At the end of 1835, Fröbel wrote a publication entitled The Year 1836 Demands the Renewal of Life, which begins with these words:

It is the announcement and proclamation of a new spring of life and mankind which rings so loudly in my ears in and through all the manifestations of my own life, and the lives of others. It is you, the renewal and rejuvenation of all life, who speak out, through everything and in everything within and around me, so actively and clearly to my spirit. This time has been so long awaited by mankind and for so long promised to it as its golden age (Lange, 1863, p. 499)

This ‘golden age’ sees the family become ‘sacred’. The family heals the relations between parents and children and between siblings through an improved atmosphere, through shared play.

Fröbel now set his sights on the family and developed play materials to improve the atmosphere in families.

He wished to help found associations of parents, who might exercise a stimulus on others through their experiences of play.

Fröbel’s play, which was originally to take place within the family, became the basis for Kindergarten, which was launched on 28 June 1840, in the town hall at Blankenburg within the framework of the Gutenberg memorial celebrations.

In Fröbel’s day the kindergarten, including his own establishment at Bad Blankenburg, involved three activities.

  • It centered on play with the ‘gifts’ and ‘occupations’.
  • Alongside these, ‘movement games’ were played involving running, dancing, games played in the round and acting. The children’s play group developed forms of movement without game material.
  • The third area was ‘garden care’. Here the kindergarten pupil was to learn about the development of plants, their growth and blossoming, and to see how careful tending can influence their development. Here the young child could see a mirror image in nature of his/her own growth.

source: PROSPECTS: the quarterly review of comparative education (Paris, UNESCO: International Bureau of Education), vol. XXIII, no. 3 / 4, 1993, p. 473–91. ©UNESCO: International Bureau of Education, 1999. This document may be reproduced free of charge as long as acknowledgement is made of the source.