenty-seven cubes. The gift is important in using the cubes to form a Pythagoras theorem (Bruce, 2012, p.48). It explains the concept that the sum of the squares of the height and the base is the square of the hypotenuse. The cubes can also be used in the creation of the other life form beauties. The principle affiliated to the gift that of integration of elements to aid in the learning process of children. It also elucidates the capacity of the child and their potential to think and understand the prevailing circumstances.

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The concept of block play in the fifth gift was aimed at aiding the child in the formation of patterns. They would then be able to form models which were integral in the discovery of concepts and formulae in mathematics like the Pythagoras theorem. Importantly all block are used which is emphasizing uniting the initial cube to create the desired form

The sixth gift is about proportion. It is a 3 by 3 cube containing 18 blocks rectangular shaped. The cubes are similar to the fourth gift. In the Froebel method were well configured to represent a cosmic theme especially strategizing for designs and coming up with fundamental geometric forms (Whinnett 2012, p.4). They were largely used in representing structural designs in building aggregation. Equilibrium and symmetry are paramount when children use the gift. Finally, the gift is in harmony with the principles of nature and creativity. Children must be creative to observe the rules of equilibrium and symmetry when using the gift in creating structural designs. The gift presents children with building blocks in their youth in the form of toys. The toys are helpful in developing a child’s critical judgment, the ability to embrace their thoughts and in manual dexterity.

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  1. Brosterman, N. 1997. Inventing Kindergarten. New York: Harry N. Abrams publishing 
  2. Bruce, T. ed., 2012. Early childhood practice: Froebel today. London: Sage.
  3. Bruce, T., Gura, P. 1991. Building a Future: Block Play and Young Children. London: Froebel Institute 
  4. Bruce, T., McNair, L. and Siencyn, S.W. 2008. I made a unicorn!. Open Ended Play with Blocks and Simple Materials. Robertsbridge: Community Playthings.
  5. Froebel Trust. 2013. Elements of a Froebelian education, London: The Froebel Trust
  6. Gura, P (1992) Exploring Learning: Young Children and Blockplay, London: Paul Chapman
  7. Gura, P (1996) Resources for Early Learning: Children, Adults and Stuff, London: Hodder
  8. Manning, J. (2005) ‘Rediscovering Froebel: a call to re-examine his life and gifts,’ Early Childhood Education Journal. 
  9. The Froebel Trust – FROEBELIAN PRINCIPLES [WWW Document], n.d. [WWW Document]. A principled approach to childhood.
  10. Tovey, H. (2013) Bringing the Froebel Approach to Your Early Years Practice, London:   Routledge (chapters 5 and 8)
  11. Whinnett, J. 2012. Gifts and Occupations: Froebel’s Gifts (wooden block play) and Occupations (construction and workshop experiences) today. Early Childhood Practice: Froebel Today. London: Sage
  12. Samuelsson, I.P., Carlsson, M.A. 2008. The playing learning child: Towards a pedagogy of early childhood. Scandinavian journal of educational research52(6), pp.623-641.
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