The Importance of Play
By: Toni Garvin
Ivy Tech Community College
A teacher's purpose is not to create students in his own image, but to develop students who can create their own image.
-- Author Unknown
Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel was born on April 21, 1782 in Oberweissbach, Germany. The youngest of 6 children, the one of Pastor Johann Jakob Frobel, he became motherless at less than a year old. His father had little time for Froebel as a child and eventually his uncle, Johann Christoph Hoffmann became the caregiver to ten year old Froebel, who showed him unconditional love. At the age of fifteen, in the summer of 1797 he started studying about forestry, land surveying and geometry. As he worked in the woods he began to feel at home. Part of his forest duties were to make a list of trees and come up with an approximate age of the trees within a certain tract of land. “His duties taught him to observe, to describe, to draw, to investigate and to decide.” It was Froebel’s feeling that his job, working in the forest, taught him to be the person he became. In 1800 Froebel left the forest and moved to Jena, where he attended the university located there. He found college life very difficult and left the university to become chief of apprentices at the Forestry Office. Because of his knowledge of forest and tracts of land plus having the ability to lay out the land he went into architecture. While he became an assistant to an architect, his lack of math skills made it difficult for him to hold this job. Froebel was very much the optimist and had a great desire to teach.
In the year 1805 Froebel applied for and was given a teaching position. Working beside an individual by the name of Gurner he became familiar with the Pestalozzi schools. After a visit to one of these schools, Froebel returned to Frankfort to begin his career as a teacher. Due to his lack of a degree, the Pestalozzi...