Philosophies

Two children playing by a stream

Why Froebel is still important today

“Play is the highest expression of human development in childhood, for it alone is the free expression of what is in a child’s soul,” wrote Friedrich Froebel. Today his philosophies are embedded into our modern educational foundations, but Froebel’s ideas were radical for his time. So radical, in fact, that at one point the Prussian government banned his kindergartens. Yet Froebel’s concept of “a garden for children” lives on, and his vision for true childhood is as relevant today as it was in the 19th century.

Read an account of his life here.

two children checking a bird box for a nest

Building a curriculum on the natural curiosity of children

“Education is not preparation for life; education is life itself.” – John Dewey

One of the greatest gifts teachers can give to their students is a life-long love of learning. Because children’s interests differ widely depending on their own experiences, meeting their learning needs demands the full and creative attention of a teacher’s mind and heart.

The Project Approach offers teachers a way to build their curriculum on the natural curiosity of children. When immersed in a topic that is local and relevant, students actively participate in the educational experience. This kind of authentic learning energises the child as they “become part of a community of investigators” instead of a passive recipient of information. Read more.

Norland College front gate

Take a peek into Norland College's nursery training space

Norland College is renowned worldwide for its excellence in educating early years practitioners. Training at Norland is focused on the founding principles of Froebel, the German educationalist best known as the originator of the first kindergarten, and is adapted to be relevant to the needs of young children and their families. In 2017 the college fitted out their new nursery training area with Community Playthings furniture and toys. Watch this to find out why.

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little boy holding flowers for teacher to smell

From the basics to beyond!

The phrase “back to basics” is often heard in our field. However, a more motivational approach for teachers would be “toward the basics and beyond!”

 

“The kinds of traditional play that children have done naturally for generations is still at the foundation of the work that we do with children,” writes Deborah Murphy. “We have the wisdom of the sages through the ages, but we also have the wisdom of the children right here, right now.”

 

“‘Teacher! Look!’ they say to us. It is good advice. Let’s watch and appreciate their deep engagement, singular focus, and creative innovation. We often discuss modelling behaviour for children. What about flipping that paradigm?” Read more.

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overflowing classroom shelves

Time to clean up

Shelves overflowed with piles of games, equipment and donated items, making the room look more like a neighbourhood boot sale than a classroom. In fact, there seemed to be more storage space than floor space.…

A cluttered play environment can make children restless and unfocused. When toys do not lead to deep engagement, children are easily distracted and tend to flit between occupations. Having more stuff certainly does not make children happier and often stifles imagination. Educational consultant Sandra Duncan refers to this as “mental clatter” which has a “negative impact on children’s growth and development – and especially their behaviours.”

Is there stuff in your classroom that just collected dust this year? Arm yourself with more than a feather duster for a real clean! This article is a bold invitation to De-clatter your Classroom.

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