chapter  9
11 Pages

Froebel is dead; long live Froebel!

The National Froebel Foundation and English education
ByKristen D. Nawrotzki

The German pedagogue Friedrich Froebel lived from 1782 to 1852. The pedagogy that made Froebel famous was encompassed in his kindergarten, a set of strictly defined methods and activities for the education of young children, which he developed and refined in the second quarter of the nineteenth century. Froebel's kindergarten reached England in the mid-1850s, where it attracted a small but enthusiastic group of followers and practitioners. The chapter examines the English neo-Froebelian movement after the death of Froebelian methods by the start of the twentieth century. It identifies several turning points in the institutional and ideological trajectory of neo-Froebelians in the most turbulent and decisive period of twentieth-century English pedagogical and policy debate. The chapter shows that Stuart Hall's theories of identity politics–as well as Eric Hobsbawm's and Terence Ranger's concept of invented tradition–can help one to make sense of the apparently paradoxical persistence of 'Froebel' discourse in interwar and 1940s progressive English educational discourse.