Froebel

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As seen at the FATE 2015 Biennial Conference Tectonic Shifts. 

Abstract

Kindergarten for Freshman: Adapting Froebel’s Philosophy to the First Year Experience

When Friedrich Froebel first created Kindergarten, he did so under the premise that humans are imaginative creatures driven to learn through playful observation. Froebel understood that education must be child-centered, play-based, and holistic if it hopes to help children understand their role as creative beings in the world. This is true, as well, for the foundation year. 

Freshman come to us, not as children, but much as kindergartners do, encroaching on a new chapter of consciousness and in need of cognitive, social, artistic and physical development. If the Foundation year seeks to cement its position as the building block of future artistic endeavors, it could consider shifting the focus from proficiency in any given medium to developmental strategies for living a creative life. 

Students need room to discover, alter their environment, visualize and take command of their futures. The foundation year should be a time for students to make and harness meaning, cementing lasting connections to their education. Froebel knew the best way to do this was to honor and facilitate play, not just because it’s fun, but because of its biological imperative. Imagine the educational possibilities of an entire year of Kindergarten for Freshman.

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