The Froebel Archive for Childhood Studies was established in 1977 and focuses on Friedrich Froebel’s educational legacy, early years and elementary education. There is a rich variety of books, administrative records, staff and student registers, minutes of meetings, photograph albums and student work. All these reflect wonderfully on the history of the Froebel College and its student life. Together with the National Froebel Foundation Archive which has been added to the Archives and Special Collections in 2008 it comprises a unique historical record of the Froebel movement in the UK.
A number of key Froebelian texts, including the journal Child Life have been digitised and are available on our Roehampton Digital Library.
Friedrich Froebel (1782 – 1852) is regarded as one of the most influential educationalist of the nineteenth century. His view was that the pre-school is the most important part of schooling and argued that the health and happiness if the individual, the family and the state depended on the quality of pre-school education. He invented the concept and word kindergarten and was responsible for the first training programmes for female kindergarten teachers.
Froebel created the ‘Gifts’ which are being regarded as a legacy to pre-school education. Based on his advocacy of ‘freeplay’, the ‘Gifts’ are an ordered sequence of building block as educational toys. Each gift was designed to be given to the child to provide material for self-directed activity. The aim is to help the child to learn to use the environments as an educational aid, to gain an understanding of the connection between human life and nature and to create a bond between the carer and the child when playing together.
Froebel opened his first Play and Activity Institute in 1837 which he renamed in Kindergarten in 1840. The focus of the kindergarten was:
The National Froebel Foundation, now the Froebel Trust is a registered charity with the purpose to promote and support Froebelian activity at a national and international level.
The Froebel Society [for the Promotion of the Kindergarten System] was founded in 1874 in order to provide courses of training for kindergarten teachers and a recognition and inspection facility for kindergartens. In 1887 The Society created a separate body, the National Froebel Union in order to validate examinations and set standards for the Froebel Teacher's Certificate. In 1938 the two bodies were combined to form the National Froebel Foundation, which continued to perform some of the functions of its parent bodies. In 1975 the NFF was formally dissolved, though a board of Trustees continues to ensure allocation of its residual assets in accordance with its charitable objectives.
The National Froebel Foundation Archive comprises a unique historical record of the Froebel and kindergarten movement in the UK.
Archives of Froebel Educational Institute (later Froebel College), founded 1892, including:
The Froebel Archive holds a number of other collections with specific links to early childhood education and the FEI:
Froebel Useful Links - additional websites, international collections, and other related information