Skip to main content

Full text of "Froebel's letters on the kindergarten;"

See other formats





Wheelock college library 
Boston. Mass. 02215 

Wheelock college library 
Boston, Mass. 02215 



Price 3^'. each. 

Autobiography of Friedrich Froebel. Edited 

by EiMiLiE MicHAELis and H. Keatley Moore, Mus. 
Bac.B.A. Second Edition. 

The Home, the Kindergarten, and the Prim- 
ary School. By Elizabeth P. Peabody. With Intro- 
duction by E. A. Manning. 

Essays on the Kindergarten : Being Ten Lec- 
tures read before the London Froebel Society. Second 

The Child and Child Nature. By the Baroness 

von Marenholtz-BClow. Fifth Edition. 
Hand-Work and Head-Work : Their Relation to 

One Another. By the same. 



Letters on the Kindergarten 

It would be an everlasting loss if the treasures which lie in Friedrich Froebel 
were allowed to perish. He is a jewel, a pearl of price." 

{Dr. A dolf Diestenveg. ) 

Translated from the German Edition of 1887 

Editor, HERMANN POESCHE, School- Inspector to the Orphanage Board of Berlin 

Edited and Annotated 



Head Mistress of the Croydon Kindergarten and Preparatory School ; 
Meviber of the Cotincil of the Froebel Society, etc, ; 



Vice-Chairman of the Cr-oydon Kindergarten atui Preparatory School Coiiipany 
Hon. Treasurer and Member of the Council of the Froebel Society, etc. \ 




Stack Collection 


Butler & Tanner, 

The Selwood printing Works, 

Frome, and London. 


RIEDRICH FROEBEL expressed his desire to his 
wife that his letters should be collected and pub- 
lished after his death, to which end he himself 
carefully preserved several of his last letters. His 
widow, Madame Luise Froebel, has conscientiously executed his 
wish. In response to an appeal which she made to those friends 
of Froebel who were known to have letters of the educational 
philosopher in their possession, she received a large amount of 
his correspondence. 

Madame Froebel (who lives in Hamburg) has made most careful 
copies of all these letters ; and thus, at last, a fairly comprehensive 
collection of Froebel's Letters is in existence. I was requested 
by Madame Froebel, as a service I might render to the cause so 
dear to us, carefully to examine the letters and to prepare them 
for the press, with some accompanying words of my own. As a 
disciple of the Thuringian educationist, who had the good fortune 
thrice, during 1850 and 1851, to study with Froebel in his house 
at Marienthal, near the Liebenstein Spa, who am bound to the 
highest gratitude towards this ever dear fatherly friend, and who 
therefore would not willingly omit any opportunity to manifest 
my love and reverence for the master, I have accepted the request 
of Madame Froebel. 

I should mention that I have withheld the earlier letters, written 
between 181 1 and 1834, although they are of great general 
importance, and have only pubHshed here those letters which 
relate to the Kindergarten, because, as Madame Froebel justly 
remarks, " In existing Kindergartens the genuine Froebelian 
spirit is too often wanting, while it is just in these very letters that 

vi German Editor s Preface. 

the special features of the Kindergarten system are truly set 

Madame Froebel, in her deep reverence for her husband's 
memory, has regarded the publication of these letters "as the most 
important work of her life which yet remained to be done." ^ I 
shall therefore conclude this Preface with some words which 
certainly came from the bottom of her heart, and which embody 
her dearest hope : " That it may be vouchsafed to us that these 
Letters, becoming known to wider and ever wider circles, may 
bring blessings to many children." 

Hermann Poesche. 

1 Madame Luise Froebel (Friedrich Froebel's second wife) was born in 
Osterode, in the Harz district, in the year 1815, and was married to Froebel in 
185 1. For some years she had taken great interest in Froebel's educational 
plans, visited Keilhau in 1845 as a friend of Christian Froebel's family, kept 
up a correspondence afterwards with Froebel himself on educational matters, 
and finally received an appointment from him as directress of his Kindergarten 
Training College for ladies at Liebenstein, in 1849. She was left a widow by 
his death in 1852, and has ever since spent her whole energy in forwarding the 
Kindergarten system. She has never been very rich in this world's goods, 
and it was an exceedingly graceful act of the late Emperor Frederick of Ger- 
many to find time, in the few weeks of his reign, filled with cruel sufferings as 
they were, to think of the aged widow of the illustrious German educationist, 
and to provide for the remaining years of her life by the pension which she 
now enjoys. The great interest felt by the late emperor in the Kindergarten 
system was always understood to be largely inspired by his wife (our own 
Princess Royal), \vho still continues her active sympathy with the cause. 


(By the English Editors), 

has seemed to us unworthy to let the Jubilee of 
the Ki?iderga7'te?i pass without some recognition in 
England ; some tribute, however slight, offered to the 
memory of the great educationist whose work we 
are trying to carry forward. Hence the appearance of the present 
little book — a faithful translation of the German edition of 
" Froebel's Letters," published at Vienna, in 1S87, by Herr 
Poesche. Some additional impetus to the work was also given 
us by the fact that Herr Poesche is personally known to one of 
us ; and we are able gratefully to acknowledge his ardour and 
success in the Froebelian propaganda. 

It is now just FIFTY YEARS since Froebel opened the first Kinder- 
garten at Blankenburg, in 1840. Fourteen years passed before 
we saw the first Kindergarten in England (1854). But one gene- 
ration of Englishmen has passed away since that, and yet in this 
short time, with all the inertive force of insular and conservative 
England to strive against, hampered at the same time by a 
foreign name, by foreign interpreters, and by much that was 
foreign in its actual working detail, the Kindergarten has struck 
deep root in our land, and has already, so to speak, acclimatised 
itself. Its foreign name has been adopted, and is now reckoned 
as very good English. Those who remain to us of its foreign in- 
terpreters — the ladies to whose enterprising exertions we owe so 
much, have also become as good Englishwomen as any others ; 
its foreign details have entirely disappeared, and we have now a 
vigorous and thoroughly national English Kindergarten. The 
strictly German Kindergarten which, as these Letters show, was 
the original conception of Froebel, had already widened out 

vii i Pi^eface. 

rapidly as it developed in his own mind, until he left it to the 
world as an educational movement limited to no race or clime. 
In our time has been taken the further step in the course of 
development which was imperatively necessary if the Kinder- 
garten was to live out of Germany ; namely, the adaptation of 
the original German form of the movement to the special racial 
and linguistic peculiarities of the various nations who have 
adopted it. In other words, we have now, instead of a transla- 
tion, a re-created work, and instead of a strange, beautiful 
system, appreciated by a few cultured people, an every-day, 
familiar method, rapidly extending even into the schools of the 
poorest of our fellow-citizens. That first English Kindergarten 
of 1854, which for so many years had but few companions, 
widely scattered, and coming slowly to the birth one by one, has 
now developed into at least two hundred, even if we exclude a 
large number of classes which are still imperfect ; and the number 
is rapidly increasing. 

But under all the special differentiation which is happily thus 
arising to meet the educational needs of the various races and 
nations of men, the great principles of the Kindergarten system 
remain unchanged ; and these principles can be best studied 
in the form in which Froebel himself set them forth. Tradiitiore, 
traditore^ says the Italian proverb — "Translator means traitor" — 
and the interpreter, all too often, imitates Plato, developing his 
theme in his own fashion, until the original Sokrates has become 
quite unrecognisable. We have, therefore, left unaltered the 
peculiarities of our Sokrates, even such as are most unattractive ; 
that is, we have not abbreviated Froebel's diffuseness, nor omitted 
his repetitions, nor cleared his mysticism, nor modernised his 
antique philosophy, nor corrected his absurd symbolic etymo- 
logy. We have presented him with all his faults, for these 
are a part of the man ; and our object is to make manifest the 
real, the great-hearted Froebel, that his disciples may come to 
know him, and love him, just as he was, even to love him, it may 
be, somewhat in spite of himself. 

Let not the student of the Kindergarten system be discouraged 
by the grievous faults of Froebel's style. The man was, as it 

Preface, ix 

were, dumb, so far as regards clear, nervous, readily intelligible 
speech ; but though he could not properly say it, he had always 
infinitely much to say. Every letter of this series is a pearl of 
price, wretchedly set : let not the student regard only the poor 
setting, and meanwhile overlook the pearl. We smile at the 
derivation of hiibsch and schon (p. 79) ; but we find in this very 
same letter the immensely valuable model-lesson (pp. 83-85), 
which is pregnant with counsel that a student should "grapple 
to her heart with hooks of steel." With what glad surprise such 
passages will come to those who have known Froebel only at 
second-hand, through the formalised " dry bones " (dry, even if 
necessary) of Kohler's " praxis," or some such medium, and who 
now, for the first time, see in his own words, how well he himself 
knew the secret of making those dry bones live. The lofty pur- 
pose of Froebel, his intense earnestness, his incessant work, his 
simple life, his trivial pecuniary reward, his purely religious spirit, 
his never-failing faith and courage, even under intense depression 
— all these features of the great man are vividly and unconsciously 
set forth in the ensuing Letters. We feel how much easier it would 
have been, both for us and our readers, if we could have written 
out the whole afresh ; but we are, at the same time, convinced 
that earnest students will find a greater reward in mastering the 
book as it stands. Nowhere else can we find so much accurate 
information about the last years of the master's work, and espe- 
cially about his inner life at this period, as in these Letters ; no- 
where else can we procure these interesting details of the creation 
of the Kindergarten, or witness, growing under our eyes, bit by 
bit, the formation of the methods which are now so familiar to us 
all : nowhere else can we get such proof of Froebel's infinite 
painstaking over every point, which, as we are told, is one mark 
of the man of genius. It is also very impressive to note the 
supreme value Froebel attaches to the main principle of Unity in 
Education — unity at anygiven period, or "all-sidedness," as he calls 
it, every faculty and power duly taken into account ; as well as 
unity of the whole life, which must be an ordered progression, every 
grade a development from the preceding grade, and all grades of 
equal importance, from the cradle to the grave. This principle. 

X Preface. 

in one or another shape, is emphasized in ahiiost every letter ; its 
importance must make us forgive the constant repetition. 

We may note that according to English conventional usage, 
we have throughout translated Frau and Frduleiji by Madame 
and Madevioiselle ; and have spoken of children always in the 
masculine gender. 

If any error should be discovered by our readers we shall be 
much obliged if it can be signified to Mr. H. K. Moore, at 
104, Bishopsgate Street Within, London, that we may correct it 
in future editions. 

To add to the usefulness of this volume we have prepared a 
full index, and have also included a reprint, with additions and 
corrections, of the Chronological Abstract which appeared in our 
" Autobiography of Froebel," and which has been found of value. 

Emilie Michaelis. 
H. Keatley Moore. 

TJie Croydon Kmdergarfe?i, 1890. 





1839. To THE Wives and Mothers of Blankenburg 
184Q. Plan for Nat. German Kindergarten 

,, I.-V. TO Mme. Schmidt, of Gera 

1841. VI. -XIII. TO Mme. Schisiidt. 

1842. XIV. TO Mme. Schmidt. 

1843. XV. -XVI. TO Mme. Schmidt 

1844. XVII. TO Mme. Schmidt 
,, Appeal to German Wives and Maidens 

1845. I- i"o Mme. MiJLLER, of Homburg 

1846. I. TO Mllk. Luise Frankenberg . 

1847. XVIII.-XIX. TO Mme. Schmidt, of Gera 
,, II.-IH. TO Mlle. Frankenberg . 
,, To Miss Howe, giving details of the working of 

Training College .... 

,, To Mlle. Marschner, of Dresden 

,, To Mlle. Hesse, of Annaburg . 

1S4S. XX. TO Mme. Schmidt, of Gera 

,, IV. to Mlle. Frankenberg . 

,, Appeal to German Women . 

,, II. to Mme, Muller, of Homburg 

,, To Mlle. Gumpert .... 

1S49. I. to Mme. Doris Lutkens, of Hamburg 

1851. V.-VI. to Mlle. Frankenberg 

,, II. TO Mme. Doris Lutkens, of Hamburg 

,, To Mlle. Johanna Hebert, of Nuremberg 

,, To Mlle. L. Kirchner, of Nuremberg 

1S52. VII. to Mlle. Frankenberg 

,, To Mlle. Breymann (Mme. Schrader) 

,, III. TO Mme. Doris Lutkens, of Hamburg 

,, To Mlle. Luise Hertlein, at Hamburg . 













Wheelock College library 
Boston. Mass. 02215 


O tlie better understanding and appreciation of these 
Letters it may be as well to preface them by shortly 
setting forth some of the most distinctive principles of 
Froebel's educational system. 
The old German schools and teaching methods took no 
account of children under school age. And even in the schools 
themselves only the learning by rote of words and of some few 
abstract notions, together with a little merely mechanical know- 
ledge, were cultivated. The traditional teaching thus given to the 
children they were expected to give back in the same words ; 
like the housewife who puts linen away in the chest and takes it 
out again when required. The old schools were but schools of 
7vords. Such mechanical abstract teaching left undeveloped the 
intuitive observing powers, and the mind lay lifeless as regards 
original perception. The child's faculties were not stimulated to 
freer development, but were fettered and paralysed. Incessant 
cramming made the children lazy and disinclined for effort, and 
mere continued repetition and passive reception of teaching killed 
that natural longing which all children possess for acting out their 
own conceptions, for pursuing their own inquiries, and for making 
their own discoveries ; so that on leaving school they had gained 
little or nothing to help them in life, or at all events were unable 
to bring what they had learned into any practical use. 

Then came Heinrich Pestalozzi with his " intuitive method," 
that is, teaching by means of observation {Atischauungs Uiiterricht). 
With inexhaustible love and enthusiasm he devoted himself to 

^ By Heir Poesch'-, the German Editor. 

I 13 



children under school age. He wrote books to help mothers to 
educate their children ; indeed, he created in these mothers' 
books the ideal of the mother - teacher in the character of 
Gertrude (" How Gertrude Teaches her Children "). By means 
of the principles of his " intuitive method " he gave a new founda- 
tion to the old verbal and notional teaching of the schools. In 
place of the lifeless learning of facts in cut and dried sentences, 
he put learning by original observation ; for passive cramming 
he substituted active discovery, genuine mental work. In their 
enthusiasm for the new principle some fanatics went the length 
of attempting to bring all teaching whatever under the " intuitive 
method," as if it were the Alpha and Omega of educational 

But in these days we can see that the " intuitive method " 
is only one of the main elements of school teaching — an all- 
important one, it is true, yet after all, only one amongst several. 
r~ Pestalozzi's great disciple, Friedrich Froebel, followed in the 
footsteps of his master with keen intelligence and laborious 
industry ; but he went further still, attaining to a new and higher 
development, based upon fresh psychological foundations, and 
elaborated with deeper thought. He dedicated his loftiest 
powers, when he had reached an advanced age, to the family, 
to the children beneath school age, to the mothers, because he 
desired to begin from the very beginning in a thorough manner. 
His greatest work is not confined to speeches nor books, but 
comprises the plastic use of material and the founding of a new 
educational institution — "The Kindergarten." He is not a 
reformer of the art of teaching only, but of the entire theory oj^ 

Froebel aimed at the complete education of man, as well in 
regard to physical Nature as to mankind and to God, through 
the three fundamental principles of human existence — Doing, 
Thinking, and Feeling. In arranging these after a psychological 
order, he placed doing first. The man, the child, is to him there- 
fore before all else an active and a creative being, not a learning 
and a knowing one. Knowing, perceiving, must spring to life, 
must burst into power from doing. A hundred times and more 


does he return to this fundamental principle, ever setting it forth 
in some new light. On account of its immense importance a 
few of Froebel's remarks on this subject may be quoted here, 

{ii) " A system of education worthy of mankind must place 
man, in early life, according to the demands of Nature, amid 
such relationships and spheres of action that he can show forth 
his being externally to himself, by Creating and Doing ; and in 
such wise may come to a knowledge of himself." 

{b) " The working hours of each day, of teacher and pupils 
alike, must be divided between handwork, that is, work aiming at 
the production of tangible objects, and headwork, that is, learning 
and instruction." 

{c) " Therefore, in the first place, must instruction, the learning 
and teaching of pupils and master, spring from their own labour 
and hand-work, so that teaching may rest upon actual life." — 
(From a letter to Dr. Hohebaum of 5th November, 1827.) 

{d) " In primary or national education, must in every case the 
Doing, the Thing Done, the Teaching and the Learning rest on 
actual fact and on real existence, so that the mental intelligence 
incessandy striving upwards in single things as in its general 
career may thereby expand and develop the life-giving creative 
power of the pupils according to the measure of their strength 
and ability, their talents and desires." — (Outlines of the Plan of a 
Model Charity School, Lange, i. p. 473.) 

According to this principle, therefore, the child's conceptions, 
("thoughts, and ideas must not remain locked within his own 
! breast, but must, on the contrary, be outwardly expressed through 
hand-work, through construction and creation, in some tangible 
form. And vice versa ^ natural and artistic objects must not be 
left as things outside the child's mind, but must be incorporated 
as part of his spiritual nature, through careful instruction. 
Froebel knits together into one short formula the two psycho- 
logical opposites of doing and thinking, of art and science, ^ 
thus : " The external or object world must become internal or 1 
subjective to the child, and the subject-world, in turn, becomej 


The activity, or doing, of a little child is expressed in the form 
of play. To the child's play, which is, as he says, " the very life 
of his heart," Froebel linked his earliest education in the nursery 
and the Kindergarten, and he sought out and found a group of 
toys and occupations (so interconnected as to form one ordered 
whole) wherewith to satisfy this play-activity, and so bring it to 

To aid the first tender putting-forth of will and movement by 
the infant, and to assist in the development of his body, and of 
his senses, Froebel places in the hand of the mother his " Songs 
for Mothers and Nursery Songs " (^Mutter- und Kose-Lieder). 
Later on he brings the child into the company of other children, " 
in the Kindergarten ; so that in association with his companions 
he can gratify his dramatic instinct, his need of outward represent- 
ation, through Song-games illustrating some suitable subject by the 
united powers of Verse, Tune and Action. 

He would have the child spend much time in the garden at an 
early age, amongst open-air Nature, so that with spade and hoe 
and watering pot he may come into true practical relations with 
the world of plants, make his own observations, and by active 
work get together some experience-knowledge for himself, and 
learn to know the works of God. He trains the child's hand by 
giving him certain toys and occupations succeeding one another 
in a carefully planned order. These toys, which form an analy- 
tical series, will be found to be arranged in a descending order. 
They are (i) Solids (soft-ball, hard-ball, cylinder, cube, and five 
boxes of building bricks) ; (2) Planes^ similar to those used in 
Chinese puzzles, wherein the plane surface is the predominant 
idea (squares and triangles — right-angled isosceles, right-angled 
scalene, equilateral, and obtuse scalene — in variously coloured 
wooden tablets) ; and finally (3) Li7ies (laths, sticks, rings and 
threads) ; and (4) Poi?its (stones, shells, sand). 

Whilst the child is busy at play with all the foregoing material, 
the material itself remains unchanged and forms no new product. 
Quite otherwise is it with the synthetic series formed by the 
occupations, which are arranged in an ascending order : (i) Points 
(pricking) ; ( 2 Lines (sewing, drawing, paper twisting, mat 

Introduction. 5 

plaiting, etc.) ; (3) Planes (paper folding, paper cutting, and 
pasting) ; (4) Solids (peawork, modelling in cardboard, model- 
ling in clay). Here the material is changed under the child's 
hand, and with his simple tools he becomes able to pro- 
duce some useful, pretty or instructive object; for instance, he 
can weave a mat for a lamp to stand upon, or he can model 
a bird's nest with its eggs in clay, or he can draw on paper right 
angles, acute angles, or obtuse angles, etc. 

As in Nature the water invites the young duckling to swim ; so 
does Froebel give the child this material wherewith he may 
satisfy the yearning for outward manifestation common to all 
children. The child can therefore give his conceptions a 
tangible form by the work of his own hands, and through this 
fact-representation he can strengthen himself for the percep- 
tion and observation of the Good, the Beautiful and the True. 
rFroebel's Kindergarten method consists in this, that the child*] 
learns to search for, to find out, and to invent forms and figures \ 
at his own free will, and in doing this he develops the active j 
powers belonging to his nature, and forms his own individuality ! 
and character. 

Friedrich Froebel, by virtue of this main element of represen- 
tation which he has introduced into education, is to be recognised 
as the true artist amongst educationists. It is he who added on 
to the old German and to the Pestalozzian systems the first 
conception of the " A B C of manual activity," which Pestalozzi 
had sought for but had not found. And while, so long as there.^ 
are children to be educated, the main educational principles of ' 
{a) verbal and notional learning and teaching, and {b) the intui- 
tive method of teaching and learning, must always exist, so also, 
just as surely and as truly, must the Froebelian main principle of 
representation be joined with the two others before we can bring 
to completeness an universal, harmonious, and progressive educa- 
tional system, and erect upon sure foundations a goal towards 
which henceforth and for all time the energies of teachers may / 
be directed. I 

But the foregoing psychological conception of child-nature, 
%vith the whole Kindergarten organization which rests upon it, are 


they well founded ? Are there any touchstones which may 
prove the metal genuine — have we any external tests ? Froebel 
was far too earnest and conscientious a thinker not to have sought 
after such touchstones wherewith to test his work and where 
possible to support it by the authority of recognised laws. He"" 
found that the physical development of a single individual went 
upon parallel lines with the development of physical nature, and 
that his mental development followed the same course as the 
history of civilisation. Physical nature and history then became" 
his touchstones, wherewith to test these views upon the education 
of each single child ; for this rested, as he believed, upon the 
foundations of general psychological and physical laws. I shall 
never forget that afternoon in 1851, in the Kursaal at the 
Liebenstein Spa, when Froebel arranged all his educational 
appHances on long tables, forming a completely developed series, 
and explained their meaning and exhibited their value to sT large 
assembly, composed of his pupils of both sexes, and other friends. 
Amongst them were Diesterweg, the Baroness von Marenholtz- 
Biilow, and Madame Henriette Schrader. Middendorf took 
down the speech Froebel made on this occasion and published 
it in the Journal for Friedrich FroebeVs Educational Aitns (No. I. 
p. 14). The peroration was as elevated in expression as it was 
profound in thought. It ran thus : — 

" The whole of nature, up to the appearance of man, the whole 
of history from the beginning of the human race through all the 
past up till the present moment, and then still onwards, beyond 
us, to the next final consummation, when the development of 
man shall fall from the Tree of Life as a ripened fruit, whose 
kernel is the All, stands before my soul as a perfectly accurate 
and so to speak an exhaustive representation of true education." 

We have it laid down that the physical and mental develop- 
ment of man runs parallel with nature and history, and that these 
latter together form a type of the course of true education. Do 
our great discoverers in science, our great students of history 
warrant this statement ? I will only refer in the briefest and 
most cursory manner to the discoveries of Comparative Anatomy 
(especially in the department of Embryology) : whereby it 

Introduction. 7 • 

appears that the human embryo before birth passes through the 
chief forms of anirnfal nature, from the lowest to the highest. 
And up to a certain period of embryonic development, there is 
not the slightest difference between the future child and other 
mammals. Later on, first slight then more important differences 
make their appearance, marking off the form as belonging to one 
of the higher animals ; and finally, quite at the end of embryonic 
life, not long before actual birth, appear those differences which 
distinguish the human infant from the young of the nearest allied 
animals. Therefore, in actual fact the bodily development of each 
one of us is in some measure an enormously compressed 
abridgment, a quick recapitulation of the creation of the higher 
vertebrate animals in its various stages. Is it not true, then, 
that the purely physical, purely animal development of man from 
the simple to the complex, from the lower to the higher, is " an 
exhaustive representation of true education " ? 

But we have here more especially to do with the mental 
development of man, which, according to Froebel's dictum, runs 
parallel with the educational history of the whole race. And, 
indeed, it is so. Each mind completely repeats in outline, and 
in quicker succession, the stages of mental growth passed through 
by the race. The mental development of any one man is in some 
measure but an enormously compressed abridgment, a quick 
recapitulation, of the educational development of mankind. 

The discoveries in natural science, in prehistoric antiquities, 
and in the history of civilisation, as well as in the comparative 
study of national psychology, have in these days provided us 
with a host of corroborative facts. We may here consider just a 
few which bear upon our special subject of Kindergarten edu- 
cation, and use them to trace the mere outlines ot development 
— not at all insisting capriciously upon any particular instances, 
nor intending by those about to be given to supersede other 
equally good illustrations. 

Froebel would early place the child amidst open-air Nature, 
out of doors, in the garden. Here the child's glance rests first 
upon the world of plants, his hands naturally gravitate towards 
the soil, he forms a little bed to plant, and shows us the first 


tender budding of a love of agriculture. Just so appeared 
primev^al Man, in the open-air of God's garden of Eden, living 
upon the fruits that the trees yielded. Later on, he furrowed 
the earth with a bough, and enjoyed the vegetables he thus 
produced. Next Froebel strives by his " Songs for Mothers and 
Nursery Songs " {Mutter- und Kose-Lieder), and by his ball- 
games, action-games, and marches, to train the muscles, the 
limbs, the senses. And (to proceed with our parallel) the con- 
tinual and severe struggle for existence of primeval Man, the 
climbing, running and hunting which hard necessity compelled 
in order to obtain food, dwelling, and clothes, how they must 
have strained the sinews and sharpened the senses ! What 
agility and bodily skill primeval Man shows in his expeditions of 
war or of the chase, in his mimetic, dramatic, and war dances ! 
Froebel next puts finished material, in the form of toys (the so- 
called " gifts "), into the child's hand, and demands from him 
only the most simple form of play and thought, namely, to bring 
together several separate similar things, so as to form with them 
a Whole, full of beauty or of meaning, or to range them in orderly 
sequence. And it is precisely thus that the first artistic work of 
primeval Man occurs ; he begins by the forming of simple rows, 
as strings of beads or of shells, for instance. If we would give 
further parallels, we might point out how Froebel's thin-coloured 
planes correspond with the mosaic wood or stone work of early 
Man ; and how Froebel's lalhs, wherewith the child can form 
letters, correspond to the beech-staves {buchenen Sfdbchefi, now 
contracted to Buchstabeji, i.e. letters of the alphabet) whereon were 
carved the runes and magic symbols of our primitive ancestors. 
For the " occupations," Froebel demands a much more difficult 
and complex manual labour from the child. The given material 
must be altered and transformed, and this can only be contrived 
by the help of simple tools : the wooden plaiting needle and 
modelling knife, the horn or ivory paper knife, the steel pricking 
needle, penknife, and scissors. Thus also did early Man arrive 
at more complicated woik only by inventing tools and learning 
their use, and especially when by the knowledge of fire he could 
get metal tools and replace with them his primordial simple tools 


of wood, bone, horn, and stone. The materials, first worked 
upon just as Nature provided them, in the crude state, are 
only in a late stage of civilisation prepared and transformed by 
mechanical, physical, and chemical processes. To take a con- 
crete example, it is easy to trace the correspondence of the 
modelling in clay, the weaving and pricking of the Kindergarten 
occupations with the primeval arts of pottery, plaiting, and 
weaving, and puncturing (especially tattooing) of the earliest 
savages. The child, at first speechless, begins by singing, and 
not till later does he form articulate sounds. This is why 
Froebel gives such precedence to singing in the Kindergarten ; 
puts drawing before writing ; story telling before reading ; this is 
why he first presents to the intelligence of the child only the 
lower numbers and concrete object-notions, derived from the 
observation of actual objects, and then widens these out, little 
by little, till more advanced numerical conceptions and abstract 
notions are arrived at. It is certain that like the infant, so also 
primeval Man was long without the faculty of speech. Then 
comes the question whether singing did not probably precede 
talking. Next succeeds a long time, when writing, as yet, was not, 
but during which drawing and painting were invented, and these 
led up to the discovery of the representation of language by 
symbols ; and so, finally, to writing. Without writing, no means 
existed of securely transmitting knowledge, and Man often lost 
that which he had learned through experience ; just as we see 
that the infant easily forgets what he acquires. But after the 
discovery of writing, Man possessed the means of a perfect 
record, and could easily break through that narrowly circumscribed 
body of symbols representing only the concrete and phenomenal, 
within which savages to this day remain bound — the wild men 
of protruding jaws, retreating foreheads, and imperfectly de- 
veloped cerebral hemispheres. Soon came the book know- 
ledge, book learning, giving the possibility of connected culture. 
Rapidly and surely were then enlarged the bounds of Number 
and of Thought, and the power of creating all those nobler 
spiritual and mental possessions of humanity enshrined in Art 
and Science. 

lo Iiiti'oductioji. 

Now, since the Kindergarten method conducts the child from 
its first spontaneous Doing, Creating, and Working, arising out 
of the needs of its play, onwards to Knowing and Learning, to 
the Book, to the School, surely Froebel had good right to assert 
(as we in the foregoing brief cursory comparison by parallels have 
also asserted) that " This course of education, this Educational 
System, declares itself to any testing, comparing glance as one 
which follows the course that Providence itself has taken in the 
development of the culture and the education of the human race,/ 
so far as this is at present known to us " (Lange, i. p. 473}, 
Froebel had, in fact, the clearest possible perception of this 
parallelism between the development of one Man and that of 
Humanity, and did, in truth, imitate the ways of Providence in 
the methods of the Kindergarten ; which is to our mind a fact full 
of deep meaning. 

However, enough has been said by us of child-nature, its 
development and its education. Now let the Master himself 
speak, in his own manner, and with his own words, of 




To Madame Emilie von Markwitz, in North America.^ 


' Charms that a chaste wife worketh, fain would I sing in my song ! 
Look at the babe, the suckling, playing in lap of his mother ; 
Roguishly upturned his glances, listening, looking up to her. 
And ever on him the mother's fond eye rests, playing, responsive ; 
So early victorious over the soul is the power of love." 

- J. H. EichJioh. 

;ear madam,— 

Real family life, the tender care of childhood, the 
education of children, are things which of themselves 
knit closely together the thought and work of parents 
with those of the practical educationist. Therefore I venture to 
think it will not surprise you, bat will, on the contrary, seem to you 
quite natural, and fully justified by the claims of the great human 
purpose which links our lives, that I — w'lio so cherish in my heart 
the lives of little children and of boys and girls, regarding them~] 
as the germs of true natural lives of men and women, and as the / 
basis of the real life of the nation — that I, who so love to find my^J 
self in the nursery and the schoolroom, the inner sanctuaries of 
the family, should write to a true-hearted mother like yourself, 
even though I am not personally known to you. 

But there is also another lofty and hallowed phase of life by 

^ In the German text this letter is headed "To Madame Emilie F. , in 
N. A. "; that is, as explained, Madame Emilie Frankenberg, in North 
America, probably a sister-in law of Adolf and Luise Frankenberg ; but by 
the kindness of ^ladame Froebel we have been able to ascertain that the real 
person addressed was not Madame Frankenberg, but Madame von Markwitz. 

Letters of F^'oebel. 

virtue of which I claim admission to your family life, so full of 
hope, so beautiful. This is my friendship with your husband, as 
full of manly and benevolent virtues as of right fatherly feelings, 
and with other members of your large family circle, who unite 
their efforts in the cause of education with the similar efforts of 
myself and my circle. And I hope, dear madam, that it may prove 
of some assistance to you in the harmonious self-development 
of your life that these friends, dear to both of us, should have 
confidentially imparted to me for our mutual edification some 
thoughts upon your joys and feelings as a mother, which your 
earnest motherly soul has expressed to them. 

Indeed, dear madam, I have been deeply touched and much 
impressed. My sense of gratitude at once impelled me to express 
to you by letter some thoughts inspired by your confidences ; 
thinking also that perhaps you might find amongst them something 
to assist your pure maternal aspirations. 

My intention was quite definite, and I kept it carefully in 
mind ; nevertheless, from the time I was favoured with the 
perusal of your esteemed letter up to the present, I have not 
found it possible to carry it out. But now my intention springs 
up afresh, as vigorous as ever, and insists upon being carried out ; 
for I have just heard that another new young life has made its 
appearance, in that large family circle of yours, so closely united 
by brotherly affection. Once again a new life has come to draw 
still closer your intimate union, purifying and elevating you all. 
Therefore I cannot further refrain from the execution of my long- 
deferred intention. 

Closely following the lines of your letter, permit me to begin 
by an attentive consideration of fhe child's first appearance in the 

world, — of his 


The confidences which you have imparted to us begin by 
telling us how, amidst the joyful hope of bringing existence to a 
new human soul and the thought of your anticipated mother-joys, 
were mingled also thoughts of your own death. This confession, 
dear madam, affected me the more in that it contains a lofty and 
a true thought as well as a deep and a natural feeling. This 

The Child. 

thought and this feeling v/e must by no means thrust into the 
background at those critical periods of our lives when we are 
responsible for the creation, for the birth, and for the care of a 
new young life ; but, on the contrary, we must calmly lay hold of 
them by their higher meaning, and bring ourselves to a clear 
knowledge of all that is involved in them. In this way also they 
will for ever cease to disturb, worry, and enfeeble us, and will, 
on the other hand, elevate, confirm, and strengthen us. 

Firstly, without frightening ourselves, but pausing calmly with 
thoughtful glance before the flowers of the field, let us ask our- 
selves where we can find, either in physical Nature or in Human 
Life, that a new life comes into being except in connection with 
the downfall or annihilation of an earlier life. 

Does not the hard seed-corn perish that the slumbering germ 
within it may spring to life ? Does not the blossom fall to pieces 
that the fruit may be nourished ? 

Does not the maiden disappear to give place to the wife and 
mother ? Does not the life of fascinating hopes shrink back be- 
fore the fruitful life of hard actual work ? 

But again, do we not recognise the maiden, elevated and beau- 
tified, in the wife ? Does not the wife, and will she not always, 
come before us elevated and beautified in the mother ? How 
exquisitely and touchingly is this truth set forth in the Christian 
faith, where the Wife passes altogether out of sight in order that 
the Virgin may appear as Alother with the more perfect clearness. 

What is the principle which underlies this undeniable, this 
ever renewed and returning fact, that with the coming of 
birth death also invariably appears? It is this — that we must 
recognise, amidst the changing the Permanent, amidst the phe- 
nomenal the Absolute, amidst the transitory the Eternal, and 
amidst fleeting individual existences the everlasting Type. That, 
to go further, it is indeed only from the fear of the changing, the 
phenomenal, the transitory, and the individual that there arises a 
yearning, a longing, an intuition, a conception of the Permanent, 
of the Absolute, of the Eternal, and of the everlasting Type. 
Herein, then, for us men, lies the profoundest meaning of 
changing and phenomenal Nature, that physical Nature which is 

1 6 Letters of Froebel. 

so full of transitory and individual existences. Besides, in inti- 
mate correspondence with Nature and the life of Nature, that 
which perishes only reappears in fuller perfection in the succeed- 
ing stage of development. It is thus, in the fulfilment of this 
Divine ordering, that the expression of physical Nature becomes 
so full of peace and joy. 

Your fearful imaginings amidst your life so full of hope form a 
speaking proof, dear madam, of the intimate and manifold way 
in which one's whole existence and life are interwoven with the 
great life of Nature, and carry within them and cherish her uni- 
versal laws. The maiden, called upon to become a bestower of 
happiness as wife, a being happy in herself as mother, must not 
shrink from feeling herself at one w^ith the lofty, noble life of 
Nature ; nay, to acquire this feeling must be her sacred duty. 
Moreover, she must so feel, not in a partial and intermittent 
manner, but wholly and always; for it is through this life of 
Nature that God speaks and works. The more she does this, 
the more she feels that she herself exists in the midst of the great 
universal life, and that she too is a member of it, so much the 
more will she become a happy mother, and better than a happy 
mother; namely, a mother who makes others happy round her in 
a wide-stretching circle. This union with the life of Nature is to 
be found in fullest expression in the history of man's develop- 
ment amongst the many lofty typical examples of noble women. 

Permit me, dear madam, through you to speak to all maidens 
approaching their entrance into married life, to all wives cherish- 
ing the dearest of hopes within their bosom, and to use your 
example as a means of pointing out a great truth to them : — To 
rest in perfect trust upon Nature is the way to obtain the freshness 
of life and health under all relatio?is. May no maiden lose this 
faith in Nature ; and if she cannot consciously put it into words, 
may she be able to express it in manifold ways in her life and to 
show it forth in deeds ! 

But there was a second thing which powerfully moved me in 
regard to this fear which pervaded your letter — that the birth of a 
new life would perhaps cost you your own. It was the thought, 
thrust into prominence by that feeling, and intimately connected 

The Child. ly 

with it that you might be about to burden your dear husband with 
the charge of a new hfe, unsupported by the true mother's care. 
And this thought is yet more deeply stimulating than the feeling 
we have already considered, for it does not concern itself with 
anxiety over one's own life, but over the life of a stranger; and not 
merely, indeed, the life of a stranger, already existent in this 
outward world, but a new young life as yet in darkness and con- 
cealment, still slumbering on the bosom of the future. 

By the feeling previously considered, you were at one with 
Nature, and by this thought you are at one with Man, with the 
human race; for it is a truly humane thought, whose point of 
union, centre and kernel, is Life, Man and Human Life ; it is a 
thought which gathers up into the idea of the child the lives of 
yourself, your child, and your husband ; a thought which wholly 
lives in you and in which you wholly live ; a thought wherein you 
find all things, and wherein, for you, all things are absorbed. 

Ah, how I wish that this feeling might be held in common witli 
you by all wives, rich in maternal hopes ! My soul longs that every 
one of them should possess this feeling as a point of relation for 
each thought and act of hers, — that her whole hfe, as well as yours, 
might be absorbed by this thought, and that she, too, might find 
all within it. And while the feeling of Oneness with Nature, which 
we first considered, would lead up to a thoroughly strong and 
healthy race, this thought of the human lives united in manifold 
ways in the person of the child would give to that race a right 
manly noble life and being. The race of man would blossom forth 
in new splendour if such conceptions once became general ; ah, 
would they could ! 

There is yet one more thing that strongly affected me in read- 
ing your sisterly confidences ; and that is, the child-like thankful- 
ness which you express to your beloved departed mother, for her 
love and care of long ago; yes, and for her fears and toils for you, 
since to these you owe your being, your life, your present great 
happiness. How shall I express forcibly enough the elevating 
thoughts which rose within me, awakened by these confidences 
welling up fresh from your life and from your inmost soul ? I 
could already see how (from the feeling we first considered) you show 


Letters of Froebel. 

yourself at one with Nature, and how (from the second) at one with 
Mankind and human hfe, and I was now led to see how, by this 
third phase of thought, you express your feeling of close union 
with mankind when considered as grouped into families, and as 
elevated, moreover, through this conscious grouping, into a higher 
unity. From out the faithful cherishing of the family life springs 
the true national spirit, and from out a truly national spirit finally 
arises the conception of the universal brotherhood of man. May 
many children, therefore, feel the emotions of gratitude towards 
their parents which you have expressed, and especially may the 
minds of daughters be filled with thankfulness towards their 
mothers ; and then, again, may parents be thankful towards their 
children, and onwards to their grandchildren ! Thus will arise 
upon sure foundations, laid deep in human hearts, a real national 
life, by which the brotherhood of man will be furthered and 
broadened. How glad were I if all wives, and especially those 
rich in maternal hopes and those already surrounded by affection- 
ate children, could be brought to think of themselves in their 
quahty of daughters, and to be penetrated with sentiments such as 
those you have expressed to us in so filial a manner in your con- 
fidences ; then should we see each family cherishing grateful love 
and remembrance of their parents, and so cultivating the true 
national spirit and the sentiment of the brotherhood of all man- 
kind which would spring forth from the family circle in youth and 
vigour perpetually renewed. But a deep feeling of the universal 
brotherhood of man, what is it but a true sense of our close filial 
union with God ? 

If I search out, dear madam, the emotions which have swayed 
your mother's breast when thinking of the child you were about 
to welcome, and if I examine them in their likeness and in their 
unlikeness also, I find that it is Love^ Hope^ and Faith which 
accompany the new-born babe on his entrance into life. You 
greeted him with Love, love of his life and of his being. You 
greeted him with Faith, with the beautiful faith that the life of his 
father, his ancestors, his nation, his race, the very source and 
fountain of life, would enter into his life and be bound up with it 
ia fuller clearness and completeness. And you greeted him with 

The Child. 19 

the joyful Hope that health, bodily strength, and many various 
faculties might be vouchsafed to him. Thus, with this threefold 
emotion, should every happy mother welcome into existence the 
gift which God has given her. 

How beautifully connected with what has just been said is the 
immediately succeeding event in the life of the new Httle citizen 
of earth, — his 


as you have been so good as to picture it for us in your letter. 

What deep meaning is involved in the fact that you bring us 
back at once into the family, indeed, into the very family living- 
room itself ! The Family must always be considered as the sup~^ 
/porter and cherish er of the true life of mankind, and as that which 
\moulds the true life of the world ; and the family living-room i 
the inner sanctuary where the human soul is aroused and pre- 
pared for this double career. But, moreover, the family and the 
family-room appear in your charming sketch of a christening as 
neither isolated nor isolating ; not cut off by the four walls from 
the general life of Nature, nor from the higher life of humanity . 
quite on the contrary, all are closely knit into one whole. The 
business cupboard and writing-table of the father of the family, 
and the family store-closet, are alike shut close; and instead of 
appearing as the familiar sights of the work-a-day and family life we 
find them now covered with flowers, delighting us with the peace 
of their still life, and w^ith the joy of their beauty. Thus is Nature 
with her wealth of flowers brought within the family living-room, 
thus has she pierced through the barrier between her and it, to 
show herself as the sanctuary and cherisher of life that she is. 

But the room first puts on its full meaning when we observe 
the mother's work-table, covered with a lily-white cloth, on which, 
in the midst of a wTcath of rosebuds, stands the shining, round, 
white bowl adorned with golden circles and filled with clear 
sparkling water. This is the place where the highest consecra- 
tion of the life of the youthful citizen of the world and new 
member of the human family is now to be received by him in 
virtue of the religion of the Three-fold Life in Unity, and amidst 
those friends who will help him on his path through life. 

20 Letters of Froebel. 

How full of meaning, how touching is all this as told us by 
your motherly love, and how clearly does it all seem to stand 
before our eyes ! I can see every detail, from the white rose- 
bedecked cloth, symbol of the spotless pure white page of life 
now to be adorned with the roses of love, to the transparent 
water which rests upon it, symbol of the transparent soul and 
mind of crystal clearness which shall hover above that life and 
pervade it. 

As a member of Nature and natural life, as a member of 
Humanity and human life, and as a member of that collective 
mental and spiritual life which springs from God, and rests also 
in Him, the new-born babe thus receives the consecration of 
his existence. The love, faith, and hope which welcomed him 
into existence, welcome him also to this holy and manifold en- 
twining of his life with the source and wellspring of all life, with 
God. And further, who could set forth worthily the symbolic 
sense according to which this crystal water, drawn from an ever- 
flowing spring, typifies all Nature as she appears in union with 
him and welcoming him ? 

What child, after so pure and holy a life-union and life-conse- 
cration would not be able to enter upon 

with pure and holy soul ? 

And indeed you, happy mother, have set before us in a charm- 
ing manner the entrance into life of your new-born babe, your 

How touchingly, when the pain and suffering come to mind 
which the existence of this little one has cost you, do you dismiss 
them at once with the thought, " But the hfe of such a dear little 
baby makes me forget it all ! " 

How touching it is also when you bethink yourself of the new 
phases of life and work which this darling awakes in his father ; 
and when you are sorry for the additional burden thus set 
upon your husband, and yet at the same time you are glad to 
see him develop all these fresh emotions of watchful care which 
correspond to the new relations of life which now surround him ! 
For the inmost depths of his true and manly character are thus 

The Child. 21 

laid bare to you, and you feel how much too poor a gift to such a 
noble heart were that of your own love only, and you rejoice 
therefore that you can bring him, in addition, his and your 
child to reward him. What a bond of love and life have we 
here ! 

An important thing it is, indeed, when we consider how, in 
life, the claims of new duties received and fulfilled through love 
and by love, at once develop new powers, new faculties, new 
means of action, in men ; and in proportion to the demand 
which his duty makes upon a man and to the strength which is 
taken out of him in fulfilling that duty, is the immediate return, 
to him of something higher and stronger, which comes to him out| 
of this very effort. Yes, it is so ; new claims upon one's life,,-- 
rightly considered, awake in a true-hearted man new powers and 
new faculties. 

Oh, would that all of us, and especially the younger men, could 
recognise the truth of this great law of nature in all its bearings, 
and apply it to all the new claims upon us which spring up and 
meet us in our path through life ! And may such views of life, 
such convictions of the compensating power life possesses, always 
be with you in your own life, especially as mother and as 

Amid such protecting care, in such hands, and led by such 
guidance, even the youngest child soon feels himself strong. 
What pleasure you have given us by your narrative, telling how 
the little five-weeks-old baby, resting snugly sheltered in his father's 
arms, and watched over by the loving care of his mother, takes 
his first ride out of doors amidst the bright physical Nature 
which is the handiwork of God. This entrance into the temple 
of Nature, amidst such circumstances, cannot work otherwise than 
for good upon the general development of the child, and must be 
full of healthful results and impressions. Here, too, we must 
remark the friendly human sympathy with which the young 
world-citizen is welcomed upon this first little journey of his, 
shown in the proffered congratulations of the passers-by. 

As you thus contemplate your child amidst life, amidst Nature, 
there awakes in your mother's heart anxiety about his right 

22 Letters of Froebel. 

training for life. "The child must be good"^ that is your most 
earnest maternal resolve, your most engaging maternal hope, and 
'' that nothing may be omitted towards this end, so far as lies 
in you," you seek for counsel and advice, wherever you may be 
able to discover it near you, around you. Yet, however near 
counsel may be found amongst those around you, there is a 
counsellor yet nearer to you, or to any mother who will listen 
and attend to its warnings ; I speak of the counsel of your own 
heart, your own soul, your own intellect, so often buried, or 
distorted, or weakened by the varied influences of life, the pre- 
judices, the habits, the customs that enchain us all. Through 
all these, nevertheless, can this counsel be discerned by the 
faithful mother-instinct ; sometimes speaking out directly in the 
voice of the heart, of the soul, without artifice or disguise ; some- 
times only made manifest by a comprehensive glance which 
compares together the child's life and its demands, the mother's 
own life, and the life of nature, and scrutinizes the present and 
the past as w^ell as the future. The Good and True, moreover, 
is innate from the first in the human soul, but can only be 
made clear, and brought out from the depths into the light by 
a searching and comparing glance directed generally into the 
manifold relations of life, and into the child's soul, and specially 
iinto the claims of his eager desire for activity. For it is by 
cherishing carefully, thoughtfully, and in well-devised ways, such 
'as shall embrace the whole being of the child, this unceasing 
desire of his for activity, that we shall encourage him to be good 
rather than by any other method we can contrive; through this 
also that we shall best ward off the mischievous from him and 
his surroundings. In this connection, never forget — try and 
'niake it clear to your own intelligence by long-continued ob- 
rservation of nature and life — That all healthy a?id fresh develop- 
( ing and for mm g Iti life occur o?i the border of {pr^ as it uie7'e, i?t 
\the midst beiiveen) tiuo worlds. For example, the tree, or any 
such organism, grows with its roots in the earth dark as night, 
while it thrusts its top, covered with twigs and leaves, high into 

^ So our own Kingsley, " Be^v/?^/, dear child, andlet who will be clever." 

The CJiild. 23 

the clear sunlit air. On the borders, in between the kingdoms 
of the earth and the air, of darkness and light, the tree, like all 
the vegetable world, develops the beauty of its flowers, the wealth 
of its fruit. Brightness and gloom, day and night, rigid fixed 
earth and spirit-like breathing air are opposites which not only 
ever surround the child and the man, but which the man has to 
know and to recognise for the invariable conditions under which 
the whole world of nature, either actual or phenomenal, can alone 
endure and become perpetual, and which therefore are the con- 
ditions of all existence whatsoever upon the globe. All things", 
even spiritual or mental phenomena, will become more clearly 
and perfectly known through the right comprehension of these 
opposites, and the development of man's being will proceed wath 
greater freedom ; indeed, can only then proceed with psrfectj 
freedom. For in the first category —that, namely, of the surround- 
ings of man — does not the right distribution of light and shade 
enhance the beauty and expressiveness of every landscape? And 
in the second, that of man's own inner being, is not the insight 
into the permanent and the enduring made clear and firm because 
of our perception of the change which always surrounds us, and of 
the things which perpetually vanish before our eyes ? And is not 
the conviction, nay, the logical necessity of the spiritual unity of 
all Being brought home to us by the very consideration of the 
separateness and disjunction of the things of the outer world? 
Therefore, noble-hearted mother, be anxious only for this — that, 
since all opposites find their solution and reconciliation in your 
own harmonising and harmonious soul and intelligence, so also 
your darling one may acquire in his turn, through refinement of 
feeling and the practice of good, these joy-bringing, peace-attain- 
ing treasures for his soul. The child's life, the common life 
between the child and the mother, early gives, nay, very early 
indeed, motives and opportunities for such development; and, 
moreover, opportunities lie also in the many-sided commerce of 
the child with life and with physical nature. 

Still one more thing, dear madam, permit me to add to what 
I have said above. In nature, in life, and in the phenomena 
both of nature and of life, the everlasting force of destiny is 

24 Letters of Froebel. 

paramount. We, as Christians, call this the everlasting dis- 
pensation and guidance of Providence, and when this coincides 
with the expression of our inmost thought, we receive and ac- 
knowledge through it and in it, to our great blessing, the voice 
and the will of God ; the manifestation of God, in nature and 
in life. 

Now, in the same way that nature and life enfold us who are 
grown up, so do the actions and the lives of his parents enfold 
every child. 

You, yourself, madam, supply the proof of this assertion in 
your simple motherly remarks, when in your mother's joy you 
write, " My little one, scarce two months old, already begins to act 
as though he wished to talk ; he purses up his little mouth or 
widens it to its broadest ; he looks as if he already understood 
when I speak to him." Indeed, he does understand you, thought- 
ful, observant mother ! Your eye and your face are almost more 
to him than the sight of the sun's blaze or of the shining moon 
were to the first man. 

That is why the child so gladly gazes in the eyes of his mother 
and father, and sets such store by their answering glance. In your 
countenance he reads, proportionably to his stage of mental 
development, what the thoughtful adult man reads on a starlit 
night in the thickly studded shining heavens ;^ the clouding of 
your face is the same to him as the clouding of a clear sky is to 
us ; the clearing of your face is as joyful to him as is to us the 
return of the dazzling radiance of the sun pouring down upon the 
re-awakened earth. Just as the expression of Nature is the 
true manifestation of God to a thoughtful and observant man, so 
to the child the glances, the appearance, the actions of his 
parents combine to make up a manifestation of a higher life. 

Let us then make it our anxious care that the child shall early 
become conscious of the firm rule of destiny, which abides in 
him and works in him, an ever-present Providence pervading his 

^ The illustrious Kant used to say, "Two things fill my soul with ever- 
increasing wonder and awe the more often I behold them : tlie starry heavens 
al)ove me, and the sense of right and wrong within me " {Sdinmtliche Werke^ 
Lips, 1838 ; viii. 312). 

The Child. 

life ; in which, in full accord with the unsophisticated expression 
of his inmost soul, he may recognise to his great blessing the 
voice and the will of God. Then will every individual man reach 
the goal whither humanity is tending; and even should he stray 
or stumble here and there, yet in the main will he reach that goal 
by the path pointed out to him. Indeed, mankind has already 
partially realized this mission, and w^ill in the future still more 
nearly realize it, by the operation of the methods that God has 
chosen for the teaching of our race. 

But why, I hear your womanly modesty and motherly simplicity 
ask, why this public answxr to sisterly confidences, which were 
rather the outpouring of a joyous spirit than a formal letter 
intended for wide circulation ? 

For this reason, dear madam ; that the feelings expressed in 
your sisterly letter have lived and still surely live in the hearts of 
many noble mothers ; and therefore, perfectly natural as are these 
feelings to every pure maternal bosom, they deserve that their 
repose and harmony, their many-sided nature, and their lofty 
and important relations with humanity should be appreciated and 
made known ; and moreover, by this means they may come to be 
even more tenderly cherished. 

My having spoken through you, anxious mother, to many noble- 
hearted mothers who feel like yourself about one of the most 
important circumstances affecting mankind, will therefore, after 
all, I hope, seem right even to your womanly modesty, or at least 
will receive your indulgence. 

That your dear baby, as he acquires consciousness, may grow to 
feel himself to be in life and soul a member of his own family, 
of his nation, and also of mankind ; and that his spirit may 
early acknowledge that he is a child of Nature, of Mankind, and 
of God ; this is my heartfelt wish, and with it I close this letter, 
which I take the liberty to send you publicly, Avith cordial greet- 
ings to your beloved husband, and to your much-respected 

Fr. Froebel. 




^:^^^5|HE foundation of the Kindergarten and its bringing 
C^ft VvS to life was accomplished slowly and painfully, amidst 
fi^ ^^ much heavy outward and inward conflict. The 
(^^S^^^^ ground plan had been determined by Froebel as 
early as 1835, when he was in Switzerland : for he writes from 
Willisau^ to Langethal, in April, 1S35 — " JMy resolution is quite 
irrevocable, to devote myself henceforth solely to the fundamental 
idea of my life (the fostering of the natural desire for activity), 
to exhaust every effort towards accomplishing its clear develop- 
ment, simple exposition, and complete expression." From the 
middle of June to 20th Sept., 1836, Berlin was the nest where he 
brooded over this new fledgling of his mind.^ On 23rd July, 
1836, he writes from Berlin thus to Langethal: "The clear and 
thorough setting-forth and working-out of my fundamental idea, 
its complete presentation in some visible shape, this alone comes 
before my mind as upon all grounds a first and original claim 
upon me ; and by quiet withdrawal into my own thoughts, by 
complete absorption within myself, but also by silent observation 
of the powerful forces which move and control the life around me, 
I have gained surprising glimpses, made astonishing progress, 

^ By the German Editor, HeiT Poesche. 

2 Froebel transferred the Wartensee School to Willisau in 1832, and con- 
tinued to conduct it there till 1835. He left Willisau in the summer of 1835. 
to found with Langethal the Bern Orphanage at Burgdorf. He had pre- 
viously been giving courses to teachers at Burgdorf, with Langethal ; and at 
the date of this letter had returned to Willisau to conduct the examinations 
of the children, before finally taking leave of them, Langethal continuing 
meanwhile at Burgdorf with the teachers. 

** Froebel's first wife (Madame Henriette Froebel) had become alarmingly 
ill, and it was imperatively necessary that she should leave Swiss air. Froebel 
therefore gave over his post at Burgdorf to his nephew Ferdinand and to 
Lanizethal, and took his wife to Berlin. 

30 Letters of F roe be!. 

and even, if you like, I will say I have made many conquests. 
The whole conception grows upon me more and more as a great 
unity, yet rich in variety ; as something made up of many diverse 
forms and at the same time making many new ones, as a mighty, 
and yet as a beautiful tree of life within me." This letter was 
written from No. 46, Old Schonhauser Street, probably at the 
house of his wife's aunt. (The first Madame Froebel was a 
native of Berlin.) This same lady also had, in the immediate 
neighbourhood of Berlin, at Schonhausen, a little house and 
garden, "our little hut" as Froebel calls it. It was here that he 
fought " a real fight for life" to win an answer to the question 
" where he should cast the anchor," or, to use a better figure, 
"where he should plant the germ" of his forthcoming new 
venture, whether in Schonhausen or in Blankenburg, near 
Keilhau. Barop succeeded in getting him to choose Keilhau, or 
at least Blankenburg, close by. And we find the inventor of 
the Kindergarten writing from Keilhau on ist December, 1836, 
to Langethal in Switzerland : — " Since I left Switzerland, I have 
been at work uninterruptedly, watching over, making clear, 
developing, shaping, and constructing the fundamental idea of 
my life — I am often, very often, quite tired out." By the end of 
February, 1837, we find Froebel living in a building formerly used 
as a powder-mill at Blankenburg. Still in the grip of old educa- 
tional prejudices, he is preparing to entrust his work to men 
teachers, instead of to mothers and women teachers, and still 
seeks, for a very long time, after a suitable name for his institu- 
tion. At one time he thinks of christening it " Nursery School 
for Little Children," or " Self-teaching Institution." At another 
time he inclines towards a longwinded description : — " Institution 
for the culture of family life, and for education towards national 
and individual life, through the culture of the instinct for activity, 
inquiry and creation inherent in man — that is, in the child — as a 
member of the family, of the nation, of mankind ; that is to say, 
an institution for the self-teaching, self-education, and self- culture 
of men by means of play, of creative original activity, and of 
voluntary self-instruction ; for Families and National Schools." 
Finally, there occurs to him in a fortunate moment, as he is 

Foundation and Construction. 31 

walking over the beautiful Steigerwald between Keilhau and 
Blankenburg, the pretty and conclusive appellation — " Kinder- 
garten." Upon the discovery of this delightful name the wood- 
clad slopes of the mountain rang afar with his mighty joyous 
shout, " Eureka, I have it— the Kindergarten ! " Nature and 
name of the new Institution were thus at once happily found. 
How energetically and with what enthusiasm the Master now 
carries through the foundation of the institution, and strains 
every nerve to bring it into life, the following letters will serve to 
show. These eminently precious, thoughtful and tender letters 
are written to his cousin, the wife of Magister Schmidt, in Gera. 
The reader will soon judge of their worth for himself, and we 
need not further enlarge upon their contents or their meaning. 
It much more concerns us to say a few words about the con- 
struction raised upon Froebel's foundation ; to answer, that is, 
the question as to what has been done since Froebel's death 
towards the completion of his idea, by his scholars and his 
friends, of both sexes, on the literary and on the practical sides. 

On the literary side we get an excellent view of what has been 
done through a volume by Louis Walter on *' Froebelian Litera- 
ture " (Adler, Dresden). Walter classifies methodically the 
authors and the books which have more or less contributed 
towards the success of the Frobelian principle. He enumerates 
and describes works by sixteen physicians, many of them of the 
first rank, as Bock, Virchow, P. Niemeyer, Schreber, etc. ; by 
seventeen philosophers, such as Krause,^ H. von Fichte, T. Ziller, 
Stoy and Michelet ; by eight theologians, amongst whom are 
G. Werner, Steinacker, Karl Schwartz and Bahring ; by eight 
lawyers ; by eleven masters of grammar schools and commercial 
schools, as Wichard Lange, Prof. E. Pappenheim, Erasmus 
Schwab, and the Councillor of Education, Dr. R. Schmidt ; by 
seventeen masters of Normal Schools, amongst whom we find 
Diesterweg, Dittes, Kehr, Schiitze, Scholz ; by eighty-six masters 
of National Elementary Schools, such as the Councillors of Edu- 
cation, Bormann, Hoffmann, and Kockel ; Dr. Pilz, Keferstein, 

^ As to Krause's interesting correspondence with Froebel see the companion 
volume, "Froebel's Autobiography" (Sonnenschein). 

Letters of Froebel. 

etc. ; by six principals of Idiot Asylums, Georgens, Schroder, etc. ) 
by seventy-four teachers of the actual Kindergarten methods in a 
practical sense, amongst whom are INIiddendorff, Frankenberg, 
Maiquardt, Benfey, Poesche, Hoffmann, Koehler, Seidel, etc. ; 
by forty-seven literary men of all sorts and conditions, as for 
instance, Dr. Kiihne, Rossmaessler, Miiller, Ule, Bruno Meyer, 
Von Holzendorf, Dr. Emminghaus, etc. ; by eight editors of 
journals; and by forty-six ladies, a list comprising the Baroness 
von IMarenholtz-Biilow, Mesdames Henriette Schrader, Ida 
Seele (Madame Vogeler), Doris Liitkens, Guillaume, Bertha 
I^Ieyer, Lina Morgenstern ; Mesdemoiselles Amalie Marschner, 
Luise Hertlein, Thekla Naveau, Eleonore Heerwart, Lortzing, 
Schaefer, Focking, and thirty-two others. Already a library of 
the Froebelian literature would contain several hundred volumes. 
In the practical preparation of methods the three close country- 
men of Froebel, namely Koehler of Gotha, and Schmidt and 
Seidel of Weimar, have won the chief honours. And with what 
diligence, like a swarm of busy bees, the faithful guardians of the 
Froebelian treasure work ! They form a real army of women, 
this host of Kindergarten teachers. We can indeed say that 
Froebel's " grain of mustard seed which he took and sowed in his 
field, now it is grown, is the greatest among herbs, and becomeih 
a tree ! " (Matt. xiii. 31, 32.) 

Hand in hand with the literary side of the Froebelian Education 
has ever gone its practical working. The simple private Kinder- 
gartens of earlier times are now classified into Kindergartens for 
the higher classes and National Kindergartens ; we have Kinder- 
gartens belonging to private individuals, to committees and com- 
panies, to parishes, to states ; and there are, moreover, Normal 
Kindergartens for the practice in teaching of young teachers 
of both sexes. The least progress made by the Kindergarten 
movement, so richly developed in all the period precedmg school 
life, is that in the period of school life itself ; and yet it paves the 
way to all school teaching, advanced or elementary alike. It is 
high time that something should be done about this ; at least, 
certain selected ''occupations" should be carried on much later 
than hitherto. In the department of adjuncts to the school we 

Foundation and Construction. 

find much improvement, however. Here we see open play- 
grounds for the children, school gardens (Erasmus Schwab), and 
school work-rooms planned and actually brought into existence, 
especially in the larger towns. As regards the school work- 
rooms, particularly with reference to the educational - work - 
question, I may be permitted to remark, with a view of clearing 
up many misunderstandings and misrepresentations, that I was 
the first (at the gathering of the friends of the Kindergarten 
movement in 185 1) to urge that the Froebelian games and occu- 
pations should be carried onward, so as to become, the means 
of teaching actual handicrafts. In 1852 an address of mine 
on this subject was printed by Herder, of Freiburg (Breisgau, 
Baden), which I had delivered at Christmas, 1851, in Georgens' 
School at Baden-Baden, under the title, " Handiwork considered 
as a means of Culture towards the Development and Education 
of Man." Late in the summer of 1852 I received Professor 
Biedermann's book, " Karl Friedrich's System of Handiwork " 
(Leipzig, Avenarius). I became intimately acquainted with 
Biedermann, who then dwelt in Lindenau, near Leipzig, and in 
the following autumn I had the pleasure of presenting him to the 
Baroness von Marenholtz-Biilow at his house. The necessary 
consequences of the Froebelian system when applied to educa- 
tional handiwork were demonstrated by me in a series of essays 
on " Practical National Education," published in Diesterweg's 
review, "Rheinische Blatter" ("Rhine-pages") in 1856-1858, 
but thought out in book-form from the very first. In the mean- 
time the Dane, Clausen Caas, not without encouragement from 
me, pushed on a propaganda for educational handiwork in 
Germany, and many of our leading men, as for example Dr. 
Woldemar Goetze, in Leipzig, Herr von Schenkendorf, in Goerlitz, 
etc., see in this system the firm foundations of a beautiful and 
living industrial efficiency. Thus, on this side also we have to 
rejoice over our great progress. 

After school life we have to chronicle a most remarkable result 
of the extension of the Froebelian system, in the culture of 
woman's special vocation. The importance of these circum-= 
stances makes it advisable to describe the plan and work of som.e,- 


34 Letters of Froehel. 

one institution of the kind. I choose for this purpose the 
" Pestalozzi-Froebel-House " at Berlin. Froebel claimed as the 
practical foundation of his Kindergarten the education of young 
girls in their special teaching vocation, and also at the same 
time in their housewifely duties. Therefore he would first train 
nurses, who would be able, when needed, to lend a hand to the 
busy housewife in her work of the house, while they would take 
over from the mother the necessary watchful care, the educa- 
tional responsibility, for her child. Beyond these he would have 
the trained Kindergarten teachers, called to exercise their high 
vocation in Kindergartens or in private families. And, last of all, 
he planned the culture of young ladies of good position in society 
for their future educational duties simply as mothers. Ever since 
the year i860 the " Froebel- Verein " of this place (Froebel Society 
of Berlin) has been engaged in a constant endeavour to solve 
these problems of Froebel's, and has brought to bear upon them 
the greatest practical fitness, the most incessant perseverance, 
and the warmest enthusiasm; and with excellent results, as shown, 
inter alia, by the successful manner in which it has secured a 
true educational basis as the foundation of its seven Kinder- 
gartens, its "College for Kindergarten Teachers," and its 
'•' Training Institute for Nurses." But there remained, and still 
remains wanting, the home, the visible hearth {focus), round 
which these vigorous efforts might group themselves, and where 
they might concentrate themselves ; some given place and time 
where their various powers and the means of their application 
might be drawn together and co-ordinated. On the other hand, 
the " National Education and National Kindergarten Society in 
South-West Friedrichstadt " 1 commenced its fruitful labours by 
acquiring its own house and garden ; and the " Pestalozzi- 
Froebel-House," the home of this united society, I now propose 
to set clearly before the reader's eyes, so far as the information 
which I have collected about it will serve. 

^ A middle class quarter of Berlin 

Foundation and Coiistruction. 35 

The Pestalozzi-Froebel-House, Berlin. 

IF it is true that emotional sensibility and love of family life 
are main characteristics of the German people, if it is true that 
Pestalozzi and Froebel based all their efforts for educational 
reform upon the Family, then the Pestalozzi-Froebel-House (at 
16, Steinmetz Street, Berlin) deserves a detailed description here. 
"The National Education and National Kindergarten Society," 
an association of ladies and gentlemen of good social position, 
took over, in the year 1873, ^ simple National Kindergarten, and 
developed it into an establishment of high importance to the art of 
teaching, which they have called the "Pestalozzi-Froebel-House." 
According to my information, the success of this establishment 
" has owed much to the keen scrutiny, mingled with the most 
kindly interest, of H.I.H. the Crown Princess of Prussia. ^ Her 
Imperial Highness has continually supported the society by word 
and deed, and several of its contrivances and inventions owe 
their existence to her initiative, whilst many a child in the 
Pestalozzi-Froebel-House has found its prettiest Christmas 
treasures in the generous gifts of the Princess." ^ Madame 
Henriette Schrader, also, Froebel's grand-niece, who watches 
over the extension of his work with the far-seeing constructive 
eye of genius, has taken an important share in organizing the 
whole establishment from beginning to end, so that it may be 
a living embodiment of the spirit of Pestalozzi and Froebel in 
house and school. The society, aiming at active reform, has set 
before itself as its object "the education of the people in general, 
with special reference to the education of girls," and in this 
province, while maintaining a close connection with the School 
on the one hand and the Family on the other, it aims at pro- 
ducing something which shall be in itself a well-ordered complete 
whole. Before all else the society sets itself to give women an 

^ Victoria, Princess Royal of England, eldest child of the Queen, Crown 
Princess of Prussia in 1887, when this chapter was written, and now (1890) the 
widowed Empress Frederick, dowager Empress of Germany and mother of 
the present Emperor William II. 

' The lamented Emperor Frederick, whilst Crown Prince, also took great in- 
terest in the institution, paid several visits to it, and assisted it in many ways. 

36 Letters of Froebel. 

education which is based on the principle of unity, and to foster 
those elements of bodily and mental activity in the children and 
young girls under its care which shall serve towards the renewing 
and ennobling of family life. 

To support these lofty and noble aims, then, are the resources 
of the society definitely organized. 


The foundation of the living, active spirit of the establishment 
is the well-organized complete household arrangement of the 
Lady Principal, Mile. Hammink-Schepel. Acting on that root- 
principle of Pestalozzi's, "Not skill, nor books, but Life itself is 
the foundation of all education," ^ every onesided theory, every 
abstract and unfruitful dogma, is cleared away, and a great point 
is made, with good reason, of the fact that the "atmosphere of 
the family" and Pestalozzi's "power of the common dwelling- 
room " are everywhere cherished in this house ; for, indeed, 
" from whence is the genuine fostering care to come, which is so 
necessary for a child's life, if his home is desolate and empty, 
or if his mother, from want of time or from ignorance, is not in 
a position to provide it?" A mother who understands the 
importance of introducing her child, in the right spirit, to house- 
keeping duties, and of giving him a share in these things, care- 
fully regulated according to his powers, is preparing beforehand 
those capacities which will later on form the basis of right 
practical efficiency in his life as a citizen. The housekeeping of 
a family brings one into constant interchange with nature, with 
commerce, and all the many divisions of a citizen's life, and gives 
an intelligent mother many opportunities to place the child in his 
earliest youth amid loveable relations with man, with God, and 
with Nature. How well Froebel understood this is shown in his 
" Songs for Mothers and Nursery Play" {Mutter- iind Kose-Lieder). 
In accordance with the educational meaning thus attributed to 
housekeeping and the work of the family, this pleasant and 

1 See "The National Kindergarten in the Pestalozzi-Froebel-House,'" liy 
Henriette Schrader. Parti. (Berlin: Leonard Simion.) 

Foundation and Construction. 37 

health-giving duty is provided for in the institution we are de- 
scribing by a complete and well-furnished kitchen, a bath-room, 
a courtyard, a garden for amusement (with sand for digging, with 
pebbles, and pine cones, moss, and shells, and straw, etc.), and 
one for orderly gardening, and also by a series of rooms and 
halls suitably furnished and arranged for games, occupations, 
handiwork, and instruction. 


Let us now consider the basis of the whole institution educa- 
tionally speaking ; that is to say, the children's division. 
The establishment contains : — 

1. The Kindergarten proper, a National Kindergarten with four 
classes, for children from 2J to 6 years old. 

2. The Transition Class, only held in the morning and by one 
teacher, for children about 6 or 6h years old. 

3. The Preparatory School for children from 6 to 7 or 7 i 
years old, preparing for the two school classes. 

4. The school of knitting and handiwork planned out and now 
in preparation, which will give to boys from six to ten years old, 
and to girls from school age up to their confirmation, a varied and 
comprehensive system of education in domestic affairs. 

(I.) The purpose of the National Kindergarten is to provide the 
necessary and natural help which poor mothers require, who have 
to be about their work all day, and must leave their children to 
themselves. The occupations pursued in the Kindergarten are 
the following : free play of a child by itself; free play of several 
children by themselves ; associated play under the guidance of a 
teacher (Froebel's Games) ; gymnastic exercises ; several sorts of 
handiwork suited to little children ; going for walks ; learning 
music, both instrumental (on the method of Madame Wiseneder) 
and vocal ; learning and repetition of poetry ; story-telling ; look- 
ing at really good pictures ; aiding in domestic occupations ; gar- 
dening ; and the usual systematic ordered occupations of Froebel. 
Madame Schrader is steadfastly opposed to that conception of the 
Kindergarten which insists upon mathematically shaped materials 

38 Letters of Froebel. 

for the Froebelian occupations, the early training of the intellect, 
and the stern discipline of the schoolroom. The plan of this 
Kindergarten, therefore, derives its basis, not from the school, but 
from the healthy moral-religious life of the family ; and the guid- 
ance given to the little ones is less that of a school teacher than 
that of a true mother. Madame Schrader says very rightly that 
the tender age of little children needs above all "organic or self- 
developing life," and " the warm breath of the atmosphere of the 
family ; " and she therefore principally directs her efforts, availing 
herself of the natural development of the child's yearning for 
activity, towards preserving and strengthening the lofder moral 
feelings in the child. Very characteristic also of her method inH 
the Kindergarten is the planned effort after concentration, so that / 
, someone object, the "Object for the Month," shall always be 
k4)resent as a centre of interest for the child. " From the richl^ 
crowded ever-changing life of things and phenomena which the 
Kindergarten offers, some one object is chosen for a central point 
each month. To the ' Object for the Month ' the manifold activity 
of the child is by preference directed during this period, and he 
learns to concentrate his interest upon it, and thereby comes not 
only to regard things as separate objects with which he busies 
himself in many various ways, but also to understand them as 
related to other things and to mankind — all this, of course, within 
the natural limits which bound the minds of children of this age."^ 
And what are the results which Madame Schrader promises us 
from such a method in Kindergarten education, from such a con- 
tinuous connection of bodily and mental exercises? "Through 
kindly care for animals and plants, as also, in a general sense, 
through acquaintance with Nature, and through the useful appli- 
cation of natural products, the children acquire a loving relation- 
ship with Nature, and win points of vantage whence they may, 
later on, come to understand her by the aids of religion, poetry, 
and science. Through the manufacture of various articles, such 
as folded forms in paper, woven mats, or clay models, etc., and 

^ " National Kindergartens," by Madame Schrader. No. 2, " The Object 
for the Month." (Berlin, 18S5. Leonard Simion.) 

Foundation and Construction. 39 

through the use of these things for the service or the decoration 
of the institution, are the children familiarised with the lirst 
beginnings of handicrafts and of art-work, and thus they win the 
elements of the knowledge of industrial life and industrial activity. 
Through perfectly free use of slate and pencil, clay, paper, needle 
and thread, bricks and laths, etc., the children have opportunities 
given them to make ' free inventions ' of their own, and thus to 
attack the first steps in art. Through a systematic arrangement of 
Froebel's occupations, the intellectual capacities of the children 
are nourished — never by abstract teaching, but always by working 
out in action — and the child is prepared for school. Through the 
connection of picture, song, and story, with the experiences of 
the child, the imagination of the little ones is naturally cherished, 
and a poetic and bright view of life is encouraged." All the 
above is drawn from actual practice, a fruit plucked from the 
fresh tree of life. And if not every tree, nor every Kindergarten, 
can bear such rich fruit, nevertheless it cannot be denied that 
the Kindergarten system affords good ground "for the harmonious 
interchange between the life of the body and that of the mind." 

(II.) and (III.) The Transition Class serves as a bridge to the 
Preparatory School ; and herein, by gradual steps, the Institution 
couples the Froebelian principle of "reproduction," or repre- 
sentation, with the Pestalozzian principle of " intuition." " No 
fresh stage of development, no new treatment of life and of out- 
ward things can be allowed, according to Pestalozzi's and Froe- 
bel's dicta, to stand in flagrant contradiction to that which has 
preceded it. On the contrary, in fact, all changes in modes of 
education and of instruction, and in their application, must be 
most gradual ; resembling in this the changes in the course of 
development of the child himself, which never occur by fits and 
starts. On this account, the first teaching in the Preparatory 
School, conducted upon Froebel's principles in this institution, 
stands in no rude contrast to the previous work in the Kinder- 
garten. The child finds a wealth of material in the Kindergarten 
for the development of his desire for activity whereby he expresses 
his thought, and the same is the case in the lower classes of the 
Preparatory School ; following Pestalozzi's and Froebel's method. 

40 Letters of Froebel. 

At this stage not books, but Life, still remains the central point, 
and the point of departure for instruction. 

(IV.) The school for handiwork, only open in the afternoons 
(Wednesdays and Saturdays excepted), concerns itself, partly with 
carrying onwards the Froebelian occupations into the practical 
handicrafts allied to them ; such as making paste-board boxes and 
baskets, weaving osier-baskets, or cloth mats, etc., and partly 
with instruction in knitting, patching, and darning. The children 
only pay fifty pfennige (sixpence English) a month, until they 
reach the Preparatory School. The motive underlying these 
handicrafts is set forth by Madame Schrader after this fashion : — 
" The children find in our institution, as Pestalozzi requires that 
they should find, every encouragement to develop their capabili- 
ties and powers by use ; not by their selfish use, to their own 
personal advantage, but by their use in the loving service of others." 
" The longing to help people, and to accomplish little pieces of 
work proportioned to their feeble powers, is constant in children ; 
and lies alongside of their need for that free and unrestrained play 
which is the business of their life." Therefore opportunities are 
created for the elder children to satisfy this want in the following 
way: — They are expected to employ themselves in cleaning, taking 
care of, arranging, keeping in order, and using the many various 
things belonging to the housekeeping department of the Kinder- 
garten ; for example, they set out and clear away the materials 
required for the games and handicrafts ; they help in cleaning the 
rooms, furniture, and utensils ; they keep all things in order and 
cleanliness ; they paste together torn wall-papers or pictures and 
cover books, and they help in the cooking and in the preparations 
of cooking ; in laying the tables ; in washing up the plates and 
dishes, etc. The children gain in this manner the simple but 
most important foundations of their later duties as housekeepers 
and householders, and at the same time learn to regard these 
duties as things done in the service of others." 

Next to the School for Handiwork, in economic importance, 
ranks the kitchen. Dinners are provided for those children whose 
parents work all day away from home, at a trifling charge of five 
and ten pfennige (one halfpenny and one penny in English). 

Foundation and Constniction. 41 

A-lso for a trifle poor children may receive assistance of various 
kinds in illness, or may have milk, or baths, through the kindness 
of the kindred " Association for the Promotion of Health in the 


Upon the foundations above described rests the upper struc- 
ture of the Institution, namely : — 

A training-school for young girls to prepare them for their 
future vocation as housekeepers and as mothers. 

The primary object in this division is so to arrange the educa- 
tion of these girls, drawn from the ranks of the people, that they 
shall be better equipped than they formerly were for the fulfil- 
ment of those duties which life will shortly lay upon them ; that 
they shall come more and more clearly to understand how to 
fulfil their housewifely duties, and their responsibilities as educa- 
tors of their children ; and that they shall enter upon their new 
life strong in both body and mind, well prepared for, and finding 
pleasure in, their work. Further, this Institution offers to girls of 
the upper classes opportunities on the one hand of acquiring 
systematic culture towards housekeeping and towards educating 
their own family, or towards professional Kindergarten work as 
the vocation of their life, and on the other hand, of preparation 
for those duties towards the poor which devolve upon the ladies 
of the upper classes. This department of the Institution is very 
earnestly promoted, and it is certainly of the highest social im- 
portance that young ladies should thus in very early youth be 
habituated to actual handiwork, and to the accomplishment of 
duties in the service of their poorer fellow-men, and should be- 
come well prepared for those duties by teaching and by real work. 
The means for attaining these various objects are thus arranged. 

I. In the complete training of the young girl for housewifely 
duties, the most important element is the kitchen, that is to say, 
the School of Cookery. And as the institution is now about to 
closely connect the work of the School of Handiwork with that 
of the School of Cookery, it will become possible to offer a com- 

42 Letters of Froebel. 

plete school of housewifery even to poor girls of the school-age. 
Such girls will in future have the opportunity, in this Institution, 
of doing ordinary school work in the afternoons, as is the case in 
a Servants' Home, of taking walks together, of woiking in the 
garden, etc. ; the main object still remaining that of training both 
girls drawn from the ranks of the people and young ladies ol 
the upper classes, in the theory and practice of cookery and 
housewifery, and especially in such a manner that they shall learn 
most thoroughly what is most required in their own housekeep- 
ing, and shall be able to put it into practice in the best way ; in 
fact, that they shall be accustomed to the real earnest work of the 

2. The educational vocation of the wife in both the narrow 
and the broad senses of the term, and the culture of women in 
the practice and theory of education, are provided for in the 
many divisions of the Training College department of the Insti- 
tution. Therein ladies of the upper and wealthier classes find 
opportunities for dehghtful and invigorating association with the 
world of children, for loving and natural intercourse with the 
poorer classes of the people, for systematic preparation towards the 
education of their own family, or towards the profession of Kinder- 
garten-teacher, whether as a fully qualified teacher of the higher 
grade, or as a nursery governess or teacher of the second grade. 
It is no small curriculum which is to qualify these young ladies 
for their highly responsible vocation : but it has been planned 
with a keen regard for including only that which is truly neces- 
sary. In the first division — that for Kindergarten teachers — the 
instruction is classed under the following heads : Theory of Edu- 
cation, including the elements of Hygiene — History of Education 
and Religion — Theory and practice of Kindergarten teaching — 
Teaching Methods — Geometry — Singing — Drawing and Colour- 
ing — Gymnastics — Natural History — Elements of Political Eco- 
nomy, and the visiting of Charitable Institutions — The Froebelian 
Occupations — Special preparation for the practice of Kinder- 
garten teaching and School teaching — Instruction in Needlework, 
and especially with a view to improving the methods of mending 
linen — Extension of the Froebelian Occupations into allied handi- 

Foundation and Construction. 

crafts, such as weaving of cloth mats, basketwork, etc. — and 
Household Work. The course of instruction for nursery-gover- 
nesses, or Kindergarten teachers of the second grade, is naturally 
simpler. These receive instruction in the Froebelian Occupations 
and the Theory of Education — in Natural History — German — 
Story-telling and recitation of Poetry — Singing — Drawing — Gym- 
nastics — Needlework, etc. The students are made to work 
practically in the various departments of the institution ; indeed, 
the elder ones are able, and are expected, to turn their studies to 
useful application as assistant teachers, whereby they gain confi- 
dence, and accustom themselves to independent action. 

In these ways has this great institution arisen from small be- 
ginnings. In the Pestalozzi-Froebel- House the efforts of the 
two great educators have again found a common home, and the 
Hves of the householder, the child, the college student, and the 
teacher are fused into one energetic whole by the glow of cheerful 

Twenty Letters of Froebel to Madame Schmidt, in Gera. 

Letter I. 
Blankenburg, near Rudolstadt, ^tk Jinie, 1840. 

Dear and esteemed Cousin, — 

Again I approach you by letter, and although not about any 
personal matter, yet with the old personal trust ; and I hope for 
your most friendly attention. 

The approaching Festival of the 400th anniversary of the in- 
vention of printing, which, no doubt, is much discussed in your 
circle, has suggested to us an idea whereby what is lasting and 
beneficent in this celebration may be connected with the world of 
children, with the life of early childhood and its care, and so with 
the child-lovinsf souls of our women. The celebradon of this 

44 Letters of Fi'oebel. 

festival must excite the most lively interest in the bosoms of all 
thinking and feeling men. 

I take the liberty of sending you ttie plan ^ describing such a 
work for German women and girls, hoping for your kind co- 
operation, that you may make good use of it amongst the circle 
of your lady acquaintances. 

Should this subject enlist your sympathies, as I flatter myself it 
will, so that you would make interest with the editor of the 
journal of your town in favour of the work, it would gladden US' 
much if a suitable article were written inviting subscriptions. 

The address which appeared in the Rudolstadt weekly journal 
is enclosed. 

I wish, dear cousin, that you had already carried out your 
intention of visiting us. Then would my little child-world, which 
feels itself happy under the guidance of the principle shown forth 
in my plan, be now praying from out the happiness of the child- 
life for your cordial assistance towards putting my plan into 

Give my kindest remembrances to all your dear family, and 
especially to my honoured cousin, your dear husband ; and accept 
the assurance of my unaltered sentiments of friendship and esteem 
for yourself. 

I am, Your affectionate Cousin, 

Friedrich Froebel. 

Letter II. 

Blankenburg, K^th/uly, 1840. 
Dear and much-esteemed Cousin, — 

You will have hardly been able to understand why your re- 
peated kind enclosures have up till now not brought you one 
word of thanks from me in return. The celebration of the Gut- 
tenberg festival,^ and the foundation of the German Kindergarten 
took place on 28th June.-^ I thought I had better wait till it was 
over before I sent you particulars as to the subscriptions. 

^ For his plan, see Appendix to the present section of the book. 
- The 400th anniversary of the invention of printing. 
3 " 28tl'i July," by error, in the German text. 

Fo7indation and Construction, 45 

Then I was busy with a description of the festival and with 
my report, and at the same time it seemed necessary to prepare 
an account of the proposed new German educational work as 
regards the culture of very young children. This description and 
the rest I intended, dear cousin, to have sent you along with my 
letter of thanks. Bat the printing takes so much more time than 
I expected that I cannot venture to delay my letter till it is ready. 

The number of subscribers has not equalled our expectations. 
It has not reached the stipulated 100 for the first stage, but only 
amounts to about 70.1 Most of the subscriptions come from the 
neighbourhood ; those received through your kindness must be 
reckoned with the more distant ones, yet there are a few from as 
far as Westphalia. 

Weimar has shown itself sympathetic, the Grand Duchess has 
subscribed, and also the reigning Duchess of Meiningen. 

You will now perhaps begin to think, my kind and sympathising 
cousin, that this result, so small as yet, makes me doubtful of the 
success of the whole project, and weakens my resolution to pro- 
ceed with my undertaking. Nothing of the kind ; it has only 
taught me the whole position of affairs ; it has enabled me more 
clearly to discern at once the obstacles which lie in the path of 
carrying out the work, and the means and the way to overcome 
them. Therefore the work shall most surely be carried through ; 
it must be accomplished by appealing to the loftier side of human 
nature, and I shall not abandon my efforts. 

The greatest obstacle of all is the want of public spirit. There 
is a widespread feeling which may be put into the form of the 
rather vulgar proverb, " My shirt is nearer my skin than my 
coat." This may be physically true ; it holds in time and space ; 
but yet, after all, it does not hold if the essential meaning of the 
thing be considered, for in the most handsome and best made 
shirt I can freeze to death, or at all events can catch my death of 
cold, whereas a good coat preserves me from both these dangers. 

^ Froebel in his plan desired loo subscribers of ten thalers each (30j-. Eng- 
lish) to found the work ; then l,ooo more to actually start it. (See his plan, 
already referred to, which will be found at the end of this section of the book.) 

4^ Letters of Froebel. 

Whereby I do not mean to say that a good shirt is of no use. I 
mean merely to assert that the effort to acquire a good coat, 
something which shall cover you all over and protect you, is by 
no means an absurd or useless endeavour. My parable applies 
to both the earlier and later stages of family education, as well as 
to the future institutions for the care of little children which are 
to become the order of the day. Such institutions, in very truth, 
can only prosper when they are supported by a genuine edu- 
cational spirit on the part of the general public and by a common 
interest in the care and culture of early childhood. I might give 
you many symbolic illustrations of my meaning. Look, for in- 
stance, at isolated trees ; how they grow amidst a perpetual 
struggle for existence and are often on the point of perishing, 
because the wind blows away the leaves which they strew above 
their roots to protect them ; but on the other hand, the trees 
which you see united together in a wood preserve each other's 
protecting and nourishing layer of leaves, and grow aloft in power. 
Just so, dearest cousin, must we strive to awaken a public spirit, 
and bring people to a sense of its proper value. But why do I 
say all this to you, who are already so cordial a sympathiser? 
For this reason : that you may impart my convictions and the 
grounds for them to other sympathisers, if you feel yourself im- 
pelled to do so. 

To-day I can only send you and the two other ladies of your 
town who are in sympathy with our cause, this fragment from the 

My kind remembrances to your much-esteemed husband and 
your dear family. 

Dearly beloved cousin, let us cherish the union of heart and 
soul which has so long existed between us, in order that we may 
use it to the blessing of mankind. It is because of this great 
object that your faithful friendship in heart and life is so inexpres- 
sibly dear to me. Be assured of this from 

Your sincerely attached Cousin, 

Friedrich Froebel. 

Foundation and Construction. 47 

Letter III. 

Blankenburg, 5/// Sept., 1840. 
Beloved dearest Cousin, — 

You must have been certain how happy you would make me 
through the assurance of your warm sympathy in my Ufe-work, 
and I too rejoice in your certainty that this would cheer me. 
It is a precious boon for our life when one soul can comprehend 
another soul in relation to the highest and best possessions life has J 
to offer. I feel myself fortunate, that with respect to the principles, 
the starting point, or the end in view, in what I have done towards 
the care and education of little children too young to do any- 
thing else than play, you understand me thoroughly ; without its 
being necessary for me to address a word of explanation to you. 
You perceive and quite correctly express my design of cherishing 
and awakening a germ in the soul of man, in his intelligence and 
his life, beginning with the earliest childhood, which shall develop 
into a tree of life of unfading freshness, with blossoms ever 
renewed, and bearing ever more perfect and riper fruit, in peace 
and joy. x\nd not alone in this world but into the next shall grow 
this tree of life, giving pleasure to God and to noble and true- 
hearted men, and filling with joy Him who so loved little 

Then shall the earth, moreover, be acknowledged for what it 
really is, one of the many mansions in the house of God our 
Father ^ ; yea, as a part of His heaven itself, and as such shall it 
be held in honour. Not, however, after any arbitrary, self- 
evolved, or excogitated interpretation, but after the manner that 
God Himself teaches us and permits us to be taught in so many 
diverse ways. But men, who love phrases better than facts and 
deeds, refuse to understand me when I depose the empty phrase 
from its place of honour, and set in its room the fact and the 
deed ; and those, moreover, clear, pure, vivid and simple, such 
as they have come to us from God's own hand. 

^ " Suffer little children to come unto me, and forbid them not, for of such 
is the kingdom of heaven" (Matt. xix. 14). 

- "In my Father's house are many mansions " (John xiv. 12). 

48 Letters of FweheL 

And what could be more grateful to me than your ready com- 
prehension of the motives which guide my action in this matter ; 
for my most earnest efforts are wholly spent in the endea- 
vour to hear the voice of One who leads us into all Truth, and 
never in self-regard, selfishness, or wilfulness. You know the 
method and the means of action which I should most gladly 
follow. My heart and mind delight to live and work in simplicity 
alone, in stillness and modesty, withdrawn somewhat from the 
world, but always in clearness and orderliness and harmony of 
thought, and so as to yield fulness to life ; my objects being the 
Good, the Virtuous, the True, and whatever gives peace and joy. 

By an extraordinary fatality, by a special concatenation of cir- 
cumstances, I have always been, from my earliest youth onwards, 
urged forward and driven into activity against the claims and 
desires of my own soul. I know, dear cousin, for I have often 
experienced it, that the Good, the Virtuous, the True, and the 
Sincere arise only from amongst the smallest, stillest, and most 
hidden places of life. Whatever I may have succeeded in ac- 
complishing during my life which has any real value, however 
slight, has originated in this seemingly casual manner. 

To-day I would gladly return, if surrounding conditions 
only allowed me, to the smallest beginnings of things ; but the 
artist life, the life of construction, through which we all must 
pass — and I also with my Kindergarten, if it ever is to really 
exist ; such a life, I say, broadens and enlarges itself before one 
knows whither it is tending. So grew up the plan of a German 
Kindergarten in my mind, arriving quite unexpectedly to my- 
self at the dimensions and wide contents which its contour at 
present embraces. I am beginning again to-day with the idea of 
the Kindergarten, developing it from its smallest germ ; a task in. 
which many things here combine to help me, if only I could 
attain the one necessary condition, namely, a true womanly heart, 
educationally capable, combined with an intelligence full of 
motherly experience, and willing to be devoted to the culture 
and watchful care of the little ones, and to the training of the 
elder daughters and young women. 

The whole sex, whose powers are now to bud forth, can be 

Foimdation and Coiistmction. 


educated and trained towards the goal of all mankind, although 
we have to begin at the very earliest beginning, for the history of 
man has often shown this ; but three conditions are imperatively 
necessary, working together as one undivided unity : — 

(i) Woman's heart and woman's life, (2) in intimate union with 
genuine loving care of children ; and both the care of children 
and the woman's heart grounded upon (3) a true sense of com- 
munion with God. 

But this sense of the divine is not to arise from thought, or 
from feeling, or from unconscious habit ; it is to be a deep-felt 
penetrating action of all three, working together as a single 
mental whole. 

And what reward can I offer to a womanly soul thus conse- 
crating herself to this sphere of work in self-sacrificing love for 
children ? Not enough to content her, if I may judge by what 
I have heard as likely to be demanded : yet this is not the main 
difficulty \ the first thing is to find such a womanly soul. 

In my own circle of acquaintance all the women-folk are en- 
gaged with their chosen vocations or their home duties. 

Your recommendation, my dear cousin, to develop the Kinder- 
garten on a small, on the smallest, scale is quite after my heart; and 
further, its development on a large scale, as a great institution, 
does not attract me in the least, for I know that a large under- 
taking would not only bring with it much fatigue and trouble for 
me, but also, what is of more consequence, it often times carries 
with it much that is empty and lifeless : I, on the contrary, desire 
that my idea, in all its purity and divine fervour, may, even as 
the tiniest of germs, strike firm root ; but where am I to find the 
needed womanly help ? It seems quite otherwise to me if the 
plan is brought out on a large scale, for we could then offer a 
solid position to a whole family, if it were a suitable one — I mean 
a family so penetrated with the spirit of the entire movement as 
to look on me as its spiritual father and true friend. You see 
now, my kind sympathetic cousin and friend, after what fashion I 
have been picturing to myself the possible starting of the whole, 
in what I might call a patriarchal guise. 

But I await your further advice with cordial readiness, and with 


5o Letters of FroebeL 

equal readiness I lay my whole life and work before you for your 

For my work has one aspect which is without doubt quite 
strange to you ; I mean its industrial and mercantile aspect. I 
regard it as the most suitable thing for the welfare of the whole 
plan that I myself should bring out the gifts and material for the 
occupations, with all that belongs to them, and publish the neces- 
sary letter-press and lithography. I find this the surest means for 
securing the unity of the whole, its self-dependence and inter- 
dependence. But here again, I am no man of business, nor is 
any one of my friends ; and he who could have undertaken this 
for me, my nephew, has been snatched away from me years since, 
by death. 

I have for some time, as regards this branch of my work, sought 
after a young man who would associate himself with me and 
take all these business and mercantile affairs off my hands ; but 
such a position would demand requirements not very easily 
fulfilled. The young man must not only be a man of business, 
with the necessary knowledge and experience, but must also have 
a due sense of the power of education and of the brotherhood of 
mankind ; that is, he must appreciate the spirit and the endeavour 
of the whole movement, and take pleasure in his work for the 
sake of the cause. I am fully persuaded that the whole affair 
could be made an excellent business speculation, one such as 
rarely occurs, indeed, because our knowledge of the spirit of the 
movement would keep it as a monopoly wholly in our hands. 
But it is not so easy to convey one's own strong persuasion into 
another's mind ; and to suppose that he would be able to study 
alone, and so convince himself, implies a stage of culture for my 
supposed young man of business which is not readily to be met 

But if it be possible to find such a one^ then the whole move- 
ment in its business aspect lies clear before me. Had you only 
a son, my dear cousin, already arrived at man's estate and already 
destined to commercial pursuits, I would enter into com^Dlete 
details with you. 

I am impelled by your friendly sympathy to turn back again to 

Foundation and Construction. 5 i 

the undertaking of the German Kindergarten, and to beg for your 
kind co-operation. 

A few persons in Leipzig have given a cordial reception to my 
endeavours, and have expressed themselves favourably about 
them. Dr. Vogel, the director of the city schools ; Prof Lindner ; 
Dr. Lechner, the head-master ; Otto Wigand, the bookseller, and 
several others beside. But on the whole no active support has 
come from Leipzig, and only three subscribers date from that 

Dr. Lechnei published a very powerful appeal for subscriptions 
in the Leipzig Daily Journal. I take the liberty of sending you 
a copy of this. By all that I hear of Leipzig, it only needs now 
that the matter should be vigorously taken up at several points. 
Perhaps, moved by Dr. Lechner's appeal, some kind lady of 
Leipzig will let me know that, induced by the aforesaid appeal 
and the spirit and aim of the undertaking, she feels compelled to 
offer to collect subscriptions, and begs to be supplied with plans 
and subscription forms. I send you, too, twenty-five plans, etc., 
for you kindly to distribute as you think best. As you, dear 
cousin, are willing to further the work, I am sure of success in 
advance. The work of a woman's heart and a woman's hand is 
already a great thing to have, but still more valuable is the intelli 
gent comprehension which each of your letters so excellently 
expresses. Enclosed, I send you a letter which I have just 
received, and which contains the opinions of several leading 
educationists, and amongst them that of the venerable Professor 
Zerenner, of Magdeburg, about this subject. To be precise, I 
I have not heard of actual opposition on any side ; but on the 
contrary, of much cordial approval ; only people have not the 
courage or the faith to set to work directly to assist me in starting 
the enterprise. If only a few ladies would but follow your 
example, the undertaking would soon spring into existence in 
all the force of youth; and as it is, I can heartily rejoice in your 
enthusiastic co-operation, and am deeply thankful to you for it. 
Let us only continue united, as at present, in mind and deed for 
the furtherance of the cause, even in its very smallest details. 
Yea, though it were but two hearts, fervently united in the pursuit 

52 Litters of FroeheL 

of some pure aim for the good of humanity, they can accomplish 
work of almost inconceivable value, as the history of mankind has 
shown ; and we have more than two, for beyond yourself and our- 
selves we have your dear husband, my honoured cousin, helping 
us, and standing by our side. To him also I am heartily thankful 
for his co-operation. So soon as the description of the festival is 
published I will send you a few facts, so that you can insert a 
second notice in your local journal, giving further account of the 
progress of our undertaking. 

But what will you say, my dear cousin, as to my venturing to 
steal so much of your time, and expecting you to read through so 
long and so badly written a letter? Only the certainty of finding 
the true friend in the affectionate relative emboldens me to im- 
pose thus upon you. 

May Providence guide this union of heart and purpose to a 
beautiful blossoming and a ripe fruitage, to such blossoms and 
fruit on the tree of humanity as will yield joy and health and 
peace to many souls. We two both bear the name of Friedrich ^ 
{Friede?i-reich, rich in peace) ; may many souls, though they are 
but children, receive from us at least the germ of the true Peace 
of Life which leads onward to the true joy of soul. 

As we here are quite in agreement with your views as to the 
good of travel for young persons, our teachers have undertaken 
several journeys with their pupils. 

You know, of course, that Middendorf and Barop, the first 
being the uncle of the second, are both sons-in-law of my only 
surviving brother,"^ who now lives at Keilhau. From all in Keil- 
hau and all here I am to send you and your dear ones the most 
friendly greetings. 

I have enclosed a number of my weekly journal with the plans; 
perhaps you will find a notice therein which may please you. 
With warm esteem and friendship, 

I am your affectionate Cousin, 

Fr. Froebel. 

^ Presumably, Madame Schmidt's Christian name was Frederica. 
2 Christian Ludwifr Froebel. 

Foundation and Construction. 53 

Letter IV. 

Blankenburg, 9M Dec.., 1840. 
Dear and much-esteemed Cousin, — 

The warm sympathy of yourself and of my honoured cousin, 
your husband, with my efforts regarding childhood, moves me 
deeply ; and it is doubly prized by me, for the sake of the cause, 
because your own dear sons have already passed through the 
years of early childhood, and your attention is naturally directed 
on their account to the more special and individual needs of 
adult life. You and your husband are deeply persuaded of the 
necessity to cherish and develop the sense of kinship with man 
in every child, and the sense of kinship with God in every man. 
The appreciation of the importance of such things can never 
come too soon, nor can it ever be too late to acquire it, neither 
should we ever let it be overwhelmed by the cares arising from 
our special vocations in life. How glad I am, how happy, to be 
able to tell you that already ten, and again ten, nay, that a hun- 
dred and more than a hundred share in your feelings, thoughts 
and convictions upon this subject, at all events in their essence, 
even if not in such strength or to such intensity as is the case 
with yourself. You are actually, dear cousin (and I tell you 
this with deep feeling, as my dear kinswoman, of the spirit as 
well as of the body), the first German mother to attack the ques- 
tion of childhood so warmly and thoroughly, so powerfully and 

Oh, how long have I wished to find just such a mother ! For 
I knew if I could find her, that her life would shed powerful in- 
fluence on all around her, an influence as still and as invisible as 
that of the magnet. And so has it happened, dearest cousins, 
wife and husband both. Since I wrote to you, another of the 
seeds which we scattered over Germany, in the effort towards a 
satisfactory education for children, has germinated, has struck 
root ; and from its kernel and seed-leaves, a flourishing Kinder- 
garten has developed. This too, by what is a stroke of good 
fortune for me, and a thing of deep significance, has happened 
quite close by, in fact, in the capital of my own little country, in 


54 Letters of Froehel. 

Rudolstadt : and — also a matter of significance in my eyes — 
without my personal initiative, except tliat I played with the 
children here in Blankenburg. 

The parents first came over by themselves, then they brought 
their children with them, and joined in our games, and the inner 
life of both parents and children was filled with content. Then 
the thing budded and grew for months long — why, from the first 
visit till now, it is even more than a year — for "a good thing 
takes its own time." The test was a valuable one for me, since 
I knew that the cause would issue victorious from the fiery trial ; 
and moreover. Providence has taught me for thirty and odd years 
how to wait, and how meanwhile quietly to care for the " day of 
small things." 

At the end of last month I was invited by some mothers to 
establish my method of educational games and occupations at 
Rudolstadt ; and on the first Tuesday of the present month, from 
two to four in the afternoon, the 

Rudolstadt Kindergarten 
was opened, with twenty-four charming children, varying from 
two to five years old, accompanied by their mothers, by some of 
their fathers, and by a few other relatives. It is a true Garden 
of Children; they are as joyous, as lively, as fresh, as vigorous 
as the flowers in a garden — and at the same time as loveable and 
gentle as mignonette or violets. 

A few of the mothers had arranged everything by means of a 
circular. Every Tuesday and Friday afternoon we have games 
and occupations from two to four. 

The Princess Dowager has found us a room. The necessary 
furniture was provided by those who could afford it ; the cost of 
fuel is borne by the Association of Mothers. Last Tuesday was 
our third meeting. Parents and children seemed not merely con- 
tented, but happy ; every one was saying, " The children have 
become dearer than ever to their parents, now that they have 
seen them engaged so pleasantly and brightly in such well- 
ordered busy activity." Some of the fathers were again present, 
although the matter is for the most part taken up by the mothers 
only. That the interest which has been exhibited, strengthens 

Foundatmi mid Constniction. 55 

my position, you can easily see ; but it must be kept up by the 
utmost exertion on my part also, or rather I should say, on our 
part. Up to twelve o'clock I am engaged in giving lessons here ; 
and punctually at one o'clock I have to start for Rudolstadt. 
The cost of the journey is of course at the charge of the Associa- 
tion of Mothers. Shortly before two I arrive at the room, and 
soon there come the children in their mothers' hand, or with 
their nurses. 

My friend and true colleague, Middendorff, accompanies me, 
as well as a young man whom the princess has sent to study with 
me. The playtime is devoted, half to building, half to games. 
By about six o'clock we reach Blankenburg again. 

The most cheering thing about it all is that noble ladies and 
ordinary citizens' wives meet together pleasantly engaged in a 
common interest, and working hand in hand for a common end. 
Thus does childhood unite us all, sharply separated though we be 
in general by rigid conventions ; and its effect will soon be made 
manifest in some beneficent, hallowing way, reacting upon our 
forms of society. 

Presently I shall have something to say, dear cousin, about the 
way in which the care for the life of childhood will have an 
awakening and stimulating effect even upon Rudolstadt. 

Why have I written all this to you, my dearest cousin, before 
I begin my reply to your kind letter ? Because I think that it 
is cheering to reahse the fact that what we are devoting our ut- 
most watchfulness and care to, is receiving the like attention from 
other cultivated and noble-hearted men, and this cheering fact 
I was glad to convey to you, and also to those who have taken 
such an active part with you in furthering the cause of childhood, 
and thereby that of mankind, and yet further, that of Christianity 
itself I used the word " Christianity " of set purpose, for I will 
just briefly and simply place before you, without any attempt at 
word-painting, what I am unchangeably and most deeply con- 
vinced of, as regards this matter. I mean that we shall be borne 
onward into the very heart of practical Christianity through 
these games and occupations of little children, which we are con- 
triving with such attention, loving care, inward watchfulness, and 


56 Letters of Froebel. 

outward work. In the first place, we thus avoid all those sad 
consequences which arise from the neglect of children in their 
earliest years. For the great friend of children has said : 
" Whoso shall offend one of these litde ones that believe in me, 
it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his 
neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea" (Matt. 

jxviii. 6). And how many, many children, often very tiny ones, 

* are there not who are " offended " in Jesus' sense of the word, by 
the weariness which comes of doing nothing, or by being forced 
into unsuitable occupations ? In the second place, also, we are 
fulfilling one of the weiglitiest commands of Jesus, which he puts 

iinto the words, '' Whosoever shall not receive the kingdom of 

jGod as a little child, shall in no wise enter therein " (Luke xviii. 

'17). Now the Kingdom of God is the kingdom of unity, of 
union, of unification, of unison, of concord, of love, of peace, 
of law, of introspection, of perception of the inner essence 
which underlies outer manifestations. It is the kingdom of social 
union, of trustfulness, of belief, of hope ; it is that province of 
the observation of the small which concerns it as member and 
part of the large, of the near as germ of the far, etc., etc. And 

I all this, dear cousins both, will be, by means of these games and 
occupations, early awakened, nourished, cared for and developed 
in the child. Herein lies the secret of the success which results 

, from the operation of this system of organised occupations, a 
success often apparently inexplicable, and by many spoken of as 
its " magical effect " ; herein lies that hallowing influence which 
extends its attitude of belief and trust (that is, the childlike, 
motherly, brotherly attitude) over the whole life of the child, and 
which from this beginning spreads ever widening throughout the 
Whole family. For God's will is to give help to all mankind, and 
that every one should attain to the knowledge of truth, through 
the means which He has made manifest in the inner being of 
the universe and of living creatures. These means are displayed 
in the phenomena of all creation, and before all else in the soul, 
in the mind and in the hand, as well of each man in his individual 
capacity, as of the vast collective unity of mankind, held to- 
gether by God. 

Foundation and Constnictiou. 57 

Since man only comes to the power of self-examination and 
self-knowledge, in any relation whatever, with the greatest diffi- 
culty ; and since he must first learn to see and to study himself 
in the mirror of Heaven (eternity) and that of Nature and of 
all creation (change and transience), that he may acquire that 
knowledge ; therefore God, as a loving Father, has surrounded 
man with the chief means and conditions required by him, 
l)lacing them in what lies near him, in the smallest things, in 
the very heart of his own life, and exhibiting them in their purest, 
fullest concord amidst the earliest experiences of childhood, no 
less than in the great spheres of the world and of human life; 
so that through these means and conditions man may live and 
journey onward as a child of God in heaven, even while yet upon 
the earth — at unity with himself, at unity with the Cosmos of life 
(Nature, the visible creation) and at unity with God, in joy and 
in peace. God is omnipresent, and consequently He is present 
upon the earth ; God also speaks to us inwardly, works in us 
inwardly; but where God lives, works and speaks, ?^^., manifests 
Himself, declares Himself, there does He dwell, in the human 
sense of the word : and the place where He dwells we call heaven. 
In very fact, it thus appears, that while yet on earth we may walk 
in heaven. Christianity opens our eyes to this truth : for, to take 
one instance out of many, Jesus says, "I have yet many things to 
say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit, when He, 
the Spirit of Truth is come. He will guide you into all truth " (John 
xvi. 12, 13). These things we shall hear, for the Spirit, the Spirit 
of all things, shall tell us them, even the Spirit of God, if we will 
but cling to the path which He points out for us, the path which I 
leads us to the beginnings of life, back to childhood. We must |i 
render perceptible to the child the unity of the world, absolute |i 
existence, the world within; and these in an earthly, human, i; 
childlike, intelligible fashion. Unity must be perceived in ■ 
variety, absolute existence in phenomena, harmony in melody, the 
soul in the body — in a word, all things in all things — and this 
through many-sided harmoniously active life and work. Such 
things we have to give to children through the system of orderedj 
games and occupations which I have created. 

5 8 Letters of FroebeL 

I have endeavoured to show you, in the above, dear cousin, 
how by these methods of games and occupations we should be 
carried right into the heart, the very hfe-centre of active Christi- 
anity ; and I have pursued the theme firstly in the interest of our 
children, that is, the childhood of the whole Christian world ; but 
secondly, also, in the interest of all children whatever, of the child- 
hood of the entire race of man, for that is at stake in this matter. 

The manner in which we are educated, and in general treated, 
in our earliest childhood has, as we all know, a remarkable in- 
fluence upon our emotions, our thoughts, our actions, during the 
whole of our life. But will not, then, he who from earliest child- 
hood is educated and trained in the principles of unity, unison, 
union and love ; of the inward world, the spiritual and the perma- 
nent ; of joy and peace ; of the habit of elimination of the transient 
from out all phenomena, of the perception of the many-sidedness 
of all things, etc., etc. — and all these things do but compose the 
spirit of practical Christianity — will not such a one, I say, later in 
life, gladly recognise this spirit, and be helpful and energetic in 
^the same ? 

P And in this way I foresee the time— it lies spread out clear 
land fully defined before my eyes like some lovely spring land- 
'scape — when through such attentive study of the life of child- 
hood, and especially through the fostering care for the creative 
activity of children (whereby they give outward shape to their 
inward thoughts, and realise inwardly what they perceive out- 
wardly), the whole race of man shall be convinced of the truths 
of Christianity. 

From the first thoughts upon life of my earliest boyhood, 
onward to now, this has been the main subject of attention, per- 
ception, consideration and endeavour, with me. 

This is the outcome, the goal, of all my efforts in the cause of 
education, for now more than thirty-five years ; it was the de- 
clared groundwork of my educational establishment, which will 
soon be five-and-twenty years old; but now only does it first come 
to pass, that I am beginning to be understood elsewhere than just 
in my own house. The first unsought-for, genuine, free, self- 
originated comprehension of my life-aims has come from you, my 

Foimdation dud Construction, 59 

beloved cousin, — doubly dear to me on this account. Why do I 
tell you all this ? For the very reason, in the first place, that you 
can appreciate it and understand it. What good would it do for 
me to express my thoughts elsewhere, where I should only appear 
to utter strange unintelligible speech? Secondly, I address myself 
to you, as I wish you to know my thoughts, and to make myself 
certain that you have understood them. Finally and chiefly, 
though, in the third place, because the question whether my work 
and my efforts have a Christian meaning and a Christian aim 
(though very few men really know what they mean when they put 
this question) is the corner-stone, ever present, silent or expressed, 1 
of all discussions as to the worth or the worthlessness of my edu-' 
cational endeavours. You can now answer with precision any suc^^ 
questions which may be put to you. Too many people will be 
ready to get rid of the thing, by any means, to thrust it aside, to 
avoid the trouble of m.aking themselves acquainted with its mean- 
ing by some personal examination of their own. 

Now, after this long communication, which has forced itself 
into utterance, I scarce know how, from the depths of my heart, 
let me set to work to answer your dear letters ; and I will take 
the last part first. 

In that letter, dear cousin, you did indeed send me a festival 
gift, as well as an evidence of the progress of our cause ; for 
although the Kindergarten in its inmost nature, and in an especial 
sense, is purely a department of woman's life and work, yet in the 
present position of our society, when woman's work is so rigidly 
defined by man's will, even to the fettering of some of its noblest 
impulses, and when at the very least women are debarred from 
much that is rightly their own, it is in the highest degree important 
that you should have gained so favourable an opinion of our 
enterprise from men of standing in your locality. 

On these accounts I rejoiced greatly when I read your news 
of the willing adherence of these highly esteemed gentlemen, my 
dear cousin, his colleague Miiller, and (in your last letter) Pastor 
Lang. Supported by the valuable co-operation of three such men, 
and invigorated by a right true womanly and motherly enthusiasm, 
all obstacles must disappear before you ; as you say yourself, 

6d Letters of Froebel. 

very properly, in your latest letter, and after your first conversa- 
tions with pastor Lang. But before I go on let me call to 
remembrance, as fortifying us in our outlook into the future, the 
principle we learn from nature and from life, both intuitively and 
by experience : — namely, that wherever healthy life buds forth, 
there new life only unfolds itself to meet and overcome various 
obstacles ; nay, further, that these obstacles in a certain sense are 
actually necessary for strengthening and fortifying this young life. 
Let us look closely at the buds of our trees, and see how thick 
and close are the coverings which lock them up, and how slowly 
and against what resistance these coverings are burst open, before 
the tender little leaves appear ; or let us look at the kernel, or the 
seed-corn, which a still stronger chain holds fettered, till the feeble 
germinating point can shake itself free ; or, finally, let us look at 
the helpless infant and its birth. 

i Obstacles are not appointed by Providence with the design of 

[repelUng newly uprising life, but with the purpose of strengthening 

jit at once, upon its first appearance, and of making evident the 

.meaning of that appearance. I am glad to think that a like 

ordeal awaited you also ; for in the face of the obstacles which 

sprang up to confront you, the young life of your undertaking 

strengthened itself, and by the way in which you trustfully set 

forward against all opposition, this young life acquired respect and 

an acknowledged position. If I might ask so much of you, I 

would beg you to give my best thanks to these three gentlemen for 

their aid in the cause of children's education, although they will 

later on receive thanks in a far more beautiful shape, namely, by 

the success of the whole enterprise, as indeed Pastor Lang has 

well observed. 

It was a happy thought of Herr Miiller to urge you to begin at 
once. For through the actual presentation of the method, all im- 
perfect though it was, yet moved entirely by a spirit of love for 
the little ones, parents and children had the opportunity of seeing 
for themselves in earnest that here they had presented to them 
for their acceptance something which corresponded to the inmost 
and the noblest needs and desires alike of parents and of 

Foundatioti and Construction. 6r 

The great pleasure I have received from the susceptible nature 
of your friend, Pastor Lang, so easily running over into friendly 
acts, you have quite correctly anticipated. Assure that worthy 
man yet again of my high esteem and gratitude. May his present 
attitude and his present conduct only remain constant ! Such 
is always my first thought on similar occasions, in the light of my 
very large experience : for no one can show more knowledge of the 
mutability of men's attitudes than I can. Whenever men do not 
at once find a thing to be precisely as they saw it and wished it to 
be, they are quite likely to let that thing go altogether, although, 
just previously, they have been enthusiastic and even glowing in 
the expression of their sentiments about it. Wherefore I cherishi 
above all things the sympathy which comes to me freely from any 
man, without any solicitation whatever of mine ; as, for instance, 
the welcome sympathy of your friend. Pastor Lang, etc. 

Here I will take occasion to make a twofold observation — and 
in the first place I remark that the games in a circle hardly ever 
make the children tired. The reasons of this fact lie very deep, 
to my thinking. 

This kind of play is the symbol of a triple life. First, it is the 
symbol of the individual life of the man and of the child ; for all 
our actions tend, like those of the children in their games, to 
some one invisible fundamental conception, hope, or longing of 
the soul. 

Next, it is a symbol of the life of Nature, where, as is the case 
with the planets, all revolves about a midmost unity, a definite 
sun and centre. 

And thirdly, it is a symbol of the collective hfe of mankind in 
general, whose ultimate point of relation and of union also rests 
on the invisible midmost unity of all Life, upon God Himself. 
Believe me, dear cousin, I hold it certain that a child yearns for 
such symbolised relations of life ; and if they are cherished, and 
if, as opportunity offers, they are awakened, and raised up so to 
become an inward and spiritual intuition, the child will be 
strengthened for that demand, later to be made upon him, that 
he shall hold fast to the invisible unity in life amidst the ceaseless 
changing play of phenomena. 

Letters of Froebel. 

My second remark is that it is of no consequence that pre- 
cisely these songs and these tunes shall be sung which have been 
suggested by myself. They have been merely put forward by 
way of example, so as to show in a general way the spirit as well 
as the form and complexion of the whole scheme ; others may 
perhaps find much prettier and more suitable songs, although I 
have of course taken pains to select the best in form and feeling, 
as well as having the clearest words and the prettiest tunes, I 
have been able to find. 

And since those songs which arise or which come to the mind 
on the impulse of the moment, and amidst special circumstances, 
are always the best, I beg of you when such songs and games 
occur to you, at once to note them down in writing, that they 
may not be lost. Then, if you will send them to me from time to 
time, I will interweave them with the rest, to the great joy of the 
world of children and to the perfecting of the whole collection j 
whereby they will, as members of a larger whole, as flowers in a 
wreath, shine out with added beauty. All the friends of child- 
hood, both gentlemen and ladies, are kindly acceding to my 
request in this matter ; and the next Sunday Journal will allow 
you to see for yourself what rich results this system has already 

I am very much obliged to you for your neat arrangement of 
such published notices as have reached you about my system of 
Children's Occupations. But is not the School Neivs of Darm- 
stadt read in Gera? There is a article in No. 64 well worth 
reading, and there are also others. And in Madame Louise 
Marezoll's JVbmeu's Newspaper, which is now being continued 
under the title of Women's Mirror — is another excellent article. 
Did I not send you these journals ? I am sorry if I did not — yet 
it is perhaps all the better, for the project has struck root in your 
circle by its own unaided strength. In Vol. III. of the Women's 
Mirror for this year occur some straightforward telling remarks 
by the editress, Louise Marezoll, serving as an introduction to my 
" Plan for a German Kindergarten." 

The starting of your play-classes for little girls from six to eight 
years old has my full approval. Such children give only a quarter 

Foundation and Construction. 63 

of the trouble, at the most, which smaller children give, especially 
little boys ; and besides this you will get a quicker result, and 
particularly a more attractive and more easily understood example 
to show to those who see things chiefly by their outward appear- 
ances, and are not apt to perceive their inner life and meaning. 

You have given me much pleasure by what you tell me of this 
winter's prospects, and of the outlook for the coming spring, in 
regard to our enterprise, which has begun so bravely with you ; I 
shall try and help to forward and to invigorate it, so far as my 
humble powers will serve. I hope Pastor Lang will remember 
his promise when spring begins, and will throw open his garden 
for the children's games, so that your institution may become a 
" Kindergarten " in the accurate meaning of the word. It will be 
the second " garden of children " in all Germany, the first being 
the one we have here. For I desire that in future all institutions ■ 
in Germany for the education and care of little children, all that i 
are based on games and occupations, all that correspond worthily ; 
to the child's nature and the man's being, may be called by this i 
name of "Kindergarten." May they bear this name as a sign full 1 
of life and charm, which shall indicate their spirit, their endeavour, 
their special character as serving all mankind ; and we, here, have i 
therefore already named our institution the " Rudolstadt Kinder-J 

As for the elder girls taking' part in the games and occupa- 
tions, by all means induce them to do so, if by any possibility you 
can contrive this : and I advise it upon four grounds. Firstly, 
you will in this way get as many and as inexpensive assistants 
as possible for the institution ; secondly, you will give an 
opportunity for young women to learn our methods, and so to 
become of assistance to mothers and families. Thirdly, you will 
enable them, as future mothers, to educate themselves, and to 
learn how to play with their children, even the tiniest, in ways 
which are of deep significance, though at the same time perfectly 
simple. Motherly and womanly instinct does much to effect this 
of its own accord, I grant ; but it does not accomplish all that 
should be done, by a great deal : it often makes mistakes, and, 
on all accounts, a system based on principles, intelligently and 

64 Letters of Froehel 

judiciously interpreted, is much to be preferred. I have oppor- 
tunities at present, my dear cousin, of seeing many mothers and 
Kindergarten teachers, and those of the well-to-do and even of 
the educated classes minding children of one and two years old ; 
but how much they leave to be desired, if we are to talk of a 
really suitable and intelligent treatment of children ! Fourthly 
and finally, amongst such a number you will assuredly find some 
few who have real sympathy with children, and who are not 
needed at home, or who are compelled to earn their own living ; 
these, therefore, you may specially train as nursery governesses, 
such as are so often inquired for in families. 

As regards gymnastic exercises for girls, the Gera parents are 
perfectly right in wishing for them. I have made experiments 
on the subject in one of my educational institutions in Switzer- 
land. The gain from such exercises is manifold. If the idea 
should really begin to take practical form, I will send you a good 
book called ^' Free Exercises," by Spiess, an exceptionally good 
gymnastic teacher we had there. I sent my niece to Spiess to 
have lessons in gymnastics while she was staying in Burgdorf. 
But you will see, as the series of games progresses, especially in 
the action-games derived from ball games, etc., how all the main 
exercises of gymnastics are embodied in them. If your decision 
in favour of gymnastic exercises comes into practical operation, 
I will send you a clean copy of that part of the method, not yet 
printed, so that you can get a clear idea of the connection of the 
whole set of action-games, up till now only given in detached 
numbers in the Simday Jou7-iial. 

It seems to me a good idea of Pastor Lang's to bring in 
several more subscribers by means of a circular. I would only 
suggest that you should first collect together several mothers by 
personal invitation ; for these will immediately form a kernel 
round which the others will group themselves, drawn into sym- 
pathy with the undertaking as if by a magnet. Personal con- 
ferences do a great deal. In Rudolstadt the whole thing began 
with two mothers, each of whom addressed herself to others on 
all sides, and each of the converts whom they made also en- 
deavoured to make others in her turn ; finally, the whole was 

Foundation and Construction. 65 

brought into definite form by the issue of a circular and the 
receipt of subscriptions. 

Begin then, dear cousin, with good courage. You are afraid, 
you say, of two things ; and, firstly, that you are not competent 
in the method. 

From my station afar off, I can see, on the contrary, that you 
are so competent. It would, of course, have been better had 
you accepted Madame M.'s invitation and accompanied her 
here ; but of what use is it to regret this now ? Frequent occur- 
rences in my own life have convinced me that we ought to listen 
very intently to the lightest call from within, for w^e oftentimes 
afterwards discover that more importance lay therein than we had 
thought at the time, as regards the designs of Providence and for 
the general good. 

Madame R. did not understand me, and her character is weak 
and unsettled ; otherwise she would have profited by the pains 
I took to get her here in order that she might acquaint herself, 
even if but slighdy, with the method. Ladies of her rank owe 
it to themselves as a duty to devote part of their work in life to 
children. She seemed to feel this herself, and in fact she dis- 
tinctly said as much, but she had not courage, nor endurance, 
nor persistence of will enough to carry it through. What a good 
thing it would be if she were able to find time to give you a general 
sketch, with details, of the whole method which we are pursuing 

Now, do not lose heart ! Strive above all things to possess 
yourself of the spirit of the whole, and then throw yourself will- 
ingly into the work and into the real claims which the children's 
lives are making upon us. Observe, this is the method I also 
follow in educating myself for the execution of my plans. The 
general idea of the whole method is my loving guide, and I 
follow it as the truest, kindliest friend of my life and my soul ; 
my teachers are the children themselves, with all their purity 
their innocence, their unconsciousness, and their irresistible 
claims, and I follow them like a faithful, trustful scholar. If any- 
thing proves successful, I at once lay upon myself the obligation 
to make it so thoroughly my own as to be able to trace it out 


66 Letters of Froehcl. 

from the idea or root principle by necessary consequence and 

Should your venture succeed, pray count on me with absolute 
certainty for anything I can do to help you ; you need only 
express your wishes quite clearly. The Sitnday Jourtials^ as they 
continue, will offer you many a friendly hint. Let a start be 
made, if in ever so small a way, and we will see that it does 
not fail. 

But, say you, you are also afraid of a second thing : that the 
time devoted to the play-classes will encroach too much upon the 
duties which you owe to your own family. I am heartily glad 
to be able fully to reassure you on this point by examples drawn 
from actual experience. 

My friend and colleague Middendorff, as a man and a father, 
finds himself in precisely the same position as you occupy as a 
woman and a mother. He is faithfully working away here at 
building up our institution, and our common anxiety is that the 
manifold results of his work for us all shall also yield gifts and 
fruit for him individually, as a father, as a citizen, and as a mem- 
ber of a family. 

Whatever is truly for the well-being and the furtherance of all 
of us, must at the same time be truly for the well-being and the 
iurtherance of each one of us, still more for the good of our 
families. Clearly to prove this dogma, in its absolute truth, from 
the phenomena and necessities of life, is the greatest task of my 
life, and in fact this work is intimately connected with the pro- 
duction of my Kindergarten method, so that the one springs out 
of the other. But this is so far-reaching a subject that I must 
not enter upon it further to-day ; I should like to talk with you 
more about it. 

At present I will only give you the assurance that all your 
doubts and fears will eventually disappear, to your perfect satis- 
faction. The point lies in this : we should strive to convert all 
the results of the work which we do for the good of mankind, 
be they what they may — learning, experience, culture, material 
prosperity, etc. — to our own individual use also, as if they were 
some precious gift made to ourselves. Then the worth and work 

Foimdatton and Constniction. 

of women, wives, mothers, and teachers will appear in a much 
clearer and purer light than before, since it is evident, from this 
single undertaking, that you may bring a considerable money 
gain to your family, which will richly reward you for all the time 
spent upon the experiment. 

If the inhabitants and mothers of Gera are forward enough 
for it, the method will soon flourish. When once they see an 
actual start made, children and parents will never let it sink. 
But if children and parents are not forward enough for it, then no 
amount of sacrifice will serve to make a good start. I have 
examples of both kinds : Rudolstadt serves for the first, while, as 
for the second, the start at Dresden has already cost us hundreds 
of thalers, and is still but a lame affair. Why? Because there 
is a lack of united pubHc feeling there, in favour of it ; while, at 
the same time, the various cliques of the town and the school- 
masters are all working against it. 

At the end of your kind letter you say that you have still much 
more to tell me about the games, but that you refrain, from fear 
of robbing me of too much time, because of the length of your 
letter. No, dear cousin, do not think so ! I have chosen it as my 
vocation to spend my life and work upon these things, and every 
such communication is a treasure for me, to be used for the wider 
dissemination of the method, as indeed you will see in your own 
case in the next Sunday Journal. Your own precious leisure 
would be too much infringed upon, or else I would beg of you to 
collect as many observations for me as you can, both things which 
you yourself have observed, and also remarks made by your Robert 
and the other children when at play. If you have the time for 
this, pray do it, for the furtherance of the cause ; other friends 
are at work for me in the same way. How much I have enjoyed 
your detailed remarks in your previous letter you will readily per- 
ceive when you see the use I have made of them in the Sunday 
Journal. I beg of you earnestly to let me have your candid 
opinion on the observations I have made upon them in that 
article j and especially whether you consider my interspersed 
comments of use to mothers and to persons having the charge of 

68 Letters of Froehel. 

{Saturday, 12th). Now, I will also briefly reply to your kind 
letter of the 8th inst. I have already expressed above my great 
pleasure at the excellent co-operation of the three gentlemen with 
yourself. From this bond of union, so quietly pledged, there 
needs must come something solid and firm by way of result. 
Through their co-operation I can clearly see that a possibility has 
already arisen of that very thing coming to pass which in your 
letter you say seems impossible, namely, the establishment of a 
play-class (a Kindergarten class) at some one or other of the Gera 

The blessing of Heaven always rests upon the quiet thoughtful 
work of women. I cannot express how deeply I regard your 
quiet active participation in the work, your labours ^' beneath the 
surface" as Herr Miiller so truly describes them. It will surely be 
with them as in the spring time, when all things which have pre- 
viously been silently prepared under the earth's mantle burst forth 
in fulness and beauty. Be assured, I am by no means against 
working quietly, and even, it may be, very slowly, towards the end 
in view. 

It results from what I have said above about myself and my 
doings that I have learnt to wait and to persevere ; and therefore 
I gladly and with deep thankfulness accept what you so kindly 
offer me, namely, your help in preparation and in actual work. I 
rejoice in your firm and enduring resolve to a'd me. Already 
upon this fair tree fruits rich in blessing are showing forth.^ 

The main thing is to get people first to look at something; 
talking about a thing, without showing it, is of no use whatever. 
You must have found this yourself. The very humblest attempt 
which you make in such a way that others can take part in it, 
becomes for this reason of double importance. I hear excellent 
accounts of the people of the Reuss principality, especially of the 
towns-folk in that region : there seems to be much healthy intelli- 
gence and a brisk active way of life amongst them. 

The pleasant picture you have sketched for me of the merry 

^ Here follows an introduction to ball-games and action-games which th( 
German Editor has omitted. 

Foundation and Constniction. 69 

good fellowship of the college playground in your town, especi- 
ally in the spring and summer terms, attracts me like a magnet ; 
how much the greater, then, is the influence upon that gay troop of 
children. Yes, you are quite right, something could well be done 
with those thirteen younger children, and your dear sons could 
soon train themselves to be the leaders of the games under the 
supervision of the mothers of their class-mates. 

At our suggestion O. Kraemer, a teacher, started something of 
this kind in the excellent playground of the great school at Leip- 
zig, but he stood too much alone, and there were other unfavour- 
able circumstances in the affair, so that the enterprise, which began 
in a spirited way, relaxed and fell to nothing. 

But to return to the capital playground of your college. How 
delightful would it not be, if an organised game could be arranged 
there under the eyes of the fond mothers of those boys ! Do not 
be frightened that I shall hold you too strictly to your word. I 
know too well the power of the social influences ruling our lives. 
But this very giant force of life, especially its conventional and 
social claims, and particularly with regard to mothers, makes it 
necessary that we should watch in the most scrupulous way over 
anything, the very least thing, which shows itself to be for the good 
of the children. Now, as regards the affection of mothers for 
children, we have an instance at Rudolstadt, where ladies of high 
rank, otherwise wholly absorbed in the duties of society, pass two 
hours twice a week entirely with children. You see how it works 
when carried into actual practice, this invitation of mine, " Come, 
let us live for our children." 

You have given me much pleasure, dear cousin, by your de- 
scription of the way in which your dear sons received the little 
games, and immediately set them in operation. Your intelligent 
comprehension and account of them sends back my work to me 
in an embellished form. Your mode of playing is altogether too 
charming. If it were not so shameless a request I would beg for 
many such accounts of your experiences of play. But I know 
well and I honour the duties of a mother, and of the mistress of 
a house, and I willingly waive my request, although I cannot help 
regarding any neglect to record your valuable observations as a 

70 Letters of Froebel. 

real loss for childhood. Also your comparative account of the 
various expressions of children is of great importance ; it is 
a subject to which one can rarely get even cultivated parents 
to pay attention. How I should like to be always by when 
you are playing with the children; what treasures of experi- 
ence I should gather ! Allow me to confide something to you 
in the most profound secrecy — you are a born Kindergarten 
teacher ; and these young girls, too, who are growing up around 
you, must love you very dearly, I should think, for your un- 
assuming motherly caressing nature. Such a nature is a very 
precious possession, and one which tends towards the weal 
of our common manhood : and she to whom God has vouch- 
safed it ought religiously to cherish it. Your dear sons, the 
outcome and the proof of such a character, were universally 
beloved in Keilhau, because of their openhearted simplicity 
and their natural politeness. I am happy, excellent parents, to 
be able to tell you this. Another thing; I shall perhaps now and 
then for the good of the world of children make use of facts 
which I have gathered from your homely observations, without of 
course trenching upon your privacy. Let it pass without notice, 
and continue to write in as unrestrained a manner as before. 

You are afraid that I picture to myself your family life as more 
happy than it really is. Do not believe anything of the kind ! I 

j know the actualities of life from all points of view only too well; 

I but behind the simple and oftentimes unrecognisable face of the 
actual I have learnt to see and to treasure the features of the true 
human inner ideal. I know that shadows are a part of its sur- 
roundings; ay, and that oftentimes the deepest black of shadows 
serves to give the right brilliancy to the beauty of a fair spot, that 
above the dark clouds the dazzling clearness of the sun is en- 
throned, and that the sun himself often seems to acquire enhanced 
radiance when his beams break out from among dark cloud masses. 
What attracts me is not so much life in its outward appearance, 

\ as the intelligence which enlivens and cherishes that life ; in a 

Word, the spirit that makes itself manifest through the life. 

^"*My whole household sends all of you the kindhest greetings. 
We hope to have the pleasure of seeing you here next year. 

Foundation and Construction. 

I trust this very long letter will not be a disturbing element in 
your life ; far rather may it be a sign of the deep interest I take, 
even down to its smallest details, in the life to which you have 
devoted yourself. 

Write again very soon, and tell me how your preparations are 
going on, and how many children have come to the Kindergarten 

Wishing you with all my heart a most enjoyable Christmas, I 
am, dear cousin, 

Your affectionate Cousin, 

Fr. Fr. 

Letter V. 

Blankenburg, Deccnder 19///, 1840. 
Very dear and honoured Cousin,. — 

You have admitted me lately into your beautiful family life and 
mother's life, in many ways, and permitted me to become a witness 
of your joys. True mother's love, real woman's life, however, 
appear in their clearest glory at this sweet Christmastide, when 
tiiey strive to bring the highest and best— the divine in child- 
like guise, the Christ-child, into the midst of the family circle. 
Will you, in your kindness, allow me to send you a Christmas 
greeting? How can I doubt of that, when 1 remember your 
character, so ready to find pleasure in everything. 

You stand clearly before my mind in your simplicity and 
modesty, as well as in the far-reaching activity of your mother's 
solicitude. You show me the lofty influence of mother's work and 
mother's life upon child nature and child life : may I, in return, 
show you the nature, the power, the meaning of this motherly and 
womanly influence as seen reflected in the clear mirror of life ? 
Gazing into this life-mirror, I have beheld woman's work as the first 
and most essential link of the great chain of human life. It is not 
enough for man, as an intelligent being, that good shall result from 
his actions ; his dignity, his station as the child of God is only 
then duly shown forth, when he has gained a clear consciousness 
of that which he has created. Thereby he attains clearness as to 
what he wishes, and what^ he ought to do, and so he comes to a 

Letters of Frocbcl. 

true sclf-a[)[)rcciaLion. He acquires the elevating seniiiiicnt tluit 
man stands not alone in his work, that his aspirations are not un- 
shared; and this quickening sense of community with other men is 
all indispensable to a many-sided activity, as well as to work which 
is meant to endure ; wherefore I trust the Christ-child may bring 
to you, also, this gladdening sentiment, this truth of deepest import. 
To create this sentiment, to awake this consciousness in all women 
is the object of the little book I send you (" Woman's Mission," 
i)y Kriisi). Permit me, therefore, to present it as a modest little 
Christmas gift. If it serves to help your intelligent nature, always 
so quick to spread good things abroad, in bringing home a con- 
sciousness of the meaning and importance of woman's influence 
to many of your lady friends, and thus uniting them in the cause 
of the elevation of manhood, throu.L,di and in childhood, then in- 
deed shall we, year by year, greet Christmastides fuller and fuller 
of beauty and of meaning. 

Your sons Robert and Moritz have played well and intelli- 
gently with the gifts that I sent you to test for me. I also have 
learnt a great deal from their play, and have received much plea- 
sure too ; wherefore I should like, at this sweet Christmastime, 
to give some pleasure to my cousins in return. If you will 
l)ermit mc, I will ask them to accept the packet accompanying 
your book, namely, the next following gift of my series, which they 
will find now suitable to their age. I do not doubt that their 
father, with his great interest in his sons' doings, will gladly permit 
them to use this box of materials for play or for real occupation ; 
and I hope they will pass many leisure hours over it, especially 
in these holidays. 

It is a law with this, as with the former box, that in each con- 
struction the whole of the materials must be used up : or at least 
each sci)arate piece must be arranged so as to stand in some actual 
relation to the whole. While this awakens the thinking spirit, it 
also strengthens and elevates the imagination ; because, amidst so 
much variety, the underlying unity is made visibly apparent, and 
the invisible law is felt. 

There is, therefore, nothing strange or incompatible about this 
gift, in regard to the meaning of the feast of Christmas ; on the 

Foundation and Constniction. 73 

other band, it is in close sympathy with its spirit and its tendency, 
inasmuch as it contributes its little mite also, namely, the power 
of intelligently showing and thankfully acknowledging that unity 
which pervades all things, and which is dimly felt by the soul, and 
whose message of peace the Christ-child brought us in these very 
days. Therefore I may at least claim your indulgence for the 
packet I send you to-day, because of this its inner meaning. 

May the highest and best that all your spirits are longing for 
to-day, really come to you all, so that the splendid wish your 
kindness has found for me — Peace and Joy {Friede und Freude) — 
may be reflected and re-echoed in the hearts of you all, an echo of 
the heavenly greeting which was given to the world one holy 
night, uniting it with God, and renewing its youth. 

Your loving 


Leitkr VI. 

Blankenburg, January i^f/i, 184 r. 
De.\r and estkemrd Cousin, — 

Your kind letter shows so unmistakably how you have known 
and experienced that which alone forms our true joy, that I will 
merely now say that your welcome letter, dated December 25th 
and January 10th, brought me true Christmas pleasure, being as it 
were an echo of this beloved festival. I was especially charmed 
with the few touches in which you described your sons' Christmas 
joys over their little stock of Christmas gifts. I have passed Christ- 
mas in the course of these many years, in all kinds of ways, ac- 
companied by presents of the most various value, down to mere 
nothings ; and very often, I must confess, I have received the 
deepest joy from those Christmases which brought me the smallest 
and the simplest presents. 

Please tell my little cousins this, with my love ; so that they 
may rightly value their Christmas with its simple gifts, and may 
cherish the pure joys which it yields them. 

Christmas presents derive their true value not from their costli- 
ness, but from the spirit in which they are given and received. 
May my dear little cousins long continue to receive their Christ- 

74 Letters of F roe be I . 

mas presents in the pure and simple joy of the heart. From the 
bottom of my heart I rejoice to be able fully to share such joys 
with them. 

In view of the great interest you take in my work and my 
educational efforts, you must allow me, my dear cousin, to lead 
you on further and further into their inner spirit, and the latest 
development to which they have attained 

Much that is good, much that is noble, much that is indeed 
sublime, and altogether worthy of humanity exists upon the earth, 
especially amongst us Germans, and particularly in our family 
life and in the lives of individual women and of mothers ; but it 
lies too widely scattered and is unconscious of its own existence, 
and by consequence it lacks unity of purpose. Now, unity of 
purpose is the true safeguard in life against surrounding circuni- 
stances, and is the true means towards attaining a vigorous 
powerful growth upwards and onwards, towards making outwardly 
manifest that which stirs the soul within. This inner unity for 
bne great life-purpose is what I am striving to found ; it is the 
beginning of a mutually helping, mutually respecting association 
of noble-hearted women — perhaps quite simple persons in their 
outward relationships — with true mothers all working towards their 
mutual enlightenment, encouragement, and invigoration. By 
such an association the separate, disunited women who now are 
like single dew-drops, each reflecting the sun's rays in splendid 
tints, will show forth the great life of humanity which amidst all 
its varied aspects, nevertheless, is one giand whole ; just as all the 
dew, water, and rain-drops unite to provide for us the rainbow, 
the arch of peace connecting heaven and earth. I hope you 
may catch my meaning from this imperfect representation of 

On this account I let Kriisi's little book, called " Woman's 
Mission," appear like a guest at this festal time in the homes of 
several women and mothers ; and I am pleased to find that it has 
been received everywhere with a right sisterly welcome. For 
instance, amongst others, take the foundress of the Rudolstadt 
" Mothers' Association for the Promotion of the Kindergarten," 
who writes thus to me : — '• I have read your little book with 

Foundation and Construclion. 


great interest; it attracted me strongly by its clearness and by the 
graceful position full of blessings given or taken therein assigned 
to women. I wish I could place the book in the hands of every 
mother." The volume did, indeed, travel round the circle of 
the ladies forming this association. It became known at court, 
and the simple-hearted, eminently motherly Princess Karl herselt 
asked for it. According to my view, dear cousin, such a senti- 
ment amongst women and mothers, uniting them, and rousing 
them to mutual consciousness of their position, should be 
cherished with the utmost care. May the Rudolstadt Mothers' 
Association, therefore, become more and more conscious of itself 
as a whole, self-poised ; and may your own association reach also 
to like consciousness ! When once each one of these separate 
associations has attained to clear perception of its aims and 
consciousness of its own vitality, then a higher union will quickly 
form itself, that is, union from a higher standpoint. So a single 
floweret of auricula or hyacinth carries with it the conception ot 
a "splendid, perfect, living whole; but it takes many of these 
flowerets, grouped on one uniting stalk, to form the lovely flower- 
cluster. ^ 

Endeavour, dear cousin (forgive my plain speakmg) to become 
quite clear in your ideas and at one within yourself, a task which 
in your case is surely easy enough ; and then clearness and 
unification wnih the world without will come of themselves. Let 
us only first win one such circle, and a second will soon arise ; 
and when we have two, which, if God will, shall enter into a 
higher union together, I believe that the cause of childhood, the 
true family-life, is won. 

Therefore, dear cousin, only now be true and endure. I fully 
realise the truth of what you have said so finely about woman's 
work and mission, but if you, with full conviction, are following 
out a larger mission, God will double your strength for the 
fulfilment of your own special vocation ; He can awake greater 
readiness in you for all those duties which you have to work 
through in your household and family life, and so you will soon 
prove equal to your task once more. And I may tell you from 
personal experience, that our power and courage, and above all 

76 Letters of Froebel. 


our enjoyment in single and small things grow apace when once 
we have the consciousness of working directly for a greater, and 
indeed, for the greatest, general result. Believe me, dear cousin, 
c r at any rate do not misunderstand me, the true care of children 
and of childhood, the true care of manhood in childhood, and 
thus the true care of the divine in the human, is, as it were, a true 
service of God, and one which the present stage of the develop- 
ment of humanity imperatively demands. 

You think it is odd that your association in Gera seems to be 
arranging itself upon opposite lines to those of the Rudolstact 
Association ; for the latter arose through the energy of women, 
and yours was chiefly founded by men. But to me this dis- 
crepancy seems on the surface only, the circumstances are really 
almost identical, and I think their differences shadow out the 
expression of a higher law of life. 

Permit me, in virtue of the great indulgence which my dear 
cousin, your husband, always shows towards my life-confessions, 
to lay before you quite openly my convictions upon this matter. 
Our Creator, as a loving Father, has shown us the duties and the 
laws of life in countless symbols ; and through what we perceive 
He has made known to us what is above and beyond perception ; 
for instance, in growing things, especially in trees, which set 
forth a whole world and system of life before our eyes ; in the 
seasons ; in the solar system and its laws ; and in many other ways ; 
but before all the rest in marriage, through its necessities and 
laws. Marriage, looked at in its whole being, with all its duties 
and all its significance, and the knowledge thus gained applied to 
the other claims of life, yields the true Ariadne's clue which leads 
us through the labyrinth of existence. 

The laws exemplified in marriage repeat themselves in all 
things, wherever man aims at any true Hfe-unity ; even in man 
himself, where the soul (the feminine element) and the intellect 
(the male element) strive to attain to harmony and clearness, so 
that they may together penetrate to the peace of life. I hope you 
can now see without my pursuing the idea further into its details 
what lofty meaning, what deep truth, are enshrined in the method 
which is being created by your Women's and Mothers' Associa- 

Foundation and Construction. JJ 

tion for the promotion of the Kindergarten.^ Foster this method, 
dear cousin, beyond that which already exists in your own mind, 
cherish it with the most watchful care, for woman's soul must; 
gain stability and clearness by man's intellect, and man's intellectj 
harmony and life by woman's soul ; and thus the true life ofj 
mankind, as the guardian of childhood, will shine forth in its 
perfect form, and be acknowledged as such. You know how 
careful and tender we have to be in married life, and in the 
household, about the commonest everyday things, and so must it 
be in every relationship in which, as in marriage, we have to set 
forth the representation of a lasting, peaceful, and gladsome life- 

Forgive my frankness ; but only frankness amongst honourable 
persons can lead mankind onw^ards towards its goal, and in the 
face of so lofty an aim as ours — nothing less than the representa- 
tion of the divine in daily life and through daily life — why should 
we hesitate to be frank ? You see by what I have said how 
specially close to the watchful woman's-soul and mother's-instinct 
lie life, and the key to life, and its control. Ought not mothers, 
then, to use their great privilege, their treasure, their talisman, 
given to them by God our Father, for the weal of mankind, or at 
all events for the benefit of the children whom they have borne 
with so many pains ? 

Marriage, moreover, sheds an absolutely clear light over the 
interconnection of life-relationships, or at least it gives us the 
means of explaining them, and whoever does not use it for this 
purpose has himself to blame. From this we can perceive that 
clearness of purpose in life is one of our duties in life. We ought 
to be clear about all the circumstances of life, and about all life- 
relationships— this is the first condition towards remaining faithful 
in all our dealings, and deriving perpetual blessing from them. 

ehe second condition is that we shall really be, within ourselves,'^ 
at which we are striving to make ourselves outwardly appeaj\J 

1 Froebel is advising his cousin to continue to accept the help of her gentle- 
man friends, rather than conform to the Rudolstadt model, where ladies alone 
worked, but wherein he himself probably provided the intellectual character- 
istics desired. 

yS Letters of Frocbel 

You, dear cousin, a contented wife and a happy mother, take 
great pains over your housekeeping, and carefully watch your 
children's training. Make yourself fully conscious of all these 
spheres of work, and of the whole value and meaning of your 
position, and hold fast the resulting claims upon you for active 
life-work in the stillness and calm of your own mind, and in all 
simplicity and modesty and self-retirement. You do well ; there 
are many things in life about w-hich one can never speak, and 
others about which one only dare speak wnth intimate friends ; 
but in the stillness of consciousness within, and in silent action 
without us, we ought yet to hold these things fast, and to bring 
them ever more and more to clearness. 

This is what I think, my dear cousin, as to your life-relation- 
ships ; I esteem them as unusually fortunate and harmonious, in 
that they permit you to work for the welfare of mankind by their 

Most men, and they oftentimes the noblest hearted, esteem 
their position in life and their power of usefulness too lightly, 
f^i'hereby many a good w^ork goes undone. We ought always to 
remember that we are all tools in the hands of God, we are His 
servants even in the least things ; and we should, then, in all 
modesty and humility, give that anxious care to our work in the 
world which is His due. 

^ Amongst the things which exist by the fiat of God — and all 
things, truly, must be regarded as originating from Him — I hold 
it to be one of the most fundamental law^s that everything has its 
true place in Space, and its true utility in Time. It is because of 
this that everything works so smoothly and so happily in the solar 
system — and shall it be otherwise with Man, the first of conscious 
beings? Let us at least equal in this regard the unconscious sun, 
earth, moon, rain, and dew. What cannot one single shower 
accomplish at the proper time, in the proper place, and of the 
proper amount ? I say to myself: That which the creatures of 
God, inferior to man, can accomplish by God's laws through 
instinct, that Man ought consciously to accomplish according to 
God's will, acting by his own free will and choice ; for in this 
consists his liberty. Courage then ! Courage and trust ! 

Foundation and Construction. 

In exceptional circumstances we often attach too much im- 
portance to separate effects and single speeches, but in ordinary 
life we are apt to pass over these too carelessly. Take, for ex- 
ample, the expression of your little Hermann, " ^j- ist schd?i'' 
('-' It is lovely "). The ancients differed altogether from us in this 
matter ; whence it comes that they so often " entertained angels 
unawares," and their life was so much nearer the divine than is 
ours, that they themselves were conscious of the near approach. 

What is it, dear cousin, that I am trying to convey to you by all 
this ? That it is not enough in the phase of the development of 
life and of humanity to which we have now attained that anything 
should merely occur, but we ought to be able to consciously ob- 
serve its occurrence. When we bring anything, be it ever so 
small, fully before our consciousness, we always gain something 
in clearness and insight. Let us take this phrase of Hermann's, 
£s ist sch'on (" It is lovely "), and ask why he does not hold to 
the phrase suggested by you, Es ist hiibsch (" It is pretty"). I 
reason thus with myself about this : hiibsch comes from hub^ that 
is from habeni^^io possess"), and implies a preference above 
some other thing not so pretty; it necessitates the idea of a simi- 
lar thing with which to compare it, that is, it calls up an image of 
a second object besides the one under contemplation, and in 
general it is a composite, twofold idea, therefore too difficult and 
intellectual to please a child. On the other hand, schon, (" lovely") 
comes from schetnen, " to shine," which suggests a complete unity in 
itself, something self-illuminated, like the sun. This explanation 
shows also the simple intellectual power gained by regarding a 
thing separatel}^, by and through itself; as here, when the word 
Scheine7i ("to shine") connotes unity. And hence we can see 
how much easier it comes to the simple, unrestrained child to call 
these forms, lovely as the sunlight, schon (" lovely," etymologically 
"shining"), rather than hiibsch ("pretty," etymologically "desir- 
able to possess "), whereas, perhaps, an older child, accustomed 
to compare things together, would possibly prefer to call such 
forms hiibsch (desirable above others). To whom am I indebted 
for this reflection? To Httle Hermann, by your kindness in 
repeating his phrase. And are we to regard this as an isolated 

So Letters of Froebel. 

reflection? By no means. It leads me on to perceive that the 
life and the intuitive observing power of a child are as yet one 
and indivisible.^ 

You have given me real pleasure by the news that Kriisi's little 
book has met with so cordial a reception. I am much obliged to 
you for telling me. For this book is one of my favourites, and I 
rely greatly on it for winning mothers to a higher consciousness 
of their mother's duties, and so to a perception of the benefits of 
associated or joint training and care of children. You will more 
and more come to see, dear cousin, that without this mutual 
association in the care, in the real culture, of children and of 
young persons, no sure testimony can be won for our educational 
principles, and no enduring result can be accomplished. 

Harmony between the womanly intelligence and the maternal 
life, between the consciousness and the act, is what we, in our 
zeal for the welfare of children and of humanity, have to aim 
at. But this result is not obtained amongst you women in the 
same way as amongst us men. We meet together for mutual 
counsel and aid, and determine upon united action by a general 
resolution. You, on the other hand, are Hke the world of flowers 
and trees, where, under the awakening, illuminating, warmth- 
giving rays of the sun, each single, individual life blossoms forth 
at once, and all of them at the same time, together ; and where, 
moreover, each one can only clearly see her own peaceful, joyful 
life as it is reflected in the lives of others, and, if I may say so, 
as embellished when thus seen. Just so an auricula-bloom can 
only perceive its own existence, clear and beautiful, in the exist- 
ence of another ; notwithstanding that in a cluster of auriculas 
there is much variation in form, in colour, in grouping, in odour, 
and, in short, in the general effect. 

Observe, dear cousin, that I desire the highest life-unity for 
the blossoms of humanity, for the women and mothers ; not an 
externally enforced, artificially planned unity, but one which 
while it grants to each one a firm retention of her individual 
personality, grows and develops from within outwards, blooming 
and fragrant. 

^ Froebel's etymology is p.irely fancirul. 

Foundation and Constniction. 8i 

I desire that their life may, like the life of the plants, freely 
awake and shape itself under the influence of the noontide sun 
of life, after God's own law; unison and concord, a higher, nay, 
the higliest symphony of life, with rhythm, melody, and harmony, 
will then spring forth of themselves. Thus it will not be long 
before we two arrive at a perfect mutual understanding, and this 
agreement of two persons only will readily extend itself until your 
friends also come to share fully in our plans and ideas. 

Then the will of God shall be expressed, in the life of man, 
consciously and of free choice (through the freedom of the will) ; 
whereas in physical nature and in the inferior animals His will 
is manifested as a natural law and under the compelling rule of 

What I strive to win for the life of individual women and 
mothers, I strive to win for family life also. 

For such a change I am striving to prepare, by means of my 
games and occupations. I hope they may succeed in their aim. 
If women would definitely put their case before the enlightened 
men of their circle, and let them see what their heart and soul, 
their intelligence and their life are planning for the welfare of 
childhood and the family, the men would certainly bestir them- 
selves, and gladly meet such desires half-way. And in this 
regard you yourself will assuredly be able to arouse, invigorate 
and encourage your sisters and friends when you tell them of your 
three Gera gentlemen who have in all genuine manly earnest- 
ness embraced the cause which you set before them — the weal of 
childhood, and of the family in its earliest beginnings. 

And I can give you another token of hope for the rapid pro- 
gress of the good cause. The reigning princess of Sondershausen 
has decided to establish a Kindergarten in her palace on the 
model, or rather according to the idea, of the Rudolstadt Kinder- 
garten, and is informing herself of the necessary details through 
the tutor of the young princes and princesses, who is in com- 
munication with me. ]\Iy answer to his letter of inquiry has 
already been despatched, and I shall tell you later on what 
comes of it. The tutor is mightily taken with the matter, and 
so is, as it would appear, the princess herself. 


82 Letters of Froebel. 

I send my best thanks to Mile. Erwina for her friendly New 
Year's greeting to the German Kindergarten, expressed in the 
subscription for a share. But it seems to me really remarkable 
how languidly and slowly the world of German women concerns 
itself with our undertaking. So far as my experience goes, the 
plan is highly appreciated, and yet at the same time (while it is 
quite easily to be started if only several persons will join together 
with subscriptions for the purpose), the list of subscribers fills 
up so slowly, name by name, that as I have said, it will be a year 
and more before it is quite full. If the fixed number of subscribers 
is not obtained, well, then no one will be asked to pay ; but if the 
work succeeds, as I hope it will, then surely no intelligent German 
wife or maiden would like to be left out of it : so that either way 
there is no risk to the subscribers. Rightly understood, a sub- 
scription is nothing more than a preliminary undertaking that one 
approves of the plan in general, and that if it comes into opera- 
tion one will join to a definite extent in furthering its interests : 
and yet people seem to be as afraid of giving their signature as if 
it involved a weighty obligation. 

Thank the dear old grandfather, who enters so kindly into my 
ideas of suitable occupations for children ; and tell him that 
although his strength does not allow him directly to work for 
them, he can yet raise his voice in their favour on all suitable 
occasions ; and the voice of age and experience is everywhere 
received with the respect due to it. Besides, men seem to require 
that a voice of authority shall arise and speak firmly to them. 

I send my greeting to my two dear young cousins, and thank 
them for their parcels. I have just been learning something from 
them by a critical examination of their drawings. I hope soon 
to send them back a return gift of the same nature either written 
or printed, 

I am particularly pleased that your husband honours my games 
with such a critical inquiry ; if only I could instil into him a 
knowledge of their inner spirit and life, I have not the smallest 
doubt but that I should enjoy the full approval of such a 
thoughtful teacher and real educationist. The special value of 
these games is most difficult to express through the lifeless 

Foundation and Construction.. S 

medium of words, unless one becomes mathematically dry, but 
it manifests itself easily enough in action and in life. Remember 
me very kindly to your good husband, and tell him my purpose 
is to prepare a fruitful soil for the future teachers of these pupils, 
so that not only shall the seed they sow spring up readily in 
mind and spirit, but shall, like all healthy and vigorous growths, 
thrust deep roots downward. 

How gladly I receive your numerous interspersed comments 
and speculations ! You seize so firmly, in all aspects, the inmost, 
deepest meaning which I wish these games to take when played 
by children under the conduct of grown persons, that I promise 
myself the best results from your use of them. Try as soon as you 
can to train up little helpers amongst the elder children who take 
part in the games; girls readily and gladly assist, and the whole 
work may thus be rendered much lighter for you. If, after the 
general games are over, you now and then play or sing for a little 
while with the elder and more competent children, you will soon 
train up two or three playfellows well grounded in the games and 
firmly confident in the songs. We at Eudolstadt are constantly 
doing this. There is emulation amongst the younger ones to be 
chosen as helpers in this way. 

I should like next to give you a little sketch of a complete 
.chain of games. ^ 

^ I. Whenever I lead the games, whether with the older or the 
younger children, I always begin with the ball. I find its eftect 
is to unite and quiet the children, especially if I use it in a 
manner particularly directed to attain these objects. 

2. I always begin by turning to a child who happens to stand 
close to me, and make whatever he is doing my starting-point 
gradually leading on from that to some game which all may play 
together; then pausing a little at any suitable circumstance which 
may occur in the game, I use that as a passage to the intro- 
duction of the ball. This passage is easy to manage in quite a 
natural way. The more closely the beginning of the game is knit 
to the life of the child, flowing as it were out of himself, the better 
the game develops. You need not be anxious about this. The 
children themselves soon show you the best way to set to work, 

^4 Letters of Froebel. 

You liave so often played with children yourself that you can 
regard the circle as already formed for games. 

3. As soon as I have gained the attention of one child to the 
ball, several others quickly fall in also ; and we rapidly pass from 
the questions, "What is this?" or "What have I got here?" to 
the question, "What can you tell me about this ball?" Then, 
holding the ball in front of the children, or in the midst of them, 
that they may clearly see it, I try to pick out from amongst the 
various answers I receive such as will best lead them to observe 
its general properties. And now I bring them to the definite 
decision, "The ball is pretty," whereupon I sing them the phrase. 
Meanwhile I am quietly arranging the children in a circle without 
their perceiving it, and then I put the question to them, "Would 
you like to look at this ball ? " So one part of the game follows 
on from the other. 

I have a sufficient provision of balls with me that each child 
may have one, and I say or sing, as I give him his ball, — 

*' Make a cup with hands spread wide, 
And put the pretty ball inside ; " 

And this brings me easily to the song, — 

" In my open hand I hold a pretty little ball, 
Let me rock it to and fro, and mind it does not fall," etc. 

The ball is then rocked to and fro, or up and down, and pre- 
sently it rolls a little in the hand : as soon as this is perceived, 
the game-leader puts the fact into words, and says or sings, — 

"The ball gets tired of lying still, 

If there's a chance to move, it will ! " 

I let the attention of the children rest awhile upon these words, 
and upon this movement of the ball, as I did before upon the 
consideration of the properties of the ball in itself, and again upon 
the ball as an object in repose: in this manner the pair ofoppo- 
sites, rest and motion, become quite distinct to the child, and he 
is readily led to an intelligent consideration and comparison of 
the two states.^ 

After a series of various ball-games we come to one in which 

^ See Froebel's "Ball-Games." 

Foundation and Construction. 85 

the ball is made to travel from one child to another, and this is 
followed by the children themselves moving round, to the song, 
" Come, let us all move round and round," etc. 

You see from this how simply the lifeless ball calls up active 
life, and the single quiet ball-game is converted into a general 
lively action-game. 

The children learn these songs incredibly fast, especially if you 
sing them very clearly and slowly all together in chorus. Even if 
the little ones do not outwardly seem to join in, they are thinking 
it all to themselves, as is proved by the words and songs welling 
forth from their little throats like water from a full spring when 
they are by themselves. 

What has just been described shows forth a pretty little chain 
of games, or at least a definite selection of games ; and it may, so 
long as the children find pleasure in it, be repeated in some of the 
following play-hours.i 

The games form in themselves a closed chain proceeding from 
the simplest and most necessary links ; a closely connected whole, 
depending upon necessary laws ; yet it is not at all needful upon 
this account rigidly to follow the order of the games as given in 
the series. This would quite destroy that fresh merry life which 
should animate the games. One rule must be, however, unfail- 
ingly and uniformly observed ; the games must always begin with 
the earliest and easiest ones of whatever selection may have 
been made, and must rise by development from simple to com- 
plex, according to the universal and never-to-be-forgotten law : but 
within this limit free choice and unhindered play of movement is 
allowed. Otherwise the games would cease to be games, and 
lose their full educational power. You yourself, dear cousin, like 
every game-leader, would find yourself cramped and hindered. 

The main thought must be held fast ; but the precise form and 
style in w^hich the games are played must be the outcome of the 
moment. The freer and more spontaneous the arrangement, the 
more excellent is the effect of the game. ^^ 

A ^ 

^ Here follows, in the letter, Froebel's well-known description of " Ball and 
Action Games." 

S6 Letters of Froebel. 

It is amidst the perpetual and inextricable combination of the 
limited with the ilhmitable, of the definite with the infinite, in 
every sphere of human existence, that the free unfolding of man's 
nature, his liberty of soul, becomes possible ; and this according 
to God's will as well as according to man's own inner God-given 
law (that is, according to his conscience) and in harmony with 
the grand unity of living nature. 

You now see, my dear cousin, that the games and occupations 
which I have arranged have a theoretical as well as a practical 
value, a subjective value for the individual person as well as an 
objective value for the little group of companions in social life; 
and also that by their nature and because of the germs of mental 
development which they carry with them, or have the power at any 
rate to call into life, they have a scientific as well as an aesthetic 
meaning ; they are as valuable on the moral as on the intellectual 
side, alike important for the heart, the head, and the activities of 
common life. They are of as great moment in the development 
of virtue as in the development of religious life; and, in the latter, 
they are of especial value towards the acquirement of pure Chris- 
tian principles. 

On account of this fundamental, all-encompassing character of 
the games, they meet with general sympathy from every one who 
plays them herself, or even has seen them played by others, and 
has thereby personally experienced their influence. Therefore, in 
good time, and with earnest study on the part of lovers of the 
method, three results will eventually come about. Firstly, these 
games will win ever more and more general acceptance and 
application ; secondly, they will pass beyond the narrow circle of 
separate children into the family as a whole, and will become a 
national possession, nay, a possession belonging to the whole 
human race, like the great Greek games once were; thirdly, they 
will in their own time grow ever more perfect on the one side in 
beauty and grace, and on the other side in the general service of 

I have let myself run on in all this detail that your gentlemen 
friends and colleagues may read it, or better still, that you may 
tell it to them ; so that they may see that we have here no childish 

FoiLiidation and Construction . 8y 

or one-sided play, but games which represent true thoughts and 
ideas of adult and and cultivated men, and which, as such, are 
worthy the acceptance of intelligent and acute women and mothers, 
as well as of thoughtful and active-minded men and fathers. 
They throw a bright light across the past, they work powerfully and 
beneficently in the present, and are filled with blessed promise 
for the future. How comes this to be possible ? Through the 
fact that they study to set forth what a man ought to do ; namely, 
to accomplish in small things in separateness and imperfection — 
always striving nevertheless to be perfect — that which God does 
in great things, in universality and in complete perfection. 

Man must ever aim at learning God's methods of development"] 
of culture, of education, as applied to humanity; and especially at 
striving to set them forth as applied to his own individual educa- 
tion, and the education of his family and his nation. Here you see^^ 
my teacher, my professor, who teaches from the book of the highest 
and holiest revelations of life, a book not merely held in the hand 
or got by heart, but set forth in actual living characters, and with 
never a contradiction. 

The educational method and plan of God shows us how upon 
the level background of life He shapes forth ever clear, mutually 
helpful, living laws; and these are the conditions under which 
man is free to rise above himself, to educate and fill himself with 
culture. Therefore he must proceed through much that is con- 
tradictory or in disorder, and which passes before him, nay, also 
within him, — guided by the inner light which is at one with his 
very being — before he can attain to harmony of life and learn the 
laws of life. I intend also, or rather I recognise already, that the 
games produced or invented by me_ form an image of the ten- 
dencies of education. It does no harm to the development of 
the children, when now and then something which should come 
later is taken earlier, and when things which should be separate 
are taken together, if only the child comes quicker to a compre^ 
hension of the spirit of the whole, thereby ; under all variety there 
lies a basis of unity, and under all apparent irrationality or chance 
a basis of law. Secondly, the child should be so generally trained 
by these games, that later on in life, when his mind is competent j 


^^ Letters of Froebel. 

to grasp the idea, he shall be able to look back and discover for 
himself the basis of unity and law which underlay them. Thirdly, 
that he may perceive their unity and law to be one with the unity 
and law pervading his own life and its development. Lastly and 
fourthly, that this double perception may give him the means an 
show him the way, at all events approximately, to trace out the 
unity and law underlying all vital phenomena whatever.^ 

The comprehension of the games to be arrived at later on by 
the growing mind of the child, is the main thing to aim at. To 
awake and cherish mental life in the child, to bring the laws of 
life before him as an intuition, or as a clear consciousness, and 
to enable him right fully to enjoy the fruit of after-life, peace and 
joy, is the aim we have in these children's games. 

Endeavour above all things to stimulate a more vigorous 
attempt at carrying on a Kindergarten ; because the thing itself, 
in action, speaks better than any written or printed address. We 
have seen excellent results in Rudolstadt already. One thing is^ 
very necessary — quiet patience on the part of the teacher, so as 
to give the children plenty of time to feel at home with her. ^^ 

For the many imperfections of this letter I must plead as an 
excuse that I have been frequently interrupted whilst writing it. 

The friendliest greetings to all of you, 

From your affectionate Cousin. 

Letter VI I. 

Blankenburg, 30//^ January ^"^ 1841. 
My dear Cousin, — 

A part of ray answer to your letter, the receipt of which gave 
me such pleasure in many different ways, is still waiting to be 

* Here follow the games with the sphere and cube, and action-games. Cf. 
Froebel's Sonntagsblatt, 

^ Here, as also in the dating of the previous letter, the old-fashioned 
" Janner" is used iox Janua7y (" Januar"). It had already become obsolete in 
the chief towns, but was still usual in the provinces. " Muhme," also the true 
German word for a female cousin, and always used by Froebel in addressing 
Madame Schmidt, had already been replaced in the towns by the modern 
*' Cousine," borrowed from the French. 

Foundation and Construction. 89 

written, when I now receive another and an equally delightful 
missive from you, telling me that with a rapidity I never expected 
your beautiful garden (Kindergarten) has been already set out, 
that it is being worked upon and brought into cultivation, and 
that in due course, following the months of the year and the 
seasons, it will be sown with suitable seeds of all varieties. Yes, 
dear cousin, there is this about the Kindergarten that is especially 
delightful— the sower, even in the act of sowing, is rewarded by 
both flower and fruit, and that in double portion, one for herself 
and one for the children. 

I am right glad that you have struck out a beginning on your 
own account, in firm and sure reliance of finding the true way. 
\Vhy should you not find the true way ? I have learnt it from 
mothers and children, and am still daily learning from them. But 
you are a mother yourself; and to create direct from the source of 
inspiration, without the intervention of any intermediary, is always 
the best. Original work is always the best sort of work. That 
you have progressive minds by your side to support you, amongst 
your gentlemen friends, and can avail yourself of their strength, 
gives me peculiar pleasure. This is of manifold significance, and 
I send Pastor Lang my hearty thanks for bis support. 

I am sending you a quantity of songs. But as you will cer- 
tainly be finding out for yourself many which are much prettier 
than these, I would ask you to copy them out for me. 

And in the interest of the children 1 have still another request 
to make — that you would record in writing the most important 
facts about each separate child. It seems to me most necessary 
for the comprehension, and for the true treatment of child-nature, 
that such observations should be made public from time to time, 
in order that children may become better and better understood 
in their manifestations, and may therefore be more rightly treated, 
and that true care and observation of unsophisticated childhood 
may ever increase. 

I enjoy, in anticipation, your next letter, which will bring me 
news of the happy progress of your Kindergarten. 
Your grateful Cousin, 

Fr. Fr. 

90 Letters of Froebel. 

Letter VIII. 

Blankenburg, I'jfh Feb., 1841. 
Dear and deeply respected Cousin, — 

Although I have not before me your last letter but one — that 
one in which you kindly wrote me so many details of your work 
— because (since our life here is all shared in common) the circle 
at Keilhau are now enjoying its perusal, as I sent it to them a few 
days since, I will nevertheless try to set down what occurred to 
me on its first reading, and answer its various points, though, 
perhaps, not in the same order as you put them. 

Before anything else I must express my pleasure that you 
are working in good understanding with the principals of the 
Collegiate School, and especially with such active and helpful 
co-operation on the part of Pastor Lang. This gives your under 
taking an inward as well as an outward support, and endows it 
with the character of sharing in the work common to all the 
various educational bodies ; which cannot fail to be most helpful 
to the stabihty and to the usefulness alike of their work and of 
yours. You send me, kind cousin, friendly congratulations about 
our Mothers' Association in Rudolstadt, and I assure you that I 
am very pleased with its success ; but we cannot pride ourselves 
upon the co-operation of such powerful male assistance as you 
have. This arises from various reasons. You see, dear cousin, 
every centre has its special advantages and disadvantages. 

Our mothers and nursery governesses share more largely in the 
life of the children, it would seem, than do yours in Gera. 
Several mothers with us take definite parts in the games, others 
copy out the songs that we sing, and I believe that many games 
are repeated in the family circle at home. 

I am glad to be able to set down for you and the sister institu- 
tions in Frankfurt and Rudolstadt several favourable points which 
I have observed. Firstly, the advantages and fruitful results of 
these Kindergartens have been proved upon the children who have 
taken part in them. Secondly, there is a continual increase in the 

Foundation and Construction. 91 

number of children. In Rudolstadt we have to limit our number 
to twenty-six, because of our want of room. Thirdly, we observe 
that children who scarcely sing at all with us whilst the games 
are being played, nevertheless sing away in the confidence of 
their own homes, clear, merry and loud. Fourthly, our children 
play our games with their little brothers and sisters at home, and 
use our names too, quite correctly. Fifthly, and this is the most 
important observation, we find that naughty ways, especially 
amongst the boys, disappear, while at the same time a greater 
power of original action makes its appearance, J 

And we must tell you also of a farther point we observe ; that, 
as a rule, the smaller children play more intelligently, quietly, 
imaginatively, steadily, and persistently, than the elder ones, who 
are much more easily distracted. At the same time, we notice 
that this fault of the elder ones grows less as we go on. 

I hold it of the greatest importance that we should interchange 
the observations that w^e make, so that little by little we may come 
to know the grounds and the conditions of the phenomena we 
observe, and can formulate their laws. Then we shall be in a 
position to assist those things which are favourable, and to check 
those which are disadvantageous, to the good development of the 

I am firmly convinced that all the phenomena of the child- 
w^orld, those which delight us as well as those which grieve us, 
depend upon fixed laws as definite as those of the cosmos, the 
planetary system, and the operations of nature ; and it is there- 
fore possible to discover them and examine them. When once we 
know and have assimilated these laws, we shall be able power- 
fully to counteract any retrograde and faulty tendencies in the 
children, and to encourage, at the same time, all that is good and 

In accordance with this truth, and supporting my firm convic- 
tion of it, observe how the children are impelled by a certain yearn- 
ing desire and dim ineffable feeling which urges them on in quite 
a remarkable and special way to the unwearied pursuit of circu- 
lar action-games ; for these will lead them towards a comprehen- 
sion of the solar system and the orbital motion of worlds. 

Letters of Frocbel. 

And further I will confide to you, who so thoughtfully and 
carefully study the spirit of children's play — but you must be 
careful to v/hom you repeat it — that in my play and in my games 
I have always had a definite second purpose beyond that of 
guiding the children back upon their own nature, namely, to lead 
them onward to observe the life of the outer world, of the 
cosmos, and especially of the physical nature that most closely 
surrounds them ; because the cosmical laws can only be ex- 
pressed to them by means of individual instances. Thus I 
I hope later on to bring the children to a practical (and by 
" practical " I mean such as can be turned to real use in every 
I day life), to a practical knowledge of God, His words, and His 
modes of action, and therefore of His nature, and of His will ; 
and then they will not only be capable of recognising and 
examining into the will of God, but also of acting in accordance 
with it. And further, dear cousin, I may say in confidence that 
the ultimate aim and special purpose of my games and system of 
play is to bring the children, through the aid of physical nature 
,and animal life (here especially represented by children's love, 
land our love for children, with the mutually reflex actions of these), 
j — and also through Jesus, as the greatest lover of children — to a 
i true union with God in sentiment, thought and action; that is, 
i to a truly religious state. 

The enthusiastic and self-sacrificing efforts of yourself and Pastor 
Lang in conducting the play-hours without any emolument, is 
in the highest degree worthy of our thanks. May a correspond- 
ing result come to reward you for your good care of the great 
principle ! IVIay that principle itself be manifested, also, in a 
certain degree of completeness ! The Rudolstadt Mothers' 
Association is not so fortunate in this respect. For Middendorff 
and I, on account of the rapidity with which it is necessary to 
travel thither, and also on account of the bad weather and the bad 
state of the roads, are obliged to drive every day to Rudolstadt, 
which, of course, makes a serious inroad upon our funds ; and 
beyond this there are the expenses of warming the play-room and 
of purchasing the necessary materials. Yet every one expresses 
the wish that the work we have begun shall be carried on through 

Foiuidation and Construction. 93 

the summer, and a garden and playground up in the hills are 
already offered us without charge.^ 

Do not think ill of me, dear cousin, because I have perhaps not 
expressed myself sufficiently thankful for your furtherance of my 
work, and your co-operation in spreading abroad the Kindergarten 
system, and above all, for your foundation and conduct of the 
institution in Gera. It is an extraordinary peculiarity of my nature 
that I am often least profuse in thanks, where I am inwardly 
most thankful and most rejoicing ; for I am too apt to assume that 
my grateful state of mind is easily perceivable by those to whom 
it is due. To my hurt I have experienced this fact several times ; 
and as it would seem, I have repeated the error in regard to your- 
self, my best of cousins, to whom I feel so deeply thankful. Also, 
I will confess to you that I fear to speak too openly of my dear- 
est joys and hopes, lest by exposing them I should cause them 
to wither away. Enough : let me say that the Kindergarten in 
Gera which has arisen from your enthusiasm and from your 
intehigence, planted and nurtured by yourself, is the dearest ot 
all to me, as it now stands ; and that I acknowledge it to be the 
best-grounded and the firmest-established and deepest-rooted 
of all, in the public life as also in your own individual life. 
Through your friendly co-operation it is like a strawberry plant 
which silently drives its runners here and there, and whose run- 
ners, where they find specially rich and tempting soil, throw out 
roots which soon become independent plants for themselves. In 
this figure I foreshadow what may be expected to come out of the 
part now taken in the games by the elder girls, about which you 
write to me. It is precisely this silent, unexpected and unnoticed 
progress that I desire, and that is so dear to me. God prosper it ! 

You are right in saying that many games, when they have been 
long and carefully played, become graceful and beautiful in them- 
selves. Amongst them I rank " The ball flies high to form an 
arch," and many other ball games. 

\Note, Feb. 2gt/i.] I am vexy grateful to you for having taken 

' Rudolstadt is surrounded by hills, and the citizens delight to possess a 
*' berg," or hill-meadow, in which they usually build a summer house; and 
here they spend their summer evenings or holiday afternoons. 

94 Letters of Froebel. 

the trouble to wind and sew the balls yourself. Permit me to make 
a request as to the finished surface of these balls : and that is, that 
each should be entirely of one colour, and also that the series 
should follow the prismatic order, the colours of the rainbow. 

Studying the lives of children and following the bent of your 
own enthusiasm you have presented us with a new game. My 
hearty thanks for it. I am myself exceedingly fortunate in being 
so much at one with the children, and so at home with them that 
my mind is as readily set in motion by them as one of their own 
wooden toy rollers. A large majority of our games I have 
created, just as they are, simply by watching children at play, and 
then re-casting their games in the spirit of my whole system. 
Thus, quite lately, I have prepared a limping-game, because I see 
my boys are always limping and hopping. I have also taken your 
idea of a clucking-hen, or hen-and-chickens, as the basis of a 
game which I will send you for trial. 

I am also very grateful to you for the remarks of your dear little 
ones about rosebuds and green leaves. I shall make use of them 
in a game of flowers. We must have several such games for our 
summer walks, some to be played with real flowers, some as action- 
games where the children impersonate various flowers and plants. 

The object of such games will be readily apprehended by you. 
It is to draw the children to the observation of natural phenomena, 
and at the same time to sympathy with the pure, eternal, unrest- 
ing, ever peaceful, helpful life of nature ; and to reproduce like 
things in their own lives on the higher plane of consciousness 
and union-with-God. I like the German word Gottei/ngkeit, 
" union-with-God," better than the foreign word Religion, or 
religiousness, which, according to the real meaning of the word, 
is no longer satisfactory to me now that Jesus has appeared and 
worked in the world. ^ 

Now I hope I have fully answered your last letter (or rather 

^ Rel'igio (the Latin Avheace comes the French word religion) is thought to 
come from reli^are, " to bind," as if it were the force of duty or conscience, 
l^inding us to God and the divine life. Such an idea, Froebel means, seems 
more applicable to the Old Testament dispensation, of Law, than to the New, 
of Love. 

Foundation and Construction. 95 

your last but one) from memory. But even as I thus write, another 
remark of yours, as to the music of our little songs, occurs to me. 
You are quite right ; we ought to try and attain a somewhat higher 
level in that department. Our little songs are very often learnt 
from mothers and children, and our aim in constructing them is 
that the representation of the game, the words, and the music 
should all three combine to form a whole, the parts of which 
mutually strengthen and elucidate each other. 

Is there anything more that I could desire in your work, and 
especially in your method of dealing with the system ? On the 
contrary, it is, in its present stage, and particularly in the way it 
develops itself, just as I would have it, precisely after my own 
heart ; for I delight in quiet, simple, steady, self-developing pro- 
gress. This is why your mode of life, quiet, unnoticed, retired 
as it is, according to your own description of it, nay, even almost 
unknown, so to speak, appears to me so eminently fitted for our 
purpose. It resembles the violet's life and life-work, which 
blossoms all concealed, and is only detected and then carefully 
sought out, when its delicate perfume spreads abroad. However 
easy-going a man may be, he yet likes those things best which he 
has sought out with a certain amount of personal exertion, and 
has made his own. Oh, I beg you, do not be anxious, and least 
of all with regard to me. By your work and the way you accom- 
plish it, you are fulfilling, if you will let me say so once for all, 
the closest, dearest, and sweetest wish of my heart. You give 
me, as you give your little ones, joy, peace, calm; and my founda- 
tions become more stable by your help. 

I am delighted over and above all this, to learn that you find 
your operations steadily winning confidence amongst those who 
have come to know of them. Call on me for anything that I can 
do to help, so that we may cherish this growing confidence and 
promote it together. I was greatly pleased to know that several 
ladies are sharing in your work ; it seems impossible now that 
your hopes and anticipations should lack fulfilment. 

Your pretty and amusing game with the " Little Blue-mantle " 
(little Iduna) has introduced a very poetical element into our 
games, and^it ought to prove, as I think, a valuable and fruitful 

96 Letters of Froebel. 

But encourage your little girls to be always observing, and then 
to think over what they have observed, for this alone promotes 
genuinely original action. I have carefully watched some of our 
little ones who behave in a like manner; and I have observed 
how rapidly their lips move as they talk to themselves about any- 
thing that has strongly impressed them. 

A little boy showed me lately how important it is to accom- 
pany building games with speech or song : for, having built some- 
thing by himself, he turned to me and said, *' Now, tell me some- 
thing about it ! " 

The affection of your wayward Adele delighted me much. The 
contest amongst the children for the best place and the first greet- 
ing is always very enjoyable ; but we must be careful that no one 
feels himself overlooked. 

Sincerest good wishes to all your dear ones, 

From your grateful Cousin, 

Friedrich Froebel. 

Letter IX. 

Blankenburg, 21st March, 1841. 
Much-esteemed and dear Cousin, — 

At last I am able to reply to your kind letter of the 7th inst. 

Permit me to answer you clause by clause. 

I. "Often and often," so you say, "passages which I read in 
the Sunday Journal tvoV^ from the depths of my inner conscious- 
ness like thoughts which I have originated for myself, and like 
experiences which I have gone through in my own life, until I 
grow quite astonished and puzzled." What you thus confide to 
me relates to one part of the sw^eetest, best and purest fruit of 
niy life ; one part, namely, of w^hat I mean to do, or have 
already accomplished (through my children's games and occupa- 
tions) towards clearing a pathway through the tangles of human 
life. I am endeavouring to bring man, through the knowledge 
of his own inner feehngs and the experiences of his own life, to 
a forefeeling, a perception, and finally a clear consciousness, of 
this great fact — that for all the important needs of life, and for 

Foundation and Constr^ictiov,. 97 

the deepest conceptions which govern life, there exist universally 
applicable life-experiences and examples, which are found to be/ 
repeated in the case of every man who examines the development' 
of his own career with careful scrutiny, and endeavours to bring , 
himself to a consciousness of its meaning. 

The observation of this fact should annihilate the feeling of the 
separateness of the individual in life, which is the death of all 
true life ; and should permit men to regard themselves as mem- 
bers of our common humanity, uniting together to form one great 
whole, should enable them to feel and know themselves as such, 
and to act out and live up to this idea. To acquire this con- 
ception is to acquire the highest good for humanity at large, as 
well as for the separate individuals which compose it. Regarded 
thus even for you, dear cousin, the true spirit, the genuine life, 
and especially the lofty aim, of my games and occupations, be- 
comes ever more and more clear and manifest. But you must 
also perceive, dear cousin, that you yourself fulfil the one needful 
condition towards understanding me — you have a soul ready to 
believe, to trust, and to make sacrifices. Such a soul creates all 
that is lovely, great, good, true, and noble in life — belief, trust, 
and self-sacrifice in and for the wellspring and unity of life; whether 
the whole body of life, humanity, or its separate existence 
amongst individual men, or lastly in the child, who as yet reposes 
in life's slumber, a living member of a living whole. This triple 
and yet single belief I desire to awake right early in man, in the 
child, by the careful tendance of childhood ; to cherish it, arouse 
it, and stimulate it to worthy actions. 

2. I have been much pleased with what you say about Lange- 
thal's essay upon the text, in his own words, " Our little ones 
carry about the living God in their hearts," as to the suitable 
religious training of the smaller girls by means of learning little 
hymns. You choose hymns which treat of such subjects as are 
familiar to the children, and occur in their everyday life, and 
you think thereby to win children to observe, acknowledge, and 
realize spiritual things. How true and again how beautiful is all 
this on your part ! Once more we find ourselves thinking pre- 
cisely alike, as to the way we would treat the education of chil- 


gS Letters of Froehel. 

I dren. Humanity is a beautiful thing in its unity ; in its collective 
and its individual aspect too. Each man sees himself improved 
/in his fellow-man, and in his race; and yet each is self-sustained 
(and self-originating, free within himself. 

3. You tell me that the "Marching Song" and the song of 
"The Ball and the Pigeon" are favourites with the children : but 
they have sprung from the life of the children themselves ; nay, 
the marching song is nothing else but the children's life. 

4. In speaking of the song 

" My little ball is well-behaved, 
And so's my little child," 

what you tell me about your merry Adele is delightful. This 
experience, and your kindness in communicating it, belong to 
the finest blossoms and fruitage of my life-work. It proves for 
me, moreover, that truth which so deeply affects the education 
of man, that we arrive at the knowledge of the true and the right 
by the comparison of exact opposites of like kind.^ It never has 

ISO good an effect to show a little child his own image mirrored in 
other human beings, in other persons, as to let him perceive him- 
self and his life symbolised and set fortli in inanimate and imper- 
sonal things. In the first case the human mind has to meet 
a thousand distracting and narrowing elements of personality, 
whilst in the second the thing, the fact, to which his attention is 
called, tells its tale without interruption. With the fact he 

^ An example will show Froebel's meaning clearer to those who are not 
familiar Avith this method of philosophical inquiry, almost invariably resorted 
to by him in his educational researches. An antithesis of like kind is found 
to a given thesis, and from the union of these opposites springs a new truth, 
by synthesis. Thus, if we take the geometrical form of a sphere of even curva- 
ture and extreme mobility, and find the opposites of these qualities in another 
geometrical form, the cube, we arrive at a third and distinct form, viz., the 
cylinder, through the union of this pair of opposites. The point of likeness 
between the two opposites — the living child and the lifeless ball — is that both 
are easy to set in motion ; the distinctive character of both may indeed be said 
to be mobility. Thesis, a moving child ; antithesis, a moving ball ; result- 
ing synthesis, the idea of motion. It is easier for the child to apprehend the 
fact of motion by the comparison of such total opposites as an animated being 
and an inanimate thing, which are alike only in this one point, that both are 
in motion, than by comparing himself with other children in- motion, who 
present a thousand forms of similarity. ^ 

Foundation and Constniction. 99 

approaches also the unchangeable, everlasting, self-centred law 
of that fact, which works irresistibly upon mankind like fate or 
destiny. I believe that in this way man may become rich in all 
experience of good ; of evil also, and that without losing his 
innocence. To acquire this power of education for mankind, 
especially for his early childhood, is my aim ; and I believe it is 
the true aim of all mankind also. I believe that this method of 
directing a child's attention to himself and teaching him to observe 
carefully his own actions is the method freest from danger. 

5. The representation of facts and circumstances of history, 
of geography, and especially of everyday life, by means of build- 
ing with the bricks contained in my boxes of " gifts," I hold to 
be in the highest degree important for children, even if these 
representations are imperfect and fall far short of their originals. 
The eye is at all events aroused and stimulated to observe with 
greater precision than before the object that has been represented, 
when next it actually comes before the child in nature or in life. 
And thus, by means of perhaps a quite imperfect outward repre- 
sentation, the inner perception is made more perfect. I rejoice 
beyond measure in the fact that everything in the life of the 
children turns out exactly as my mind has anticipated. For all 
life and all mind is everywhere one and the same in essence. 

6. The various means of comprehension afforded by forms and 
by modes of representation, especially by building, as pursued 
by boys and girls of the same age and the same average general 
development, soon claim the teacher's attention. The children 
quickly discover their favourite forms. To avoid any onesided 
development through this, it is a good plan to take the forms 
which the separate children have individually discovered, each 
for himself, and then set all the class to work them out together. 

As for the difference in character between the building forms 
invented by boys and by girls, I have frequently observed amongst 
my own class of children that the girls invent lighter and more 
interesting forms, more nearly adapted to the ordinary require- 
ments of life, and at the same time much prettier. The girls 
are usually more persevering, too, than the boys. 

Here in Rudolstadt we have a few children who are quite 

lOO Letters of Five be/. 

unusually gifted in invention. Personal talents and degrees of 
individual development are often extremely unlike in different 

7. You express a desire to iiUroduce our games into many 
family circles. If there is any member of the family who takes 
a prominent interest in the children's doings this would certainly 
be of great usefulness. A few famiUes in Rudolstadt already use 
the games, and in these cases the mothers are the leaders. 

8. It has occurred to me that Gera might be a point of union 
whence the newly-awakening need of the other towns in Reuss 
and the neighbouring country might be supplied. The only thing 
would be to find a tradesman who would keep the materials for 
my games and occupations always in stock. 

I am firmly convinced that my several undertakings, if grouped 
together, would not only become well grounded, but would strike 
firm root and endure, if I could but give the separate bodies of 
sympathisers a more closely connected form, and could extend 
the range of the whole operations to the scale demanded for their 
full development. Yet no ! I thrust this conviction, with the 
wishes it inspires, back into my inmost soul, and content myself 
with far more modest results, such as that obtained in so impor- 
tant a degree through your enthusiastic kindness. May not the 
slightest breath of unavailing desire on my part nip in the bud, 
as it were with one of the frosts of early spring, the tender plant 
which is so dear to us ! 

9. But setting all the above on one side, let me urge one more 
request, dear cousin. After you have shown the results of your 
Kindergarten work to the parents of the children forming your 
class, could you not induce one of these gentlemen to write an 
account of it for a public journal, say the General Intelligencer 1 
I think we are bound to assist the sympathy which now manifests 
itself towards the earliest years of childhood by publicly bringing 
before it the results we have obtained through our newly 
organised child-culture and our series of occupations. Anything 
I could do in this regard would have too little authority and 

10. That you, dear cousin, find happiness in your voluntary, 

Foundation and Construction. lOi 

unselfish labours, and are able to make your beloved and un- 
usually gifted family share in that happiness, is a source of great 
gratification to me. My undertakings must not be allowed to 
bring discord into any one single bosom. But it is not so, for our 
children carry happiness with them into their families from our 
Kindergarten ; we can show many examples of this. 

11. The experience of the awakening and ennobling effect of 
singing upon the children, even upon the youngest of them, is 
universal in our Kindergarten. 

12. I have often observed what you say of the almost magic 
effects obtainable by ball-games, especially with sickly, rather 
stupid children, who remain uninterested for a length of time 
together. At last you see pleasure rise, as if from a deep grave, 
and smiles spread over their face, and their little arms seem 
to acquire life for the first time. Something of this sort must 
have been actually seen before the seemingly incredible value 
theoretically claimed for these occupations of children can be 
really acknowledged, and their conformity with nature, their 
suitability, yes, and I will add their beneficent and elevating 
character, properly appreciatetl. 

13. Many thanks for your remark about the boy ''who quietly 
let his eye travel from the ball, hanging at the end of its cord, up 
to the hand which held that cord, and which held the ball too by 
means of it."^ With your kind permission I shall make use or 
this observation, and of several others of yours, full of living force 
and penetration, for my Sunday Journal. I am convinced, and I 
wish all teachers and especially all mothers shared in the convic- 
tion, that the very earliest phenomena of child-life are full of 
symbolic meaning, that is to say, they indicate the higher, the 
intellectual, life in the child and his individual peculiarities at 
the same time ; as in the case above mentioned. Our duty is to 
search in everything for its ultimate basis, its point of origin, its 
well-spring; and to make clear the connection between the out 
ward manifestation and its inward cause. 

^ The little fellow had discovered for himself that objects fall when unsup- 
ported ; and the interest in the above lies in the fact that he had sought out, 
unaided, the cause of an apparently unsupported ball not failing. 

102 Letters of Froebel. 

14. Also what you have observed as to the value of these 
games in familiarising the children with Nature, is very just. 
(And they are none the less stimulating and educational on the 
moral and religious sides.) I should like to have a talk with the 
principals of your school, especially with Pastor Lang, and with 
yourself, about this point. The nature of our games calls out the 
children's powers of perception and observation ; powers which 
I hold to be of the highest importance for childhood, as they are 
for human life in general. In nature and in life, especially in 
the latter, there is no repose. All repose is such in appearance 
only. Therefore, to penetrate to the real essence and useful 
power of things, we must observe and understand them when in 
motion. So with the science of numbers ; so also with language, 
when the children put words together for themselves, and thus 
represent all things in a new light.^ 

15. As to your work in general, you are too modest when you 
call it *' extremely imperfect." I feel sure, on the contrary, that 
a Kindergarten directed by your womanly motherly tact and nice 
appreciation, must be far prettier and more interesting than any- 
thing we can show. I should be glad to learn of you in all 

16. The observation made by yourself and your friend that 
the children's games may very easily be converted to drawing- 
room amusements is well founded. We have in Leipzig, and 
here also, enlivened many happy evening meetings in this way. 
For instance, we let the ball travel from hand to hand of the 
company as they sit round the table, and each member is bound 
to say something about the ball or by means of the ball, which 
then must be set to music either by himself or another, and 
sung. In the same way ball-games may be introduced very 
prettily amongst grown-up people ; for instance, the game 

"Dear little ball, 
Now rise, now fall,"' etc., 

1 Froebel appears to mean that this is one reason why the games, which 
represent facts of life and nature by the movements of the children, are of such 
great educational value. '" 



Foundation and Construction. 103 

is extremely pretty when all the balls are seen springing into the 
air at once. 

17. I also let my children choose their balls with regard to 
their colour. It is remarkable how many children have some 
particular pet colour, as blue, or red, etc. I have often remarked 
with girls, that they choose the colours which preponderate in 
their dress. It is not at all indifferent to children what ball they 
play with ; on the contrary, if they let the ball drop, they seek 
recover their own ball again. I might almost say that their ball 
soon grows into a part of their life. 

18. Do not make yourself so uneasy with the foreboding that 
I over-rate your work, viewing it from a distance, and hence, 
that I should be disappointed if I were to see it on the spot. 
Although I live so much for form, and amongst forms, it is not 
the forms themselves which bind me, in the least ; it is the mind 
that speaks through those forms, whence it comes that the most 
imperfect outward representation arising from a lofty inner con- 
ception is more to me than the most perfect representation of a 
lower conception. And it is the sense of unity, the spirituality 
of life, the pure childlike womanly soul pervading your work 
which bind me, or rather, which draw me irresistibly toward it, 
like the sense of unity and the other qualities I have named, bind 
me to the ball-games which possess them. I only hope that the 
people of Gera will appreciate your self-sacrificing labours as fully 
and as gratefully as in the truest sense of the word my own 
soul does appreciate them ; indeed, that were to heap manifold 
rewards upon myself, for then should I feel assured of one spot 
at least in Germany where the endeavour of my life had struck 
firm root and would bud, bloom and bear fruit in due time. God 
grant it may be so ! 

You are right ; the foundation of the national German Kin- 
dergarten would delight me above all things ; because I long 
for the most perfect possible representation of my conception. 
And towards this many things may soon be shaping themselves, 

Quite recently I have received several new subscriptions, the 
most interesting one having come from Paris, but a few davs 

104 Letters of Froebel. 

since. I bad made use of a suitable opportunity which oftered 
itself to send a copy of my description of the festival of 28Lh 
June,^ 1840, together with a letter" of explanation, to the Duchess 
Helena of Orleans.- I had almost forgotten all about this letter 
when a few days since I received a letter from the Tuileries, from 
the Duchess's secretary, in which she had commanded me to be 
informed of the interest with which she had perused my com- 
munication, and the good wishes she felt towards my success, 
willingly taking part in the foundation of the National Kinder- 
garten, and sending me her subscription for two shares. 

Ought not such examples to have influence with other great 
ladies, inducing them to join our movement ; such as those who 
visited you, the Princess of Ebersdorf, and the Countess of 

Shall I send you some numbers of the Jo24rnal for them ? Or 
shall I address myself directly to these ladies ? 

19. It is to be hoped that one of the three gentlemen who 
are of so much service to you will be able to find time to give 
an account of the work carried oji at Gera, in one of the news- 
papers. It would materially assist in awakening and in strength- 
ening the belief in the goodness and practicability of the system, 
if a well-written account of the results of its three months' trial 
amongst you were to appear, I say this somewhat timidly, my 
dear cousin, to you who cherish the whole idea with such a deep 
motherly fondness, lest it should be with me as with the dog in 
the fable, who snapped at the shadow, and let fall the substance; 
but beyond the silent- speaking deed, beyond the living out- 
spoken word of mouth, God has given us also writing and 

^ The 400lh anniversary of the invention of printing. See Letters I. and 
II. The festival was held first at Keilhau and then at Blankenburg, the 
latter on the date mentioned, the 28th ; and celebrated, as the title of the 
pamphlet informs us, four different things — the invention of printing, St. John's 
Day, the birthday of several of the associates of Froebel, and the foundation 
of the Kindergarten. 

^ At this time Louis Philippe (of the house of Orleans) was King of 
France (1830-1848), the Tuileries— now no more, having been destroyed in 
the troubles of 1871 — was his palace at Paris : the Duchess Helena was the 
wife of his eldest son, the heir presumptive. She was by birth a princess of 
Mecklenburg Schwerin. Her son is the present Comte de Paris. 

Foundation and Construction. 

printing, and the issues of the journals, which last seem to me 
hke the breath of spring awakening the leaves and flowers on 
the trees. x\nd I think that we are bound to use every means 
that God and chance have placed in our hands towards awakening 
mankind, individually and as an entire race, to a conscious- 
ness of the purpose of their existence, though the use of these 
must be made with due limitations and in closely knit unity of 

When I thus put forth thoughts, in full reliance on your sisterl}^ 
sympathy, as openly as if I were talking to myself from out the 
depths of my most secret consciousness, can you still think, dearest 
cousin, that the work at Gera, full of life as it is, does not satisfy 
me ? Oh, but it does satisfy me. It is, as it were, the healthy, 
powerful shoot of some germinating seed or acorn, and I cannot 
but remember that the slightest injury to that tender shoot may 
interfere with the proper vigorous development of the whole future 
plant. This germinating seed, planted by your trust and faith, 
and so carefully and tenderly nourished, is to me the dearest plant 
on earth of all that I now possess; wherefore it is that I desire it 
may become inwardly strong with the greatest possible strength, 
putting forth the loveliest heart-leaves and budding branches, and 
that I am anxious that we should quietly watch its progress and 
carefully cherish it. Watchful care for the true life of the children 
and of their mothers is always the first thing we must have before 
our eyes ; for if there is no inner strength in the movement it can 
never gain stability ; it will put forth no leaf, no blossom. 

Everything hinges upon the quiet, watchful care of the well- 
spring, the source, the point of origin ; and upon the intelligent 
direction of its aim. And this brings me to a point which I should 
like to consider calmly with you, my truest life-friend and well- 
wisher to the inmost struggles of my soul : and this matter I will 
now proceed to communicate to you. Afterwards I should like 
you to take the opinion of your husband, who works so true- 
beartedly with you for our cause, as well as the opinions of the 
Dther friends, the ladies and gentlemen who join with you in the 

And first, by way of introduction, a brief account of my own 

io6 Letters of FroebeL 

mental development. Brought up from early childhood, almost 
as completely separated from the outer world in certain ways as 
if I had been immured in a cloister, yet within these sharply de- 
fined limits wholly given over to the love of Nature, of animal 
life, and of religion, my earliest development began with the 
comprehension of my personal life and consciousness ; and this 
comprehension, I might say, I gained by studying my own image 
as seen in those three mighty mirrors. Even the comprehension 
of mankind as a vast whole, and a glimmering consciousness of 
the great spiritual life of that whole, dawned upon my soul. I 
can describe it in no other way than by saying that in my later 
childhood, and at my entrance into boyhood, I often felt as if my 
mind were a smooth still pool, scarce a handbreath over, or even 
a single water-drop, in which surrounding things are clearly 
mirrored, while the blue vault of the sky is seen as well, reaching 
far away and above. 

Thus I proceeded along a path of mental development peculiar 
to myself, which led me at ten years old, away from my father's 
house,^ more into contact with the outer world, and more than 
ever desirous of comprehending it. Yet I still held fast to the con- 
sciousness that had already sprung up within me, of an existence 
in common with Nature, with humanity, with religion. Nature, 
humanity, religion, that means God ! Whilst truly maintaining 
my inner individuality, I pushed my studies ever forward in things 
external to myself, till finally my desire came to be that I might 
touch the whole body of human knowledge and experience. To 
gain a position where I could work towards this end now stood 
as my highest aim, and in the years 1814 to 1816 I found myself 
at Berlin, on the threshold of such a position, which was almost in 
my grasp.2 But standing close to this sphere of work as I did, I 
saw that it did not meet the wants of my soul : instead of unifica- 

^ In 1792 Froebel went to his uncle Hoffmann at Stadt Ilm. The pecuh'ar 
childhood of Froebel is described by himself in detail, and in a most vivid and 
interesting manner, in his Autobiography, translated by the present Editors, 
(Sonnenschein). For the circumstances referred to above, see pp. 14, 17, etc. 

" Froebel is alluding to his assistant-professorship of Mineralogy at the 
University of Berlin. See Froebel's Autobiography, pp. 96 and 121. 

Foundation and Construction. 107 

tlon of spirit and of endeavour I found individual effort ; instead 
of the production of a whole I found the production of separate 
portions. I could find no solid conceptions of Life, based upon 
unity and comprehensiveness, upon the One and the Whole. I 
heard the same cry from the foremost teachers of the University 
of Berlin. Therefore I gave up my first idea, and instead of it I set 
before me as my life-work the perfecting such a conception of Life. 
I founded an Educational Institution in 1816,1 whose leading idea 
was to aim at a preparation for a true University education. In 
some subjects I succeeded in my aim, but I soon found that 
my requirements were not sufficiently met by my pupils to enable 
me to succeed in my whole design. Therefore I now determined 
first to work exclusively for the provision of a general well-founded 
education.- ]\Iy efforts in this direction led me by a quite 
peculiar path of destiny, yet still keeping the thread of my life 
unbroken and complete within itself, to Switzerland. 

My work there had many sides. The study of early childhood 
came more before me than it had done in Germany. My duties 
lay amongst quite young children fresh from Nature. At the same 
time I had fathers of families, and those who were already teachers, 
as my scholars. Their experiences were consequently also mine. 
I learnt from them, and they in turn sought from me the satisfac- 
tion of their own needs. I myself was principal of an Orphanage 
School : ^ and thus was carried into the midst of the very earliest 
years of childhood, with all its special needs and claims, while at 
the same time I was introduced to the ways and means of satisfying 
those needs and claims. 

The care of earliest childhood next became my exclusive study, 
and my destiny led me in my researches, though by a hard and 
sorrowful path, back into Germany again.^ Here, in 1836, the 
ball, the sphere, and the cube, as the earliest toys of childhood, 
were discovered and worked out, but still in the same remarkable 
retrograde fashion, from the cube proceeding to the sphere, and 
from the sphere working back to the ball. That which for twenty- 

^ At Griesheim (i\utobiography, page 122). - At Keilhau (Autob., page 122). 
^ At Burgdorf (Autob., pp. 135, 6). ^ His wife's illness, etc., (Autob., p. 137I 

io8 Letters of Froehel. 

five years had been floating before me as a nebulous idea arising 
from study and kno\vledge, now first came before me as a definite 
truth, arising from life and through life, and the sun burst forth 
and day dawned upon me. The sun of life ! It beamed for me 
upon the life of earliest childhood, cleared all clouds away, and 
led me on into its very heart. 

I soon felt deeply that some important connecting link was im- 
peratively required to prepare the newly awakening life of a child 
for its later activity with the ball. It was through the ball itself 
that I discovered and recognised this connecting link : in general 
terms it may be described as the first development of muscular 
movement and sensation specially distinguishing infancy. All indi- 
vidual development and culture, as well as all culture of the race, 
must proceed by a steady logical succession of connecting links. 
The link between the infant, still an undivided self-sufficient 
whole of peaceful life, and the ball, which is something external 
given to him to play with, lies in the child's own limbs, the child's 
own senses ; and the first toys and occupations of the child come 
from himself; he plays with his own limbs, and uses them as the 
material for representing his ideas. 

This spontaneous activity of limb and vividness of sensation 
natural to infancy, and I may say inseparable from it, must also 
be carefully studied ; for a considerable degree of cultivation o( 
these powers is already necessary in the use and application of 
the ball, sphere, and cube. In ordinary nursery practice something 
of this was already to be found ; but it was not consciously ad- 
hered to, nor pursued \Nith recognition of its purpose. The cause 
lay in the absence and want of an earlier and distinct means of 
training ; namely, the watchful care which fills the mother's life 
and mother's mind, developed and elevated into a conscious aim. 

You must know, my dear cousin, that I have a sure conviction 
that the reason is that we do not make quick progress with our 
good cause, even though it is so well appreciated on every side 
girls (and even grown women) are far too little conscious of their 
true womanly feelings and the claims that these have upon their 
attention, and that women and mothers do not recognise their 
own motherly yearnings and responsibilities. I would gladly re- 

Fouudation and Construction. 


move this want. I desire to supply ihe missing educational 
method by means of which the womanly life may be stimulated to 
self-consciousness in girls; yes, and even the longing for the voca- 
tion of a mother, or at least, a deep respect and recognition of that 
sacred vocation, may be awakened in girls who have the charge of 
children. And at the same time I should bring to a clear self- 
knowledge and a distinct consciousness the motherly, womanly 
feelings and responsibilities in the mothers themselves, and in 
grown-up women. For indeed, whatever in man is tiot brought 
into full consciousness, amongst those things which he is, which 
he possesses, and which he does — that, if we are to speak in the / 
full sense of the word " man," he neither truly is, possesses, nor/ 

To help the child to use his own body, his limb.s, and his 
sensations, and to assist mothers and those who take the place 
of mothers to the consciousness of their duties towards the 
children and to a lofty conception of those duties, I have care- 
fully preserved several little songs and games as they have 
occurred to me in the course of my life; and have given them the 
name of — 

" Little Nursery Songs {Koseliedc/ien) and Gaines 

to train the body, the limbs, and the senses, 
for (juite little chiUren^ ^ 

I send this collection to you, for your severe criticism. You, 
best of all, from the rich treasure of your experience as a mother, 
can pronounce whether I have or have not hit the mark at which 
I have aimed. Strike out ruthlessly all that seems to you unsuit- 
able. And if you could give the little songs to mothers who 
have quite little children, so that they may test them thoroughly, 
or if you are able yourself thus to try them, I should be above 
all things delighted. 

The motion of the fingers and the hands is quite clearly indi- 

^ " Kosen " is aii untranslatable word. The fond prattling of a mother 
willi her infant, made up of " little language " intermingled with caresses, is 
expressed by it. " Koselicdchen " are therefore something more than Nursery 

no Letters of FroebeL 

cated by the contents of the songs, and I can give you further 
details later on.i 

It would delight me greatly if you would confide to me what 
you remember of your feelings, perceptions and ideas as a mother 
greeting the new-born hfe of her infant, and your observations of 
the first movements of its limbs, and the beginning of the de- 
velopment of its senses. It would certainly be of practical 
utility, and of permanent blessing for the race of man, which is 
perpetually renewing itself, if girls, women and mothers could be- 
hold, imaged in a kindly but absolutely clear mirror the self- 
developing, womanly, budding, motherly sentiments which sway 
them, regarded especially with a view to the children's welfare, 
so that they might carefully cherish and enlarge the dimly felt 
yearnings, feelings, and thoughts which arise within them in regard 
to the world of children. Such a mirror do I reckon " Emil's 
Cradle Song," for instance {^Sunday Journal, No. i) ; and also 
" Mother's Joys," in No. 3, and " First Pleasures of the Mother," 
recently printed. 

A collection of such Mothers' Songs, which should precede 
the " Little Nursery Songs and Games," might, perhaps, bear the 
name of " Songs of Consecration," /.^., of dedication to watchful 
care over early childhood. ^ 

I have laid before you the first completed idea, that of the 
little Nursery Songs and Games for the development of the limbs 
and senses, that you may test its worth ; and I now also lay 
before you the entire conception in its full extent, with the same 
object in view. If we find it impossible to awake the womanly, 
motherly instinctive perception of the supreme importance of the 

^ This collection of '^ Koseliedc/ien^^ developed into the famous '■^ Mutter- 
und Kose-Lieder,'" sometimes translated "Mothers' Songs and Games," per- 
haps better rendered by " Songs for Mothers, and Nursery Songs," the first 
part of the book representing the feelings of Mother {Mtitterlitdcr), the second 
containing Nursery Songs {Kosdieder) for her to sing to her child, and 
these latter are accompanied in every case by suitable movements illustrating 
the songs, and at the same time developing the child's power of muscular 
action. The English translation most in use is that by the Misses Lord, 
" Mothers' Songs, Games, and Stories " (Rice, Fleet Street). 

- This idea was actually carried out, as sketched in the preceding note. 

Foundation and Construction. ill 

welfare of the human race, and of the care for this, and if we 
fail to raise this instinct fully into consciousness, we shall never 
advance with the true care of children and with the true educa- 
tion of man. 

I trust you may be able to understand this, for I have written 
it under many distractions and interruptions, and I fear it is in 
many places almost unintelligible. 

I believe, dearest cousin, that after progressing through the 
vast orbit of almost two generations,^ I have been carried round 
to the point of commencement, to the fountain-head of the 
education of mankind, but with the significant addition of a full 
consciousness of my task. 

Only now that the whole body of human education lies before 
me do I feel myself competent to become a really worthy educa- 
tor of men, and particularly of children ; especially also now 
that the womanly soul and the womanly life stand as assistants by 
my side, and in particular that you yourself, with your usual 
kindness, enlighten and encourage me with outstretched hand. 

I believe that a sort of semi-omnipotence becomes attainable 
in the course of time by two human beings fully at one in spirit, 
completely conscious of being so, and united in the pursuit of a 
noble object. 

Monday, 21st March. Please receive, besides the "Nursery 
Songs " spoken of above, some building songs and two flower- 
games. In the first of these latter, " the flower-garden," the 
child chosen to represent a given flower may mention some pecu- 
liarity of that flower, and thus it will become apparent what the 
child loves best, or what strikes him most. 

Do not be alarmed, dear cousin, at the volume of my commu- 
nications; I will now leave you leisure for reading. I already 
rejoice in the prospect of receiving your next letters ; they are 
the sweetest flowers the spring can bring me. 

My heartiest greetings to all the good helpers in your work, 

* Froebel was nearly fifty-nine at this time (born April, 1782) ; and regard- 
ing thirty as the duration of a generation, he might fairly speak of himself as 
having lived through tvvo generations. 

12 Letters of Froebel. 

both ladies and genllemen, and especially to my much-honoured 
cousin, your husband, and to your two dear boys. 
With unchanging truest thankfulness, 

Your Cousin, 

Fr. Froebel. 

Letter X. 

Blankenburg, \th April, 1841. 

Dearest and highly esteemed Cousin, — 

I hope you will forgive me for profiting by an opportunity of 
again addressing you. Our dear pupil K. W. is on a holiday trip 
with two student friends to visit his mother. I embrace the 
occasion, and send you and your dear ones my most heartfelt 
good wishes by them; and I would beg of you to allow the young 
folks to be present at one of your beautiful Kindergarten games. 

I have received much pleasure these last few days in hearing 
all that is good and kind about your Kindergarten class from 
every one who has seen the games played. Amongst other 
things, they tell me, dear cousin, that you are evidently born for 
some such sphere of work. This, indeed, I already knew; but 
it is always gladdening when such observations are repeated by 
others, showing that such self-sacrificing work as yours is acknow- 
ieged at its proper worth. 

By this same conveyance I send you the continuation of the 
Sunday Journal. I shall be very glad if any one of you finds 
pleasure in the explanation of the Fifth Gift ; but in any case 
I would beg you to send me your observations on this work, as 
occasion offers, so that later on I may make use of them. 

I have good news for you as to the progress of our undertak- 
ing. The Prince and Princess of Sondershausen have decided to 
found a Kindergarten in their principality; and are about to send 
me a young man full of desire for training children, that I may 
educate him into fitness for the establishment of such an institu- 
tion. It appears as if the scheme were understood there with as 
deep earnestness as eager enthusiasm. If only we could once 
succeed in winning over a princely family to a true feeling for the 

Foundation and Cofistructiojt. 113 

cause, in inward meaning as well as outward manifestation ! Or, 
better still, if one could only carry the scheme really into the 
heart of a group of citizens and families ! 

The wife of Pastor Richter, of Leipzig, is coming here about 
the middle of May for a few weeks, in order to make herself 
acquainted with our games and the way we play them. After so 
much sympathy shown on every side I can but trust that interest 
in the movement will so grow in Gera as to warrant soon the 
establishment of a complete Kindergarten after the plan of the 
*' German National Kindergarten." The directors of the Girls' 
Public Schools ought to be standing by your side, much respected 
cousin, united with you, founding, leading onward and guiding 
the beautiful work ; and with their co-operation, blessings would 
be sure to fall upon the institution. 

Yet, dear cousin, I am always sorry when I have been impelled 
to speak out in this way under uncontrollable impulse, lest it 
should leave the unfortunate impression that I am not penetrated 
to my very inmost soul with care, appreciation, and thankful 
devotion for what has actually been done up to the present. Oh, 
but I am deeply, fervently thankful for all the existing work, and 
I wish for nothing more than a quiet, silent, steady progress and 
development of it all. 

To-morrow C. Schneider celebrates a little festival with some 
of our games in Frankfurt, at the close of the winter half-year of 
his Kindergarten ; but I can only appear at it by letter. 

Cordial good wishes to all, and best hopes for an enjoyable 
holiday-time, from 

Your affectionate Friend and Cousin, 

Fr. Froebel. 

Letter XL 

Blankenburg, iZth April, 1841. 
My kind dear Cousin, — 

Your last letter has brought me much true pleasure in several 
ways. First, I was gladly and truly surprised to hear that your 
dear Robert is already so far grown up as to be able, on this 
occasion of the beautiful festival of peace and resurrection, to 

1 14 Letters of Froebel. 

enter with full consciousness of its meaning upon the most 
gladdening bond of our life.^ I take the warmest interest in 
this joyful event in your family, so respected and loved by me. 

Permit me to unite to your own hopes my earnest wishes for 
his welfare, his future work and the fruitfulness thereof; may he 
always, in whatever may eventually prove to be his vocation, 
work for the blessing of mankind like his parents, whom he 
doubtless honours as he has reason to do, and especially like his 
mother, dear to him above all others. 

Greet my dear cousin from me, in fullest sympathy. I hope 
my earnest good wishes may have some value for him, even 
though the sacred festival has so long passed. 

Together with this good news you send me the joyful intelli- 
gence that your beloved Kindergarten will be continued during 
this coming summer. What gladder news could you have sent 
me? It is indeed true that I have never contemplated the 
opposite alternative — that it might cease. But now that this 
occurs to my mind I can see what an inexpressible loss I should 
have suffered by such a fatal piece of news. 

I will also acknowledge, what you in your modesty are always 

reminding me of, that the general effect of the whole work is 

wanting in completeness with you, much as we rejoice over your 

Kindergarten ; but nevertheless I hold your work and your Kin. 

dergarten as of far higher importance than my own here in 

Blankenburg, for yours is under the guidance of a mother's spirit,\ 

/deeply penetrated with the truth of the whole system, and working! 

j at the same time in fullest understanding with the intelligence/ 

Vand insight of male friends and of fathers of families. 

In all this I am not saying either to you or to the whole com- 
munity anything either merely flattering or agreeable ; it is the 
simple truth. Such a concurrence of fortunate relations as those 
under which the Kindergarten in Gera develops blossoms and 
bears fruit by the labours of yourself and all those working with 
you ; such unanimity and unity of purpose is very seldom found. 

^ Evidently alluding to Robert's confirmation, Easter being the usual time 
for that rite of the Lutheran Protestant Church in Germany. 

Foundation and Constrnction. 115 

It therefore becomes my glad duty to cherish this work most care- 
fully, and raise it into a normal or model Kindergarten for Ger- 
many, seeing that it carries within itself all the conditions neces- 
sary for such an undertaking. I shall do all that lies within me 
to achieve this result, and fulfil my duty towards- you all, and to- 
wards the parents, who, in your town, put such trust in. you. 

Consequently it is with very great pleasure that I see a prospect 
of being able to pay a visit to Gera within a fortnight. This 
chance is so much the more appreciated by me, in that you meet 
me with such heartfelt friendliness of greeting and such pressing 
invitation. As soon as I can fix upon the day I will let you 
know, for I should very much like to be able to meet those 
gentlemen who have worked so well with you. 

Shall you hire a little plot of garden for your children during 
the summer }■ This would be of importance, because the children 
might go and work there. The middle bed should contain the 
children's own plots ; the side beds should be the general garden, 
common to all, and containing as great a variety of plants as 
possible, to be cultivated by the common care and interest of all 
the children.! 

The chief idea is that the special shall be embraced and pro- 
tected by the general, that rest should be united with motion, the 
field with the garden, the useful with the delightful, flowers with 
fruit and vegetables ; and further, that these things should be 
mingled together, so that the child may compare them and gain 
knowledge by merely looking at them. 
My unaltered respect to you all. 

Your deeply grateful Cousin, 

Fr. Fr. 

* Here Froebel inserted a sketch like that in the Weekly Joimial ( Wochen- 
schri/t), No. 14. 

Ii6 Letters of Frocbel. 

Letter XII. 

Blankenburg, 19//; Aprils 1841. 
Dear kind Cousin, — 

The gentleman who is good enough to carry this letter for me 
is Herr Kohl, our loyal colleague in the school at Keilhau, and a 
great help to us in the Blankenburg Kindergarten, because of his 
musical ability. I need add no more to ensure him the friend- 
liest welcome in your esteemed household ; and indeed I have no 
doubt that his gentle yet vivacious spirit will of itself strike out 
the path to your liking. 

I am glad, dear cousin, that he will be able to become 
acquainted with you, and especially to learn to know you in 
your beautiful work. I know very few to whom I should not 
grudge this pleasure, withheld from me. But I hope that he will 
sing you some of the little songs that he has composed, and 
especially the " Song of Concord " which you might possibly be 
able to manage with the assistance of the elder girls in your own 
Institution. It is, indeed, written for a large body of children, 
and for a Kindergarten already some time established ; at least 
thirty-two persons take part in it. Still, if opportunity offers, he 
may be able to give you an idea of it, and for thinking people an 
idea of my whole endeavour shines through it, namely, that the 
individual ever becomes conscious of its own existence, and self- 
poised, through contemplation of the general ; and then, as a con- 
scious, self-poised personality, works in and for the whole. 
Perhaps this game may win many families for your Kindergarten. 

Also I would ask you to be so kind as to introduce Herr Kohl 
to the gentlemen who help you. 

In your last letter, dear cousin, you spoke so thoughtfully of 
the daisy, which is also my favourite flower, and our " family 
flower," if I may so say, that I determined to send you the 
" Daisy Game." Herr Kohl will give you the music for it. Also I 
send you Arndt's poem, "The Mary-Flowers" (Daisies); and with 
them please receive a parable which that poem has brought to my 
mind. It may perhaps give you pleasure to read this to the elder 
girls of your institution. It brings nature nearer to us in all her 

Foundation and Coustniction. 1 1 7 

simplicity ; and perhaps you will recognise therein the message 
of my life and my soul to all thoughtful children, to youths, and 
above all to maidens. 

But it is time to close this letter ; for verbal communication is 
better than writing at the present time. 

With heartiest greetings to you all, 

Your Cousin, 

Fr. Fr. 
P.S.— It is thirty-eight years in these very days since I first had 
the pleasure of seeing you. 

Letter XIII. 

Blankenburg, ^thjune, 1841. 
Dear and much-loved Cousin, — 

If I were not so firmly assured that you cannot doubt the good 
faith of your cousin, I should have good cause to fear lest you 
should misunderstand my unusually long silence. But I trust that 
in your good nature you may merely have said to yourself, " I 
wonder what makes my cousin so long refrain from sending me 
those long letters in which he used to take such interest? Is it 
from ill-health, or from the many claims and the great pressure on 
his life? " Thank Heaven, it is not from the first, but solely from 
the last. Through a variety of concurrent circumstances these 
last few weeks, from the end of April till now, have brought with 
them such dire confusion into my life, that I should have been 
quite unhappy both in soul and spirit had I not held fast, and 
made up my mind steadily to work hard until my troubles died a 
natural death. 

It would be only reasonable that I should give you a list of 
these interruptions, but there have been so many of them that 
one has driven the other out of my memory. Some, however, I 
must mention, because they have had results which have lasted 
even till now. The most important is that the lady who, up to 
the present time has been at the head of my small household, my 
faithful niece,^ has been called home to lend assistance to her 

^ Not really his niece (that is, his brother's daughter), though he calls her 
'* J\-ichte,^^ but a more distant relation. 

1 8 Letters of F roe be I. 

sister-in-law in her household duties, whereby my usual habits 
have all been thrown into disorder. It is so hard to find a woman 
who, to the proper feeling for order and cleanliness, unites a 
certain degree of culture, and at the same time is simple in her 
life and in the claims which life brings upon us. And as I was 
spoiled by my dear wife in her life-time as regards all these 
matters of the household, I have hitherto been unable to bring 
myself to the point of seeking for a suitable housekeeper, although 
my present arrangements bring endless distractions. A little girl 
of eleven looks after the small matters in the rooms and about the 
house ; her mother, my landlady, sees to the more important 
things. For dinner I go to a tavern, about a quarter of an hour 
away from home, where, unfortunately, they are not altogether 
punctual. Dinner almost always takes an hour and a half out of 
my day in this manner, and how much interruption such a mode 
of life causes to my work you may readily guess. On the top of 
all this I have the additional work thrown upon me by the advent 
of the young teacher from Sondershausen. 

Also there are several visitors here, at the baths, to whom, for 
the sake of my educational projects, I am bound to show attention 
in many ways. And at Keilhau they also had friends on a visit, 
which made still further demands upon my time : and then there is 
my regular work always going on, here and in Rudolstadt, so that 
you may see, dear cousin, how it comes about that your kind 
letter has lain so long unanswered. All this time I lived in the 
fond hope of seeing you, my best of cousins, and all your dear 
family ; intending to pay you a visit during these weeks. The 
hope has lingered by me week after week, only to receive per- 
petual disappointments. What more remains to say, than that I 
long with all my heart to see the dear children you have gathered 
round you, and to see you, dear cousin, with your respected 
colleagues, at your work in the midst of them. 

I am bound only too fast by ties and engagements which I dare 
not set aside, because of the claims of my educational movement 
upon me. But I hope that without being able to promise long 
beforehand I may in some unexpected way suddenly find myself 
able to snatch a visit to you ; for my spirit and my soul un- 

Fottndation and Construction. 119 

ceasingly drive me towards you, and even my devotion to my 
educational v/ork demands that I should see you. I know no 
one who assists in that work with such self-sacrifice and such 
helpful activity as yourself. He who sees his dearest project 
so faithfully cared for as mine is by you — how could he but 
earnestly desire to meet you face to face and to clasp your hand 
with gratitude ? 

What great pleasure you gave me with the prettily arranged 
bouquets of your dear little ones ! I wish I could have sent you 
in return one of the many wonderfully beautiful garlands which 
I so often receive in this rich flower- month from my own beloved 
little children. I should have liked to send you a close-woven 
wreath of forget-me-nots which I had ; or we might have made 
little bouquets out of it for all your dear little children ; for this 
one was so thick and full that it kept itself fresh through its own 
moisture and with the help of a shower or so, and bloomed for an 
extraordinarily long time. By way of thanks for it I have just been 
able to prepare a pleasant surprise for my little ones. Madame 

von M } who was here two years ago, and still remembers our 

children with affection, sent me a dozen aprons and a dozen neck 
scarves for distribution amongst our dear little ones : these things 
she had had sewn for us in her knitting school. So on the 
Saturday before Whit-Sunday we shared them out, and I had the 
great pleasure of seeing the joyous children decked out in their 
aprons and scarves for the pleasant Whitsuntide festival, and of 
receiving their thanks and handshakings. 

Already during the winter had some ladies sent me several 
dozen stockings for the dear children, knitted by them in thankful 
remembrance of hours pleasandy spent in the Kindergarten 
here. So you see, dear cousin, people make me rich, and enable 
me to bring joy to the children and to their families in quite 
another way from that which I strike out for myself 

I know that my pleasures, that all our pleasures, are mirrored 
in your responsive soul, which is the reason I tell you all these 

^ Not Madame von Marenholtz-Bulow, as might perhaps be assumed. 

I20 Letters of Froebel. 

From Debreczin, in Hungary, a mother writes to me begging 
for an account of my occupations for children. 

In Rudolstadt two ladies have granted part of their hill-garden 
to the Kindergarten, and we can now arrange our garden beds in 
the same manner as yours.^ 

Madame R will come here on the 12th inst. If only she 

were not so weakly in health, I would ask her to unite her life- 
work with my own. I greatly need a fellow-worker in the same 
spirit ; one who would cherish and support my plans. For two 
years I have bitterly felt what it means to lose one's wife. 

My warmest greetings to all your dear ones. With love, faith- 
fulness, and thanks, 

Your Cousin, 

Fr. Froebel. 

Letter XIV. 

Blankenburg, ^th Dec, 1842. 
Dear kind Cousin, — 

I am extremely glad that you have sent me word of the cause 
of your now frequent long silences. I will frankly admit that I 
could not at all understand it, although I was unwilling to think 
that it arose from any lessening of the most friendly feelings you 
have for me ; therefore it is gratifying to have the real cause ex- 

C' I think that the invisible nearness, in the spirit, of the life of 
I friends and associates works for good upon our own life now pre- 
\sent before us ; and therefore I beg you to bring near me, 
my life and work, the presence of your own, as often as your 
serious duties of life may permit. The belief alone, and still more 
the knowledge, of the spiritual nearness of such sharers in our 
life strengthens the soul. 

My answer to your kind letter follows : — 
I am glad that you have understood and will endeavour to 
carry out my wish, dear cousin ; to find a place for " a well- 
educated girl of my teaching, who wishes to enter an honourable 

1 See Letter XI. (at the end). 

Foundation and Constniction. 12 1 

and liberal-minded family in which the work would not be too 
hard for her, and where she could put to the test my principles 
and her own, and win honour for the system we advocate." Since 
writing to you I have found a most honourable lady in Rudolstadt 
who is prepared to give what I am asking for one of those trained 
pupils of mine. The girl in question is a strong healthy young 
woman, and has made a successful beginning in the much-respected 
and honourable household which she has entered, which is a very 
mirror for woman's work. You can therefore recommend these 
pupils of mine, dear cousin, when an opportunity offers, with 
complete confidence. 

You must not take it amiss that I wrote so definitely in reply 
to your simple questions as to the education a young girl should 
possess if she were about to be trained by me — but that, once for 
all, is my way. I always take up a matter heart and soul, and fix 
my eye steadily upon the proposed end in view ; if the whole 
thing collapses like a soap bubble it matters not to me, I have 
enjoyed the beautiful sphere and the magnificent play of colour, 
and at the very least I have had the spectacle of a clear presen- 
tation of a life unity complete within itself. I have, at any rate, 
had a vision of what might be accomplished, fulfilled, and at- 
tained (subject to the ruling of circumstances, of course), if only 
men mutually understood one another, and cared more for the 
common interests of all — and this is enough for me. If I have 
the assurance of being right in my judgment, that under the given 
conditions success is possible, I am content that the develop- 
ment and the outcome shall depend on destiny and the will of 
God ; and I refrain from pushing my anxiety into the far-off future. 

But do not think that phenomena which vanish into nothingness 
are really without result ; they are like the day flies, who at the 
least show what warm, growing weather we have. Wherefore 
the smallest and least important of life's phenomena, if carefully 
treasured, will by-and-by bask in the full spring sunshine which 
enfolds all things. 

You write to me, " Could I only send you for this work of ours 
a girl endowed with every capacity, and in whose ability I had 
complete confidence ! " Such girls are pearls — let us seek dili- 

122 Letters of Froebel. 

gently for them. But yet it remains a remarkable fact that many 
mothers of the middle ranks of education set their faces against 
sending their daughters into training for the educational pro- 
fession. ^ 

Illness in Keilhau, and my unceasing work and the training of 
the young teachers detain me here, so that we have been hindered 
in getting out our report upon the progress of the scheme for a 
German National Kindergarten, but we hope certainly to have 
it all ready by the beginning of the New Year. 

Since it gives you pleasure to see the reward of my efforts 
gradually glimmering into dawn, I will add that a friend who has 
devoted himself to university work, Herr von Leonhardi, of 
Heidelberg, has recently written to me that he proposes to found 
a Kindergarten later on. Herr von Leonhardi has been associ- 
ated with us since 1838. 

Your kind letter says, " How far off is the publishing of ' Songs 
of Mothers and Nursery Songs ' {^Mutter- iind Kose-Lieder)} " The 
printing has not yet begun ; but this is the least part of the under- 
taking. The steel engravings and the plate printing are the prin- 
cipal work ; and, as to these, twenty-one designs, etched on steel, 
are ready. By Christmas the engraver hopes to have finished 
twenty-four plates. I take the freedom of sending you a complete 
set of the proofs, as far as I have yet received them, but do not 
forget that they are only rough proofs. It is true that as to the 
drawing, some of which is still very imperfect, nothing or at all 
events but little, can be changed ; but in the polishing-off the whole 
plate will gain in clearness. The utmost diligence will now be 
shown in pushing on with the work, but you know what artists 
are, and how they refuse to be hurried, and many a day slips by 
and is lost, that to the layman seems as if it might have well been 
used in forwarding the book. However, there is no help for all 
this, but patience. Still we are in hopes that the end of next 
summer will see us through with the book, whose advancement 
when it appears will be kindly helped on by the special good 

^ This sentence was misplaced (at the end of the previous paragraph) in the 
German original. 

Foundation and Constniction, 123 

offices of Herr J. Mayer, the head of the Bibliographical Institution 
in Hildburghausen. Please make what profitable use you think 
fit of this intelligence, to help the book. I think no one will re- 
gret having purchased it. I hope, indeed, that it will be handed 
down from mother to children's children as the book of the family. 

The " Nursery Songs" {Kose-Lieder) are, as you know, to begin 
the collected edition of my children's games, etc., which I am 
now about to publish, and they will, as it were, carry the banner 
for the rest. The ball-games are complete in nearly all their 
stages, and lie there ready for press. The perfected drafts of 
other games are also completed, so that all can follow swiftly one 
after the other ; and then, dear cousin, it will be for you to awake 
amongst the households themselves practical sympathy with these 
games in all their several grades. From the new year onwards, I 
shall devote myself with increased power to the working-out and 
further development of the collected materials before me. 

In order that you may see for yourself that the lithographers 
have finished the drawings for the sixth gift, I send you a proof 
of them. By the end of January I hope to have the drawings 
for all the gifts complete for delivery. 

Just during this short time, endeavour to keep the interest in 
the system from cooling, both among yourselves and others. You 
see for yourself, and you may decisively affirm to others, that I 
labour unceasingly at perfecting the whole system in all its varied 
departments, and devote myself with the most complete abandon- 
ment to my work ; although, and indeed because of this, I have 
lately been able to spare so little attention for the separate 

I may repeat yet once again, that if I could find a young 
man who would enter with ardour into my ideas, be able to 
appreciate their meaning, and willing to charge himself with 
the business details of publication, I would ensure him as re- 
ward for his trouble a competency for himself and his entire 
family (if he should have one), sufficient for all human neces- 
sities; and into the bargain, he would enjoy the pure and truly 
humane family hfe, which must arise amongst those who embody 
these educational ideas. 

124 Letters of Froebel. 

You have delighted Middendorff and me with the kind re- 
membrances of Herr Ribbe. We remember him as a favourite 
comrade in camp and field. We cordially reciprocate his kind 
messages, and would gladly hear more particularly what he is 
doing. Tell him, pray, that although the war is over, the fighting 
still continues, as far as we are concerned ; but now it is against 
an invisible enemy that we struggle, still always in defence of the 
welfare and salvation of the Fatherland, and this time in its up- 
springing childhood. How glad we should be if he chose to join 
us in this fight too, as a true-hearted comrade ! 

Up to now I have been following your kind letter, line by line, 
to the end. Now I pass on to something new. 

I have long felt the necessity for games about colour, but I 
have never had leisure enough to elaborate a scheme for them. 
Lately, in a fortunate hour, two such games occurred to my mind, 
or rather, to be precise, two intermediary games, connecting form 
and colour, two games of tablet-laying. I enclose them for trial, 
especially by yourself and your beloved circle. If the games 
prove to be worth anything they must take definite rank as one 
department of the whole system of games. Therefore, as soon as 
you have thoroughly made yourself mistress of the idea which 
governs them, send me, I pray you, your severest criticism there- 

Pure colour games, to carry the training of the sense to a 
further point, would be by means of discs or circular tablets, 
differently coloured on their two faces. 

Now a few words about the first game. The ground form, 
from which all is developed, is a square tablet, four times the size 
of our cube : ^ and this square as the normal form lies at the base 
of all the following divisions. Imagine eight such squares lying 
before you, like our eight cubes and eight building blocks. The 
first square is whole and undivided. The second square is cut 
vertically parallel to the sides, giving two equal rectangles ; and 
the remaining squares are also similarly cut into three, four, five, 

^ Froebel's standard cube is one inch on the side (one zoll of the old German 
measure) and these square tablets were to be two inches on the side ; so that it 
would take four cubes to completely cover one of them. 

Foundation and Construction. 125 

six, seven and eight equal rectangles. The eight squares must 
now be laid before the child, with the parts arranged vertically 
or horizontally, but always in a straight line, and so as to show 
a diversity of colours. Next, everything which lends itself to 
observation must gently and playfully be brought before the child; 
for instance, " Here is a square uncut ; and here is one cut in two ; 
see how one cut gives us two pieces," and so on. All this, not in 
a rigidly orderly way, but as opportunity and attentiveness permit. 

Then come comparisons of the divisions, such as that "two 
sixths equal one third," etc. This is the quickly tiring and weary- 
ing side, the knowledge-acquiring side of the game, and it is under- 
stood as a matter of course that it has to be given quite casually, 
and only as chance may provide suitable openings for it. The 
arrangement of the pieces the child should decide for himself, 
which it will please him to do, but some one must stand by and 
quietly overlook it all. 

Next, the separate divisions are used for making beautiful forms, 
either vertically, horizontally, or even obliquely arranged. 

There still remains the change of colours. The colours must 
■make amongst themselves a complete colour-harmony. For 
instance, red and green (green being made up of the other two 
primaries, blue and yellow) ; yellow and violet (violet being com- 
posed of blue and red) ; blue and gold or orange (orange being 
composed of red and yellow). 

You see that the two harmonising colours in each varying com- 
bination contain between them all the three primary colours. 
Now the colours may be grouped in all kinds of ways upon the 
same ground form, wherein we get true colour-games; and with 
varied colours one and the same form will assume many varied ex- 
pressions. The essence of the game lies in each successive alter- 
ation of form or arrangement of colours always being evolved as a 
development from the previously existing given form and colour. 

We pass on to enlargement or variation, extension or contrac- 
tion, and transition from one fundamental difference to another, 
for example, from the four- sided pattern to the two-sided or three- 

All things and everything are allowed; with the one proviso 

1 26 L etters of Froehel. 

that the sense of unity is always to be aroused in the child ; or if 
it is already present, that it is to be further stimulated and broughtj 
into consciousness. 

I showed this game to a teacher of children, who at once 
ordered a set as a Christmas present for a little girl. But why 
did I tell you of this? It would be better to receive your judg- 
ment quite unbiassed — and what I have said must only go so far 
as to show you that the game is worth your investigation. 

The second and larger game is based upon th-e same main 
features, and also contains the eight squares cut as already de- 
scribed : besides oblique cuts of various slants, from the normal 
oblique line down to that of the fifth degree. What I call a 
normal oblique line is the diagonal of a square (45°), the half- 
oblique line is the diagonal of a rectangle whose base is half its 
height (that is the rectangle made by cutting a square in half 
vertically), the quarter-oblique line is in like manner the diagonal 
of a rectangle whose base is a quarter of its height (that is, a rec- 
tangle which is the quarter of a square cut vertically). This game 
serves also as a transition to the acquaintance with lines of all 
different directions as we find them in the occupation of "Prick- 
ing," and later on in " Drawing : " and is an excellent training for 
the eye. My dear young cousins can search out for their mother 
the capabilities which lie in this game. 

These games would be highly valuable to the youngest children 
in your High School at Gera, for the teaching of symbol, form and 
number, and also in regard to the clear expression in speech of 
what the child has observed. And it seems to me that this is 
one of the ways in which our games might have proved of 
practical use to your High School. Would not the directors of 
the High School arrange for a preparatory class, below the first 
school form, like Herr Schneider has done at Frankfurt ? You 
could then give these games as a kind of reward to the children. 
Drawing on chequered slates is extremely important for girls, train- 
ing them to exactness and to the perception of the beautiful.^ 

^ This does not mean that Froebel thought drawing more important for little 
girls than little boys ; but only that in his day it was already customary to 

Fotmdaimi and Coustniction. 127 

Now it is certainly time to close this letter. God bless and 
guide you, and your dear ones, safely from the old year into the 
new. And remain as friendly and true to me in the new year as 
you have been in the old : before ail things remain faithful to our 


Your Cousin, 

Fr. Froebel. 

Letter XV. 

Blankenburg, 19//^ Sept.^ 1843.^ 
Dearest Cousin, — 

I had firmly purposed this very day to write to you, firstly, to 
wipe off my epistolary debt towards you, and secondly, at last 
to send you, and through you the other lady subscribers to the 
Kindergarten, a complete account of the movement up to date, 
including a cash statement. But, further, I longed for some news 
of you and of your dear ones after so great a lapse of time, and 
I needed to refresh myself with new tokens of your sympathy ^ 
with my life. 

And just now comes your kind letter, with so encouraging an 
assurance of all this, that I really hardly know how sufficiently 
to thank you for it. For while much sympathy reaches us in life 
and along its usual chain of occurrences, sympathy is indeed rare 
with those inner feelings, those gravest emotions, our silently . 
passing memories of events in life and the anniversaries which re- 1 
call them ; so rare, indeed, that we can count scarcely any sym- 1 
pathizers at all with us in such matters. How happy then am I, \ 
who can feel assured of such a sympathy from you, seeing that 
I have received so many oft-repeated assurances of it ; and how I 
rejoice to-day at your continued remembrance of me and at the 
interest you still take in my life. 

Yes, dear cousin, it is quite true that the dear departed one 
whose memory you are so kind as to honour with me on this 

teach boys drawing and was not yet customary to teach it to girls, to whom 
nevertheless, as he points out, it was also of extreme importance. 

1 There is a lapse of three-quarters of a year between this letter and the 

128 Letters of Froebel. 

anniversary, was a woman of very uncommon character — un- 
common in the perfect correspondence of her inner development 
and culture with her outer Hfe ; as uncommon in the lofty clear- 
ness of her mind as in the warmth and affectionateness of her 
soul; as uncommon in the thoroughness of her education and 
the accuracy of her judgment, as in the simple and unassuming 
nature of her whole being. The more opportunity I have had, 
since her outward separation from me (and in consequence of 
my adopted career), of studying the character of woman's soul and 
woman's life in all ages and of all sorts and conditions, so much 
the more do I perceive what a wonderful educator of girls and 
of young women was born in her, and how much the world has 
lost by her continued ill-health in the last years of her life, and 
especially by her early death. ^ 

Did I ever tell you her prayer ? It is so extremely simple, 
that even in this her whole nature is mirrored. " Make me clear, 
make me true, make me faithful, make me free ! " In these four 
simple words {kla?-^ wahj% treu^ f^^i)-, each one of which most 
remarkably contains but four letters, was summed up the prayer 
of which her life was one long expression. This prayer I have 
sent you as thank-offering for your warm-souled sympathy. 

And further thanks I will also give for your posting your kind 
letter precisely on my dear wife's birthday, the i6th; and this 
time my thanks shall take the form of the following lines, which 
were written about her by my late father-in-law : — 

" On the first birthday of my daughter Henriette Wilhelmine, 
i6th Sept., 1 78 1. 

" O thou who bringest a deeper and purer joy to my days, 

Beloved and only daughter, part of my life and heart ! 

Thy murmuring tones redouble each pleasure that rises within me 

When in the morning mine eyes grow glad with thy first baby-glances, 

As, cradled all soft in my arms, thou smilest a roguish ' good morrow.' 

To thee sings my heart on thy birthday, in tones which are full of rejoicing, 

Full of a father's ineffable pride and delight in his offspring. 

Hear Thou my song, too, O Father, O Lord and Creator of all things, 

Telling, though feeble its tones, of gratitude heartfelt and tender ; 

Pouring forth praise and thanksgiving for Thy gift more precious than riches. 

^ Madame Henriette Froebel (Froebel's first wife) died in 1839, four years 
before this letter. 

Foundation and Construction. 129 

God, heaiken unto the prayer that wells forth from my over-full heart, 
Glows in my reddening cheek, all watered with passionate tears ; 
Grant to this darling of mine, in the far-stretching ocean of life, 
Protection and favouring winds till she comes to the haven at last ! 
Only from Thee, O my Father, come days of good fortune and pleasure ; 
Pour out these blessings upon her, and add to them one far more precious — 
May she have virtue, the jewel whose price is so far above rubies, 
Making life splendid, and bathing the death-bed with radiant effulgence. 
Forget not, O Father, Thy child, and so may her life be one Eden 

Until when, her blameless head bowed 'neath the icy cold fingers of age, 
Kind Death comes with gentle caresses, and lays her to sleep with the blest." ^ 

These were prophetic words of her father's ! 

I would gladly at once proceed to answer your kind letter, but 
the postmaster will no longer take in letters after post-time, so I 
must as briefly as possible add only what is absolutely necessary. 

First, please receive herewith the copies of the complete 
account of my system, with the money particulars referred to at 
the beginning of this letter, and I hope that all will prove to be 
quite after your own wish — I mean, clearly explanatory of the 
system. Send your princess a copy, moreover ; she has, happily, 
many most honourable predecessors in supporting us. Further, 

1 would beg my esteemed cousin to publish in your local journal, 
in continuation of his previous kind communications, the news 
that a complete account of the system has now appeared. I 
want the writer to bring prominently forward the assistance which 
Gera has rendered in furthering this German national enterprise. 

Finally, I will ask you kindly to send me back the proofs 
of the etchings, with the printed matter connected with them, 
belonging to the " Songs for Mothers and Nursery Songs " 
{Mutter- und Kose-Lieder), as the letter-press printing is now begin- 
ning, and I want the proof impressions for this work. 

Remember me respectfully to all the lady subscribers to the 
Kindergarten, and accept my best wishes for all your dear ones. 

Your Cousin, 

Fr. Froebel. 

1 We have taken the liberty of departing from our usual exactitude, and 
somewhat freely translating Herr Hoffmeister's lines, which are in extremely 
irregular blank verse in the original. 

130 Letters of Froebel. 

Letter XVI. 

Blankenburg, 19/// Sept.^ 1843. 
Much esteemed, dear Cousin, — 

Fulfilling the promise in the letter I have just despatched to 
you, I begin now to answer your last kind letter to me. 

I desire to add to what I was confiding to you concerning my 
dear departed wife, that her favourable judgment of the new work 
I had already begun in the last period of her life, the decided 
hopes she expressed for its success up to the last day she lived, 
and, above all, the blessing which in the last moments of all 
her pure life she lay upon this work and its beginnings — that 
these, I say, in unison with my own judgment and my own con- 
victions, are what has supported me, unswerving, in my course 
towards the goal I have set before me. Were the results hitherto 
obtained yet smaller, were men and circumstances yet more 
unfavourable, than now they are, still the clear judgment of my 
wife, so quietly and firmly expressed, would have unlessened 
value for me. And if it were not that I must rejoice that the 
great opposition my life has of late years had to encounter has 
been spared to her, I should find it hard to endure her early loss; 
and, on the other hand, had she enjoyed good and vigorous 
health at the close of her life, her death, which in that case 
would have destroyed the active co-operation I should have been 
receiving from her in my latest life-aims and my acknowledged 
vocation, would, I venture boldly to assert, have proved indeed 
a heavy blow for my whole people. 

Oh, we men acknowledge too little the importance of one 
single fellow-man engaged in the precise vocation for which he 
was destined, and holding his true post in life ; we acknowledge 
00 little the importance of the health of this single human being ! 
Ah, but how much hangs upon this solitary thread ! More is it 
to be prized than great knowledge and experience. 

It is upon this consideration that I set such an inexpressibly 
high value upon the early maintenance and consolidation of the 
bodily and mental health. And therefore likewise do I strive 

Foundation and Construction. 131 

to attain a right comprehension of each child's hfe-vocaticn.^ 
These possessions — bodily health and knowledge of one's true 
vocation in life — I would secure to every man, in his childhood, at J 
the earliest possible moment. m^ 

But the parents refuse to listen. Who, then, can alter it ? 
God cannot, of Himself, for His purpose is to create men with 
a free will, determining their career for themselves. Well — but 
this much I know, that many men's careers have been broken, 
and many more are daily and hourly now being broken, through 
failure to understand their vocation in life. Up till now there 
has been no means of ascertaining a man's vocation. To provide 
such a means is my great care, and is the cause of my devotion 
to the elaboration of my game-system. It is indeed the inmost 
secret aim I have had in view; and when once it is generally 
acknowledged, there will begin a new era for the human race. 
At present the greater part of mankind has sorrowfully to conv 
plain : " When the determination of my life, of my position in the 
community of my fellow-citizens, yet lay free for my own han 1 
to choose, or for my friends to choose for me, I was, as these 
youths are, all unsure upon the whole matter ; wdience it comes 
that all my life long I have been kept back, and that my career 
has been a thing of shreds and patches." But in God's purpose 
it was neither meant to be nor to remain such. ^ 

We who know better must not cease to live our present lives 
of sacrifice for the overcoming of these evils. There are many of 
us, and of both sexes. We must not cease to join hands and 
hearts, nor mutually to render help and trust to one another. 

Properly the German Kindergarten should be by this time aiding 
us in our task : only men are so blind. In furthering the German 
Kindergarten, each man would be but furthering the realisation cf 
the dearest wishes of his heart. Who can endow men with in- 
sight ? Speaking openly, heart to heart, dear cousin, how much of 
your inmost and loftiest spiritual life do you not owe, according to 
your own showing, to this idea of a German Kindergarten? And 
is it not so with many more mo'hers in Gera? Wherefore you : 
ought all to clasp hands with me, and to enhst your lady friends in | 
the cause as well, so that I can reach you all eventually— though ij 

132 Letters of Froebel. 

/shall have been long dead, and though it is your children and 

(your children's children to whom I shall then be speaking, through 

^fhe progress and development of this idea of the Kindergarten. 

iFor what are the following if they are not weighty words of pro- 

fmise? Health of body and mind, knowledge and grasp of our 

determination, of our vocation in life, peace of heart, joy of soul, 

and vigorous creative power ! And yet no man seems willing to 

make sacrifices to attain such ends ! Your own letter in its most 

!just complaints of the defects of girls' present education shows 
the fact all too clearly. 

Whenever men shall have perceived with certainty that for 
themselves and for their children the service of the Educa- 
tional Idea means a life founded upon a sure basis, means bread, 
means civic well-being, then at last shall this educational idea 
number as great multitudes of disciples as do the churches of the 
present day in what concerns the various matters of religious 

And even to you, dearest cousin, I would say, examine your- 
self on this point. You would gladly know that your dear son 
was engaged in the service of this great idea, such as you have 
always embodied it in your own mind ; but in secret your fear 
lest in its pursuit he may neglect to secure the necessary basis 
for an assured condition in civic life. Do I make a mistake in put- 
ting it thus ? Have I misunderstood your feelings and my good 
cousin's your husband ? What would you answer if I ventured 
to say to you, " Educate your son for the idea of humanity " ? 

" Shall we meet again hereafter ? " you ask. Yes, as you 
suppose, I do believe firmly that we shall personally meet here- 
* after all those with whom in life we have been united by some 
fundamental conception, some common root principle : and I 
have grounds for my conviction. As regards the rest of mankind, 
even if some common dwelling-place of the departed should 
bring us face to face with them, we probably should pass them by 
as we now pass them by in this world, knowing them not. This 
conviction being firmly established within me, I nevertheless 
cherish to my utmost the further belief in continuous spiritual 
community of life between myself and my beloved ones, '•' not 

Foundation and Construction. \\^ 

lost, but gone before ; " yes, and I believe, moreover, in the 
reflex working of my culture of this spiritual communion back 
upon my own life ; I believe I can find it, and can trace it in 
its influence upon my actions. 

And also in recalling such imaginings I am again brought back] 
to the establishment of the Kindergarten and our association 
for its promotion : a powerful bond of union exists in the 
thought, that at the basis of the Kindergarten lies an idea which 
serves alike for all the interstellar spaces, for all the systems of 
the suns, namely this : — The fulfilment of the divine will even to 
the smallest details, and the manifestation of the same. This 
is especially seen when in order to become consciously such a' 
manifestation of the divine, man has first to attain the basis of 
self-consciousness ; to which end serves the early culture of the 
spirit of humanity in the world of childhood. And seeing what 
lofty, and at the same time true and hopeful ideas are thus inter- 
woven with the furtherance and culture of our main idea, that is, 
with the foundation and development of the Kindergarten system, 
who divines its power, who believes in its truth, w^ho is willing 
with this aim to work for it unswervingly? It is a grain of mus 
tard seed, under the shade of whose branches, w^hen they hav 
grown great, shall rest our children and our children's children 
in peace and joy. (See Mark iv. 31, 32.) 

I read further on in your letter : " Moritz's future position 
often gives me serious anxiety." 

I should in your place, and in Moritz's place, whether he is 
to be a merchant or a man of business, bind up his life with the 
service of an idea; and this is possible more now than ever 
by the path I have made clear, w^hich leads through the careful 
culture of the child's life, and the man's, onwards to an indus- 
trial career. 

If your son were older, if he had already served his apprentice- 
ship as a merchant, and if we were sitting together making actual 
arrangements in view of immediate practical conclusions, I could 
speak more definitely to you. Enough for the present to 
say that a spiritual view of all vocations and careers in life, w^ith 
especial relation to the highest opportunities they offer (and quite 

.is- . 

J 34 Letters of Froebel. 

before all others, with relation to the education and culture of 
mankind, collectively and individually, i.e. by nations as well as by 
individual men and children), will in its own good time be clearly 
ascertained and made manifest. The German Kindergarten, in 
its industrial and mercantile aspects, is even now striking out the 
])ath to such an end ; but who is able to divine the great in the 
little, the perfect conception of a visible life in the abstraction of 
an invisible idea ? 

Do not forget, but consider carefully the conclusion I drew 
just now from the contemplation of the life of my departed wife : — 
That upon the right understanding and the right handling of the 
\\i& of some one single human being may depend the well-being 
of the whole race. We pass far too lightly over the single life 
and the need of care for it, especially at the moment of deciding 
upon its career, the choice of its life-work. It costs much trouble 
to examine all carefully, I know full well ; we must go thoroughly 
through an entire set "of circumstances to arrive at a correct deci- 
sion, but none of this is lost labour. The only thing which can 
now and at once give to a human life a sure foundation, and 
which also will remain true for all time, is such a conception of 
its career as is based upon the true inner welfare of the race. 

As to the causes you enumerate for the impending close of 
your Kindergarten, I think just as you do; yet I am not at one 
with you about the injurious influence and the disturbing effect 
you allege that it has produced upon your domestic life. But I 
must recollect my ignorance as to this last, and not be hke a 
blind man who presumes to reason about colours. This much^ 
however, I must declare as my firm conviction. The service 
of a great principle working for human good, of a thought recog- 
nised as rife with blessing for mankind at large, must necessarily 
be fraught also with blessing, peace and joy for each one ; espe- 
cially bringing these treasures into any family where such an idea 
is cherished, and such a thought is embodied and is developed 
in actual life. I cannot give up my absolute conviction of this. 
Vv'ere this view not a true one, were this conviction not immovably 
fixed upon a sure basis, absolutely self-sufificient, all work for 
mankind and the good of mankind undertaken by any single 

Foi nidation and Construction. 135 

man would lack any sure foundation, and the whole endeavour 
would be a foolish child's play. But it is not so ! 

"Shall you continue Kindergarten work ? " you ask. Well, 
consult your husband about this, consult also the mothers who 
gave you their confidence ; but do so, if it be possible, from a 
serious and vital point of view. This is quite certain, that if you 
let slip the thread, and allow the clue to be drawn in amongst the 
knotted skein of life, you will find it hard to recover it, and firmly 
to seize it again. 

The system is earnestly discussed now on every side. Do you 
see the Kohla newspaper in Gera? In No. 35 you will find an 
article about my work here. It is much too restricted to a per- 
sonal notice of myself, which is unpleasant to me, though I serve 
as a point of union for the whole system : and Middendorff says 
" It is stimulating." But have you not some one at hand who will 
write about the system and its principles in your local journal, say 
upon the occasion of the publication of my general account of 
the Kindergarten system? You have your dear husband and 
other friends by your side, and can win honour for Gera by con- 
triving to get this done; besides that, it will be of good augury for 
future work. The system, as I said, is now openly recognised as 
valuable, in many places. I have just spoken of one such 
public approval, and I may add another, in the pamphlet called 
"The Orphan Boy of Herrenburg," by Pastor Fredner, of Woltis, 
near Ohrdruf, in Gotha. Good words, you see, no longer arrive 
singly, and boldly venture to show themselves. 

With respect to your wishes about the little verses, I will do 
what I can; meanwhile take the supplement to yesterday's Sunday 
Tournal as an earnest of my promise. 

We are daily expecting my nephew Ferdinand Froebel on a 

My joy over the S. family has come to an end. Even before 
four weeks had elapsed, our close relations had ceased. A big 
book might be written about the affair. I believe I am right in say- 
ing that the spirit of my whole system was too lofty for Herr S. 
He could not work in it, even if he had been able to understand 
and grasp it. He took great pleasure in the actual work, but 

136 Letters of Froebel. 

never attained to a true conception of its meaning. Perhaps he 
felt this. At all events, he flung his taunts of disillusion in my 
face. It was a repetition of a very common history, that of the 
fox and the grapes ; the grapes were too high, so he called them 
sour; and now he speaks ill of me to high and low, to prince and 
peasant. What is to be done but to keep a dignified silence 
under all this, live it down, and show by actual work that the 
system was and is quite other than he represents it to be ? 

You see, dear cousin, that we all have our special troubles 
to fight against, every one's life is more or less broken; but what 
you hope will arise from your work for the benefit of your little 
world of children, I hope will come also to me and mine from 
my work. And like you, I shall continue in spite of all hind- 
rances, to gather round me children and those who love children, 
and strive to lead both the first and the second towards the goal 
of humanity. 

This summer many very intelligent strangers have visited me : 
some from Wittenburg, from Landsburg on the Warte, from 
Marlishausen, from Altenburg, etc. Also a Dr. Hult Yates, from 
London, and his wife came to see me, and manifested the greatest 
interest in the whole subject, taking home with him my games 
and my publications in order to translate them and bring them 
out in English. 1 

I have several very capable girls here, studying wath me. 

I not only "have still the idea of visiting Leipzig this year and 
running on to Gera," but I am actually working hard daily and 
hourly without intermission to render it possible; for its realisation 
depends entirely on the conclusion of my w^ork in time. 

And in a general way I think of travelling, when this work is 
over, for the promulgation of the idea; its possible general accep- 
tation seems to demand this of me. 

Again I send the w^armest greetings to your whole family, 

from your Cousin, 

Fr. Froebel. 

1 We have not as yet found any trace of such translations. 

Foundation and Construction. 137 

Letter XVII. 

Frankfurt-on-the-AIain, I'jth Dec, 1844.^ 
Dear Cousin,— 

You could not be allowed to keep Christmas without some 
small gift from me, even if it consists but of these few lines of a 
letter and one or two not very important newspapers with 
accounts of my work on the Main, the Neckar and the Rhine. 
My friend Middendorff has already told you, in his answer to 
your two last kind letters to myself, that ever since last Whitsun- 
tide I have been partly drawn, partly driven by peculiar chances 
amongst the various cities which lie along the three rivers I have 
named — and partly I have gone thither of my own free will — in 
the pursuit of my work concerning the early care of little children, 
their first beginnings of education and of culture, etc., the mate- 
rials for which I find spread over all God's world, wherever power, 
life and spirit are at work. 

"That in itself is praiseworthy and noble," will you say, "but 
to forget your friends amidst these pursuits — friends, moreover, 
who have so enthusiastically worked for them with you, and still 
continue to work — no, my dear cousin, that is neither praise- 
worthy nor noble." You are quite right, my dear cousin; and who 
is the greatest loser by the fault, and who feels the truth of the 
remark more deeply than I ? 

In the rush of my labours I am unable to allow myself the 
smallest recreation; my entire aim and endeavour is only directed 
towards the one end. The loveliest songs of the birds, the 
choicest blooms of the flowers, the mild midsummer evenings 
and the winter nights all aflame with stars, are for me as if they 
were not ; it seems as if I dare not stay to enjoy them until I 
have won at least some part of the way towards my goal ; but I 
find it bitterly hard, even with all this, to gain the smallest step in 
advance. And while in my struggle with the problem of educa- 
tion, I find half the men I know arrayed against me, nay, I may 

^ It will be observed that there is a lapse of a year and a quarter between 
this letter and the preceding. 

138 Letters of Froebel. 

say, there are three to one, four to one, or even a hundred to one 
against me, and while true peaceful pleasure is denied me — at 
the same time, and in consequence of my restless mental labours, 
the most important concerns of life have to go neglected, as my . 
friends very properly remind me; the sword of Damokles is con- 
stantly swinging over my head, and danger is averted by but a 
single hair.'^ The most miserable part of it all is that whilst I 
know and feel my position, I am powerless to change it. People 
think I live thoughtlessly and regard my own pleasure only, where- 
as I am ceaselessly thinking and searching for the Right and the 
True ; though, indeed, no one is satisfied with the result. 

I am like an arrow which has struck its mark, but is unable to 
pierce it, and is shattered by its own force. I am like a tree upon 
the summit of a rock, grown up from a seed that has fallen into 
some crevice, and now standing exposed to all the storms and 
howling winds of those heights; such a tree as must renounce the 
joy of lovely flowers and ripening fruit, and content itself with 
driving its roots ever deeper into the rocky clefts, ever further into 
the darkness and the night, gaining thereby strength to resist the 

! storm, lest it be hurled altogether over the precipice into ever- 
lasting darkness and night beneath. 

^ "A pretty Christmas letter, indeed! " you are saying. "How 
can a letter like this, full of complaint, dare to show itself this 
Christmastide, and to pose as if bringing some message of joy?" 
Yes, it dare and can ! For by all this a sincere friend is only 
trying to tell his kind womanly sympathiser that no common for- 
getfulness has caused his long silence, but only the ceaseless quest 
of the Golden Fleece of childhood and childhood's early care and 
training which we are all forced to admit as indisputably neces- 
sary, and which prize, had I once obtained it, I should have 
brought home to you, dearest cousin, and to all my friends, to 
your great rejoicing. 

^ We understand Froebel to mean by this that just as the pleasure of Damo- 
kles in the banquet spread before him was stayed by the sight of the drawn 
sword hanging above his head, suspended by one single hair, so his own 
pleasure in his noble effort was destroyed because of the constant pecuniary 
and other difficulties which seemed perpetually on the point of overwhelming 

Foundation and Construction. 139 

It has been, therefore, my desire to bring you joy, my friend so 
true and constant, which has kept me silent this long while, and 
has, however, only had for result that I send you a letter full ot 
complaints as a Christmas gift, instead of that joyful present we 
hoped for. You see, then, that if the ultimate cause of this letter/ 
be considered, it is after all suitable for Christmastide ; for'j 
what should be the nature of all Christmas gifts, from the greatest 
to the least ? They ought to come from the heart of the giver, 
and express the inmost feelings of both the giver and receiver : 
and what more precious thing can one human being give to 
another than the key which unlocks the chambers of his soul ? _ - 

It is thus that I live with my blessed one, my late wife ; and 
as I progress with myself, as I rise higher and higher, so do I 
gain more insight into the meaning of her life upon earth. And 
if ever God grant us to meet again — a thought which enfolds such 
great bliss that I trust it is not a mere imagination of my own 
mind — we shall meet as after an outward separation, truly, but 
also as after an unbroken inner companionship : and so will it be, 
I believe, with all the souls Avho have learned truly to know each 
other during their present earthly pilgrimage. 

But I must give you a sketch of my journey. On Whit- 
Monday I came here, and found my old friend Schnyder from 
Wartensee : and in fact it w^as specially in order to meet him 
that I came hither. Nevertheless, after only a day or two, he 
was obliged to return home to Switzerland. 

Through an old friend, Von Leonhardi, I became acquainted 
with a merchant of this town, a certain Herr Klotz, whom in the 
following week I accompanied to his country seat at Lower 
Ingelheim, a place doubtless known to you because the emperor 
Carl the Great (Charlemagne) held his court there. And in that 
place I was high busy for three or four weeks over reforming a 
charity school for children. The accompanying sheet from the 
Educatio7ial Journal of the Grand Duchy of Hesse will tell 
you all the rest about this part of my doings. Soon after this I 
was living in Darmstadt to be near Ida Seele, who is established 
here as Kindergarten teacher, directing Kindergarten games, 
and who was educated by me for her new vocation, so that we 

140 Letters of FroebeL 

might bring into practical working order my games and occu- 

As Darmstadt lies on the high road from Heidelberg to 
Frankfurt, and I was living alternately in both places, I often 
stopped in Darmstadt, there to labour at the further construction 
of the work now begun in earnest, or rather, to watch over it and 
care for it as a gardener tends his plants.^ 

My head quarters were at Heidelberg ; and I gained much by 
my stay there. I lived with a faithful and energetically helpful 
friend of mine, the Leonhardi whom I have just mentioned ; 
and I profited greatly, not only from this old friendship, but 
from many new ones. I also found them all very eager for the 
establishment of a Kindergarten there ; though indeed the real- 
ization of their hopes still lies in the future. I am grateful to 
Heidelberg for one acquaintance especially, that of a certain 
doctor of medicine, a German American, who was then staying 
in Heidelberg in order to study the newest European discoveries 
in his science, meaning to introduce them in America on his 
return home next year. I had much confidential talk with him 
about my struggles, and he urged me -most earnestly to go to 
America, where he was sure that I should reap an immediate 
harvest from my self-sacrificing labours, so that I could soon earn 
for myself the means of gaining my goal and achieving my aim 
by my own unaided effort, I still seriously harbour the idea, 

^ It might seem a little strange that Froebel has not mentioned here the 
well-known Darmstadt educationist, Julius Folsing, whose intimacy he en- 
joyed, even to the point of frequent and vehement discussions on educational 
points where the two savans found themselves in disagreement. At Folsing's 
request Froebel introduced his games and occupations into the Infant School 
{Spielschtde) which formed part of the great educational institution of Darm- 
stadt, founded and directed by Folsing. Froebel sent one of his pupils from 
Blankenburg, a lady known, both by her maiden name, Ida Seele, and later 
on as Madame Vogeler, as one of the master's earliest and most faithful 
disciples. (Her later Kindergarten work was confined principally to Berlin. 
One of the present writers had the pleasure of being instructed by Madame 
Vogeler in the use of Froebel's gifts. Her ways with children in the Kinder- 
garten were inexpressibly charming, and are still remembered with delight by 
all who heard her teach.) But later on Folsing quarrelled openly with Froebel, 
chiefly because of Froebel's insisting upon the name "Kindergarten," and 
swiftly turned from a warm friend to a bitter foe. See the Introduction to 
Part IV. "Attack and Defence," and the Letters to Mme. Liitkens in that part. 

Foundation and Construction. I4I 

and shall consider the possibility of carrying it into execution 
next spring. 

From Heidelberg I went to Carlsruhe, where I worked for my 
cause with lectures and conferences. The outcome of it all still 
lies in the dusky bosom of the future. More decided was the 
result in Stuttgart, where the wife of Herr von Pistorius, the 
Councillor of Legation, invited me to introduce my games and 
occupations into the Children's Home at Geisburg, where she 
has property and influence. I was exceedingly happy to find two 
sisters there, and fifty children, all of bright intelligence. Further 
on I sowed the good seed in Bensheim and in Osthofen, near 

For the last six weeks I have been here, working at my 
publications and my games. 

*' God created man in His own image : in the image of God 
created He him" (Gen. i. 27) ; and "Ye should be perfect even 
as your Father in heaven is perfect" (Matt. v. 48). What do 
these texts mean, if not that man ought to set God's work, God's 
creation, before himself, as a type or model? Now God sets 
forth His will first, and then His purpose, in things, in facts, in 
the corporeal and phenomenal world, and so ought man to do 
likewise : wherefore I, too, from now and henceforth, shall create 
and work and set forth my will and the aim and object of 
my life, the path and method of my educational endeavour, by 
means of things and facts, and a world of material manifestations. 
'* The child creates his own world for himself; it is at once the 
expression of his inward realization of the external world and its 
surroundings, and also the outward representation of his internal 
mental world, the world of his own subjectivity." 

Humanity, the child, the boy, the girl, and too often also, the 
man and the woman, shall, as far as my strength and my will can 

^ The reader will observe that Froebel's idea of a Deutscher Kindergarten 
(German National Kindergarten) has already expanded, as it was evidently 
sure to do sooner or later, into the broader idea of a Kindergarten Movement 
without limits of nationality. And as to his relations with the United States-— 
always kept before him as an eventual resource after a possible failure in 
Germany— they continued till his death. See Letter HI. to Madame Liitkens, 
in Part IV., written in March, 1852, the year he died. 

142 Letters of Froebel. 

prevent, no longer waste their force, their time, their means in all 
the various relations of life, paying, as it were, a dear scholar's 
fee, only to perceive too late, when the path has turned and is 
already descending towards the grave, of what lofty meaning is 
Life ! Even the smallest things of life are important if each man 

lis to attain with certainty his earthly determination and destiny ; 

(which are the preparation for his new life beyond. 

God clothed His highest, His own image, in a mass of clay, and 
was not ashamed of His creation; neither will I then be ashamed 
to set forth in little blocks of wood my ideas upon the nature of 
man and especially of the child, such as I have evolved them by 
long thought, dating back even to my childhood and my earliest 
youth. And though these ideas have passed through many 
stages, varying in clearness, yet they have been always alike in 
one thing— namely, in the absolute truth of their expression of my 
soul and mind at the time. 

As soul and mind have shaped themselves from out the mass 
of clay forming humanity, so also shall the educational spirit and 
the soul which cherishes the life of children shape themselves 
from the mass of wood, the ball, and the little wooden blocks of 
the Kindergarten. 

I know clearly what I want, and I will win it by these means. 
What God, as Creator and Father, did for each man and for all 
men too, for humanity, in His creation, by means of His creation, 
that will I imitate, as a man (acting, as far as I may, like the 
Father), in my creation, in my world which I have created, and 
by means of this world of mine, for the benefit of each one — as 
will be seen when men have grasped the true meaning of the 
materials I employ ; — namely, the ball, the cube, etc. ; but in 
especial and quite above all else, for the benefit of childhood, for 
the good of children, the germs and buds of humanity. 

I hope and wish, dear cousin, that this letter has after all 
proved a Christmas pleasure. A true womanly soul cannot mis- 
understand me, for what I am so earnestly striving for is only what 
the uninfluenced woman's soul, the pure wifely spirit, does of itself. 
And indeed woman often devotes herself, soul, will and desire, 
to things which are most insignificant in outward appearance, and 

FoiindatioJi and Construction. 143 

whose significance we men understand either too late or not at 
all. As I hope that you have understood me, and that my letter 
has thus fulfilled its purpose, I would beg of you to keep it for 
future testimony in my favour, after I shall have been carried to 
the grave ; for what I have here written to you has welled up from 
my very soul, and has been set down without any other thought 
than to make myself and my work clearly understood by you, and 
to give you pleasure thereby. 

If my dear cousin, your husband, can do anything with any of 
the enclosed newspapers towards making my endeavours more 
widely known — as for instance, in the Leipzig Daily Journal — 
he would give me great pleasure, and you, too, would oblige me if 
you would try at convenient opportunities to help on the sale of 
my productions. See now, I have become quite a merchant, but I 
hope a true merchant, according to God's image in nature ; for 
God's way is to resolve all that is unusual and complete into the 
elements of which it is composed, to be anew worked up into 
higher forms, and perhaps at last to appear as part of man himself. 

I receive your affectionate present in the same spirit, and thank 
you for it : everything is with me not only an end in itself, but a 
means for reaching something still more general, and therefore 
more lofty. 

And now I have nothing more to say to-day, except to wish 
you a merry Christmas and a happy New Year : a happy depar- 
ture from the old year and a happy, peaceful, joyful entry into the 
new year, 1845. When I say I wish "you" a merry Christmas, 
I mean to include your whole family union — yourself, your hus- 
band, and all the children ; yet I will add for each individual, my 
most cordial wish that a blessing may fall on him or her. 

Finally, just one request ; gladden me with a few lines right 
soon. I shall find difficulty in spending Christmas amongst my 
own people, for a promise given to a friend and the claims of life 
unite to retain me here. But by the new year I hope to be home 

In the new year as in the old, in the future as throughout the pastj^ 
I am your faithful, grateful Cousin, 

Friedrich Froebel. 

144 Letters of Froebcl. 

Letter XVIII. 
Keilhau, near Radolstadt, 2 ^^rd January^ 1847.^ 

If I were not cognisant of your great kindness and indulgence 
towards me, dear and much-esteemed cousin, proofs of which I 
have so repeatedly experienced from you, I certainly should ex- 
pect you to scold me for letting three weeks slip by before send- 
ing you any word of thanks for your sympathy, manifested in so 
many different ways [during my visit]. And especially since I 
have not yet inquired after your health, which is so dear to me ; 
not asked if the heartfelt prayers for your steady improvement 
which I offered up when leaving Gera have been heard, to the 
joy of your dear ones. May it have been so : and pray let me 
be assured of it, if even only by a few lines from the hand of my 
dear cousin, your husband. 

On my return I found letters here which have still further in- 
creased my work. Also, two new students have made their ap- 
pearance. This makes six young women in all, who are studying 
for Kindergarten teachers with me; i.e. studying to develop their 
usefulness as trainers of children. It gives me much extra 
trouble and work to bring up these newly entered students to the 
level of the others ; and indeed, the thing is almost impossible 
to be done. Although I am at work from nine in the morning to 
seven in the evening, uninterruptedly, except for two hours at 
noon and an hour at tea-time, leading, teaching, and personally 
always busy and in request, all this eager stir and movement, so 
fresh, sound, and vigorous, only gives me pleasure, when I see it 
blossoming and setting for fruit. Oh, my child-loving cousin, 
could you only take part once again, after this long time, in our 
morning hour, from nine to ten, which we devote entirely to the 
subject of the development of the child ! How much should 
we not hear and learn from you in the course of our discussion ! 
We always closely connect our work with actual observations 

^ The reader will observe that two years have elapsed between this and the 
previous letter. Froebel has just returned from a stay with Madame Schmidt 
at Gera, during which he has observed with regret that her health had be- 
come impaired. 

Foundation and Construction. 145 

drawn from life. I should also like to invite you to our building 
lessons. Such a vigorous life manifests itself in them, expressing 
itself by form, by speech, and quite beyond either, by song ! 
Besides the young teacher from Annaburg I have won over yet 
another teacher, Herr Stangenberger, in Poppenwind, a musically 
gifted young man, to help me in my building-songs. 

Many very pretty pieces, for single children, or for the whole 
class, with words and melodies, have we composed during these 
last weeks, most of them suggested by the free spontaneity of the 
children themselves. No ! the wealth and blessing for the child- 
ren and for their teachers — the true " gardeners " of the garden 
of children (Kindergarten) — which lies in these progressive 
occupations for children cannot be expressed in words, nor sung 
in melodies ! 

One can scarcely believe the fact that men are so dull ; that 
the human heart has become so wooden or stony as not to be 
able to feel the true force of these things, as not to be ready to 
sacrifice anything to spread abroad such a system of child-culture, 
of human culture and development — not ready to stretch out a 
willing hand to the support of one who is struggling to achieve and 
carry out this system. The most that they do is to rob me of 
perhaps the best pair of wing feathers that I have ever grown, 
to make pretty feather coronets for themselves from out my publi- 
cations ; in fact, out of the ninety-ninth book for children they set 
to work to make a hundredth. 

I wish you could have been here this evening and seen the 
many beautiful and varied forms and lovely patterns which freely 
and spontaneously developed themselves from some systematic 
variations of a simple ground form, in stick-laying. No one 
would believe, without seeing it, how the child-soul — the child-life 
— develops, when treated as a whole, and in the sense of forming 
a part of the great connected life of the world, by some skilled 
Kindergarten teacher — nay, even by one who is only simple- 
hearted, thoughtful, and attentive ; nor how it blooms into de- 
licious harmonies like a beautifully tinted flower. Oh, if I could 
only shout aloud with ten thousand lung-power the truth that 
I now tell you in silence ! Then would I make the ears oi a 


146 Letters of Fi^oehel. 

hundred thousand men ring with it ! What keenness of sensa- 
tion, what a soul, what a mind, what force of will and active 
energy, what dexterity and skill of muscular movement and of 
perception, and what calm and patience will not all these things 
call out in the children ! 

How is it that parents are so blind and deaf when they pro- 
fess to be so eager to work for the welfare, the health and peace 
of their children ? No ! I cannot understand it ; and yet a whole 
generation has passed since this system first delivered its message, 
first called for educational amendment, first pointed out where 
the need for it lay, and showed how it could be satisfied. 

If I were not afraid of being taken for an idiot or an escaped 
lunatic, I would run barefoot from one end of Germany to the 
other and cry aloud to all men : " Set to work at once for your 
children's sake, on some universally developing plan, aiming at 
unity of life-purpose, and through that at joy and peace." But what 
good would it do? A Curtman and aRamsauer^ in their stupidity 
or maliciousness, make it their duty to stigmatise my work as sin- 
ful, when I am but quietly corresponding with just my own friends 
and sympathisers, for they say I am destroying all pleasure in life 
for the parents : " who could be so silly as I — amongst sane men 
who acknowledge that parents have a right to enjoy life — I who 
perpetually call to these parents in tones of imperative demand, 
" Come, let us live for our children !" (" Kommt^ laszt tms unsern 
Ki?idefn leben ''). 

Thus talk the very men who are so anxious to bring peace, or 

at all events, happiness and well-being to our nation and our 

fatherland, through the education of its youth; thus talk the 

fathers, guides, and teachers of the nation. What a condition of 

soul and spirit this betrays ! Who can portray it } 

P Why do I worry you with all this, dear cousin ? Because of the 

I need which weighs on the human heart for another and a sympa- 

; thising heart, and because I know the faithful, honest share you 

ttakc in my life and its endeavours. And even the utterance of the 
confidence strengthens him who confides his sorrows to another. 

^ Unfriendly " orthodox" critics of Froebel, 

FoundLXtion and Co7istriiction. 147 

I liave not been able to give you assurance of my continued and 
undiminished trust in you for this long time. May this, like all 
trust, fortify your soul. 

Your Keilhau relatives have all taken a most lively interest in 
your recovery of health. All send their hearty good wishes. 
And I would ask you to give the same from me to all your dear 
ones. Once more I urge you to let me hear news of you, just a 
{^\v lines to tell me tliat your health is returning. 

Your faithful Cousin, 

Fr. Froebel. 

Letter XIX. 

Keilhau, 14M October^ 1847. 
Dear and esteemed Cousin, — 

Your kind letter of the 20th June and 5th of July reached me, 
having been sent after me on my travels. To answer it in its 
fulness of feeling and purity of intellectual thought, as it deserved, 
was impossible amid the bustle of my life at that time, and the 
many claims upon me, and so my answer was deferred till J 
should be home again at Keilhau. And when I at last reached 
here I was plunged into distractions of all sorts. Please, there- 
fore, forgive my delay in replying. 

Those beautiful and precious experiences of soul and mind, 
arising from your invalid condition, which you have been so kind 
as to communicate to me — who is there that would not rejoice 
over them in heartfelt sympathy with you ? I thank you most ear- 
nestly for them. Something of the same kind took place with 
my beloved wife, now amongst the blest, when she seemed out- 
wardly to have already abandoned all participation in the affairs 
of life, and was lying calm in spirit and self-absorbed, almost as 
if dead : and yet she was following in her own mind the thoughtful 
conversation which chanced to be proceeding at the moment be- 
tween myself and some friends by her bedside. She manifested 
her consciousness of our talk by short ejaculations, illuminating the 
stillness like flashes of starlight in a dark night. Had my dear 
wife enjoyed the chance which fell to you, of becoming restored 

148 Letters of Frocbel 

to health once again, she would have doubtless had some such ex- 
periences to recount as those you have been so good as to confide 
to me. On this account, dear cousin, I am doubly grateful to you ; 
for you have shown me the joyful vision that must have been 
before my dear departed one in those moments of exaltation of 
spirit accompanying the outward bodily exhaustion and collapse. 

Permit me then, dear cousin, in return for your communication 
from a condition of bodily illness and suffering, to make a com- 
munication to you from my present condition of bodily health and 

My life always was and still is, as your own observation must 
have shown you, often a very harassed existence as regards 
eternal relations ; full of trouble, anxiety and care. It was only 
natural that in the past, when my dear wife still shared my life 
with me, and many other friends surrounded me, that these times 
of worry and hindrance should have their effect upon my friends 
as well as upon myself; and then I was in the habit of explaining 
to them, and especially to my dear wife, the workings of these 
trials upon my spirit, the clear insight into life which sprang from 
them, the complete glance over the whole of existence and the 
sensation of spiritual independence which I gained thereby. If 
those heavy da) s had fallen on me alone, and had not pressed also 
on my wife and on my friends, I could have wiUingly borne them, 
and even thankfully rejoiced in them ; for the benefits always far 
outweigh the injuries in these untoward circumstances ; the mind 
clears itself and is raised into personal independence and liberty 
of thought. 

You see here, dear cousin, amidst externally troublous and 
thwarting relations of life the same effect on the spirit taking place 
as that which you have experienced from the sickness of your 
body — the spirit gains in freedom, independence and activity, and 
grows more penetrating and more circumspect. These two ex- 
periences, yours as well as mine, are of the highest importance in 
the conduct of life, as regards its disturbed and difficult passages, 
or its outward circumstances and life-relations ; for the victorious 
spirit not only shows itself more independent and free, but many 
a thing which first asserted itself as a hindrance often serves finally 

Foundation and Ccnstniction. 149 

towards this very development and enfranchisement of spirit ; what 
seems at first to cloud it, does in fact clear its vision. 

In general, it seems to me, judging by my own light and indeed 
by that of strangers as well, that the human spirit ought to fulfil 
its duty of winning more independence and freedom througli and 
in life itself. It should therefore, independently and self-impelled, 
but at the same time in conjunction with others, bind itself to 
work for the culture, the guidance and development, and the 
education of all that is truly for the good of humanity, and there- 
fore especially to the watchful care of children. 

It seems to me that this free, independently active spirit, 
wherever it finds itself, should especially devote itself to cherish 
the master-thought, the ground-idea of our time : — that is, the 
education and development of man ; for it can only mirror itself, 
and recognise its own features, in the surface of some work under- 
taken in common with others. 

I think that in our day, in numerous ways, this really represents 
the struggle and the yearning of men's spirits in general under our 
special circumstances ; and I firmly believe that it is the need of 
your soul in particular ; a need felt by you your whole life long, but 
not yet clearly acknowledged. The pure soul and the consciously 
pure intellect regard as above all things else tiie culture of man- 
kind by means of self-sacrificing, watchful care. This is their 
basis of action, this their goal. And herein lies the well-spring, 
dearest cousin, of that enduring love which you bear towards 
children and child-culture, and also of the progressive and help- 
ful care which you bestow upon the Kindergarten idea. 

This twofold aspect of the work (at once basis and goal) is a 
phenomenon which I have repeatedly observed in my life, and 
from it flows that remark which I have already made above : — 
The spirit which is free within itself, and pure, strives after a per- 
sonal, i.e., an outwardly unfettered union with others for aiding 
the development of the human being, especially in the world of 
children, just as the spirit of mankind strives ever, in a precisely 
analogous action, to become a freer spirit. 

I sympathise heartily in your joy over your motherly union of 
heart with your son Robert. A more beautiful and blessed ex- 

ISO Letters of Fro eb el. 

ample of the relation of mother to son cannot be imagined ; and 
it bears witness, moreover, to what I was just now saying : — the 
longing of the spirit, free within itself and pure, after intimate 
communication of thought. In your case this intimate union of 
spirits arose out of communion with Nature, and the emotions of 
the soul which sprang from that source, and the thoughts which 
then filled your minds. I will make this prayer with you : — May 
life never rob him of the emotions and thoughts which then arose 
within him ! When you write to him, send him my cordial good 
wishes. And the cheerful confidence, supported by a thorough 
union of soul and of family feeling, with which you view the life- 
development of your Moritz, gives me much pleasure ; wherefore, 
pray greet him, too, most cordially from me. 

The present circumstances of your domestic relations impel 
you once more to observe the remarkable manner in which you 
are continually brought back into the sphere of the education of 
children ; it is like some apparition that turns and winds itself 
through all the paths of your life. If I do not mistake, I have 
already previously called your attention to this, and expressed my 
belief that you ought to have pursued this career further than you 
did, and in fact, ought still to pursue it. 

With the vigorous help of younger teachers you ought to plant 
and bring into full fair blossoming — a Kindergarten ! 

J. B. cherishes the hope of being appointed to the superintend- 
ence of the Gera creche^ {Beivahr-Anstalt) next year. Pray write 
me the truth of this in your next letter. I should be exceedingly 
glad if it were so, and still more if the creche took on the name 
of Kindergarten, as has been the case in Annaburg, Marienberg, 
Liinen, and Homburg. People do indeed say, " What's in a 
name ? A name is but a sound ; the thing is the real matter." 
That is quite true in one sense : but the same thing under this 
new name develops an entirely new spirit, we find ; and it is, after 

^ Bewahr-Atistali \^ precisely the German for the French Creche, an institu- 
tion for keeping the children of poor working mothers safe during the day while 
their parents are at their daily work. The system of the creche is now being 
adopted in England, in London and in many provincial towns : Croydon for 

Foundation and Construction. 15 r 

all, the spirit which is the life of anything. Therefore do I wish 
for a Kindergarten in the place, where you may co-operate in its 
work. All your fore-feelings, dear good cousin, set forth in your 
letter, which in this very moment I have again read through with 
keen pleasure, would thus reach their fulfilment. You would com- 
pletely " experience the reflex feeling of blessedness which always 
flows back over our soul, and over our mind and body also, when 
we have been amongst the children playing the Kindergarten 

1 am grateful to you for your kind thought of me whilst playing 
with the children on the merry afternoons you speak of Such 
little friendly reminiscences, dear cousin, are necessary to cheer 
and refresh the life of the toiling man and the weary mind, for with- 
out them he soon sinks into the Slough of Despond, and regards 
his work as fruitless, like the Danaids eternally fetching water in 
a sieve. 

You would perhaps like a bird's-eye view of my excursion — so 
here it is. In May I completed my course of teachmg with the 
students. In the first days of June I went to Gotha, to examine 
the progress of the Kindergarten there, and to introduce one of 
my later students as partner in the direction.^ From Gotha I 
went on to Marienberg, in the Upper Erzgebirge,^ to be present at 
the opening of the Marienberg Kindergarten on the 9th of June, 
and here I stayed for eight days. Then I was in Annaburg (a few 
miles off), where I visited Superintendent Schumann, and de- 
livered an address in a conference of clergymen, on the develop- 
ing and training methods which form my system of child-education. 
From this place I went to Plauen, in Saxon Voigtland,^ where 
for a few days I tilled the land which I had earlier sown, watered 
it plentifully, and devoted especial care to the Kindergarten. 

^ The Gotha Kindergarten was that under the direction of the well-known 
August Kohler, familiar to all Kindergarten students as author of the Praxis 
des Kindergartens, translated in part by Miss Mary Gurney under the title of 
" Practical Guide to the Kindergarten." 

2 The "Ore-Mountains" famous for their metallic treasures, dividing 
Saxony from Bohemia. Marienberg is a little place five miles from the 
Bohemian frontier, and about fifteen miles south of Chemnitz. 

^ In the lower Erzgebirge, on the Saxon side, forming the extreme western 
corner of Saxony. 

r52 Letters of Froebel. 

About the end of June I came back to Halle, and travelled 
straight through to Quetz/ to Pastor Hildenhagen's, to arrange 
a children's festival for the children of the Kindergarten there 
(which has been open for a year now), in conjunction with the 
school children of the place. 

On the 25th July this festival took place. Your newspaper, I 
suppose, gave you an account of it ; but I send you herewith two 
other accounts which seem to me to go deeper into the matter, 
and yet are more simple in style than usual, especially that in 
the Gefieral l7itelligeiicer. At this children's festival there were 
also present two mistresses from Hamburg, and Middendorff, who 
came from Keilhau, as well as several former students of mine. 

A definite result accrued from this for Hamburg, because it was 
then and there decided to form a Kindergarten in that town ; 
and later on, the idea developed so far that Alwine, Middendorff's 
daughter, after completing her course of study, is to go there, 
probably next spring, to assist in actually establishing the Ham- 
burg Kindergarten. 2 

In the beginning of August I travelled from Quetz to Bruns- 
wick, Hanover and Bremen ; and was back again at Quetz by the 
middle of August. In the three places named I worked, in re- 
sponse to invitations I had received, towards the establishment of 
a Kindergarten in each. What result will flow from my labours 
lies as yet in the dusky bosom of the future. The idea of the 
Kindergarten was eagerly received and warmly approved every- 
where, especially in Brunswick. 

I was at Eisenach on 25th August, at the choral festival of the 
Thuringian Choral Association ; and at the same time working 
towards the establishment of a Kindergarten there. The main 
idea of the system, which I expounded in an address upon the 
subject delivered in the Town Hall, was warmly approved ; but 

* A little village a few miles north of Halle, in the province of Saxony. 

2 This was in connection with Madame Doris Lutkens' Girls' High School, 
at Hamburg, see No. 10, Part HI. (See Part IV. for correspondence with 
Madame Liitkens herself.) Alwine Middendorff became the wife of Herr 
Wichard Lange, of Hamburg, editor of the standard edition of Froebel's works, 
from which the present translators extracted the " Autobiography of Froebel." 

Foundation and Construction. 153 

whether it has struck root, and a Kindergarten will actually grow 
out of it, remains yet in the hand of fate.^ 

Now I returned home to Keilhau again, by way of Gotha and 
Weimar ; but first I stayed a week amongst the children of a 
clergyman ^ who is related to me, and whose daughters took huge 
delight in our Kindergaten games. 

In Gotha we celebrated the anniversary of the foundation of 
the Gotha Kindergarten ; and in Weimar I was also able to work 
for the Kindergarten. 

It was after an absence of fourteen weeks that I returned to 
Keilhau ; and found all of them busy with preparations for 
autumn holiday journeys. 

Now I must close, with cordial remembrances to all your dear 
ones. Write soon again to your Cousin, 

Fr. Froebel. 

Letter XX. 

Keilhau, 7/// Feb.., 1848. 
Much-esteemed and dear Cousin, — 

1 am really not sure whether I answered your last kind letter 
or not. Its contents so deeply impressed me, I was so long 
occupied earnestly in considering what you said, and so made up 
my mind that I must answer it at once, that I cannot tell whether 
I did so or not. But let it be as it will ; if I did answer, then 
you will see by this how I continue to be moved by your kind 
communication, and if I did not answer, then this will at length 
come to show you how seriously I have been occupied with your 
thoughts. The considerations and experiences which we gather 
in the unfettered world of soul and spirit are amongst the sweetest 
flowers and the richest fruits of life, and are fraught with the 
gravest consequences. 

What can be of more concern to the educator than clear 
glances into the region of existence and pure Being ? I have been 

^ Fraiilein Trabert, a pupil of Froebel's, did afterwards found an excellent 
Kindergarten in Eisenach, which she conducted for thirty years. 

2 Probably the pastor of Buttstedt, a village near Weimar. 

154 Letters of Froebel. 

filled during this beginning of a new year, in an especial manner, 
with thoughts on the relation of human existence to pure Being, 
of the everlasting and permanent to the phenomenal and tran- 
sitory, of the comprehensive unity to the individual unity, and also 
with these problems as converted to the service of educational 
requirements ; for example, the study of these relations and their 
conditioning, in actual hfe, with all its limitations truly considered. 
My mind is still full of these things. 

And now I would beg of you, dear cousin, in this new year truly 
to cherish interchange and union of mental and spiritual life with 
all who surround you. The man who has arrived at clear self- 
consciousness can give and impart to his fellows, far more, in- 
finitely more, than one generally considers possible ; but the 
solitary man, he who evidently stands alone, and especially he 
to whom manifold spiritual glimpses are vouchsafed, must never 
forget this — on the contrary, he must bring it vividly before him- 
self and act upon it earnestly in practice — that such clear and 
assured spiritual glimpses have been granted to him only in order 
that he may evermore bring the invisible unity of spirit into 
greater honour, more earnest culture, and more fruitful activit}^ 
I perceive more and more how much we may prepare towards 
this end in our teaching of quite little children, or indeed, how we 
may even actually lay the foundations of it. And in such things 
tlie true nature of the Kindergarten shows itself with ever greater 
clearness and decision. How gladly would I write to you fully 
upon this topic, but time does not suffice. May you find it 
possible soon again to send me precious confidences like those 
of your last letter. 

The study which has so absorbingly occupied me since the 
new year has centred itself chiefly around two books, whose 
titles I must send you, as I want you to examine these books 
somewhat carefully. It is true that men say ladies do not love 
to read books scientifically written, and filled with a definite 
teaching purpose. It is so much the more important that I should 
learn from you if the books have proved as absorbing to you as 
they have done to me. I am at all events sure of this ; I should 
dearly like to read them with you, that we might choose out what- 

Foiindatum and Construction. 155 

ever we both recognised as true in them, and apply it to the use 
of a Kindergarten to be conducted and cared for by both of us 
in common. Yes, dear cousin, that would be the greatest pleasure 
I could have, and the most precious gift of life I could receive, 
the crown and garland of honour completing my work, to found 
and conduct a Kindergarten with just such a thoughtful, sensible, 
lofty soul as yourself for my co-founder and colleague, in pure 
spiritual and moral accord and association. But really this does 
not absolutely require an outward and local companionship. Minds ^ 
can work in the most intimate union, though separated by long| 
distances of space ; and so I pray you go on with your life-workf 
and send me cheering news of your watchful care and continued 
interest either in a local Kindergarten, or at all events in the 
Gera creche. 

The titles of the above-mentioned books are : — 

1. " L. Aime Martin on the Civilisation of Mankind through 
Women ; or, the Education of the Mothers of Families." Tran- 
slated by Dr. J. Leutbacher. 

2. " Psyche, The History of the Development of the Soul," by 
Dr. L. G. Carus.^ 

^ The letter finishes abruptly thus, without signature. As regards the 
" Psyche," see Herr Poesche's interesting account of it in the Introduction to 
Part IV. of the present book. 

156 Letters of FroebeL 

Appendix to Letter I. 
of the series of letters addressed to Madame Schmidt, in Gera. 

" Co7ne, let us live for cu?' childreny 


of a plan for founding and developing a 


or General Institution for increasing the comprehensive observation 

of the hfe of children, especially by means of encouraging their 

constant desire of activity. 

Presented to 
German Wives a?id Maiilms, 
as a worthy means of celebrating the 400th Anniversary 
of the invention of Printing, 
for their Co?isideratio?i and Co-operation. 

Blankenburg, near Rudolstadt, in the Thuringian Forest, 

1st May, 1840. 

Ye Wives and Maidens of Germany,^ — 

Woman's life and Child's love, Child's life and Woman's 
sensibility, and in general the childward care and the womanly 
soul, are only divided by an intellectual discrimination. In 
essence they are all one. For God has placed the bodily and 
mental progress and perpetuation of the human race, through 
childhood, under the control of woman's heart and soul, and of 
right womanly sensibility. This is a truth as deep-rooted as it is 

^ Froebel's address is simply //^r ("Ye!"), but this form has so entirely 
passed away (if ever it was in use) that we have ventured to expand it as 

Foundation and Constyuction. 157 

far-reaching and rich in results. The history of man from the 
earhest ages to the present day bears witness of it. The poet 
and the thinker testify to it, the philosopher and the investigator 
of life acknowledge it. But life, in its manifold development and 
many-sided culture — often acting against the feelings of the 
mother, and in opposition to the womanly soul in general, as 
well as to the contradiction of the needs of the child-life — 
has brought about, through the giant-strength of external circum- 
stances, an unnatural separation between childhood and woman's 
life, between womanliness and child-life. Perhaps this separation 
is but one of the wise decrees of Providence, for thereby the 
original unity of these two elements is clearly made known; 
and thereby, moreover, as with every other neglected and lost 
possession, not only its high value will eventually come to be 
profoundly realized, but also a vigorous endeavour will be aroused 
on all sides to bring about once again that original union of 
woman's life and true childward care which was granted to man 
by God, through Nature and Mankind. To win this back again 
must be the first care of all who are true friends of humanity 
and of the realm of childhood, and who desire the honourable 
appreciation of woman's soul. For the basis, the start and] 
direction of the whole future life of the man lies in the care of/ 
the child, in the earliest watchful childward care by woman's/ 
soul and woman's life. Who does not know this? Who doe* 
not acknowledge it ? Who has not actually experienced it, or at 
the least has not divined its truth.? The following time, the 
later years of life only give the wider development and the more 
definite culture. The earliest childward care must therefore be 
once again given over to women as a part of their lives ; woman's 
life and childward care must in fact be made one, the womanly 
soul and the enlightened observation of children must once again 

To accomplish the aims set forth above, and to meet the 
claims which so clearly make themselves heard, is certainly one 
of the most sacred tasks of life. To solve such a problem would 
be to grant to mankind the most blessed of gifts, for every 
individual as for the race. 

158 Letters of Froebel. 

But how is this to be done, in the face of that rupture of the 
natural and primordial union of these life elements which we see 
around us on all sides, and against the often irresistible and 
destructive force of the outward relations of each one's life and 
business occupation, as a citizen, or as a member of society? 
How indeed, except by following the path God shows us in 
Nature and in Life, and by pursuing it to its end ; although it is 
a path hitherto trodden as a way of separation, and leads through 
a life not natural, but of man's contrivance. Arrived at the end 
we now turn the path towards its true goal, so as eventually to 
bring it back once more to the original unity, by means of a 
bridge or mediating course. Then, having passed along this way, 
thus contrived with effort, we may at last arrive, with clear self- 
consciousness and selfdetermination, at that point at which 
Nature arrives of herself, all unconsciously and by instinct. 

The primordial union of womanly life and motherly life with 
childhood can only be won back again by a carefully planned 
mediation between the external relations of women's lives, the 
civic and social demands upon them, and the claim of the child's 
being. And such a means of mediation, applicable to all classes 
of society, and satisfying the demands made by all kinds of 
social relations, necessitates the training of all kinds of women 
engaged in minding children, children's nurses, maids, nursery- 
governesses, and teachers (as well as male teachers and attend- 
ants upon children of a somewhat more advanced age), who will 
mediate or stand between and unite the necessities which press 
upon the mother's heart — her wishes, cares, and endeavours — 
and the needs of the children ; and their function is to be, to 
attain, and to give, for the children's benefit, that which the 
mother, even with the best will in the world, can neither be, 
attain, nor give. 

But it is impossible to mediate in this way (by means of 
children's maids and nursery governesses), in all states of society, 
such as the poorer classes, where the force of the struggle for 
existence thrusts asunder mother's love and childward care ; and 
this is shown by the institutions for the care of the little children 
of the poor, the creches^ etc., which womanly love and motherly 

Foundation and Construction. 159 

feeling have called into existence. These institutions, however, 
must be regarded as assuming the midway position between 
mother and child, not individually but collectively; and for this 
purpose they also must have cultured governesses and a suffi- 
ciency of assistants. In this way this class of claims also is to be 

To obtain these means of mediation, to work out their pre- 
paration, is therefore the next problem to be solved. The need 
for such a mediation declares itself loudly in all classes and rela- 
tions of life. How mighty a cry goes up over the cruel want of 
truly educational and what has been here called mediational care 
of children; how piercing and often heart-rending is the grief of 
the earnest educationist, the friend of mankind, and especially 
the friend of childhood, over the shameful ill-management of the 
early years of childhood ; a mismanagement proceeding partly 
from ignorance and perversity, partly from carelessness, partly from 
the distortion, or even the total absence of womanly, child-loving 
sensibility. In place of development of the child-life we see re- 
straint and repression; in place of encouragement of the innocent 
and free activity inherited in every child, we see the intentional 
crippling of its energies ; in place of awakened life-powers, we find 
aptitudes lulled to slumber ; in place of an ever-growing vigour, 
we find an ever-increasing languor ; and in place of an upliftmg of 
body and mind towards robust health, we find a deliberate degra- 
dation down towards sickly weakness : or else we are confronted 
with the wild and uncontrollable character which results when chil- 
dren are uncared for and are left altogether to their own impulses. 
But true watchful care over their little lives we miss altogether ; 
and, in fact, true culture of the child-life and of the incessant 
childish longing for activity, can be given to the children only 
with great difficulty ; for the most part, therefore, it is not given 
at all by the poor mothers, harassed as they are by the many 
conflicting claims of their own life. To assist them in attaining 
this care of child-life and this culture of childish powers, the 
mothers shall now be welcome to our outstretched friendly hand. 
And if the real unsophisticated womanly nature is to be satisfied, 
and the claims of the child's life are to be fully met, the essential 

i6o Letters of Froebel. 

nature of the instruction of little children and the means needed 
in its pursuit, must first of all be clearly ascertained ; and the 
mediating members between mother and child must be carefully 
trained in their use and application. That is, before all else, 
women must be educated specially for the care of childhood. 

What qualifications should be possessed by such women ? 
Obviously they must be skilled in those things which are common 
to both mother and child, since they are to play the part of 
mediators, so that they can take the place of the mother as caring 
for and instructing her child ; they must therefore be able to lend 
a hand to the mistress of the house in her housewifely cares, 
upon emergency, as well as able to relieve her of the burden of 
watching, attending on, and educating her child. Wherefore 
such women must be trained in all the work of the house, as well 
as in the education and care of children. 

But how is this to be accomplished ? Unquestionably, with 
every claim of life is given the means of its satisfaction, and every 
want imphes a remedy not far off. Is the need which we express 
a true one ? Then it necessarily follows that at some time or 
other, nay, in the present time, we can, if we search for it, discover 
the means of satisfying it. And so it happens here, in very truth. 

The conditions to be fulfilled in this case are both inward and 
outward in their nature. 

As regards outward conditions we have already the creches^ 
etc. ; we have also several institutions for training nurses and 
domestic servants, and finally, we have most vigorous Ladies' 
Societies for local charities ; but we find here, as always, that the 
true way to make these powers helpful, either for individual 
cases or for the general need, is to bring about a vitalizing union 
of all the agencies, and to form from out various detached or 
isolated efforts one general organization, complete and inter- 
connected within itself. 

As regards inward conditions, we observe that in the soul of 
every German wife or maiden lies a sympathy, more or less deep, 
with the being and the well-being of children, joined to a sense of 
the profound importance of childhood. We are continually meet- 
ing with the perception of these feelings amongst womankind, 

Foundation and Constniction. i6i 

coupled, for the most part, with a sorrowful recognition of the 
hindrances to which the mother's love is exposed by the sur- 
rounding conditions of her life, which prevent her from devoting 
herself to her child as she desires ; so that she cannot be to him, 
or provide for him, what she feels instinctively she ought to be, 
and ought to provide. We find, indeed, that there arises a longing 
for the very kind of mediating influence that we have described — 
for a third power, which shall bridge the gap set by the life of our 
day between the mother's love and the child's need ; aided — not 
weakened — by which power the mother's love may, with greater 
clearness and precision, supply the child's needs. But the neces- 
sary force to create this mediating power is wanting, because of 
the general isolation of agencies. Our duty is therefore to unite 
the separate agencies, to elevate individual feelings into a universal 
perception, to organize a common achievement out of what is now 
the individual desire ; to which purpose we here hold out the 
hand of fellowship, and indicate the means and the direction by 
which the movement should proceed. 

Now, therefore, we hereby invite all German wives and maidens 
to unite with right German enthusiasm in founding and developing 
a General institution for the complete culture of child life up to school- 
age. We claim their help, in a genuine German spirit, in one 
common effort to found and develop the German Ki?idergarten 
(or child-garden). As in a garden, under God's favour, and by 
the care of a skilled, intelligent gardener, growing plants are culti- 
vated in accordance with Nature's laws, so here, in our child- 
garden, our Kindergarten^ shall the noblest of all growing things, 
men (that is children, the germs and shoots of humanity), be 
cultivated in accordance with the laws of their own being, of God, 
and of Nature. The path to be followed by such a method of 
education shall be shown, and its general outline traced. Thus 
shall this institution attain the purpose for which it is to exist, 
and fulfil the pressing need which has called it forth; viz., it 
shall educate female and male ^''gardeners,''' ivho ivill be able to under- 
take the earliest care ajid education of childhood. We invite you 
to this enterprise with a complete manly confidence in the result, 
which cannot be shaken or disturbed, because our own long 

1 62 Letters of FiveheL 

effort towards this end — an efifort continued over many years — has 
already received encouraging sympathy from many sides, at the 
hands of the most cultured, the noblest, and at the same time the 
most simply natural of our German ladies. 

The object of our undertaking is to banish, at least from the 
earliest culture of childhood, all that is undecided and uncertain, 
and hence destructive or prejudicial, in its operation ; and to base 
that culture on the eternal principles or laws manifesting them- 
selves in Nature, in the history of man, and by revelation, as well 
as on the laws of the most rigidly reasoned thought. 

German mothers, actively engaged in the midst of our social 
life, full of feeling, thought, and good sense, will see at once the 
importance of bringing up from the very earliest development of 
their intelligence the children whom they themselves have borne 
with so much pain and care, and whom they have nursed at their 
own breasts, surrounded by a culture and method of education 
closely corresponding to their own intuitive desires, hopes, and 
wishes ; and further, this education must be also connected with, 
and grow out of, the life granted to the children by God and 
Nature through these mothers themselves ; and finally, it must be 
also in harmony with the divine, the human, and the natural 
elements of childhood. 

The first care, the tirst task, of our undertaking is, then — as has 
already been said above — the training of women versed in child- 
ward care for the various relations and the varying necessities of 
our social life ; nurses, nursery governesses, and Kindergarten 
mistresses ; masters and superintendents of both sexes for the 
service of the beneficent insdtutions which we have in many 
places for the care of children — creches^ playgrounds, industrial 
schools, and infant schools ; and this training must be full of a 
childlike spirit, and imbued with the keen perception of child- 
nature, cherishing it and lovingly developing it in all ways. 
Already numerous inquiries have reached us for persons so 

Mediating between the life of the mother and of the child, as 
has been already observed, the two first classes at least, the nurses 
and nursery governesses, must on the one side be competent in 

Foundation and Construction. 163 

household work, and must on the other be properly qualified to 
care for and guide the child. This last condition necessitates the 
nursery governesses (and, indeed, children's teachers of both sexes) 
being well grounded in the nature and the course of development 
of the child, being penetrated with love for children, and being 
thoroughly acquainted with the needs of child-life and the way to 
fulfil those needs by means of appropriate watchful care and edu- 
cation; moreover, it implies that they shall be drawn, from their 
very entrance into their sphere of work, towards the knowledge 
of Nature, and the close observation of life, and shall be able to 
guide the child in a corresponding course of education. 

On this account the professors of the proposed institution 
would be chosen from amongst men of the profoundest insight 
and richest knowledge, quick to perceive and develop the ground- 
principles of the universe as the principles of their own individual 
life. And as it requires the most accomplished teachers, so also 
would the institution require the best educational collections and 
appliances for its work ; such as would enable it to deal with its 
own sphere of culture, and to connect itself with the next following 
series of educational institutions. 

To attain, as perfectly as possible, the aim of the general scheme 
of education thus set forth, there must be connected with the insti- 
tution for training nurses and teachers, an institution for the care 
of little children, and for teaching them suitable occupations, as, 
indeed, has been already pointed out; and to this second institu- 
tion little children of all ages up to school-age should be admitted. 
In this Kindergarten^ using the word in its narrowest sense, the 
students of our training college would prepare themselves for their 
future vocation, under the guidance of experienced teachers of 
children, thoroughly imbued with the educational ideas already 
set forth. The Kindergarten, while useful for a practising school 
for the students, would therefore, at the same time, serve as a 
normal school to other similar institutions for children, enabling 
them to imitate its methods. 

Now, turning to the subject of the assistance which should be 
rendered to the mistress of the house, we see that the nurses or 
nursery governesses must at the same time be receiving their 

164 Letters of Fro eh el. 

necessary instruction in the care of all housewifely and domestic 
affairs, and must have suitable opportunities afforded them for 
the needful practice of these things. The general domestic con- 
cerns of the institution itself would furnish excellent materials and 
subjects too for these studies, which would be under the care of 
a firm and enlightened principal, thoroughly skilled in all house- 
wifely matters. And the most accomplished teachers for woman's 
handiwork, needlework, etc., would also be required, as within the 
general scope of the educational curriculum. In one word, our 
institution must not be found wanting on any side, in any phase, 
of the sphere of culture which has been set forth as worthy to be 
adopted ; and even the culture of Nature herself, especially the 
care of plants and flowers, must form part of the work. 

The great end and aim of the whole undertaking, its object and 
purpose, finally, is the Education of Man from its earliest beginning, 
by means of action, feeling, and thought, in complete accord with 
his own inward being and outward relations, and the development 
of man into a state of unity with his fellow men, with Nature, and 
with God in the truest sense of the term — especially, therefore, into 
thorough and comprehensive unity of life; this to be attained by 
the right care of child-life, the encouragement of childish activities, 
the development and formation, culture and presentation of the 
pure child-nature. Hence, in the scope of such an institution, 
nothing must be found that is antagonistic to or destructive ot 
such purposes ; while, on the other hand, we must search out 
everything that can contribute to our aims, and bring it, when 
found, into union with our work. Hence, further, in the genera' 
conduct, and even in the appearance of things in such an institu- 
tion, nothing meaningless or irrational must be found ; on the 
contrary, not only the facts which surround the child, but every- 
thing with which he comes in contact, must carry with it some 
distinctly expressed relation towards a higher unity of life. 

However vast may appear the development of such a compre- 
hensive educational unity, embracing our relations with man, with 
Nature, and with God, nay, however vast it may actually be, it 
will at the same time provide for the claims and needs of the 
smallest and simplest life-groups, without defect or excess of cul- 

Foundatio7i and Constniction. 165 

ture, even down to the individual mm and his personal relation- 
ship, through the living force of the spirit of unity which will 
dominate the whole. And however laborious may appear the 
development of so vast an undertaking, the path securely leading 
tliereta has already been in great part blocked out and made 

It lies, namely, in t!ie active, clearly defined co-operation of 
many persons towards one end and purpose, in trustful union ; 
each of them contributing an amount of money, relatively small, 
but to be actually paid down at once, and thus collectively pro- 
viding a fund sufficient for the development of the work they have 
undertaken in common. 

Let the single suhsciiplion or share required for the development of the 
general educational work which lias been above proposed to German wives 
and maidens for their accejitance be ten thalers Prussian currency (about thirty 
shillings sterling). 

And let us suppose that at least a hundred wives and maidens of the more 
distinguished classes of society at once seize the conception, in the deep signifi- 
cance which has been here shown to belong to it, and in the far-reaching range 
of beneficent work which lies before it in the future ; and suppose that each of 
them sees it to be so true and so highly important that she not only subscribes 
her ten thalers for her own share, but also by using her influence amongst her 
own circle of friends and acquaintances finds ten other wives or maidens whom 
she can win over to the cause in like manner ; then the 


German wives and \\\x\\t\\%^ foiunicrs of the work, at once increase to a 


German Avives and maidens, who actually begin the work. 

It is quite safe to assume, from the truly human interest and religious spirit 
of the whole conception, and from the purity of the feelings, and the life full of 
love towards mmkind and towards God, which characterise German women, 
that either by the direct influence of this thousand subscribers, or at all events 

^ [Note by the German Editor.] For example, in Bern, Switzerland, the 
Bernese City Girls' School, founded soon after 1S30, entirely by municipal 
funds, and without state help, and so maintained, was felt to be insufficient for 
the needs of the co:nmunity. Therefore, in 1836, some of the inhabitants 
formed themselves into a society, providing funds as shareholders, and founded 
the Citizens' Girls' School in Bern. Langethal was invited to become direc- 
tor ; and his acceptance of the post was the cause of his breaking with Froebel. 
Langethal's successor was Frohlich. See Frohlich's speech to the Congress 
of Teachers at Frankfurt, in 1857, on the subject of girls' schools, reported in 
the Rhine News [RJui^tische Bliitter) of Diesterweg. It contains genuine results 
of the Pestalozzi-Ffoebelian method of education, or pedagogy. 

1 66 Letters of Froebel, 

by their influence at second-hand or third-hand, iO,ooo more German uives 
and Maidens will be won over to active co-operation in the undertaking. 
Therefore we have a new series of 

Ten Thousand 

German wives and maidens who will carry for-ivard the work. And this brings 
us to a total of 

Eleven Thousand One Hundred 

German wives and maidens engaged in constrtuting the work. 
But let us assume that only 

Ten Thousand 

actually join ; and that each of these takes up a single subscription or share 
of ten Prussian thalers (thirty shillings sterling) : then we shall have a total 
fund of 

loOjCOO Prussian Thalers (^^i 5,000 sterling) 

as the capital with which we have to deal. 

The actual payment of the money should begin as soon as the establishment 
of the institution is ready to be proceeded with, and should be arranged in 
such a way as is most secure for the interests of each shareholder and of the 
whole body of shareholders, and the instalments should be made easy. 
Further details on these heads would be given when the subscription list is 
full, and when the execution of the plan which has been sketched alx)ve can 
become a living reality. 

The educational work which has been described would be the permanent 
possession— ever renewing itself, ever developing itself into greater perfection 
— of all those German wives and maidens who share in it ; and they will have 
contributed towards the elevation, firstly, of their own German nation, but also, 
at the same time, in truth, of the whole human race ; towards the welfare of 
their own children, of all German children, yes, and beyond this, of all 
children whomsoever ; towards the peace of their own families, of the entire 
German family life, and, indeed, of all family life wheresoever it may be ; 
towards a great blessing for their people, for all peoples, for mankind, and so, 
finally, for tlie present and for all the future ! For the object of this under- 
taking is twofold : Firstly, the realization in as clear and perfect a manner as 
possible of the fundamental conception of a mode of education based upon the 
early and complete training of human life, and satisfying the needs of child- 
hood by a genuine encouragement of the spontaneous activity of children, 
through the medium of a normal institution, or model school, accurately 
planned for the care of children, for providing them with certain gatnes and 
with certain occupations ; that is tlie institution which Ave have symbolically 
named a Kindergarten. Here the fundamental conception will take on a 
visible shape, and show its applicability to the realization of our educational 
intuitions and investigations, and to actual practical work. And the Second 
object is the establishment of an institution for the training of nursery 
governesses and teachers in the early education of children, according to prin- 
ciples founded upon examination of child-nature, and upon observation and 
culture of child-life and childish activity. 

These two institutions would, each severally, and both in union together, 
make a complete system under the name of Kindergarten, a name which 
expresses in a symbolical manner their inmost and deepest meaning. 

The capital named above would be applied in the following ways : — 

Foundation and Construction. 167 

. I. Tlie acquisition of the necessary land for the institution ; with room for 
buildings, courtyard, garden, and playground. 

2. The erection of the necessary buildings. 

From the sympathy and encouragement which from the first and down to 
the present time the worshipful Town Council and the honourable citizens 
of this place ^ have extended towards my ideas, it is to be confidently hoped 
that they will continue their support to the actual plan now elaborated, so that 
all business relations will be made easy, and particularly that they will grant 
a suitable piece of ground and perhaps also sufficient timber for the buildings, 
as a free gift from tlie town. 

3. The purchase of suitable and necessary furniture and domestic utensils. 

4. The purchase of the necessary educational materials, collections of speci- 
mens, etc. 

5. The secure provision for Avages and salaries for the staff and their 
assistants, the persons in whose hands will lie the training, teaching, and 
culture to be given, and, in fact, all persons engaged in the institution ; and 
especially the establishment of an inalienable capital fund whose interest will 
b€ applied specially to this purpose. 

6. The establishment of a system which will make it possible to carry out 
some such plan as has already been hinted at, whereby the best instructors 
shall be obtained in each department of children's education, and not only 
obtained, but permanently retained in the institution's service, and their future 
provided for ; therefore, upon their appointment they should become members 
of a life-insurance corporation, and receive a policy which would assure a 
maintenance to their family in case of the early death of its head. 

The permanence and progressive development of this undertaking will be 
secured through the general support of the public and the fees of the students, 
the details of which must be settled later on. 

Tlie government of the whole institution will lie with the general body of 
all the suljscrihing and supporting wives and maidens, after a manner to be 
particularized more in detail later on. They will choose from their number 
presidents and members of council in the way which has been found best and 
most representative in similar associaticms of shareholders. A like method 
will provide treasurers and trustees for the whole scheme. Further regulations 
would be entrusted to a committee to draw up, after consultation with the 
persons most thoroughly acquainted with these matters. 

A few additional points need special mention. 

The first hundred wives and maidens who subscribe towards the under- 
taking must be always honourably distinguished as its Founders, and must be 
so recorded in the foundation deeds. Therefore a careful and accurate register 
must be kept of all subscriptions from the opening of the list. 

As soon as the first hundred names have been subscribed, the whole under- 
taking will be submitted to the government of. the principality (of Schwarz- 
burg) for approval, and the gracious favour and protection of these high 
personages solicited. 

When the first thousand names have been subscribed in due course, the 
undertaking shall be set on foot, and especially the building shall at once 
begin, and the foundation stone of the principal block be laid. Beneath the 
foundation stone shall be placed, in some way which shall be recognised as 
the best known way to preserve them imperishably, the names of the hundred 

1 Blankenbiirg. 

i68 Letters of Froebel. 

Fcunders, and also the names of the first thousand who establish the work, 
and the names of all the wives and maidens who up to that time have assisted 
in this establishment, as a permanent memorial of the beginning of the whole 

The advice of the most experienced German architects will be invited about 
the buildings, their external and internal arrangement, and the style of their 
construction, which must depend upon the uses they are to sei've. 

For the utmost security of the capital, the buildings, furniture, collections, 
etc., shall all be insured in whatever fire insurance company is accounted the 

Since the whole body of the wives and maidens who are subscribers and 
supporters of the institution are the permanent possessors of the original 
property which will thus have been created, as well as of all the subsidiary 
property which will collect around it in the progress of the undertaking, such 
as materials, tools, furniture, various collections of objects, etc., and, in fact, 
of the whole undertaking in every part, they are by consequence the sole 
persons entitled to the net profit or surplus shown after defraying the expenses 
of maintenance, expansion of the general scope, and of providing for greater 
and ever greater security of the whole work. In business language this means 
the payment of dividends in hard cash ; but as the aim of the founders of the 
institution, in creating it, is that it shall continually develop towards a more 
general understanding of the care of children and a more general provision for 
satisfactory and complete children's education — especially as relates to children 
under school age — subscribers will receive the value of those dividends, 
only in one or more of the following forms : — 

1. Use of the institution for purposes of study and culture, for themselves 
or for others, at an agreed rate, the charge to he debited against the amount 
of the dividend declared. 

2. Use of the collections, especially of the teaching materials and appliances 
of the institution, also at an agreed rate. 

3. Purchase of complete materials for games and occupations for their own 
use, at agreed rates. 

Further advantages to subscribers would be that young persons recom- 
mended by them for admission as students would take precedence of others ; 
and so also, if subscribers and non-subscribers applied at the same time to the 
institution for trained students as nurses, maids, or teachers, the inquiries of 
subscribers would be attended to first. 

But all these advantages, important in themselves and to the 
individual subscribers as they may be, and as they will become, 
especially as years go on, are quite inappreciable when compared 
with the advantage which will arise to mankind from the embodi- 
ment of the idea itself, the establishment and working-out of the 
unifying thought which lies at the root of the whole undertaking. 
For the starting point, the centre, and the closing point of the 
whole scheme, that which determines and organizes all the in- 
fluences and lines of force radiating from these points and re- 
turning again to them, is the idea which gives life to the whole, 
the thought which is the basis of the whole, the conception, 

Foundation and Consiriiction. 169 

namely, of the essential Unity of all Life, the certain truth of 
which makes itself spontaneously manifest in the actions of men's 
lives, in their purest feeling, and in their clearest thinking. This 
Unity, this certain basis of all life, is God ; or as the more usual 
statement of this truth puts it — God is the Father of all mankind. 
Men must therefore bestir themselves to be truly God's children, 
to live their lives as such. Before all else must we strive to 
educate, by all the various modes of development, our fellow 
men, our children ; using as our point of departure the cherish- 
ing and encouragement of their craving for incessant activity in 
movement, in thought, and in creative actions ; so that they may 
raise into an object of firm belief, and may thus bring actually 
into view, and make manifest in elevated feelings and noble 
actions, the longing of the human soul for a life at one with 
Nature and Humanity, and, above all and beyond all, with God ! 
Wherefore — 

" Ld us live for our Children .'" 

We have felt irresistibly impelled at this time of the festival of 
tlie 400th anniversary of the invention of printing to issue this 
invitation and to make this appeal ; for the event we are com- 
memorating is not only of the highest importance to mankind in 
general, and to Germans in particular, but appeals in a special 
manner to the world of German women and of children. For 
without this discovery how and where could the culture and the 
condition of women's lives have been improved ? how could all 
their separate needs, claims, and desires have been known with- 
out this art, which collects them into one universal statement, 
and raises them to a possession shared in by all ? and especially, 
how should we have fared with the education of children and the 
care of childhood in general, and with those of German children 
in particular? Wherefore it behoves the whole community of 
German women to feel thankful for this beneficial invention, and 
to express their thanks in some practical form upon this high and 
festal occasion. Such thankfulness, and such a practical proof 
thereof, is necessary, as would be shown in causing the gracious 

170 Letters of Froebel. 

benefit, the divine gift of unity of spirit and of Life, whose 
appreciation has been so wonderfully aided by this invention of 
printing, to flow, at the earliest possible moment, over the child- 
hood of mankind. We need a y\q\n mode of childward care, con- 
ceived in this spirit and working from the earliest years towards 
this goal ; we need a new method of education for mankind, to 
be begun in his earliest years ; and by consequence we hold the 
carrying out of the plan set forth above as the most appropriate 
and satisfactory manner, the most worthy and permanent, the 
fullest of blessing and of progressive force, in which the collective 
wives and maidens of Germany can celebrate this festival of the 
400th anniversary of the invention of printing. We once more 
invite them with confidence, therefore, to join in this undertaking ; 
nay, we boldly claim their support in establishing this work, 
penetrated as we are with its inmost truth and deepest import- 
ance ; and we dare go further, and afifirm our belief, at this time 
of the Jubilee Festival of Printing, that this invention can scarcely 
be put to a work of more lasting importance and of more blessed 
influence than the printing of the foundation-deeds of the pro- 
posed universal, unifying work of German wives and maidens in 
the training and care of children. 

Friedrich Froebel. 

Blankenburg, near Rudolstadt, in the Thuringian Forest. 

\st Ma}\ 1840. 

As the idea which lies at the root of the above sketch immediately excited 
the general interest of a rather large meeting, to which it was submitted as a 
preliminary test ; and as it called fortli a general feeling that it was an idea 
which must find great favour, particularly amongst women, because of its 
nature and because of the special circumstances of the time of its appearance, 
and would therefore immediately take on the practical form of subscriptions for 
shares, it was considered necessary that the majority of those present favour- 
able to the idea should form an association for its support until some general 
statement could be laid before the honourable subscribers themselves, on the 
basis of which statement the method for proceeding further in the matter 
could be determined, and be then submitted to them in some public manner. 

Foundation and Const ntction. 171 

All notices abovit the matter bear the signature of the — 

" Society for Promoting an Educational Undertaking by the 
Work of German Wives and Maidens ; " 

and similarly all communications (which should be postage-paid) should be 
addressed to the — 

" Society for Promoting, etc., etc., Blankenburg, near Rudol- 
stadt, Principality of Schwarzburg." 

Friedrich Wilhelm WiTz, Burgomaster, 
Friedrich Froebel. 
Wilhelm Middendorff. 
J. Barop. 

Blankenburg and Keilhau, 
\2th March, 1840. 






FroebeVs Propaganda for his Ki?idergart€7i. 

HAT agencies were set in motion by Froebel to pro- 
pagate and extend his ideas far and wide ? The 
answer to this question is necessary for the right 
understanding of these letters ; and therefore our 
next task must be to set it forih. The basis of Froebel's work 
after 1837 is the development of his wonderfully acute inven- 
tion, or discovery as we ought rather to call it, of a complete 
course of games and occupations for the Kindergarten, that is to 
say, the working out of its material side. The games and oc- 
cupations which he had created in the silence of solitude, often 
with locked doors, living the life of a hermit, now had to be 
carefully illustrated and made plain by lithographs and direc- 
tions, to be packed up by the work-people at his Kindergarten 
Factory {Beschdffigu?igs-A?istalt), and pushed in a mercantile way. 
The gifts thus made their way through the toy-shops to the chil- 
dren in the bosoms of their families ; and this purely mercantile 
method w^as the first form of Froebel's propaganda. And also 
Froebel's own travelling trunk at this time w^as never unprovided 
with sets of his gifts, etc., which he required for his demonstrations. 
Whilst the joiner diligently plied his plane, making building- 
cubes after Froebel's models, Froebel with almost unwearied 
energy wTelded the pen as letter writer and essayist. His writings 
constitute the second form of his propaganda. Their mass is 
such that it has hardly been yet thoroughly looked through, and 
the present collection of letters is but a small sample of the 
correspondence which he conducted, chiefly in the interest of his 

^ By the German Editor, Herr Poesche. 

76 Letters of Froehel 

system. Articles of larger or smaller dimensions were contri- 
buted by him to his three periodical publications, the Sunday 
Journal {Sonntagsblatt), 1838 ;i the Weekly Jour 7tal of Educa- 
tion {JVoc/ienschrft, etc.), 1S50 ; and \\\q Journal for Friedrich 
FroebePs Educational Aims (^Zeitschrift^ etc.), 185 1 ; and as for 
independent literary works, we have the little books of " Songs 
for Mothers and Nursery Songs" {Mutter- und-Kose-Lieder), the 
" Hundred Ball-game Songs," etc. ; the publication of which, 
by the \vay, took almost all his means and brought him into 
great financial uncertainty. Whatever Froebel had learnt by 
study, or during his wanderings, and had brought into a practical 
or literary form, now found its value and application in the 
Kindergarten, his own special field of work. If he heard that 
one Kindergarten child had said to anotlier child not yet in the 
Kindergarten, " Oh, do come with me to the Kindergarten ! " he 
was highly delighted ; and these children who were themselves so 
happy in the Kindergarten that they were always inviting others 
to enter, he rightly used to call his best and most successful 
propagandists. At the time of Froebel's death (1852) there were 
at least twenty-five Kindergartens. In the spring of 1848, in a 
letter to Ida Seele, he enumerated " sixteen genuine and recog- 
nised Kindergartens." Institutions for the care of children, under 
male direction, he had founded as early as 1839 in Dresden, 
where Frankenberg, formerly a teacher at Keilhau, was the prin- 
cipal, and early during " the forties" in Frankfurt, with Hochstetter 
and Schneider as principals. But these first '' sixteen genuine 
Kindergartens " seem to demand special record here. They are 
as follows : — 

Blankenburg : June, 1840. 

Rudolstadt : Dec, 1840. 

Gera^: Jan., 1841 (Madame Schmidt). 

^ As some authorities [e.g., Hanschmann) give 1S37 as the date of the 
commencement of the Sonntagsblatt, while Froebel always gives 1838, we 
applied to Madame Froebel on the point. S!ie informs us that the first number 
was written in 1837, but not published till 1838. It continued till 1840. 

2 Not 1S40, as the German Editor gives it, for see Letter VII. to Madame 
Schmidt, Parti., of 30th Jan., 1841. 

Propagation and Extension. 177 

Darmstadt : 1844 (Ida Seele. Later on a preparatory school 
for boys and girls was added, under two of Froebel's Kin- 
dergarten students, Henriette Ackermann and Therese 
Quetz : 1846 ^ (Pastor Hildenhagen and his sister-in-law, 

Amalie Kriiger, one of Froebel's Kindergarten students). 
Homburg : 1847 (Privy Councillor Miiller's wife). 
Dresden: 1847 (Luise Frankenberg, Kindergarten of the 

Women's Charitable Institution). 
Gratz: 1847 (I^^ Weider). 
Marienberg : 1847 (Auguste Steiner). 
Annaburg : 1847 (Anna Hesse). 
Hildburghausen : 1847 (AmaUe Henne). 
Zoblitz : 1847 (Herr Kromer, certificated teacher). 
Liinen : 1847 (Marie Christ). 
Gotha : 1847 (Herr August Kohler). 
Erfurt: March, 1848 (Auguste Michaelis).^ 
Hamburg: May, 1848 (Alwine Middendorff in Madame Doris 

Liitkens' School). 
In Upper Ingelheim and Gaisburg, near Stuttgart (Principal, 
the wife of Privy Legation Councillor von Pistorius), Froebel intro- 
duced his occupations into the children's creches already estab- 
lished there ; but Kindergartens, strictly so called, did not yet 
exist there in 1848. 

Of these first centres of Kindergarten work, those in the 
west (Frankfurt and Darmstadt), probably through the narrowing 
influence of Folsing,^ showed themselves the least fruitful in the 

^ This no doubt should be 1846 (not 1847, as the German Editor gives it), for 
Froebel says, in Letter XIX. to Madame Schmidt, in Part I., that he went to 
Quetz in June, 1847, to hold a children's festival at the Kindergarten, then 
already a year old. 

^ No relation to Madame Michaelis, one of the translators and editors of this 
book. The date of opening is as above, and not 1847, as in the German edition ; 
for see p. 241. Of the teachers named in this list, Madame Michaelis knew 
well Ida Seele, from whom she received lessons in the gifts, and whose Kin- 
dergarten in Berlin (fountled after Mile. Seele's marriage with Herr Vogeler), 
she often visited ; and Amalie Kriiger, who was at that time teaching the prac- 
tical occupations under the Berlin Er^iehungs Vereiii, founded by the Baroness 
von Marenholtz- Billow, who herself taught the theory of education there. 

^ See the Introduction to Part IV. We may also add an interesting and 

17^ Letters of Froebd. 

true spirit of Froebel and the least active in propaganda work. 
The Prussian Kindergartens (Annaburg, Erfurt and Liinen), were 
crushed by a decree of the Prussian Minister, Von Raumer (ydi 
August, 1 851). On the other hand, Dresden, Hamburg, Gratz 
and Gotha had a most successful career, of which more anon. 

To his published method ox praxis of the Kindergarten Froebel 
added personal training of Kindergarten teachers by a definite 
course of instruction in a Training College; and his students 
became the most eftective means for preserving and extending his 
ideas. Froebel knew right well that it would be so, and con- 
sequently he not only gave regular courses in Blankenburg, 
Keilhau, Liebenstein (1849) and Marienthal (1850-1852), but as 
a travelling teacher, or in a certain measure as a peripatetic phil- 
osopher, he gave courses, followed by valuable results, in Dresden 
(winter of 1848-49), and in Hamburg (winter of 1849-50). 

His fourth method of propaganda was to throw open from 
lime to time the doors of his study, of the Kindergarten and of 
the class-rooms of the Training College, and to go out amongst 
the people along with the children, Kindergarten students, pro- 
fessors and other friends, and there to give a specimen of the 
practical side of his work in a festival of games and youthful 
sports conducted on a large scale. Examples of this are the fes- 
tival at Quetz, near Halle (25th July, 1847), that held on the 
common at Rudolstadt (i8th August, 1848), and that held on 
the Altenstein, near the Liebenstein Spa (3rd July, 1850). As 
to the last-named festival, I can bear witness from my own per- 
sonal observation, of the deep roots it struck, and the powerful 
effect produced by it amongst the people in favour of Froebel's 

Froebel reaped less reward from his fifth method of propa- 
ganda, the founding of Educational Associations, as in 1845, at 
Eichfeld, Schwarza, Kirchhasel, Rudolstadt and Saulfeld. Genu- 

valuable anecdote as to this in one of Ida Seele's charming Reminiscences of 
Froebel, in the Viennese journal, Kindergarten, April, 1888. A cat ran 
up a tree in the midst of a group of children being taught by Folsing. Froebel, 
who stood by, hurriedly whispered, "Connect your game with tlie cat," for he 
saw that pussy possessed every child's attention at that moment. But Folsing 
not only disregarded the hint, but took offence at the interruption. 

Propagation and Extension. 179 

ine leaders and qualified guides of such associations were wanting 
in these small places, and consequently they dwindled away 
directly Froebel withdrew his personal co-operation. But Froebel 
himself, judging from his Swiss experiences, set great store by these 
Educational Associations. Thus he writes in December, 1847, 
to Felsberg : — " The Kindergarten and Educational Associations 
unite with the festivals of children's games and youthful sports to 
form, in my opinion, the fundamental harmony, the all-uniting 
triad or common-chord, of the elevation of the People, the Father- 
land, and the Family. Therefore are they to be cherished above 

From time to time Froebel would call together his colleagues, 
teachers, and friends in "Teachers' Meetings" to examine and 
further develop his system, as in 1848 at Rudolstadt, and 1851 
at the Liebenstein Spa. Thither would come the Kindergarten 
teachers to interchange their knowledge, their experience, their 
observation, under learned and highly placed educationists (such 
as Dr. Peter, Dr. Diesterweg, etc.); and to work diligently and 
enthusiastically for several days together under the eye and per- 
sonal direction of the master himself. Could there be a more 
intensely powerful means than this for the propagation of his 
educational system ? 

And finally, the sixth method must be referred to and extolled ; 
Froebel's extraordinary activity in sowing the seed broadcast 
when on his journeys. Every year he left his honrfe several times 
to enlist recruits by his games, his publications, his inspiriting 
addresses ; to delight children, to call Kindergartens, Educational 
Associations, and the like, into existence : — as, for example, on his 
great journey into the regions of the Rhine, Main, and Neckar, 
in 1844. x\nd when, with deeply stirred sympathy, we contem- 
plate these many journeys taken in support of " The Idea," at a 
pecuniary sacrifice, and in a manner unselfish and unassuming to 
a most unusual degree, we are involuntarily reminded of other 
sublime leaders in the past, and a well-known text comes into our 
mind : " Behold, a sower went forth to sow." Thus went Froebel 
forth, and over all Germany he diligently scattered the seed of his 
Kindergarten ideas. 

i8o Letters of Froebel. 


Extension of the Kindergarten since FroebeFs death (1852). 

Since Froebel's death what has been done down to the present 
day, in the way of spreading the Kindergarten system, in the 
various modes of propaganda we have indicated above, by 
Froebel's friends and students, male and female : how much have 
they accomplished ? 

The Kindergarten Factory^ as Froebel established it in Blanken- 
burg, after his creative spirit, to fulfil the functions of providing 
the materials for his system, is now at work, at least in a merely 
imitative fashion, in almost every large town in Germany : and 
what Froebel's assistants had with great pains to produce by the 
labour of their hands is now made easily and in large quantities 
by machinery, and then sold in the ordinary mercantile way. 

The Letters which Froebel wrote with his own hand, and to 
individual persons, are now rendered available to the whole 
reading public through the Press, like the present collection, and 
are sent out into the world as independent works to aid in the 

The Educational put)lications^ large and small, even the Nursery 
Songs {Kosetieder) have been often republished and re-edited, 
explained, and collected, and have been translated into many 
foreign languages, forming now a sort of Polyglot Propaganda of 
the Kindergarten — in short, it may be said in sober earnestness, 
that we have a Froebel Library. Besides, there are two periodi- 
cals specially devoted to the Froebelian system, the Kinder- 
garten^ published by A. Pichler's widow and son, in Vienna, 
and the Education of To-day {Ej'ziehung der Gegenwart)^ pub- 
lished by Wigand, in Kassel ; and these work with excellent 
results for the Froebelian propaganda."^ 

Teachers' Meetings. — One general meeting, for all Germany! 
and many provincial ones, are held regularly every year, and at 

^ \Ve may add to Herr Poesclie's list tlie Swiss A'mdergarten 
{Schweherische Kindergarten), published by Zollikofer, in St. Gall, which we 
are surprised that he overlooked, as it is now in its seventh year (estab. 1 883). 

Propagation and Extension. 18 1 

these there are sure to appear some genuine disciples of L'roebel, 
who warmly bear witness to the justice, the deep significance, and 
the progressive character of the master's views. 

Froebelian Children's Festivals are held in the open air at Berlin 
and many another town during the fine months of the year : but 
we must admit that they no longer have the large character and 
deep impressiveness Froebel knew how to give them. 

The journeys which Froebel used to make have been continued 
by the Baroness von Marenholtz-Biilow, who has compassed sea 
and land to make proselytes. 

Finally, Educational Associations^ Kindergartens^ and Traifiing 
Colleges for Kindergarten students, the three great means of the 
propagation and extension of Froebelian ideas, are now spread 
all over the entire world. As far as my knowledge permits, I 
will proceed to give a short statistical abstract of the work being 
done by these three chief elements of the propaganda. 

{A) GeriMany. 
(a) Central Germany. 

The cradle of the Kindergarten movement was in Central Ger- 
many ; at Blankenburg, in the principality of Schwarzburg- 
Rudolstadt. Froebel's system has struck deepest root in this 
middle part of Germany, in Schwarzburg, Reuss, Saxony and 
Hesse, and above all, in Thuringia ; and here the Kindergartens 
are at their thickest. It has a deep meaning, therefore, and is 
full of an intense expressiveness, that single word " Froebel," 
which one sees hewn in great letters on the face of the granite 
cliffs which overhang the bridle path over the Glockner mountain. 

But now to the statistics. 

I. Froebel's first German Kindergarten at Blankenburg in the 
Schwarza Valley broke down, but by means of a large subscrip- 
tion^ it was refounded as a " Living Memorial to Froebel " 
(Miss Eleonore Heerwart). 

^ In which the present editors collected at Croydon, £S> 8j-., and the Froebel 
Society of London gave £16 i6s., the proceeds of a concert. Other English 
men and women subscribed separately ; but the total amount sent Iroui 
England was felt at the time to be unworthy of our nation. 

1 82 Letters of Froebel. 

Also Rudolstadt possesses once more a municipal Kinder- 
garten, the only one of its kind in Thuringia. 

2. In the principality of Schwarzburg-Sondershausen there is 
one Kindergarten, at Sondershausen itself (established by the late 
Mile. Thekla Naveau). 

3. In the principality of Reuss (younger branch) at Gera are a 
Kindergarten and a Kindergarten Training College (Herr Elm, 
Government certificated teacher ; established by the late 
Madame Schmidt, Froebel's cousin). 

4. In the principality of Reuss (older branch), there is a 
Kindergarten at Greiz. 

5. In the Duchy of Saxe Meiningen Froebel had a Kinder- 
garten and a Training College at the Liebenstein Spa (1849), 
which were transferred later on to Marienthal, a place not far 
from the first. He received valuable support from the teachers 
in Salzungen, especially from the late Herr Maurer. At this day 
in the Meiningen duchy we have Kindergartens at Meiningen, 
Hildburghausen, Saalfeld, Schalkau (founded by the late Job. 
Stangenberger, certificated teacher) Possneck, and Camburg. 

6. In the Duchy of Saxe-Altenburg there is a Kindergarten at 

7. In the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, Gotha was formerly a 
central point for Froebelian work, under the late August Kohler. 
Kindergartens now flourish at Gotha, Waltershausen, and 

8. In the Grand Duchy of Saxe- Weimar we have Weimar, 
which has now become the centre of Froebelian work for 
Thuringia, with its Kindergarten and Training College, founded 
by the late Herr Schmidt,^ certificated teacher, and now 
under the direction of the teacher at the Charitable Institute 
{ Stiffs I e/irer), Herr Friedrich Seidel,^ and Mile. Mina Schellhorn. 
Weimar is the home of the National Froebel Association of 
Germany." Besides this, in the state of Weimar we find another 
Training College, and several Kindergartens, in Eisenach (Mile. 

^Respectively the past and present editors" of the journal Kindergarten^ 
published at Vienna. 

P ropagation and Extension. 183 

Moder), and also in Jena (Madame Horn), Apolda, Weida, 
Neustadt, Buttelstedt (founded by the late Pastor Steinacker), 
Allstedt, Blankenhain, etc. 

9. The kingdom of Saxony at present leads the world in 
Kindergarten affairs, and Dresden, the modern Florence on the 
Elbe, has risen to be in a certain sense the headquarters of the 
movement, being the home of the Baroness von Marenholtz- 
Biilow,^ and of the International " Educational Association," 
possessing a Training College and many Kindergartens. Amongst 

^ The Baroness Bertha von Marenholtz-Biilow is, by universal consent, the 
present head of the Froebelian movement. She is, of all the living disciples 
who have enjoyed the personal teaching of the master, the one who has most 
thoroughly imbibed the spirit of his principles, who has made the greatest 
sacrifices for the sake of advancing his work, and who has achieved the most 
striking successes. Beyond this she is the only living intimate friend of 
Froebel left to us, except Madame Luise Froebel ; and, apart from her own 
large acquirements, has in Froebelian traditions an authority, therefore, 
superior to that of all others, since she represents in her person that devoted 
band of earlier students and friends who in the last years of the great teacher 
were admitted to the fullest communion in his thoughts and plans. 

Madame von Marenholtz is of the \o\\ Billow family (and it is usual to add 
her own family name to that of her husband, the Baron [Fieihetr] von Maren- 
holtz), and therefore both by birth and marriage belongs to the highest 
aristocracy of the Duchy of Brunswick. At the time she met Froebel she 
was already about forty, and while as yet not particularly distinguished in 
educational work, had always taken great interest in the subject. Visiting the 
Liebenstein Spa in May, 1849, and^oing to her usual lodging, the Baroness heard 
from her landlady of " an old man who had come a week or two before to the 
farm near by, who played and danced with the village children, and whom 
the villagers had nicknamed The Old Fool. A few days later she met the 
man so described, a tall lean figure, with long grey hair, at the head of a troop 
of children from the village, mostly barefoot, and but scantily clothed, three to 
eight years old ; these he led, marching two and two, up a little hill, and 
there he set them to play, teaching them the song which belonged to the 
game." In these well -remembered w^ords, which open her interesting 
" Reminiscences of Friedrich Froebel," Madame von Marenholtz vividly depicts 
her introduction to the man in whose work she was to become the most ardent 
co-operator. Addressing him after the game was over, and manifesting her 
great interest, she was at once invited by Froebel to visit his class of Kinder- 
garten students, fourteen in number, amongst them his own great-niece, 
Henriette Breymann (Madame Schrader). What she there learnt so power- 
fully interested her that she at once threw herself into the movement, working 
as diligently as any of the actual students. It was not long before she induced 
her friend, the famous ed^ucationist Diesterweg, to join her at Liebenstein ; 
and though he at first disliked the idea of mixing up play and study, he soon 
found that Froebel's view of play was a far higher one than his own, and 
could be, and was in fact, synonymous with study ; and from coolness he 

Letters of Froebel. 

the Dresden Froebelians we count Herr Bruno Marquardt, Dr. 
Paul Hohlfeldt, Herr W. Schroder, Mile. Marschner, and the late 
Herr Frankenberg. Leipzig, with one Training College and 
seven Kindergartens, follows worthily after Dresden (Madame 
Goldschmidt, Mile. A. Hartmann). Elsewhere in the kingdom 
we find Kindergartens at Chemnitz (Director Holscher) Plauen, 
Lobau, Krimmitschau, Glauchau, Grimma, Zittau, Reichenbach, 
in the Voigtland, Seifhennersdorf, Freiberg, and Frankenberg. 

passed swiftly to an enthusiasm equal to that of Madame von Marenholtz, 
attending Froebel's classes daily, and soon sending one of his daughters as a 
permanent student. The next year, 1850, the Baroness again spent the sum- 
mer at Liebenstein, and now found her friend and his students all comfortably 
established, through her own good offices with the Duke of Meiningen, in 
the duke's country house of Marienthal, about half an hour's distance away. 
Here many educationists came to observe the new movement, and in her 
"Memories," Madame von Marenholtz mentions several by name, amongst 
them Herr Poesche, the German Editor of this book. In 1851 Madame von 
Marenholtz was present at Froebel's (second) wedding on Whit-Tuesday, at 
Liebenstein, and stayed on through the summer working with him. Many 
times Froebel charged her solemnly to carry on his work, popularise it, make 
it intelligible to the "great ones of the earth," and divest people of the absurd 
prejudices which existed against it. His fears were not groundless, for 
Madame von Marenholtz, when dining one day with the duke of Meiningen, 
at Altenslein, in August, 1851, was shown the fatal number of Voss's 
Gazette, containing the Prussian Government's order of prohibition issued 
against Kindergartens. At first she thought it a joke of the Duke's, as his 
Highness loved to tease her on her educational hobby, but she soon realised the 
truth, and at once undertook the task of breaking the news to Froebel, who 
had heard nothing of it. He bore the blow very bravely, but it undoubtedly 
struck home. With an enthusiastic nature like his, such a defeat must have 
been almost overwhelming: he died within a year. But the immediate results 
were in one sense gratifying ; for all those who had perceived the value of 
Froebel's views united to bring about a great "Kindergarten Conference,' 
which was held on September 27th, at Liebenstein, Diesterweg in the chair, 
and of which Madame von Marenholtz has fortunately given us a most graphic 
account. Madame von Marenholtz tried hard to get the evil law of prohibi- 
tion repealed, even obtaining a personal interview with the Queen of Prussia 
for that purpose ; but at the time it was all in vain, and the law remained thus 
for about ten years. In 1852 the Baroness, the better to pursue her studies of 
Froebel's ideas, had arranged to reside actually in the Liebenstein Kinder- 
garten itself, so as to have children perpetually under her eyes, as well as daily 
paying long visits to the master in the neighbouring Marienthal ; but famil> 
affairs and illness detained her in Berlin so long, that ten days before she 
reached Liebenstein, Froebel had passed away (21st June, 1852). The physi- 
cian at the baths told her, when she sought for details of his last days, that he 
had never seen any one look death in the face so cheerfully and calmly as 
Froebel ; and drew a pretty picture of the dying man, smilingly listening to 

Propagatioji and Extension. 185 

10. The Prussian province of Saxony rivals the kingdom in its 
culture of the Kindergarten idea. In Halle is a Kindergarten 
and Training College (Mile. Sellheim), and there are three 
Kindergartens at P^rfurt, two others at Langensalza and Nord- 
hausen, near Miihlhausen, as well as Kindergartens at Kelbra, 
Bleicherode, Ellrich, Naumburg, Weissenfels (two), Liitzen, Mer- 
seburg, Eisleben, Zeitz, Magdeburg, Schonebeck, Buckau, Halber- 
stadt (Mile. Puhlmann), Quedlinburg. 

the song of the birds outside his open window, and glancing for the last time 
at the hjeautiful landscape he loved so well. In these days of sorrow, Mid- 
dendorfE, who took up Froebel's work from his failing hand, reminded Madame 
von Marenholtz that her first duty lay, for so Froebel had defined it, in spread- 
ing information of the Kindergarten in foreign lands. Accepting this onerous 
bequest, after properly fitting herself for its fulfilment, Madame von Marenholtz 
favoured our country by making it her first point of attack. She came to 
London in 1854-5, delivering lectures and otherwise working at the Froebeliau 
propaganda for six months. At this time the only Kindergarten actually at 
work, the Baroness tells us in " Work and the new Education" (or " Hand- 
work and Headwork," as Miss Christie translates it), was at Hanipstead. We 
regret that the utmost diligence has failed to obtain further particulars of this 
small Hampstead Kindergarten. From England she went to Paris in 1855, 
and started a still more vigorous campaign, diligently attempting to convert 
August Comte amongst others. In 1857-8 Madame von Marenholtz went to 
Belgium, and here found Madame Guillaume's Kindergarten already flourish- 
ing ; and with so good a basis to work upon, she won great and practical 
successes, which have borne lasting fruit. Even in 1857 slie found means to 
persuade the Belgian autliorities to allow her to introduce Froebelian occupa- 
tions into the infant schools. The year 1859 finds this ever-vigilant apostle of 
the Kindergarten in Flolland, enlisting fresh disciples and encouraging those 
who had already embraced the new ideas, such as Madame van Calcar. The 
Kindergartens in Holland struck Madame von Marenholtz as the best she had 
hitherto seen, a result which certainly was greatly due to the efforts of Madame 
van Calcar. In i860 Madame von Marenholtz was hard at work in Switzer- 
land, lecturing at Geneva, Neufchatel and Lausanne, and the great work at 
Geneva sprang directly from her lectures there. In 1861, as the prohibition 
against the Kindergarten was at last removed in Prussia, she herself aiding 
largely to effect this, she began giving courses of lectures at Berlin, a practice 
which soon grew into a regular annual work with her, Madame Michaelis 
(one of the present editors) having been privileged to follow one of these 
courses in 1863 in addition to working with the distinguished educationist in 
private. It was in this year (1863) that Madame von Marenholtz founded 
the "Education Society" {Krziehiings-Vcrein) of Berlin. Such continued 
labours might seem to imply the possession of unusual strength, but it was in 
fact against constant ill health that Froebel's devoted friend had to struggle, 
and every summer saw her necessarily taking the waters at some bath or 
other, such as the Liebenstein Spa, where she had so happily met her beloved 
master. In the summer of 1870 Madame von Marenholtz gave over her 

1 86 Letters of Froebel. 

11. In the Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau, Kassel has 
always been a principal stronghold for the Kindergarten. Here 
is published The Education of To-day {Erziehung der Gegen- 
wart), edited by Dr. G. Wittmer and published by Geo. Wigand ; 
and an Educational Association flourishes under the protecting 
aegis of the Baroness von Marenholtz- Billow (Herr Boss, 
certificated teacher, and the late Madame Schwarzenberg), 
and a Kindergarten. There are Hessian Kindergartens also in 
Marburg, Eschwege, Hersfeld, Eulda, Hanau, Frankfurt, and 

12. In the southern part of the Prussian province of Hanover 
we find Kindergartens at Hanover (Madame Lindner), Gottingen, 
Eimbeck, Verden, Helmstadt, and Hildesheim. In the northern 
part, which has just begun to awake to the merits of the Kinder- 
garten system, Liineburg (one Kindergarten and two " Learn and 
Play " classes, Herr Cassau, certificated teacher) and Emden 
(Pastor L. Pannenborg Victor) have interested themselves greatly 
in Kindergarten methods. 

13. Froebelian work in the Duchy of Brunswick boasts of 
several most remarkable ladies : the Baroness von Marenholtz- 
Biilow (whose ancestral estate is at Kiiblingen,) Madame 

Berlin work to the able hands of Madame Schrader, and removed her main 
sphere of operations to Dresden, where she founded a " General Society of 
Education" [AHge?neine Erziehiings Verein), and a journal, the Education of 
To-day {Erziehung der Gegeii7vari), and gave regular courses of lectures, as 
at Berlin. In 187 1 Madame von Marenholtz travelled by way of Vienna to 
Italy, lecturing and holding meetings; and in 1871 and 1872 she visited 
Venice, Florence, Rome, and Verona with the happiest results. In 1874 she 
was permanently back at Dresden, where she has ever since given her whole 
time and strength to forwarding the purpose of her life. In 1882, at the 
festival held in Dresden to commemorate the centenary of Froebel's birth, 
Madame von Marenholtz-Blilow received at the hands of Professor Adolfo Pick 
a most beautiful album, the joint gift of all the Italian Kindergartens, which 
owed their being to her ; but her health had already begun to fail so rapidly 
that she was unable to play the prominent part in the festival to which her 
great position entitled her. Since that time she has lost her sight, and has 
been quite unable to do actual teaching, but her interest remains unabated, 
and from time to time she is able still to influence the Froebelian movement 
by her devoted amanuensis, her niece, JNIlle. von Biilow. This brief account 
of a most distinguished career has, we think, justified our opening sentence, 
that the Baroness von Marenholtz-Blilow is beyond cavil the present head of 
the Froebelian movement. 

Pj'Opagation and Extension. 187 

Henriette Schrader, 7ije Breymanni (Froebel's grand-niece, born 
at Watzum), and the late Madame Wiseneder, in Brunswick, 
inventor of the " Musical Kindergarten " ^ (Mile. Hauer, and the 
late Mile. Vorast, teachers). In the duchy are also Kinder- 
gartens at Wolfenbiittel and New Watzum. 

14. In the Duchy of Anhalt there has been a Training College 
and Kindergarten since 1864 at Kothen (Dr. Karl Schmidt's 
Institute),^ and there are also Kindergartens at Dessau, Zerbst, 
and Bernbunj. 

1 Henriette Breymann was the daughter of the pastor of Watzum, where she 
and the other ladies of her family conducted a Ladies' School. When she 
had fully studied the Kindergarten system, which she did at Marienthal with 
her great-uncle himself, in the last training course {Bildiingsctirstis) he ever 
gave, she added to the school the Kindergarten referred to above. After- 
wards, in 1863-4, she went to Geneva, where the Baroness von JNIarenholtz- 
Biilow had excited much interest in the movement by one of her missionary 
expeditions ; and here. Mile. Lagier and Madame Landesmann with friends 
providing the necessary funds, Mile. Breymann established the well-known 
" Jardin d' Enfants," in the Chantpoulet quarter. Subsequently slie returned 
to Watzum, giving over the direction of the Geneva Kindergarten to one 
whose name is no less inseparably connected with the history of the Kin- 
dergarten than her own, namely, to the Baroness Adele von Portugall. 
Madame de Portugall was taught by Mile. Breymann and Madame von 
Marenholtz. During this sojourn of Madame Schrader's at Geneva, one 
of us (Madame Michaelis) had the great pleasure of first making her ac- 
quaintance. After her marriage, a few years later, Madame Schrader went 
to Berlin. Here, again, she found a vigorous Kindergarten movement in 
process, started by Madame von Marenholrz. Possessed now of ample 
leisure, Madame Schrader threw herself into the work with all her remarkable 
energy, and that knowledge which amounts to positive genius. The ex- 
traordinary impetus she has given to the Froebelian system in Berlin has 
already been referred to (see the Introduction to Part II. " Pestalozzi-Froebel- 
House") ; and she is justly regarded as the head of the whole movement in 
North Germany. Her sister. Mile. Marie Breymann, was by the testimony 
of all who knew her, one of the best Kindergarten teachers who ever existed, 
and her early death was felt as a severe blow to the cause. 

2 In this " Musical Kindergarten" Madame Wiseneder had, amongst other 
things, a childish orchestra of toy instruments, carefully tuned to harmonise 
together ; and produced effects in this manner which were not only extremely 
charming, but were truly educational. 

^ Dr. Karl Schmidt's valuable " History of Education" {^^Gesch. der Pddy) is 
probably known to all our readers. He was a friend and pupil of Froebel (at 
Keilhau) ; and the account of the master which he gives in his History is 
perhaps, on the whole, the best we have. Besides the well-known History, Dr. 
Karl Schmidt has written many other educational works. 

1 88 Letters of Froebel. 

{b) North Germany. 

Turning northwards we come upon the great plain of North 

I. Berhn, the capital of the empire, stands far beyond all 
other places of this region in the splendid work it has done on 
the true lines and in the true spirit of Froebel ; which, indeed, has 
already been shown in the present book (see Introduction to 
Part II. and elsewhere). Under the auspices of the Froebel 
Society (Professor Dr. Pappenheim, Dr. Angerstein, Herr Rein- 
ecke, Inspector of Schools, Madame Wiener, Mile. Schafer, and 
others) there are a Training College, a Children's Governesses' 
Institution, a People's Kindergarten, and seven other Kinder- 
gartens. We have already spoken of the other great Berlin 
Froebel Society, that of "South-west Friedrichstadt," and of its 
work (Madame Henriette Schrader, Madame Bertha Meyer). 
There are several independent courses of lectures for training 
Kindergarten students, for instance, those of Herr Georgens, 
those of Mile. Schulz, etc., and several local associations and 
private schools conduct Kindergartens. Also, many families unite 
together to make what are called Family Kindergartens. In many 
creches Kindergarten teachers are engaged ; many families have 
Kindergarten teachers as Mothers' Helps, etc., while in other 
families Kindergarten teachers attend at stated hours (as morning- 
governesses, etc., to undertake the education of the children. It 
is scarcely possible to give with any accuracy the numbers of the 
Kindergartens in Berlin. Musshacke's Calendar for 1868 enu- 
merated eight Kindergartens (belonging to one or other of the 
two great Societies), nine People's Kindergartens, and nineteen 
private Kindergartens. If we add to these the Family Kinder- 
gartens, we may safely say that there are at present about fifty 
Kindergartens in Berlin. 

In the Mark of Brandenburg^ our especial notice is drawn to 
the Kindergarten under the protection of the Dowager-Empress 
Frederick (Princess Royal of England), who herself founded it at 

* The province of which Berlin is the chief town. 

Propagation and Extension. 189 

Bornstadt. There is also a Kindergarten at Brandenbarg, be- 
sides another at Wriezen, near Frankfurt on the Oder. 

2. Next to Berlin, the most flourishing Kindergartens are 
found at Breslau, in the province of Silesia. Here we find a 
Kindergarten Association (Mile. Asch), with a Training College 
(Rector Pfliiger, Dr. Neefe), a Kindergarten Governesses' Insti- 
tution, and twelve Kindergartens under the Association. In 
Gorlitz also is a Kindergarten (Herr Albin Finster). Herr Von 
Schenkendorf here works in a most enthusiastic manner at the 
development of Kindergarten occupations into technical exercises 
as preparation for actual handicrafts. Besides this there are in 
Silesia two Kindergartens in Beuthen, and one in Ratibor. 

3. In the Prussian province of Posen (Prussian Poland) there 
are a Training College and a Kindergarten at Bromberg (the 
late Dr. Deinhardt and Herr Gossmann, certificated teacher), 
and also Kindergartens in Posen itself, and in Polish Lissa.^ 

4. In the Prussian Provinces of West and East Prussia the 
respective capitals, Danzig and Konigsberg, each have Kinder- 
gartens ; and besides these there is a Kindergarten at Dirschau, 
in West Prussia, and another in East Prussia, on the extreme east- 
ward frontier of the kingdom, at Lotzen, in Masuren, where is also 
a Ladies' Association. In the province of Pomerania I only 
know of one Kindergarten, that at Roslin. 

5. In the Mecklenburg duchies are at least five Kindergartens, 
two at Rostock (Herr Daun), and one each at Wismar (Bernhardt 
Schlotterbeck), Giistrow and Schwerin. 

6. In the Prussian province of Schleswig-Holstein is a Kinder- 
garten Training College at Altona (Heinrich Hoffmann), and 
another Kindergarten at Flensburg. 

7. The free imperial town of Hamburg is another great centre 
of Froebelian work. It boasts of several Ladies' Associations 
(^ladame Wiistenfeld, the late Johanna Goldschmidt, the late 
Dr. Wichard Lange, the late Madame Doris Liitkens, and the 

^ Famous ground in the eyes of educationists, as the dwelling-place of the 
great Comenius (Johann Amos " of Comnia," Moravia), where he wrote and 
published in 1631 the " Janua Linguarum Reserata," and where, in 1648, he 
also published his " Novissima Methodus Linguarum." 

IQO Letters of Froebei 

Councillor of Education, Theodor Hoffmann) one Training 
College, one Nurse's Institution, six City Kindergartens, which 
are under municipal management, two other public Kinder- 
gartens, and about twenty-nine private ones,^ 

8. Lastly, the free imperial town of Bremen has three Kinder- 
gartens in the town proper, one in Bremerhafen, and another in 

{/) South Germany. 

In South Germany the ideas of Froebei have hitherto attained 
comparatively httle influence. 

1. In the south-west, in the Prussian province of Westphalia 
and the Rhine province, I only know of Kindergartens in Essen 
(Westphalia), Diisseldorf and Birn, on the Nahe, in the department 
of Coblenz. 

2. In the imperial province of Alsace-Lorraine {Elsass-Loth- 
?ingen), the late Professor Fritz, of Strasburg, and Pastor Kurz 
interested themselves in the cause of the Kindergarten as early 
as 1850. But how much is now to be found in Alsace-Lorraine ? 
The Kindergarten should be energetically pushed here by all 
patriots, as the best means for Germanising the province. 

3. The Bavarian Palatinate on the Rhine shows the most 
praiseworthy eagerness in Kindergarten affairs. Here is a 
^'Froebei Society of the Palatinate," as well as a "Froebei 
Association of the Palatinate " (Pastor Bahring, at Minfeld) with 
twelve Kindergartens, which are in connection with the neighbour- 
ing Kindergartens in Karlsruhe and Mannheim ; and there are 
also Kindergartens at Frankenthal (Herr Karche, Councillor of 
Trade), Diirkheim (Subrector Pastor Beyer), Spires, or Speier, 
(Herr Lang, the bookseller), Kaiserslautern (Herr R5del, certifi- 
cated teacher). Landau (Herr Ney, solicitor), etc. Landau 
possesses an establishment for its Kindergarten which can hardly 
be equalled in Germany. Beside the two-storied school building 

1 It will, of course, be remembered that Madame Luise Froebei, the 
master's second -wife, lives at Hamburg. She has been kind enough to clear 
up a few uncertain points for us, in the present edition. 

Propagation and Extension. 191 

lies an enclosed but spacious playground dotted over with shady 
trees, and in the midst of it an aquarium full of fish, and a superb 
aviary, quite a house in itself, crowded with pigeons and other 
birds. On the ground-floor of the school-house are two spacious 
rooms, which can be thrown into one large hall by taking away 
a light wooden partition separating them ; and many other excel- 
lent devices are to be seen. 

4. The Grand Duchy of Hesse-Darmstadt, upon which 
Froebel built such high hopes in 1844,^ now only possesses 
Kindergartens at Offenbach and Worms (Mile. Boutti). Why 
are Benzheim and Darmstadt so wanting in public spirit ? 

5. The Grand Duchy of Baden has in Karlsruhe a Ladies' 
Association and two Kindergartens ; in Heidelberg, a Froebel 
Society, founded by the late Herr von Leonhardi ~ and Dr. K. 
Mittermaier, and three Kindergartens with one people's Kinder- 
garten. There is also a Kindergarten at Pfurzheim. 

6. The Kingdom of Wiirtemberg has Kindergartens at Stutt- 
gart, Heilbronn (Julius Braun), and Waldorf, near Tubingen. 
Moreover, in the 175 InfLint Schools of this kingdom, great use 
is made of Froebel's gifts and occupations, and of his other 
educational appliances. 

7. In the Kingdom of Bavaria, Munich has a Kindergarten 
Association, a Training College, and twelve Kindergartens (Dr. 
Martin, Councillor of Medicine, Dr. P. Schramm, Herr Dohring, 
head certificated teacher), in spite of the opposition of the 
ultramontane Roman Catholics.^ There are 183 creches for 
infants of poor working people in Bavaria ; and much good might 
be anticipated from the introduction of Kindergarten methods 
therein. Kindergartens are also found at Hof (Baron von 
Dobeneck), Bamberg, Wiirzburg, Schweinfurt, Nuremberg, Am- 
berg, Strubing, Landshut and Augsburg. 

^ That is, in connection with Herr Folsing : see Introduction to Part IV. 
"^ See antea, Part II., Letter XVII. 

3 See as to this opposition on tlie part of Roman Catholics a Swiss narra- 
tive in our "Froebel's Autobiography," p. 132. 

92 Letters of Froebel. 

(B) Austria. 

In 1872 the Austrian Minister of Education, Herr Stremeyer, 
included the Kindergarten in the system of national education of 
that country. Since that time in Austria the Kindergarten has 
received the attention it so well deserves, and has taken a new 
start of the most encouraging kind, as is evident from the simple 
fact that the youngest scion of the imperial house ^ has been 
educated by two Kindergarten teachers. According to statistics 
published by the Kindergarten Association of Vienna, Austria- 
Hungary, in 1883, possessed 369 Kindergartens, besides 299 
creches. The German School Society, in 1884, had thirty-two 
Kindergartens of its own, and supported twenty others. As to 
the numbers in the separate provinces, the following informa- 
tion must serve, but it is compiled from older and therefore more 
restricted information than that given above for Germany. 

1. Vienna, the capital of the empire, has a " Kindergarten 
Association for Austria " (President A. S. Fischer, Ph. Brunner), 
more than thirty Kindergartens and one Training College, in which, 
up to the present date, eleven courses have been completed, and 
236 Kindergarten teachers have been trained. One very praise- 
worthy undertaking of this association is the sending out to all 
provinces of the empire a circular of questions with a view of 
collecting materials for a history of the various Austrian Kinder- 
gartens and creches. In the rest of the Arch-duchy of Austria"^ 
are Kindergartens at Korneuburg and Linz. 

2. In Styria, the chief town, Gratz, with its Kindergarten 
Association, Training College, and seven associated Kindergartens 
gives an example of Kindergarten culture, most worthy of imita- 
tion (Madame Anegg, Mile. Thurnwald)."^ I vividly remember 

^ The Archduchess Elizabeth, daughter of the late Crown Prince Rudolph. 

2 The province which contains Vienna. 

2 For instance, to show the progressive and originative spirit which rules the 
Kindergarten movement here, the present Editors have always admired a 
feature in the education of Kindergarten nurses which they believe to be 
pecuHar to Gratz. After their training in ordinary nursery worlc, and in the 
application of Kindergarten ideas to that work, they attend frequently during 
their last three months at one or other of the hospitals, where they are 
taught the sick-nursing of children in all the usual infantile ailments. 

Propagatio7i and Extension. 193 

the scene in 185 1, when Froebel climbed up on to a chair, 
and with deep emotion read to an assembly of friends of the 
Kindergarten movement then being held at the Liebenstein Spa, 
a beautifully expressed letter from a Styrian gentleman of Gratz, 
calling down a blessing upon him and his efforts, and praying 
for his success. A history of the Kindergarten movement in 
Gratz, which goes back into " the forties," would be extremely 

In all Styria, including the Kindergarten at Uebeljamo, near 
Marburg, we count about thirteen Kindergartens. 

3. In Moravia, Briinn is the seat of a "Froebel Association 
(German) for Moravia/' and sixteen Kindergartens are conducted 
there by the municipality (Dr. Heinrich Sonneck). Znaim has an 
"Association for founding and maintaining Kindergartens and 
Creches" and one Kindergarten; and there are also Kindergartens 
in Prossnitz and Sternberg ; and in the Hanna,^ at Kremsier. 

5. Bohemia has certainly over sixty-five Kindergartens. In 
Prague (Director Heinrich) there are one public Kindergarten 
and many private ones. Municipal Kindergartens exist at 
Reichenberg, Aussig and Leitmeritz, and private Kindergartens 
at Pilsen (under the German School Association), Teplitz, 
Bohemian-Leipa, Saaz, Budweis, Briix, Elbogen, Eger, etc. 

6. In the other Austrian Provinces we find more scattered 
Kindergartens: Salzburg, one; Carinthia, three (at Klagenfurt); 
Krain, one; Trieste, five;^ Gorz and Gradisca, one each; Silesia, 
four; (Troppau, Bielitz, Biala, Freudenthal) ; Galicia, six; Buko- 
vina, one; and Croatia, three. 

7. In the kingdom of Hungary are about eighty Kindergartens; 
and two Ladies' Associations in Buda-Pest, which have set before 
them as their object the propagation and extension of the Kinder- 
garten system. These are the "Society for the Protection of Little 
Children " (Countess Tisza, Madame Kralowansky) and a society 
under the presidency of the Baroness Edelsheim. The first-named 

^ This Hanna district, about twenty-eight square miles in extent, is remark- 
able for a special dialect and other peculiarities ; and its inhabitants, who are 
Slavs, boast themselves to be the representatives of the original people of 

'^ Some of these are municipal Kindergartens. 


194 Letters of Froebel. 

society also conducts a Central Teaching Institution and four 
Kindergartens. Elsewhere in Hungary we find Kindergartens 
and Ladies' Associations at Kaschau, Leutschau, in the county 
of Zips (North Hungary, the region of the upper Theiss and 
Erzgebirge) Kesmark, Iglo, Pressburg, and Dobschau ; and Kin- 
dergartens alone at Szarvas, Rosenau, Old-Kanizsa, Szatmar, Sik- 
los, Oedenburg (four), Raab (four), Arad (three), Bela, Szegedin, 
Szolnok, Lonja, Nagyvaszany ; in the Banate, near the Servian 
frontier, at Temesvar, Pancsova and Weisskirchen. In Sieben- 
biirgen a special journal for Kindergartens and creches is published 
at Klausenburg ; and at the same place are a Training College for 
Kindergarten teachers and three Kindergartens. Hermannstadt 
and Kronstadt have also a Kindergarten at each. 

The following figures will give a striking view of the rapid 
growth of the Kindergarten movement in Austria. In 1873 
there were 2,461 children in the Kindergartens; but in 1883 
there were 17,764. Thus the number of Kindergarten children 
was multiplied sevenfold within ten years ; and in Lower Austria 
(where from 403 children in 1873 it rose to 4,861 in 1883) it 
was even multiplied elevenfold ! 

(C) Switzerland. 

Switzerland worthily matches Germany and Austria ; and t!ie 
Swiss Kindergartens grow ever more and more in number and 
importance. At present there are eighty-one Ladies' Associations 
and 106 Kindergartens, spread over ten cantons. At the head of 
the Kindergarten movement stands — 

I. Geneva with the unique example of no less than fifty-five 
public Kindergartens with 3,072 children (Mile. Zollikofer,^ the 
late M. Carteret, Director of Public Instruction,^ Baroness Adele 
de Portugal!^). In 1876, 206 private creches were converted into 

1 This is an error of Herr Poesche, the German Editor : for Mile. Zollikofer's 
excellent work for the cause has been done at Aarau, not Geneva. 

2 We may also mention that M. Carteret was not only Director of Public 
Instruction, but also President of the Grand Council. His services to educa- 
tion in Switzerland were very great. 

^ Madame de Portugall, nee Hoburg, was born in the province of East Prussia ; 
married the Freiherr von Portugall, a noble of East Prussia, and was early left 

Propagation and Exteiision. 195 

Kindergartens under state government, and they have done well 
in their new form. Each parish selects its own Kindergarten 

a widow — losing not only her husband, but her stepson, to whom she was much 
attached. In these circumstances she found a new happiness in enthusiastically 
embracing the cause of childhood as preached by Froebel. She studied the 
system thoroughly under Madame Schrader (then still Mile. Breymann), and also 
worked with Madame von Marenholtz-Blilow, at Watzum. Thence she went 
to England, where she stayed two years at Manchester, working as Kindergar- 
ten teacher in a private school (1861-1863). Returning to the Continent at the 
close of 1863, she attended the lectures of Madame von Marenholtz-Biilow at 
Berlin, and it was here that one of tlie present editors (Madame Michaelis) first 
met her, and a life-long friendship began. Madame Schrader was giving up the 
direction of the Chantpoulet Kindergarten shortly after this, and could find no 
one more worthy to be her successor than Madame de Portugall, who replaced 
Madame Schrader at Geneva in May, 1864. After directing the Chantpoulet 
Kindergarten for nine years, Madame de Portugall went, in 1873, to Miihlhausen, 
in Alsace, succeeding Mile. Hausbrand as principal of the Kindergarten founded 
and maintained there by Madame Schwartz, a lady whose generous use of con- 
siderable wealth in the cause of education cannot be passed without a word of 
cordial recognition. In 1875 the Education Department of the Grand Council 
of Geneva determined to conduct all the infant schools in the canton upon the 
Kindergarten system ; and the reputation of the Chantpoulet establishment 
(whose success, indeed, it was which brought about this happy decision) stood 
so high that M. Carteret recommended its late head as a most suitable person 
to carry out what was nothing less than an educational revolution. Madame 
de Portugall was appointed to the post in 1876, and soon proved the wisdom of 
the choice the department had made. Indeed, it is not too much to say, that 
in the hands of any one less courageous, less gifted with tact, less gracious in 
manner, while unyielding in principle, less thoroughly conversant not only 
with the philosopliy of the Kindergarten but with its practical details of every 
kind, and less abreast of the time in all general educational methods and culture, 
this finely planned scheme would have gone to wreck. It is owing to the almost 
unique combination of power and charm possessed by our friend that every 
obstacle was conquered — and obstacles were countless — that the natural resist- 
ance of the old-fashioned teachers and the whole bureaucracy of education was 
overcome, and that Geneva obtained the lasting honour of being the first state 
in the world to formally adopt and actually carry out Froebel's principles as the 
basis of education. The work once done, and done so brilliantly, facilitated 
the efforts of the Belgian reformers, who were soon able to gain for their 
country a like advantage, and Geneva's example also helped the reformers in 
some other Swiss cantons. Through all the changes of parties and governments 
since the time of the establishment of Froebelian principles in the state educa- 
tion of the countries named, these principles have firmly endured, and still 
endure ; so that in the face of experiments carried on for sixteen and fourteen 
years respectively, in countries widely separated by distance, race, religion and 
national characteristics, and yet equally successful and permanent, it seems re- 
markable that other governments have not yet followed their example ; or if 
they have established the Kindergarten system on paper, have shrunk from 
putting it into actual and univei'sal practice, as is unfortunately the case in Austria. 
After ten years devotedly spent in the great work above described, whose 

ig6 Letters of Froebel. 

teacher, subject to the approval of the Government. A lady in- 
spector, appointed by the Government, overlooks the whole, and 
arranges training classes for the teachers. For the Kindergarten 
alone Geneva voted 53,000 francs (;£"2,i2o) in the budget of 1881. 
2. In St. Gall (the late Dean Mayer, president of the Swiss 
Kindergarten Association ; the late Johann Wellauer) the state 
institutions comprise a Normal Kindergarten Institution with a 
Training College and a Kindergarten modelled on the Geneva 
organisation. Also VVintherthiir, following the same plan, spent 
no less than 70,000 francs (^2,800) upon Kindergarten work 
in 1881. These encouraging results for Switzerland are due to 
the persons already named, and others ; especially to the energy 
of Pastor Bion, of Ziirich (the present President of the Swiss Kin- 
dergarten Association); of Herr Fr. Beust, the famous schoolmaster 
of Ziirich ; ^ of Herr Charles Kiittel, Inspector of schools in 
Luzern and editor of the Swiss Kifidergarten, the official journal 
of the Swiss Kindergarten Association ; and of Professor Raoux, 
in Lausanne, etc. 

importance cannot be over-estimated, Madame de Portugall was compelled 
to leave Switzerland for the more genial climate of Italy, in consequence of 
the rapidly declining health of Mile. Progler, her constant friend and com- 
panion, and one whose collaboration in the formidable labours at Geneva was 
simply priceless. Madame Schwabe joyfully seized upon the opportunity thus 
afforded her to place Madame de Portugall at the head of the famous Naples 
Kindergarten, in 18S4 ; and it is at this post that Madame de Portugall still 
continues her invaluable services to the Kmdergarten cause. 

Madame de Portugall has had the special honour of being called (on two occa- 
sions) to act as principal examiner for the Froebel Society of London. 

1 We wish we had space to express and justify our admiration of Herr 
Beust's truly remarkable institution, which, beginning with a perfect Kinder- 
garten Transition-class, proceeds throughout strictly on the lines of Froebel and 
Pestalozzi. We are speaking from the personal knowledge of one of us (E.M.) 
when Me say that so far as we know this school stands alone in its complete 
fulfilment of the designs of these great educationists. It was therefore with 
peculiar pleasure that, on the occasion of a recent visit, looking over the shoulder 
of a bright boy of six or seven, the name of " Ferd. Froebel " was recognised by 
E.M. on his copybook as he sat at work. Inquiiy discovered that he was really 
the great-grand-nephew of the master. Little Ferdinand Froebel is the grand- 
son of Theodor Froebel, youngest brother of Karl and Julius Froebel, the 
nephews of Friedrich. Indeed, this school was founded by Karl Froebel him- 
self, and was transmitted directly from him to Herr Beust. Theodor, this lad's 
grandfather, and Karl Froebel's brother, established himself as a horticulturist 
and landscape gardener at Ziirich, and his son, little Ferdinand's father, now 
carries on the business which Theodor founded. 

Propagation and Extension. 197 

(Z>) Belgium. 

As in Austria and Switzerland, so also in Belgium, the Kinder- 
garten is recognised by the state. It there figures, according to 
a conception very worthy of adoption by other states, as the first 
grade of public instruction. The Baroness von Marenholtz- Billow 
and Madame Henrietta Schrader first gained a footing for the 
Kindergarten in this country (Jacobs, " Manual"). ^ 

The present leaders of the Kindergarten system in Belgium are 
M. Guillaume (of the Conservatoire, at Brussels) and his wife 
Madame Guillaume, who is inspector of Kindergartens — the post 
precisely analogous to that held by Madame de Portugall at 
Geneva — M. Eugene Tedesco, Inspector of schools, and M. 
Frede'ric Stern. ^ 

{E) Italy. 

In Italy there is an ''Association for the Pr<)motion of the Kin- 
dergarten System"; and Kindergartens are flourishing in various 
towns, especially in Florence, Naples (Madame Salis Schwabe,'^ 

^ Herr Poesche refers here to the " Manuel Pratique des Jardins d' Enfants 
de Frederic Froebel," by J. F. Jacobs and the Baroness von Marenholtz-Bulow. 
Oar copy is the 2nd edition, Brussels, 1864. 

^ To these we should like to add the name of M. de Buels, who, when 
Burgomaster of Brussels, came over to the Educational Conference at S. Ken- 
sington and delivered an admirable address upon the great work undertaken by 
Belgian Froebelians. His own share in that work was considerable. 

^ Madame Salis-Schwabe, whose mother's name was Salis and her father's 
name Schwabe, married her cousin, whose benevolence, as we have heard, 
equalled her own. Their goodness to the employes of Herr Schwabe's fac- 
tories, near Manchester, in the way of providing schools and other advan- 
tages, are well known, as well as many other more general benefits to 
England ; but that whicir endears Madame Schwabe to the friends of educa- 
tion and of true charity to the poor is the splendid Froebelian work in Naples, 
which has formed one of the main occupations of her widowhood. Struck, 
while on a visit to Naples, with the squalor and dense ignorance of the lower 
orders there, which indeed must force itself upon all of us who have visited 
that lovely and unhappy city, if we have ever deviated from the main streets, 
Madame Schwabe resolved to make a strenuous effort at the improvement of 
this particular evil as her contribution to the general wave of enthusiasm called 
forth by the declaration of Italian independence (1866). She therefore 

gS Letters of Froebel. 

Mile. Petermann), Bologna (Ugo Vital), Venice (Prof. Adolfo 
Pick ^), etc. In Italy, as well as elsewhere, it was the Baroness 
von Marenholtz-Biilow who was the apostle of the Kindergarten. 
The fact that the King and Queen of Italy were present at the 
Centenary festival of Froebel's birth, held at Rome in 1882, suffi- 
ciently indicates the high interest that is taken in the affairs of the 
Kindergarten in Italy. 

acquired a large disused public building (the ex-ColIegio Medico), and 
established there, in 1873, a public and gratuitous Kindergarten and elementary 
school, starting with forty children. (Later on, as there was room, paying 
children were also admitted. ) The f rst head of the Kindergarten was Mile. 
Petermann, a pupil of the Baroness von Marenholtz-Biilow, and the first (and 
we are happy to say the present) manageress, Mile. Barmann. In 1877 the 
Training College was added, beginning with eight students, and primary schools 
were further added in 1879, beginning with 170 children. In 1890 the addition 
of an Industrial wing, where actual handicrafts are taught after the ordinary 
school hours, has completed the scheme, a monument to the generosity and 
perseverance of Madame Salis-Schwabe. As we have elsewhere stated, 
Madame de Portugall was appointed head of the Kindergarten side of the 
institution in 1884, and still holds that post. There are at present (1890) 174 
children in the free Kindergarten, and 54 who pay fees. In the Training Col- 
lege there are now nineteen students. Signor Quarati (whom Madame Schwabe 
had caused to be trained in the Birkbeck Schools in England) is the head of 
the elementary school department, which at present numbers 417 children. 
The primary school has 449. No less than 200 children were turned away 
tliis year (1890) for want of room. Since the institution was opened in 1873, 
there have entered in all 9,632 pupils. The Town Council of Naples (Muni- 
cipio) has long taken interest in this undertaking, and has materially assisted 
in supporting a work of such great benefit to the town, and in 1887 the 
Government of Italy took up the cause. Signor Coppino, Minister of Instruc- 
tion, incorporated the whole institution as an Ente Morale, or foundation, and 
endowtd i' with the buildings it occupied, and with an annual subsidy of 
12,400 Lre ^496). It also enjoys the income from the 50,000 lire (;i^2,ooo) 
with which Madame Salis-Schwabe had endowed it. With these aids and 
the increased revenue from fees, it is now (1890) self-supporting. 

^ Professor Pick was induced by one of Madame von Marenholtz-Biilow's 
many missionary travels, sowing the seed of Kindergarten ideas, to undertake 
the foundation of a Kindergarten at Venice, in 1869, which he started at a 
public conference in the Ateneo. Madame della Vida Levi (like Professor 
Pick, of the Hebrew faith) warmly associated herself with this movement, and 
at a later time established an independent Kindergarten of her own, in which 
Madame Michaelis had the pleasure to be of some slight assistance to her. 

We might add to the information in the text the early Froebelian propaganda 
at Milan, through the enthusiastic discourses of Signor Vicenzo di Castro, about 
twenty-five years since ; and that Madame Michaelis was much gratified with 
the intelligent method and thorough work of the Florence Kindergarten, 
which when she was staying there in 1868 was directed by Mile. Bertuchek, a 
pupil of the Baroness von Marenholtz-Biilow. 

Propagation and Extension. 199 

{F) Portugal, Spain, Greece. 

In the remaining peninsulas of Southern Europe the Kinder- 
garten has also gained a firm footing. 

1. In Portugal, since 1879, the Kindergarten has found great 
favour with the families of the Portuguese. The further develop- 
ment and propaganda of the Kindergarten system have now been 
taken in hand by the " Society for the Improvement of Educa- 
tion" at Oporto (Senhor Osorio, president ; Senhor da Vascon- 
cellos, secretary). In Oporto (and in Lisbon also) a great festival 
was held on the Froebel centenary, iri 1882, and bold as was the 
plan of a complete Kindergarten then conceived, it is, however, 
to be fully carried out. The building is to contain 200 children, 
and of the 4,300 square metres of land occupied (about lyV ^^re, 
English), 3, 5 09 (about f acre, English) are devoted to the garden. 
The lower storey will contain two glass-roofed verandas, an anti- 
chamber serving as cloak-room, three work-rooms, two corridors, a 
visitor's room, a store-room for materials, a lavatory, two play- 
rooms and a broad staircase; and the garden will have a fountain, 
an aviary, a pond, available for cold baths if desired, a hen-roost, 
a large summer-house, a gymnasium, a green-house, flower-beds, 
some of them for the free use of the children, trees of all possible 
varieties, playgrounds, a large maze or labyrinth, and heaps of 
sand for digging, etc., to provide healthy out-door exercise. The 
cost is estimated at 30,000 milreis (about ;£" 6,650). In generous 
combination with the Kindergarten we find in this plan several in- 
terchanging elements of educational reform; for instance, Schwab's 
School-gardens, as attached to the schools of Vienna, the handi- 
craft-schools, a Pestalozzian idea, and the gardens for youths 
{Jiigend- Garten), an idea of the Baroness von Marenholtz-Biilow ; 
and these are connected together and combined to form one 
system. Further, a most interesting combination is here to be 
effected between the Kindergarten Establishment and the Pesta- 
lo'zzi College. Compare, in this respect, the Pestalozzi-Froebel- 
House at Berlin, described at p. 35. 

2. Spain has a Kindergarten Training College in the Normal 

2CO Letters of Frocbel. 

Training School at Madrid, with Kindergarten attached ; and 
there is also another Kindergarten at Madrid, and one at Bilbao 
(Mile. Grafle). These Madrid Kindergartens have become so popu- 
lar that they cannot hold all the children who are anxious to 
come. It is certainly a remarkable circumstance that Froebel's sys- 
tem should have at once gained such general approval in Spain. 
Indeed, it may be with confidence predicted that the Kindergarten 
will form the basis of the entire Spanish school system in the im- 
mediate future. " The Kindergarten and its Methods," by the 
Baroness von Marenholtz-Biilow, has been translated into Spanish 
by Professor Rio. 

3. In Greece, also, the interest felt in the Kindergarten grows 
from day to day, which is especially due to the efforts of Madame 

{G) Russia. 

Since 1863 Rusf^ia has shown a very active interest in the 
Kindergarten, and has sent several young ladies to the training 
colleges at Berlin, Gotha, Dresden and Prague (Director Heinrich) 
to be educated as Kindergarten teachers. In St. Petersburg we 
now find a Froebel Society, a Training College, and several Kinder- 
gartens (Mile. Pauline von Sadler) ; as well as Kindergartens at 
Moscow, Kiew, Omsk, Helsingfors and Ekenaes, in Finland (Pastor 
Cygnaus), Riga and Dorpat, in Livonia. 

{H) Holland, Sweden, England. 

The northern Teutonic nations strive diligently to overtake 
Germany in Kindergarten activity. 

I. In Holland the leader is Madame Elise van Calcar.^ wife of 

^ One of this accomplished lady's pupils has recently established a Kinder- 
garten near Croydon, and the Editors have thus learned from good authority 
many interesting particulars of Madame van Calcar's enthusiastic nature and 
unusual educationalpovvers. " Coerflahhe,'' in the German text, is evidently a 
printer's error for Over Flakee, one of the great islands at the mouth of the 

Propagation and Extension. 20 [ 

the burgomaster of the island of Over Flakee, where there are two 

2. In Sweden there are Kindergartens in Gothenburg. 

3. England has proved to be warmly in sympathy with Froe- 
bel's methods. The chief moving agent in English Kindergarten 
work is the British and Foreign Schools Society (founded in 1868), 
which has won a firm footing for the Kindergarten in England 
since 1874, and brought about a still better understanding of the 
system through an important exhibition of Kindergarten work held 
in South Kensington in 1884 (Miss EleOnore Heerwart, Lord 
Reay, W. Wouren). Many German Kindergarten works have 
been translated into English, as, for example, the works of the 
Baroness von Marenholtz- Billow (Countess Krokow), the Kinder- 
garten Praxis of August Kohler (Miss Mary Gurney), Seidel's 
Catechism, etc. A Training College exists at London (Kinder- 
garten College), as well as many Kindergartens in London and 
Saffron Walden; and there are also Kindergartens in Dublin, 
Manchester, Croydon (Madame Michaelis), Aberdeen and Birm- 


It is to be hoped that Herr Poesche's account of other countries is nearer 
the mark than this almost hidicrously inexact presentation of the Kindergarten 
in England. The conjunction of " London and Saffron Walden " seems par- 
ticularly happy ; and although we personally cannot complain, as one of our- 
selves is honourably mentioned by name, and our Croydon work has its fitting 
place, yet to overlook the undoubted precedence of the Manchester Kindergar- 
ten Association amongst English Kindergarten Societies, and to notice nothing 
else of the Froebel Society's long work save its defunct Training College, 
shows, to put it mildly, a want of the sense of proportion. The British and 
Foreign School Society was founded in 1808, as a reference to the first ency- 
clopaedia might have informed the German Editor. Mr. "Wouren," we are 
daring enough to assume, is our excellent friend, the Rev. A. Bourne (Secre- 
tary of the British and Foreign Schools Society) in a continental disguise. 
Otherwise, although we ourselves took a fair share in the important Exhil^ition 
and Conference referred to in the text, we cannot say we remember meeting 
Mr, "Wouren." Neitherare we acquainted with Madame "Krokow's" English 
translations of Madame von Marenholtz' works, although we know well Miss 
Christie's excellent translations, and Miss Shirreff's work in this department 
(always good), and several American translations of Madame von Marenholtz. 

202 Letters of Froebel. 

The Kindergarten in England began by the foundation of a Kindergarten at 
Hampstead, which Madame von MarenhoUz-Biilow found at work, the solitary 
institution of its kind in our country, during her six months' visit in 1854-5, 
when on her missionary tours in favour of Froebels system. The Baroness 
herself laid the foundations for several more by lectures and conferences : and 
in ** Die Arbeit und die Neue Erziehiing'''' (" Hand Work and Head Work " 
in Miss Christie's translation) she mentions having herself taught in one of the 
London "Ragged Schools" for several months, to the great delight not only 
of the children but also of the teachers. When she left us in 1855 she transferred 
much of her own course of work, in lecturing, etc., to Herr H. Hoffmann, from 
Hamburg, who continued to give courses of practical lessons to teachers in 
several of the Kindergartens which had now sprung up, or schools which 
were looking favourably on the new system. The Baroness von Marenholtz- 
Biilow herself published a little book in London, in 1855, called "The Infant- 
Gardens." She pays a cordial tribute to the readiness with which Charles 
Dickens welcomed Froebel's ideas, and gave them all the aid in his power, 
publishing more than one article upon them in his journal, Household 
IFords. Many newspapers ( Ti/nes, Morning Herald, etc. ) and the leading 
critical journal, the AthencTiim, also noticed her work favourably. It is also 
interesting to observe that another of the foremost Englishmen of the time, the 
famous Dr. Colenso, Bishop of Natal, then over in London collecting artisans 
for the colony, and teachers for his beloved Zulus, at once saw the surpassing 
merit of the Kindergarten system and sent two teachers to take lessons of 
Madame von Marenholtz-Biilow. The bishop took back with him to the 
colony several complete sets of the gifts and materials for the occupations; and 
was overjoyed to find that his chief difficulty in teaching the Zulus, namely, the 
difficulty to get them to understand English books and English teachers, was 
quite surmounted by a system which explains itself intelligibly to children of 
all races and tongues alike. 

The same year (1854) that brought the Baroness von Marenholtz-Biilow to 
our shores brought also Madame Ronge. This gifted and unhappy lady had 
been already active in the cause at Hamburg, having originally been taught 
there by Froebel himself, and by Middendorff, in 1849. Madame Ronge estab- 
lished a Kindergarten of her own in Fitzroy Square, in 1854, which she gave 
over to Mi-ss Praetorius, who came to London from Nassau very shortly after- 
wards in the same year. Madame Ronge now went to Manchester, where she 
gave courses of lectures, and taught privately and in schools; amongst the latter, 
in the schools of Mrs. Moore 1 and Miss Barton, both of whom established 
Kindergartens in connection with their schools. (Our friend. Miss Barton, 
'we are happy to say, is still at the head of her school, Avith its accompanying 
Kindergarten.) So great was the favour accorded to Madame Rouge's efforts 
that in 1854 the Manchester Kindergarten Association was founded — the first 
Kindergarten Association in this country. It still exists, but at the present 
moment (1S90) no longer in its pristine vigour, and its well-wishers would be 
glad to see a renewal of energy restore this valuable society to the position to 
which its great services so well entitle it. Madame Rouge's well-known "Kin- 
dergarten Guide," though now superseded, was in its day the best book of its 
kind in English. 

In 1861 many well-known names in the English Kindergarten movement first 
occur. Miss Eleonore Heerwart, our much-respected friend, now first began 
her long and honoured career in our country. She came over in 1 86 1 to 

1 Not related to the present Editor. 

Propagation and Extension. 203 

conduct the Kindergarten belonging to Miss Barton's school at Manchester, 
mentioned above. Miss Heerwart brought to us the traditions of Keilhau 
itself, where she had enjoyed the training of Froebel's best friend, Middendorff, 
who taught at Keilhau from his beloved master's death in June, 1852, to 
his own too early death in November, 1853. After 1853 Froebel's widow, 
Madame Luise Froebel, continued the training of students in which she had 
been helping Middendorff for a short time, but with her departure in the 
spring of 1854 to Dresden, where she assisted Dr. Bruno Marquardt, the 
training of Kindergarten students at Keilhau came to an end. Miss Heerwart 
was occupied in Kindergarten teaching in various parts of Germany till Miss 
Barton was happily advised to invite her to this country. Completing this 
small account of a lady who has been excelled by no one in the value, the 
earnestness, and the practical results of her Kindergarten work in England, 
we may add that in 1864 Miss Heerwart left Manchester for a Kindergarten 
in Belfast ; and after two years' work there she established a Kindergarten 
and school of her own in Dublin (1866). In 1874, the British and Foreign 
School Society, which had always taken the greatest interest in our move- 
ment, determined to establish its own Kindergarten Training College at 
Stockwell ; and at this time Miss Heerwart was passing through London 
on her return to Germany, having disposed of her successful establishment 
in Dublin. The Society had the good fortune to be able to induce her 
to remain in England, as principal of their new Kindergarten Training 
College, and she continued worthily to fill this position till 1883, sending 
out many carefully trained students, who are now amongst our best teachers 
Miss Heerwart, on retiring from active work in her profession, went over 
to Germany to take part in founding the Memorial Kindergarten of Blanken- 
burg, in 1883, the outcome of the Froebel Centenary festivals held all over 
the world in 1882; and at her departure from England, afier nearly a 
quarter of a century's work, she received the honour of a public leave-taking, 
not unaccompanied by remembrances of a more substantial nature from her 
English friends. Since then Miss Heerwart has lived chiefly at Weimar, 
always occupied in Froebelian propaganda, and has officiated as principal 
examiner for the Froebel Society in 1887 and 1888. 

Besides Miss Heerwart, our distinguished friend the Baroness Adele de Por- 
tugall came to England in 1 861. Madame de Portugall became head of the 
Kindergarten attached to Mrs. Fretwell's school, at Manchester. (We have 
given some account of our friend's life-work in a note to the section Switzerland.) 
Miss Doreck had come over (from Wiirtemberg) in 1857, and had, in 1866, 
established her well-known school in Kildare Gardens, whence she removed 
to Kensington Gardens Square. She became so interested in Froebel's 
system by attending the lectures of Herr H. Hoffmann (mentioned above) 
that she from the first established a Kindergarten in connection with her 
school, and made herself so practically acquainted with the Kindergarten 
methods, and still more especially with the principles underlying them, that 
she was unanimously elected to the presidency of the Froebel Society on its 
foundation in 1874. The Kindergarten established by Miss Doreck still 
flourishes under the experienced guidance of her relative, Miss Roth, a pupil 
of Miss Heerwart. 

In April, 1874, Madame Emilie Michaelis, a pupil and friend of Madame 
von Marenholtz-Bulow, Madame de Portugall, and Madame Vogeler (Ida 
Seele), who had previously been working at the Kindergarten propaganda, 
for love of the cause, in Switzerland and Italy, came to England definitely to 
adopt Kindergarten teaching and training as her profession. After lecturing 

204 Letters of Froebel. 

in London "to mothers" (one of the said "mothers," Mrs. Lewis, who had 
been famous on the EngHsh stage as Miss Kate Terry, sister of Miss Ellen 
and Miss Marion Terry, soon afterwards established a class in her house 
under the lecturer's guidance), Madame Michaelis was appointed by .the 
Girls' Public Day School Company to introduce the Kindergarten into the 
Notting Hill High School. A bright young form-mistress there, our friend 
Miss Emily Lord, at once took profound interest in the new teaching, and 
herself in course of time became well known by her Kindergarten and Training 
College at Norland Square, Notting Hill, as one of the most successful and 
energetic of English Kindergarten teachers and trainers. Amongst other 
courses delivered in this year (1S74) by Madame Michaelis, was one to the 
teachers of the infant schools under the School Board at Croydon, Surrey ; 
which led eventually to her being engaged by Mrs. Berry (at that time resid- 
ing in Croydon) as principal of a Kindergarten which was established at 
Croydon in January, 1875. (Mrs. Berry's services to education comprise also 
the chief share in the establishment of the Croydon High School for Girls, 
and also — which is more pertinent to the matter in hand — many years' work as 
Honorary Secretary of the Froebel Society.) 

Returning to the year 1874, we find in the autumn of that year Miss Heer- 
wart installed as principal of the newly founded Kindergarten Training College 
at Stockwell, and Miss Bishop (a pupil of Miss Praetorius) appointed as the 
first lecturer to the teachers of infant schools under tlie School Board of 
London ; the same post which is now so excellently filled by our esteemed 
friend Miss Mary J. Lyschinska, a pupil of Madame Schrader. 

The movement had now developed to such importance in London that a 
central society was manifestly needed, and in November, 1874, tiie Froebel 
Society of London was founded by Miss Heerwart, Miss Doreck, Miss Bisliop, 
Madame Michaelis, Miss Manning and Professor Joseph Payne. These 
formed the first council of the society. Miss Doreck being the first President, 
and Miss Manning the first Honorary Secretary. The council was soon after 
strengthened by the accession of Miss Shirreff — the present much-respected 
President, who took office on Miss Doreck's death, in 1877 — of her sister, 
Mrs. William Grey, of Miss Mary Gurney, and of other prominent educationists. 
Miss Shirreffs presidency has been one long course of generous effort, as 
English Froebelians gratefully recognise. No labour possible for her to under- 
take has been left undone, in spite of a persistent ill-health that w^ould have 
afforded any one else sufficient excuse for repose. The most recent of the 
President's many valuable publications is "The Kindergarten at Home." 

The Froebel ^Society almost at once began practical work by instituting 
courses of lectures at the College for Men and Women, Queen's Square, 
Bloomsbury. The examinations of teachers under the Society began in 1876 
(the chief examiner of that year being Madame de Portugall), and have continued 
uninterruptedly till now. The great value attached to the certificate, in conse- 
quence of the uniformly high character of the Society's examinations, would 
seem of itself to ensure the permanence of this valuable branch of the Society's 
work, which extends largely with each succeeding year. 

In 1879 the Froebel Society established a Kindergarten Training College in 
Tavistock Street, Fitzroy Square, Miss Bishop being the first principal, and 
the whole establishment being organised as a separate association, with a 
council of its own ; all the council, however, being members of the Froebel 
Society. (We may here add that in 188 1 Miss Lawrence, a pupil of Kohler, 
succeeded Miss Bishop as head of the College ; and that, in 1S83, the College 
was transferred to the Maria Grey Training College for Teachers, becoming 

Propagation and Extension. 205 

the Kindergarten department of that institution, and passing therefore under 
the headship of Miss Ward, and in this form it still continues.) 

In May, 18S0, the first public company for the promotion of the Kinder- 
garten system was founded. This was the Croydon Kindergarten and Prepa- 
ratory School Company, Limited. The Croydon Kindergarten of 1875, which 
had come into the hands of Madame Michaelis, required organisation to meet 
the needs of the town. A committee was formed to assist Madame Michaelis 
in the business portion of the work, leaving to her, without interference, the 
educational conduct of the institution. It was pointed out that the form of a 
committee, as a responsible body, was a weak one, since some members might 
retire and throw all the financial responsibility as to leases, buildings, etc., 
upon those who remained. It occurred to one of the committee that the 
Public Companies' Act could be easily applied, and as a result the Croydon 
Kindergarten Company was founded, and has been ever since carried on 
with no legil assistance whatever. During the ten years of its existence the 
Croydon Company, besides its teaching work, has trained over seventy students 
for examination as Kindergarten mistresses by the Froebel Society. This more 
durable form of Kindergarten Association proving successful and easy in work- 
ing, has caused the establishment of the Bedford Kindergarten Company, 
Limited (1883 — Head Mistress, Miss Sim), and of the Sutton (Surrey) Kinder- 
garten Company, Limited (1888 — Head Mistress, Miss Tinsley) ; and the 
C^roydon Company had the pleasure to assist in creating these friendly rivals. 

In 1S82 the centenary of Froebel's birth was celebrated in London by a 
soiree and conversazione, held at the Stockwell Training College, by the invi- 
tation of tlie British and Foreign School Society. Mr. W. Woodall, M.P., 
presided. Some excellent addresses were delivered ; several interesting sou- 
venirs of Froebel, of his educational career, and especially of his Kindergarten 
work, were exhibited, and of course a general exhibition of the Kindergarten 
gifts and occupations took place ; in short, the evening forms a very pleasant 
memory for Froebelians. A plan for erecting a monument and establishing a 
memorial Kindergarten at Blankenburg was set on foot (Froebel's original 
Kindergarten here having long before ceased to exist), as a worthy way in 
which to honour the master's memory, and the Froebel Society of London gave 
a concert at Willis's Rooms, most of the choir being persons associated with 
the Kindergarten movement, to raise a tund for aiding the Blankenbuig plan. 
A moderate contribution was indeed forwarded to Germany as the result, 
though this was by no means so substantial as the Society had desired. In 
fact, while the memorial Kindergarten was established in the following year 
(1883) with the funds raised in various countries, the monument, which takes 
the expressive and most appropriate form of a marble cube, with cylinder 
and ball superposed, was erected entirely at the charge of the Baroness von 
Marenholtz-Biilow. Besides the small fund raised by the Froebel Society 
in London, the present Editors had the pleasure of sending a few pounds to 
Germany as the result of contributions collected by them in Croydon. 

The year 1884 was a marked one in the history of the Kindergarten in 
England. In that year the International Exhibition held at London (one of a 
series of four remarkable undertakings of this nature) concerned itself with the 
subjects of Health and Education. The British and Foreign School Society 
had just opened a Training College for Infant School teachers at Saffron Wal- 
den, where the curriculum comprised a considerable study of the Froebelian 
methods, in addition to the English methods necessitated by the Government 
code, so that these fortunate teachers, if no others, should have a competent 
knowledge of the Kindergarten system, and should be able to apply it so far 

2o6 Letters of Froebel. 

and so soon as the Education Department would allow. We are happy to be 
able to add that in consequence of the enlightened conduct of this Society, of 
many of the great School Boards, especially that of London, and of several local 
efforts of the like kind (as with our own Kindergarten Company and the School 
Board at Croydon, for instance), a growing public opinion has been created all over 
the country, and the policy of the Department has grown much more liberal 
with regard to the Kindergarten system ; so that the difficulty at the present day 
lies chiefly between the Inspectors and the Teachers, and is therefore rapidly 
tending to disappear. The International Exhibition gave the British and 
Foreign School Society a golden opportunity to emphasize the views which had 
led to their action at Saffron Walden, and in pursuit of which they had honour- 
ably worked for so many years ; and the Secretary of the Society, our valued 
friend the Rev. Alfred Bourne, together with Miss Heerwart, who came over 
from Germany for the purpose of assisting her old college, organised the most 
complete and successful exposition of Kindergarten methods and work ever 
seen in this country. A large room was allotted to the Society in the Exhibition, 
and all the principal Kindergarten teachers and trainers of London, together 
with ourselves from Croydon, loyally united in contrilmting to the exhibition 
by sending exhibits of work, and taking it in turn to give actual specimens of 
teaching, each school bringing its own children. Great interest was excited ; 
the president of the Section, Lord Reay, was frequently present, and even 
H.R.H. the Prince of Wales, president of the entire exhibition, made a point 
of attending one of these practical demonstrations. We may add that the 
Kindergarten which chanced to be at work at the exhibition on the day of the 
Prince's visit was that of Miss Pearce (Mrs. Reaney), of Streatham Hill ; and 
it was fortunate that the games which were played by the children were amongst 
the most charmingly graceful of the whole series, and that the singing was un- 
usually ^bright and good. Besides this important exhibition the Kindergarten 
System formed one section of a very interesting series of conferences on edu- 
cational subjects which were held in lecture theatres attached to the Exhibition. 
Two days were devoted to this subject, and the proceedings were very ani- 
mated. Miss Heerwart contributed a paper, read by the Rev. Alfred Bourne; 
and Miss Manning also gave a paper. The principal English friends of the 
Kindergarten joined in the discussion of these papers, and amongst foreign 
educationists of note who took prominent parts were M. Buels, the Burgo- 
master of Brussels and Belgian Minister of Education, a firm friend of the 
Kindergarten ; the aged Professor Stoy, of Jena (since deceased), doubly wel- 
come as one of the few surviving personal friends of Froebel ; and Madame la 
Comtesse Dinan, who gave a valuable account in some detail of the well-known 
Salles d'Asile of Madame Pape-Carpentier, at Paris. The Kindergarten section 
of the Exhibition was closed most appropriately by a special conference of 
Kindergarten teachers and trainers, and others intimately connected with the 
movement. The principal speakers were Miss Frances Lord, Miss Lyschinska, 
Miss Heerwart, Miss Snell, Madame Michaelis, and Miss Franks. The presi- 
dent was the Rev. Alfred Bourne. To prove by actual demonstration that con- 
siderable bodies of children could be satisfactorily taught in Froebelian methods 
in ordinary infant-schools — a point which had frequently been discussed — Miss 
Tillotson (one of Miss Heerwart's pupils at the Stockwell Training College, 
and now Mistress in the Stockwell Training College of the British and 
Foreign School Society) taught a class of sixty Board School children in the 
presence of the assembled Conference, very greatly to their satisfaction. 

It was not to be supposed that so much concerted action could remain barren 
of practical consequences amongst English Froebelians, quite apart from the 

Propagation and Extension. 207 

very important result already produced upon the public at large, and upon the 
educational authorities of tlie country. The most evident need was that of some 
combined attempt to maintain a high standard of training for Kindergarten 
teachers, a policy which the P'roebel Society had been consistently following 
from its foundation. The dangers from imperfectly trained teachers, equipped 
with some superficial mechanical knowledge of Froebel's methods, but entirely 
ignorant of Froebel's aims, were sufficiently apparent ; and it was evident that 
bhe best method of indicating the really qualified teachers was by some gener- 
ally recognised certificate. The London Kindergartens and the Croydon Kin- 
dergarten were well represented upon the council of the Froebel Society, and 
were used to a high standard maintained by joint action ; and the two other 
chief provincial associations were persuaded, after many discussions, to accept 
the high standard of London, the Manchester Kindergarten Association (the 
oldest English Froebelian body), first, in June 18S7 ; and the Bedford Kinder- 
garten Company, the next year, March, 1888. Thus was formed the National 
Froebel Union for examinational purposes, working by means of a Joint 
Board chosen from the councils of the three societies in the proportion of 
one member to every complete fifty subscribers. Besides the examination for 
the full teacher's certificate (or "higher certificate") intended to be taken in 
two portions, the two examinations being a year apart, the Joint Board 
and the three societies instituted a simpler examination, for an "elementary 
certificate," sufficient for assistant teachers, nursery governesses, etc., and 
intended to be taken in one year ; and in either case sufficient evidence of 
general education was made a preliminary condition of entrance, according 
to the long usage of the Froebel Society. 

Examinations under the Joint Board may be held at any town in Eng- 
land, where not less than ;i^2i is guaranteed towards the expenses of the 
local centre. The first examinations under the Board were held in 1889, 
at London, Cheltenham, Croydon, Manchester, Plymouth and Shrewsbury ; 
128 students being examined. In 1889, the entries were 169, arid the ex- 
aminations were held at London, Bedford (which had now joined the Union), 
Cheltenham, Croydon, Manchester and Plymouth. The Manchester Associa- 
tion, in consequence of changes in its constitution, and not from any un- 
friendliness, felt it its duty, unhappily, to withdraw from the National Froebel 
Union in May, 1889 ; Manchester students still continuing to present them- 
selves at their local centre. The numbers of students coming up for examina- 
tion continued to rise, and in 1890 there were 231 entries, examinations 
being held at London, Bedford, Cheltenham, Cork, Croydon, Plymouth and 

The original composition of the Joint Board was Rev. Alfred Bourne (chair- 
man), Madame Michaelis, Mr. H. Courthope Bowen and Mr. Claude G. Monte- 
fiore (of the Froebel Society) ; Miss Herford and Miss Snell (of the Manches- 
ter Association). In 1888 Dr. Philpotts (head-master of the Bedford Gram- 
mar School), Rev. Dr. Poole and Miss Sim (of the Bedford Company) were 
added. In 1889 the Manchester members withdrew. In 1890 the Rev. Mr. 
Bourne, owing to ill-health, had to relinquish the post for which his great 
abilities and long sustained efforts in the cause so eminently fitted liim, and 
his place as chairman was filled by Mr, Claude G. Montefiore, for a time, and 
then by Mr. Courthope Bowen. Miss Rosamond Davenport-Hill (the well- 
known member of the London School Board) was elected to the seat at the 
Board vacant by Mr. Bourne's retirement ; and another member being now 
due to the Froebel Society, because of its increase of numbers. Miss Emily 
Lord was appointed. Later in the same year Mr. Montefiore retired, and 

2o8 Letters of Fi'oebel. 

was replaced by Mr. A, R. Price, who had for some years been the Treasurer 
of the Froebel Society. The composition of the Joint Board, as it stands at 
the close of the present year (1890', is therefore as follows : Mr. H. Courthope 
Bowen (Chairman), Miss R. Davenpo: t-Hill, Miss Emily Lord, Madame 
Michaelis and Mr. A. R. Price (of the Froebel Society), Dr. Philpotts, Rev. 
Dr. Poole and Miss Sim (of the Bedford Company). 

From 1888 onwards, the Froebel Society accepted the duty of recommending 
an Examiner to test the Kindergarten work of the Infant School Teachers on 
the London School Board. The first examiners were Mr. Storr (1888), Miss 
Pattison (1889), Madame Michaelis (1890). 

The Froebel Society has for some years been in the habit of inspecting 
Kindergartens when desired to do so, and of ascertaining also by other means 
the value of the teaching in various Kindergartens. The number of special 
Kindergarten Training Colleges is about ten, and of other institutions where 
students are trained, and which are in the habit of sending up candidates for 
examination by the Society, from thirty to thirty-five ; and the number of 
properly taught Kindergartens recognised by the Society is about 100. Rut, 
with the usual national idiosyncrasy of sturdy independence, many excellent 
teachers have not as yet brought themselves into touch with the Froebel 
Society. Several such are known, indeed, to the present Editors ; but it is 
one of the aims of diligent members of the Froebel Society constantly, by 
persuasion, to reduce the number, and to bring about that complete union 
wherein alone lies strength; and no doubt the gradual influence of time and 
the growing reputation and importance of tlie Froebel Society will achieve 
the desired result. Meanwhile, it is the opinion of the Editors, after careful 
consideration, tfiat tlie total number of fairly qualified trainers of Kindergarten 
mistresses in England may be taken at about fifty, and the number of well- 
taught Kindergartens at about 200. But as to the total numbers of institu- 
tions adopting the Kindergarten name in our country, it is simply "legion." 
Every school has its Kindergarten class, good, bad or indifferent. The whole 
meaning of the Froebel Society and the other bodies of the kind is an effort 
truthfully to promote Froebelian education, in other words, to change all the 
countless sham Kindergartens into real ones. 

From what has been said above it is abundantly evident that England has 
realised the presentiment of the master, so frequently expressed in his last 
days, that his great system, originally conceived with regard to his own dearly 
loved country ("AUgemeine Deutsche Erziehungs-Anstalt," "-Deutscher Kin- 
dergarten," etc.), might, after all, strike deeper root in foreign nations than 
among liis own people. He regrets, in writing to Miss Howe (Part IH., No. 5), 
that his own want of acquaintance with foreign languages limited his efforts in 
this direction. Could he know how the Kindergarten has developed in Eng- 
land from a foreign imported system into an essential part of our modern 
education ; could he see the enormous power his principles have acquired in 
our country, far beyond the Kindergarten itself — influencing our educationists 
of all ranks, and in some cases completely remodelling methods of education 
— he would be filled with a deep and holy rejoicing at the wonderful success 
of his life-long efforts in the cause of humanity, from the side of education, 
and especially as regards those beloved little ones " of whom is the kingdom 
of heaven." 

Propagation and Extension. 209 

(/) Japan. 

The Kindergarten was introduced into Japan by a Berlin 
lady, the wife of one of the high Japanese officials, who had long 
served in Berlin. This lady established a Training College for 
Kindergarten teachers under the protection of the empress, who 
had collected one of the most complete libraries of Kindergarten 
literature to be found, in doing which she had been supported by 
the Mikado himself. After a sufficient number of Japanese 
Kindergarten teachers had been trained a large normal Kinder- 
garten was set on foot. According to the report of Professor 
Mason, of Boston, from 200 to 300 children, between the ages of 
two and six, are now educated here daily, under the superin- 
tendence of the Berlin lady we have named. She has a well- 
equipped staff of teachers, assistants, and maids under her, all 
thoroughly trained in Froebel's principles. The empress manifests 
much interest in the Kindergarten, and pays frequent visits to it, 
encouraging the staff to still further progress.^ 

(A") America. 

Kindergartens flourish apace in the United States of North 
America, and the results of Froebelian work are so great that we 
can hardly show anything to compare with them in the Old 
World, even in Germany, the cradle of the Kindergarten system. 

^ Herr Poesche has not mentioned the date of the foundation of the first 
Japanese Kindergarten ; but we may say that this nation, so remarkable for 
its swiftness of adaptation, had in 1878 already sufficiently advanced to be able 
to send an exhibit of Japanese Kindergarten work to the International Exhibi- 
tion of Paris held in that year. The Japanese Commissioner for Education 
sent to London at the time of the International Exhibition (Health and 
Education, 1884), when the Froebelians of London made the important 
demonstration of their methods which we have above described in our 
Appendix to the section " England," took great interest in the Kindergarten 
part of the Exhibition, paid frequent visits to it, informed himself more fully 
of the aims and principles of Fi-oebel as there shown, and eagerly accepted 
several of the exhibits, models, work, etc., for transmission to Japan. We 
indulge our personal vanity in adding that amongst his presents the Com- 
missioner accepted an entire set of Froebel's drawing, completely worked out 
by Croydon students, which we hope has done good service to the little 
subjects of the Mikado. 

2IO Letters of Fro eb el. 

The following figures will make it manifest that Froebel's 
keenest longings and hopes wnth regard to the New World have 
been fully realised. According to the statistics furnished by 
the Bureau of Education in 1873 there were 42 Kindergartens; 
in 1881 there were 273 Kindergartens, with 676 teachers and 
assistant mistresses and 14,107 scholars; in 1885 there were 
563 Kindergartens with 1,400 teachers and assistant mistresses, 
and 29,716 scholars; 423 institutions being kept by English- 
Americans, 142 by German-Americans, and 100 being connected 
with various public schools. Almost every state has its associa- 
tions and societies for the promotion of Froebel's method, 
as, for example, the " American Froebel Union " (President : 
W. Hailman, of Laporte, director of the German and English 
Academy, Milwaukee) and the Ladies' Associations of Phila- 
delphia, San Francisco (Professor Adler ^), etc. The following 
have rendered extraordinary service to the cause of the Kinder- 
garten in America : — Mr. Henry Barnard, ex-Minister of educa- 
tion ; Miss Peabody," of Cambridge, U.S.A., sister-in-law of the 
celebrated schoolmaster Horace Mann ; Mile. Mathilde Krieger 
(a former pupil of the Berlin Training College) and her mother ; ^ 
the Kraus Boltes,^ husband and wife, of New York ; the late 

^ Professor Adler is wrongly placed at San Francisco. His great sphere ot 
philanthropic and beneficent work is at New York. The proper name to 
associate with the introduction of the Kindergarten in San Francisco is that 
of Miss Emma Marwedel, whose quarter of a century of earnest and original 
work entitles her to great respect. In 1888 we had the pleasure of receiving 
her, when visiting England — quite aged, but still full of energy. Miss Kate 
Wiggin, whose personal acquaintance we made in London this summer (1S90), 
should also be mentioned here as one of the foremost leaders of the Kinder- 
garten movement in San Francisco to-day. She is principal of the National 
Kindergarten {Volks Kindergarten), and is a woman of very remarkable gifts. 

2 Miss Peabody is one of the few persons yet living who knew and worked 
with Froebel. Although Herr Poesche has only mentioned her amongst 
others, those who are intimately acquainted with American Kindergarten 
work know that Miss Peabody, if any one, may be described as the Apostle 
of the Kindergarten in America. Her Froebelian work stands pre-eminent 
there, and her authority is unquestioned. 

^ Mile. Krieger was a fellow student with Madame Michaelis, one of the 
present Editors, under Madame von Marenholtz-Biilow, at Berlin,, in 1863. 

"^ Who have produced what in our opinion is perhaps the best English 
practical guide to Kindergarten work that has ever yet appeared ; in addition 
to which their Kindergarten at New York is a model for such institutions. 

Propagation and Extension. 2 1 1 

Edward Wiebe, etc.^ The American newspapers are especially 
enthusiastic over Froebelian matters, and the booksellers (Steigers, 
New York) and authors strive with emulation as to who shall 
produce the best translations of the foremost German Kinder- 
garten publications ; as witness : Horace Mann's translation of 
the collected works of the Baroness von Marenholtz-Biilow, 
Neffelt's translation of Goldammer's writings, Borschitzky's 
Kindergarten songs, etc.- The Kindergarten town, before all 
others, is certainly St. Louis, with its sixty free Kindergartens 
and 185 teachers and masters, and 4,805 children in the Kinder- 
gartens proper, besides 3,925 children, who, after the model of 
Froebel's Transition Classes, attend partly the Kindergarten and 
partly the Elementary School classes. All these are free from any 
school-fees whatever. In Chicago we learn from the Wester )i 
News of nth March, 1886, that over thirty Kindergartens, 
attended by more than 2,500 children, have been established in 
the last five years. Here are two large societies, the " Froebel 
Association " and the " Free Kindergarten Association," with 
two Training Colleges (Normal Schools) and twenty-four Kinder- 
gartens. The fourteen Kindergartens of the Free Kindergarten 
Association take children of the poorest classes without fee. 
The Association has in this manner already done a large amount 
of good, and it still holds on its beneficent career, supported 
more and more in its good w^ork by noble friends of humanity. 

1 To show the intense and living earnestness in Kindergarten matters per- 
vading America'! Society, even of the highest class, we may say that Mrs. 
Cleveland, wife of the ex-President of the United States (tlie immediate 
predecessor of the present President), is the leading member of the Mission 
Kindergarten Organisatior, opened this year (1890) at the corner of First 
Avenue and Fifty-Third Street, New York, and giving daily shelter and free 
instruction to poor cliildren from three to seven years old. Mrs. Cleveland 
spares neither money, clothes, nor kind words, and visits this squalid 
quarter of the great city almost daily. Interesting and admired as she always 
has been ever since she was brought into the front rank of American society 
by her marriage, which occurred during her husband's presidency (a fact unique 
in the history of America), her quiet, half-concealed, constant, loving work 
upon this Kindergarten Mission seems to many to be her truest social effort. 

2 It is too bad, without the least excuse, except that of American habits of 
piracy of copyright, to rob us of our good friend Borschitzky, whose long 
residence in our country fairly entitles us to claim him as an Englishman, and 
\\hose songs were, as we all know, published in England. 

Letters of F roe be I. 

The children, drawn from such miserable dwellings that it is 
impossible for them to be neatly clothed, receive clothing from 
the Association, and many of the poor little scholars are also fed 
daily at its expense. Once in the week a meal is served to all 
the children in the schools at the expense of the Association, in 
order that they may receive lessons in good manners at table, and 
in proper behaviour, from the Kindergarten teachers. Of course, 
in addition to this, care is taken that their faces and hands are 
thoroughly washed and their hair neatly brushed ; and if a child 
comes to school in the morning unwashed or untidy, he is sent 
back to his mother, so that she may be made aware of her neglected 
duty. The young teachers and assistants who have charge of 
the children pay a visit to their parents from time to time, to see 
how the children live at home ; and it follows naturally that by 
these visits many a home, once untidy and uncomfortable, has 
been gradually brought into a more respectable condition. In 
these free Kindergartens the main principles of religion are 
taught. By means of pretty coloured pictures, iiamel)^ the 
children learn the Bible stories ; and the first principles of Chris- 
tian morality are taught them in a strictly unsectarian manner. 
The Training College ( "Normal School " ) prescribes one year's 
course of studies for its students. These young ladies, who 
must be at least eighteen years old, are educated without fee in 
all branches of their work, and in return they have to place their 
time at the disposal of the Association, that is, they must assist 
to educate the children in the fourteen Kindergartens, or at all 
events must help in keeping order. It need scarcely be said 
that one indispensable qualification for a young aspirant is that 
her moral character is unblemished ; beyond this she only needs 
to have musical ability and a merely average education, though the 
young ladies of superior education are always taken by preference. 
Each student must serve as probationer for a month, to see if she 
is fitted for her proposed vocation. Should she satisfactorily 
pass through the month's probation, and then do well in her 
year's course, she receives a certificate. But she can only gain 
a full diploma as teacher after five months further study, and 
after thoroughly informing herself upon the history and the theory 

Propagation and Extension. 213 

of education. It is very rarely that a young lady is rejected on 
account of unsuitableness for her profession, and in these cases 
deficiency sometimes arises from over-culture as well as from 
total want of culture. Of course most girls adopt the profession 
as a means of livelihood after the completion of their student's 
course ; and it is interesting to note that the demand for trained 
Kindergarten teachers is greater than the supply. The most 
pressing inquiries are for German-American teachers, that is, 
ladies who can spe^k with equal ease and purity both German 
and English. Many schools in Chicago have a Kindergarten 
infant class attached to them, and in all parts of the city private 
Kindergartens, where cukured ladies educate the children of 
well-to-do parents at stated fees, have lately sprung up. 

And not only in the south, but in the east (New York, Hobo- 
ken, Boston, with its forty Kindergartens) and in the west (San 
Francisco with over twenty Kindergartens) the Kindergartens 
flourish and are numerous ; and as for the Inland States one 
example at least we may give, namely, Davenport in the State of 
Iowa, where there has been a Kindergarten Association with its 
Kindergarten since 1861. The Kindergarten buildings are by 
the side of the Mississippi, and the board over the entrance bears 
the words, " Froebel's Infant-Garden." Thus^has Froebel's work 
encircled the globe, and his name is written in large characters 
for all the world to see, from Thuringia to Iowa, from the granite 
rocks of the Glockner to the banks of the Mississippi ! 

In the year 185 1 I was fortunate enough to be in Froebel's 
house at Marienthal on the 21st April, with his pupils, celebrating 
his 69th birthday — the last but one he was to know. We long 
discussed how best to proceed, and with what embellishments our 
plan might be adorned. In the end we chose five girls from his 
scholars, and they were to represent the five continents of the 
earth, declaiming verses before the illuminated world {N.B. — 
the globe was, on this occasion, only made of willow-wands and 
oiled paper), and prophesying in these songs the extension of 
Froebel's principles into all the quarters of the earth. We have 

214 ' Letters of FroeheL 

only to remember that the centenary of Froebel's birthday was 
celebrated in Europe, North America, Brazil, Chile, Japan, India, 
and Australia to acknowledge that in very deed that fantastic 
vision and prophecy have truly come to pass. 

But let us close with what we began, Germany and the 
Germans. In the year 1878 we could count at the Paris Exhibi- 
tion 929 German Kindergartens : we have now certainly over 
2,000. And it is not merely in the enumeration of these 
Kindergartens that our advance is manifest, but much rather in 
the acknowledgment of their value as the basis and foundation 
stone of our national education. And in this latter point much 
remains yet to be done in Germany ; for Diesterweg's epigram, 
which he sent to the Rhine News {Rheiiiische Blatter) in 1857, 
has unfortunately come true : "Our Kindergartens seem to share 
the fate of the rest of our German manufactures, which have first 
to travel to London and Paris, and win acceptance in those 
cities before they can be rewarded with favouring glances in the 
country of their birth." But Froebel, writing to Langethal long 
before, in 1836, had said much the same thing in his own pecu- 
liar way : " Am I travelling amongst a foreign people ? Am I 
not a German travelling amongst Germans? And why, then, am 
I not understood ? " 

Well, let us steadily work on, and leave the rest to tlie 
guidance of Providence. Nevertheless, I cannot refrain from 
adding yet one more quotation, an admonition from an earnest, 
practical man, the Chief Councillor for Education, Dr. von 
Sallwiirk, of Carlsruhe, in the Gernian Neivs {Deutsche Blatter) : 
" Froebel to-day stands in England and in France like the patron 
saint above the door of the Schools of Education. ^ In Brussels, 
in the year 1880, Froebel was extolled to the skies. In French 
Switzerland they are enthusiastic about him, and in Italy a very 
earnest study of his work has set in. These phenomena are not 
so unimportant as people are accustomed to consider them in 
many German educational circles ! " 

^ Decidedly an overstatement as regards France. Up to tlie present time 
France cannot be fairly said to have begun to adopt the Kindergarten — a 
neglect in which she stands almost alone amongst the great nations. 

Propagation and Extension. 2 1 5 

To the Wives and Mothers of Blankenburg", 

and especially to three of them, the Wives of Superintendent 
Oertel, ^Rector Maurer, ^;^J^/Herr Sattler, Chemist. 

Blankenburg, 25//^ December., 1839. 
Honoured Wives and Mothers, — 

At this beloved Christmas-tide what most stirs the heart of 
all wives and mothers, and almost narrows their life at this time to 
one single point, is the joy of the children, the merry activity of 
all the dear little folk, and especially of the youngest amongst 
them. The enjoyments of this festive season, which either they 
or their friends provide for the darlings of their heart, or which 
these beloved ones provide for others, are the cause of much 
merry conversation, and are now strengthening the bond of 
union which binds together the common life of themselves and 
their numerous companions. 

Wherefore I hope to obtain your indulgence, most honoured 
wives and mothers, seeing that I come before you at a time 
which is so truly a festive season for children and for the lovers 
of children, with a petition conceived in the interest of children 
of tender age. I thus confess my design at the outset. 

Some time since, in the gloomy days of bitterness while I 
sorrowed at the loss of my dear wife, now amongst the blessed ; 
and especially in those days when the gift which her soul had 
received from Nature, its bodily envelope, I mean, was once more 
returned to the mother earth, the most noble-minded women in 
Blankenburg came before me in a guise so amiable, so thought- 
ful and kindly, all of them uniting in endeavours to bring peace 
to my sorrowing soul, and deeply touching me with their goodness, 
that a gentle desire made itself felt in my heart to seek out some 
object which might serve as a fitting centre to occupy and pre- 
serve that most beautiful and rare union of womanly minds which 
had thus been formed for my solace, in the first instance. At 

2 1 6 Letters of Froebel. 

that time, out of all the projects which occurred to me I could 
find none which pleased me, none which was truly appropriate ; 
and my desire has lain still unsatisfied within my soul until these 
present days. Now another plan for uniting women in a com- 
mon cause has taken possession of my mind ; and my original 
desire has not only awoke anew to life, but has acquired a de- 
termined form and a definite purpose. This desire, and the 
present opportunity, which is so eminently appropriate for ex- 
pressing it, now urges me, most esteemed ladies, to address you 
at this festival time, and by an open letter. 

From the establishment in this place of the first educational 
institution which based itself upon ordered games and occu- 
pations, and which has so quickly developed here from that first 
germ into a healthy and admired plant — mainly by the cherish- 
ing aid of the authorities and the parents of Blankenburg, who 
believed in its future — there has arisen the idea that we need a 
larger, earlier, and more general care and observation of child- 
hood ; and further, with a view to obtain this result, that we need 
more special training for those who are the first to have -charge of 
children — that is, for children's maids and nursery governesses — 
not only for the purposes of the general public, but especially in 
relation to our local educational institutions. I have been asked 
for some time since, indeed, to unite and incorporate with my 
educational establishments here the training of such children's 
maids and nursery governesses, and also, if possible, the training 
of actual educators of very young children. But prudent and 
experienced women, conversant with motherly difficulties, will see 
at once that more is required for the due culture of such students 
than any solitary educator and trainer, however devoted, can of 
himself supply ; they will recognise the necessity of the practical 
and thorough co-operation of cultured and experienced wives and 
mothers with such an educator ; but this co-operation, this help, 
is at present entirely wanting to me. 

I have already once before taken the liberty, esteemed Madame 
Oertel, to point out to you the gravity of these requests which 
reach me from all sides, to undertake work not alone necessary 
for Blankenburg families, whose daughters are maybe discover- 

Propagation and Extension. 217 

ing ill themselves a vocation for work of this kind, and not alone 
necessary for merely the earliest years of childhood, but a work 
which is necessary to the best interests of all the growing and 
developing portion of mankind, and one which is sure to find 
speedy imitation elsewhere ; and on that occasion, dear madam, 
I set before you a scheme to supply the want — namely, that as 
soon as possible a few of the most cultured, thoughtful, humane, 
and, above all, child-loving women of Blankenberg should unite 
together in an effort towards the end I have indicated, towards 
the fulfilment of a need so universally felt, and that they should 
pledge themselves to contribute to this cause all their powers of 
heart and hand, of thought and action. 

But now, at this very moment that I seek to consult with you, 
honoured wives and mothers, on this important subject, I am in 
receipt of a copy of an essay, written in a lady's hand, and which 
must have sprung from a mother's heart, the author having sent 
it to a scholarly and patriotically minded German gentleman, that 
he might look it through, and then procure its insertion in a 
widely read German journal. By this article, a copy of the 
sketch of which is enclosed, I perceive that in addition to oral 
and separate inquiries we may soon expect a public and therefore 
a more closely combined attack to be made upon us from with- 
out, urging us to the very work I have put before you. But even 
if this attack should not be actually delivered, the MS. shows me 
— especially when I read it in conjunction with the article in 
No. 312 of the German Intelligencer {^Deutsche Anzeiger) of 15th 
May last — the suitability both in time and place of our Blanken- 
burg Association of cultured, large-hearted women, through whose 
sympathy and aid I might find it possible to meet the want that 
is so universally felt, and now begins to be so generally ex- 
pressed — that is, for the due culture of attendants for children. 
And, I would add, it would be delightful to be able to greet this 
public request by an accomplished fact, to greet it, or perhaps to 
precede it. 

Hence am I so bold, upon this blessed day of Christmas, the 
day whereon the Saviour of children and of men was born, to 
lay before you my scheme for such an association for your 

2 1 8 Letters of Froebel. 

general consideration ; and to offer it, should it meet with your 
approval, as a means of worthily celebrating the Christ-festival. 

Yes, much-esteemed wives and mothers, this is how I would 
have you celebrate the present Christmas ; the special children's 
festival; the festival when all men rejoice in and with the chil- 
dren ; the festival of the true life brought to mankind, the pure 
light, the perfect love, towards which in truth it must always be 
our aim to train the children. I would that this festival might 
prove to be our Association-day, the foundation-day of an under- 
taking for the benefit of childhood and the early training of 
children in general, and also for the training of healthy-minded 
and brave-hearted maidens into the first real nurses. 

Do not, honoured wives and mothers, allow yourselves to be 
daunted by the smallness and the almost insignificant character 
which must mark the beginning of such things, especially when 
we have to reckon with the modest and retiring nature so appro- 
priate to the noblest feminine souls ; but proceed with me to the 
foundation-feast, and thence to the establishment of the Asso- 
ciation, All that is truly of importance to mankind has come to\ 
'us out of obscurity, small and insignificant, entrusted to the care/ 
of womanly souls ; often, as indeed this very festival reminds us/ 
to the care of only one woman, she being the sole guardian o^ 
the very highest treasure. ■ 

If we choose this day for our opening day, the birthday of the 
divine friend of children, of him who saw and honoured the Man 
in the Child and the divine in the human nature, the spirit and 
hallowedness of this day shall rest upon our work, and without 
doubt many will join with us because of the feeling and spirit 
which our association with such a day will naturally call forth. 

You yourself, esteemed Madame Oertel, have pointed out to me 
many a wife and mother of our town who would be likely to join 
our Association ; and the maidens would come also, for there 
must be cases such as those indicated to me by your husband, 
where the eldest daughter of a bereaved family, by studying with 
us, would fulfil the dearest wishes of her sorrowing father; and 
in fact, such a case actually happened lately amongst my own 

Propagation and Extension. 219 

Thus working together in fullest confidence and in all sincerity, 
though at first in quite a small circle and for an aim narrowly 
limited, your Association would eventually grow, honoured ladies, 
and would, with perhaps the assistance of other energetic and 
honourable women of Blankenburg, form the earliest germ of 
a general German Women's Association for the care of the 
earliest years of childhood, would nourish this germ, and sweep 
away from before it all the obstacles to its growth. The condi- 
tions and aptitudes for this Association exist and are evident to 
me among the circumstances of our time, which is why I cherish 
the desire for it so faithfully in my bosom, and why my assurance 
is so firm that many noble-hearted wives and mothers of Ger- 
many, from far and wide, will hasten to join in such a work as 
soon as its blessed nature is visible as an accomplished fact, even 
though it appear at first on but a very small scale. Let this day, 
at all events for you three ladies to begin with, be the Foundation- 
day, the Association-day, of our limited work here at home ; 
which work, however, is at the same time destined to germinate 
and to develop into a great Women's Association for the care of 

If you wish to know more precisely the principles which should 
lie at the base of such an Association, and which are evolved of 
necessity from the very nature of the enterprise, I shall feel it a 
pleasant duty to give further particulars. 

Receive, honoured ladies, the assurance of my special esteem 
and attachment. 

[No signature.] 

220 Letters of Froebe!. 


[" Come^ let us live for our children. 

An Appeal to German Wives and Maidens, 

and to all Germans ivho love Manhood., Youth., and Childhood., 

made in favour of the German Kindergarten by 

Friedrich Froebel. 

Blankenburg, 1844. 
The following three works about the Kindergarten have ap- 
peared up to the present. 

1. " Songs for Mothers and Nursery Songs " {Mutter- U7id Kose- 
Lieder), a book for the family. The first games used in the 
Blankenburg Kindergarten. 

2. "A Hundred Songs for the Ball-games of the Blankenburg 
Kindergarten" ; serving both as preface and as supplement to the 
work called " The Ball, the child's first toy, and always his best 
beloved plaything." 

3. The " third gift " of the series of games used in the same 
Kindergarten : — '' The Divided Cube, cut once through each side 
— the delight of children," with two hundred ways of using it for 
building, and as many little songs. 

These published works lie open to the perusal and the close 
scrutiny of all. Taking them in their entirety, and also examining 
each one in itself, it becomes clear even to the most cursory 
glance what is meant by the " Kindergarten," what is meant, 
moreover, by the " German Kindergarten " as a Normal or Model 
Institution of this kind; in fact, the aim which these undertakings 
have in view is quite manifest to every one. 

The bodily and mental powers are to be awakened and de- 
veloped, ways and means for their exercise indicated and pro- 
vided, and assistants trained; so that every child, no matter of 

Propagation and Extension, 

what rank or condition, may here be able to work out and faith 
fully express his real nature, character and true vocation in life • 
educating himself as well as being educated. This is the simple 
purpose of the " Kindergarten," this the goal towards which the 
"German Kindergarten" is directed. 

But whilst goal and purpose are so clear, alaiost concentrated, 
as one might say, in a single point and precisely indicated, more- 
over, by the needs of all men; yet this point can only be attained 
through the combined action of many minds — indeed, it would 
scarcely be too much to say, the action of all minds. For the 
child must not only be shielded from all evil examples, that which 
is faulty in his nature being left unstimulated and unnourished, but 
must at the same time be educated in all that is valuable for life 
by means of example and practice — in goodness, in observing 
power, and in practical ability, as well as in the application of 
whatever instruction is imparted to him ; so that later on that 
child will come to look upon self-development as his highest need 
in every circumstance of his life. Women must be trained in 
this work, and become penetrated with its spirit to make them- 
selves helpful in family educational cares, and in all grades of 
completeness from the nurse to the teacher ; and this is the 
general purpose of the Kindergarten, and the especial purpose of 
the German Kindergarten. 

That these ends of the Kindergarten should be attained, is to 
the interest of every man, whoever he may be, and it might almost 
be said that every one's interest is equally great in this ; rich or 
poor, high or low, cultured or of unlettered natural understanding 
and simple life, young or old, imperfect attainment of ends by 
the one class brings about disadvantage to the other, as each 
man's own observation must force him to admit. 

All of us, without exception, feel — each one in his own way and 
some more, some less — the consequences of deficient culture and 
faulty education at every stage, in our various relations of life and 
spheres of work, and we have had to contend against these ill 
consequences our whole life long. 

Before all others, however, the place where the ill consequences 
of deficient education in the various grades of culture make them- 

222 Letters of Froehel. 

selves most felt is the household, the family ; and it is the educa- 
tion and culture of the children that is at fault, especially of the 
children from the time they leave their mother's arms up to 
school-age. Who does not know, even the most patient and 
devoted mother, how hard it is, especially in the age just referred 
to, to keep children occupied suitably and for any length of time ? 
Who does not know how hard it is to find maids or nurses for very 
young children ? 

The true care for genuine education therefore rests upon you, 
O mothers, wives and maidens, beyond all others, for it is you 
who are the first and the most concerned in the consequences of 
faulty education. To you, God and Nature, and the customs of 
life and of society almost exclusively entrust the earliest educa- 
tion of man, of the child, in your capacity of mothers or daughters, 
or of assistants to one or the other. 

How rare it is that you find surrounding circumstances free from 
hindrance in your task ; how far rarer it is that you find them truly 
helpful to you; how rare that you can fairly claim yourself to 
possess the necessary insight, the practical knowledge fitting you 
for your task, upon a truthful scrutiny ; how rare that you can 
engage the assistance of some one who is properly qualified, or 
who has ever enjoyed facilities for so qualifying herself ! 

Natural instinct and good example will do much in this regard, 
it is true ; but here, as in all human concerns, one must proceed 
by extension of knowledge and by careful scrutiny, or both the 
one or the other may mislead or be misdirected. Experience 
cries aloud to us, to warn us of this danger. You feel this, and 
you know this, all too well, true-hearted, good, and noble parents, 
/ipright judges against yourselves ! Man shall assuredly not neglecN 
[his natural instincts, still less abandon them, bat he must ennoblel 
ythem through his intelligence,, purify them through his reason/ 
Whatever a man does in his character of a member of humanUy 
he has to do with insight and after careful scrutiny. Wherefore 
the yearnings of to-day after the realisation of a simple, easily 
managed method of children's education and children's care, 
expressing and satisfying the claims of child-life, turns with full 
confidence to you for their fulfilment, O German wive?, mothers 

Pi'opagation and Extension. 

and maidens, and beyond you to all Germans who love mankind 
and childhood. 

Scrutinise what has been said above in the light of your soul's 
needs, of your life's wants, of your spirit's intuitions ; always re- 
membering that "the letter killeth,"that every printed description 
or statement can but present a single detached phenomenon out 
of all the great living unity of real education ; and then lend us 
your hands, helping and forwarding, and you shall see rise up 
before you in the German Kindergarten an educational life which 
shall be one and a whole ; at all events, which shall be such, so 
far as regards the earliest years of education, which will serve as a 

One hour of earnest observation of such an educational system 
in actual operation, or even a vivid account thereof, is more helpful 
towards the development of the general plan than the reading 
of a voluminous educational work ; for by observation you can 
not only apprehend the truth of the system, but can see how it is 
actually carried out. 

The German Kindergarten as Normal Institution must become 
an actuality. Kindergartens throughout the land, in town and 
country, as branches of the first, must also become actualities, 
that the word may become a fact, and this fact strike deep into 
our national life, to the salvation and blessing of all — of all I For 
it is important to all alike, that a thorough and sufficient and truly 
humane scheme of children's education shall exist, and shall be 
applied to all the various special conditions of our life. 

With lightning speed flashes through our heart the evil example 
of wicked men, and so is it with the evil example of naughty 
children, striking upwards from below, striking downwards from 
above. Every one knows that it is hardly possible for the most 
careful parents to protect their children from the poison of evil 
example, or indeed, to know from what quarter the pest may 
come ; and through its habit of springing upon its victim in this 
unexpected fashion it is able to inflict so much the deeper and 
deadlier hurt upon the young soul. The consequences may not 
be apparent — and this is one of the worst aspects of the evil done 
— until years afterwards. Have you not known cases where the 

224 Letters of Froebel. 

hearts of the children of some pure and noble minded family have 
in an instant been poisoned in this wise ? 

But there is another and almost more powerful enemy of the 
blessed ignorance of childhood, of the purity of the children's 
heart and soul, which, like the blight and canker in the world of 
plants, manifests its presence by the stagnation of the vital fluid. 
This enemy is the mischievous idleness which results from our not 
satisfying or from our misdirecting the natural longing for some 
mode of activity which is inherent in all children. 

From this there is no other salvation for us — think of this, ye 
parents, ye mothers, ye lovers of men and of children, of what 
class soever ye be ! — no other salvation than in a comprehensive, 
general, thorough, early (nay, the earliest) education, exactly fitted 
to the needs of the child and of the future man in the child, such 
as is given us in the Kindergarten system, and in the German 
Kindergarten especially. 

If we fail to eradicate the evil during childhood we shall never 
cease to grieve over it, for it will continue to make itself felt as now, 
in families, schools, churches, and the whole public life of the land. 

The separate creches and infant schools which now exist are 
quite insufficient to cope with this evil ; for as to the creches their 
care is simply of externals, and as to the infant schools they are 
individually separate, each one being fitted for some special con- 
dition of society — and further, though their intention is good, they 
only train the memory, neglecting or insufficiently attending to the 
creative and expressive needs, which, however, are the most 
essential needs of little children. 

Therefore the creches and infant schools must be raised into) 

(Kindergartens, wherein the child is treated and trained according 
to his whole nature, so that the claims of his body, his heart, and/ 
his head, his active, moral and intellectual powers, are all satisfi^ 
and developed. 

Not the training of the memory, not learning by rote, not 
familiarity with the appearances of things, but culture by means 
of actions, facts, and life itself, bring a blessing upon the individual, 
and thereby a blessing upon the whole community; since each 
one, be he the highest or the humblest, is a member of the com- 

Propagatio7i and Extension. 225 

munity : now, the training of the Kindergarten is alike of the 
head and heart, and educates at one and the same time towards 
skilfiilness in action and towards rectitude in hfe. 

Therefore work, work, all of you who are friends to the earlier 
satisfactory training of cliildren — and who is not a friend thereto? 
— work with a will, that we may raise up and develop an educa- 
tional life for the culture of childhood in its model or normal form, 
and in its fullest power, in the shape of the German Kindergarten. 

Many noble, highborn, wealthy persons of your sex, who are also 
at one with you in mind and soul, German wives and maidens, 
and many of the true German friends of Man have already en- 
tered into bonds of fellowship towards this end. 

The prospectus and balance-sheet of the German Kindergarten 
is already before you all, and a supplementary pamphlet will 
soon be placed in your hands. But the response hitherto received 
has not been sufficient to enable the work to make a beginning, 
even in its earliest and simplest form ; for the subscriptions are 
not enough for the permanent appointment of even one "mother " 
of a Kindergarten, and therefore at present the children cannot 
be assembled continuously in a Kindergarten and be continu- 
ously busied there, according to the spirit of our institution. 

Bat in order that you may at least in some measure educate 
and occupy the children in the si)irit of this method the three 
works mentioned at the head of this address, fruits of patriotic 
effort and collective action, have been published. They are here 
laid before every one who considers the idea to be worthy of his 
support and justified by facts. And although what is here offered 
you is not of great bulk, yet it constitutes, with the life it affords 
you the opportunity of creating for yourselves, a work of import- 
ance ; it is the fruit of the belief in the future lying before it, which 
the idea of the German Kindergarten has been already able to in- 
spire in many noble-hearted and experienced persons, especially 
true-hearted mothers and sensible wives. Rejoice, ye noble ones, 
when you read this. Rejoice, if any good result towards the early 
training of children springs from what is here laid before the 
world ; for if so, it will be due to the truly maternal solicitude with 
which you cared for and protected those first thoughts which 


226 Letter's of FroebeL 

have ever since been struggling to express themselves in the form 
of the Kindergarten. For one thing, we have here disposed, once 
for all, of the objection, "What is the use of the German Kin- 
dergarten to foreigners? Can they derive any benefit from it?" 
Believe me, the blessings of the Kindergarten already rise like 
the stimulating odour of flowers into the lofty palace, and sink 
like cool, refreshing dew into the poorest hut. And yet the work 
is but still in the bud. 

Examine closely the publications which are here set before you 
as a preface, so to speak, or example, showing the spirit and the 
method of the whole work. These fragments are not presented 
as a system complete in itself, and still less are they to be 
regarded as worked out and properly adapted for all degrees of 
culture and all conditions of life ; these developments will follow 
in good time. 

Meanwhile, in all love and sympathy for children, use the 
material which has here been made ready to your hand j so that, 
encouraged by the result which is sure to follow, you may join 
in association with the noble and large-hearted friends of man 
in every rank of society, and with them take good care that 
the work shall not shrivel in the bud. May you find yourselves 
impelled to unite together and aid the work to complete itself, to 
develop into actual life, in theory and practice, possessed of ways 
and means ; for association strengthens and makes efficient the 
wcrk of each individual, as well as serving for a normal type and 
a fruitful life-source for other such associations and circles. 

Now help, all ye who know the meaning of the words "child." 
and "education" — and who is there who was not once a child, or 
who has not received the benefits of education ?— help a work 
which, like Christianity itself, or like a blossom of that sacred tree 
of life (which sees in every child a citizen of Heaven, and which, 
on this account, demands from us the care of children), brings 
salvation and blessing to every one and rejects none. Help a 
work whicli so thoroughly arouses and nurtures life, regards it as 
a gift of God, and carries out the sense of one connected whole, 
even down to the smallest details, that its least influence upon 
the child never remains without some blessed result. 

Propagation and Extension. 227 

Ye wives and maidens of richly endowed soul, clear intelli- 
gence, and energetic readiness to take up every good work in all 
the provinces of Germany, who are deeply convinced of the value 
and importance of the object here proposed, unite and bring 
together the wives and maidens of your neighbourhood, and 
show them how, in furthering this nationally beneficent sclieme, 
they will also be consulting tlieir personal weal and founding 
the well-being of their present or future family ; make it come 
vividly home to them that to no one can the happiness of the 
household or the family lie more closely to heart — which is as 
much as to say the early and thorough culture of children — than 
to them, who are knit close for their whole lives to the home and 
the family. Show them that whoever wishes to lay deep and 
sure foundations for true family weal (and who wishes it not, even 
as maiden, still more as mother?) can find the foundation stone 
nowhere else than in the family-life ; namely, in the educating 
home-influence, which rules within the family ; and that it is pre- 
cisely the task which the German Kindergarten has set before it 
(and it will be the task likewise of the other Kindergartens which 
will spring to life in every town and province) to arouse that 
true, universally binding, universally contenting, educating spirit 
in all families, in all German lands, to stimulate it to free and 
active life, to nourish it into fullest strength. It is quite true, 
therefore, as was said above, that each one is consulting and 
furthering his own interest who is furthering the interest of the 
German Kindergarten. Should those of the middle classes ob- 
ject, "The subscription is too heavy"; then answer them — 
" Who asks you to subscribe a whole share each .? who asks for 
your subscription to be paid down all at once ? who asks for it 
as a free gift, your interest or profit in which vanishes when you 
pay it in?" All this is silly, but one nevertheless very often 
hears these futile objections. 

However, this money question is not the real cause of the 
frequent unwillingness to take part in our enterprise, this is not 
what keeps people back. Rather is it that they need convinc- 
ing of the truth of the whole system, that their heart and soul 
have yet to be stirred to seek their children's welfare, and to 

228 Letters of Froebel. 

win the hope which they have set upon those children, or even 
upon their grandchildren, still unborn, so that they have yet to 
be made to perceive the future results, the blessings already be- 
stowed and those now arriving through the Kindergarten ; con- 
vince them of this, and you will find not one way, but many ways 
at once becoming possible, whereby to forward the great work — 
and they themselves will indicate which ways, and will hold out 
helpful hands to cheer you on. 

Let me give a few examples of suggestions given me by 
sympathising womanly souls, of means useful for gaining the 
co-operation of very small and poor communities. One of these 
friends of Man gave it as her advice that on every work-day 
a very small subscription should be collected, such as would 
in all amount to sixpence, and that should go on for a year. 
Suppose the wives or maidens subscribing give but a farthing 
each, if there are twenty or twenty-four of them, ^d. or (id. 
would be raised every day. Could not this be done any- 
where, with a little energy? Certainly it could. Gather together, 
then, wives and maidens of every place, be it the smallest of 
parishes. Will you not give these small sums during a year in 
order that ways and means may be given you, and tliat you may 
be strengthened for the pursuit of your especial vocation as 
religiously minded and yet also enlightened, practical and ex- 
perienced guardians of children, some of you as daughters in your 
own families, some as assistants in the families of others, some 
active as mothers, rich in blessed works, some preparing for future 
motherhood? Another noble-minded friend of your sex adds the 
following suggestion : — That women's handicrafts should be plied 
collectively, in what are called Ladies' Working Societies, some 
perhaps aiding in the work by providing materials, others by 
making them up. The articles thus made w^ould then be dis- 
posed of in the usual manner, and the proceeds applied to the 
purchase of one or more shares in the German Kindergarten, 
which might remain the joint property of all those who took part 
in the Working Society, at the same time being a pleasant 
reminder of their association in a work as Christian as it is 
humane, and of their true German wonianly spirit. You see how 

Propagation and Exte?iston. 229 

many ways one may discover of helping not merely to found this 
beneficent undertaking, but even to bring it to completion in all 
its perfection. And these ways are sure and simple, directly 
working towards the great purpose. As soon as by the co-opera- 
tion of all, which makes it so easy for each one, the German 
Kindergarten shall have been erected, then also will local 
Kindergartens spring up in every neighbourhood. Personal 
visits to the Kindergarten actually at work will do more in an 
hour towards your local aims than your propaganda could effect 
in a month, and the Kindergartens will at once supply the finest 
possible spheres of culture for yourselves and for your daughters. 
And if, as was above indicated, substantial support can be given 
to the undertaking by combining and sharing the burden, as 
regards circles possessing but little means, how much more easily 
can it be given by those more fortunate in this world's goods — at 
all events, by the united action of the several members of one 
family kindred. 

Besides this, let us repeat once again, the entire Institution 
remains the property of all the shareholders, each one having a 
property in it, according to the amount of his share, and the pro- 
perty passing with the shares in the event of a change of 

Ever increasing is the cry of need for properly qualified assist- 
ants in the care of children of tender years, call them nursery 
maids, nursery governesses, or what you will ; ever increasing are 
the inquiry and the competition for such qualified guardians of 
childhood. By the ordinary methods this need cannot be less- 
ened nor this inquiry satisfied. The establishment first of the 
German Kindergarten and then the general growth of local Kin- 
dergartens which will follow on, can alone bridge this difficulty ; 
first, by rendering it possible for girls without means, even for 
quite poor girls, if they are thoroughly modest and religious, to 
qualify themselves for the care of young children by the simple 
plan of giving them credit for the fees of their education in 
the Institution, which they would have to repay from the pro- 
ceeds of their first earnings, by instalments covering a specified 
number of years. 

230 ■ Letters of Froebel. 

It is now quite clear what the German Kindergarten aims at, 
and how it desires to proceed ; that it springs from the everlasting 
source, rests on the everlasting basis, and returns again to that 
source and to that basis ; and yet once more let it be said that 
the way from the lifeless letter, through the eye into life, is a long 
one, and that what the human mind wants is rather direct 
observation and representation of life itself. 

Wherefore, all ye noble ones, all ye friends of Man, who are 
persuaded of the truth of what has been set forth herein, deal 
with it each one after her own manner, and according to the 
means lying nearest to her hand, that the work may germinate, 
grow green, bear blossom and fruit, and prove a blessing to every 
German family and the salvation of every German child. 

Believe then, oh, believe, in the faith of a true German ! 
Believe that German faithfulness, German truth, German wide- 
reaching practical activity, German rectitude and candour — in 
spite of unfriendly criticisms — do live and move in the breast 
of a German. Believe, moreover, in his unselfish love ; that only 
wishes to do good to every young growing soul, now and in his 
future relations ; that would therefore early put within reach of 
each child the way and the means by which he may fulfil his duty 
in his present position and in that to come ; and that in conse- 
quence would neither favour nor prejudice any child. Such a love 
of man is like the air that cools every one's heated brow, like the 
water which refreshes all alike, like the earth which bears all men 
on her bosom, like the light which shines on the whole world. 

Forget not the wisdom of ancient German proverbs, centuries 
old, " The weal and woe of every man lies within his own bosom.' 
They have lain there from everlasting, but never before was it so 
clearly apparent as it now is. 

Work with a will that belief may come, with love and trustful- 
ness, so that the idea which Hes at the root of the German 
Kindergarten, and of Kindergartens in general, may shine forth 
clearly and on all sides, before its discoverer sinks into his grave. 
If you fail, then fails the realization of his idea. It cannot be 
otherwise, as the history of ideas will show you ; for many noble 
ideas have lain in the grave during long, long years with those who 

Propagation and Extension. 231 

unsuccessfully first strove to give them " a local habitation and 
a name." Yet he may depart in peace, he may die in a good 
hope, for if the worst befall, he has done what he could and 
ought ; according to the deepest conviction has he spoken, and 
has faithfully worked his hardest for what he has held to be true.y 


Two Letters of Froebel to Madame Mtilier, wife of 
Councillor Muller, of Homburg. 

Letter I. 

Keilhau, near Rudolstadt, 

wth May, 1845. 
Much-esteemed Lady, and most valued Friend, — 

Your kind letter of the 9th inst.,^ which I have just received, 
has so greatly pleased me that I am compelled to sit down and 
answer it at once. 

First, I must express my sympathy in your maternal happiness, 
now that you behold your daughter a bride, full of rich hopes. 
It is remarkable, man though I be, that I seem as if I could share 
with my every nerve and sense in your great joy. I perceive 
right well what a difference it must make to the loving faithful 
mother whether she has to regard her son as a bridegroom, or 
her daughter as a bride. In the latter case her child's bridal 
makes her live her own experiences all over again, raised to a 
higher consciousness; her existence as wife and mother, her joys 
and griefs, her pleasures and sorrows all pass before her mind. 
And what life, how happy soe'er it be, has not its grief? and 
what life, how blessed soe'er it be, is without its sorrow ? Good 
and profitable is it for Man that thus it is ordained ; yet neverthe- 
less every mother longs to guide her beloved daughter through a 
path of roses without thorns, as she moves forward to her highest 
vocation, to fulfil her especial duty towards humanity. The more 
nearly she finds it possible to accomplish this, the happier and 

^ Not the iSth, as the Geraian erroneously has it. 

232 Letters of FroebeL 

more contented is her mother's heart. May I beg to add to 
the other felicitations of the engaged pair my own best wishes for 
their happiness. 

It always causes me deep emotion, as an educationist, when a 
maiden whom I know becomes a bride, and I am the more 
anxious and expectant when she is in very truth a maiden, with 
a pure maiden's feelings, thoughts, and actions, beliefs, hopes, and 
affections. I ahvays begin thinking how, in the thoughts and inner 
life of that maiden, during her bridehood and early wifehood, there 
lies the germ of a new life for humanity with all the conditions 
needful for its out-budding ; for the loving sentiments with which 
her soul is now vaguely filled will later on develop amidst the sur- 
roundings of the coming life, into definite precision ; and all 
history, as well as our daily experience, shows us how largely the 
future of mankind hangs upon the progressive, and for that 
matter, upon the reactionary side also, of the life of some one human 
being. I know that this view would only meet with jeers, or 
worse, if I were publicly to proclaim it, and I do but scarcely hint 
it even to myself, yet I can think of these questions in this way 
and no other. Every virgin bride reminds me that salvation came 
to mankind through a Virgin Bride; and in every virginally 
minded bridegroom I see the angel who meets her with the 
heavenly greeting. In truth it must so come to pass ; every 
family must again become God-consecrated, must approximate 
more and more nearly to the Holy Family, if ever the kingdom of 
the peace of heaven, of God and of Jesus is to come upon earth. 
My valued friend, you cannot fail to see that this forms the back- 
ground of all the system of culture and development of my Para- 
dise of Children, my Kindergarten : — pure maidens and unsullied 
youths are to proceed from it in future days to elevate the concep- 
tion of life, and to live it out in purity before men. Even if I 
never see it, nor the next generation, nor the generation after that, 
yet it will come to pass in the end, and mankind shall see the per- 
fect life lived upon this earth, the conditions thereunto being now 
fulfilled. Herder's apostrophe to women — "Think and teacht' 
for ye alone can, the happy generation which will one day follow 
after ours," will ring in the ears of thy nobler souls among women 

Propagation and Extension. 233 

until many of them shall have become penetrated with its truth, 
and will then, at length, proceed to put it into action. You will 
observe, much-esteemed friend, that this is the aim towards which 
I am striving with my " Songs for Mothers and Nursery Songs," 
{Mutter- iind Kose-Liede?),so little known, so often misunderstood ; 
and it is with gladness that I learn you perceive the influence ot 
these songs in the Kindergarten, and in the living forms of your 
own children ! 

If your daughter now soon to be married should hereafter leave 
Homburg, she must imitate the excellent example of her mother 
and at once create a Kindergarten round her. In the Kinder- 
garten — how often must you have experienced this — one can, as it 
were, actually feel the beat of the angels' wings whom our Father 
sends down to protect and shield His children. 
• In your kind sympathy you wish me to tell you what I have 
been doing in the work of children's education since I left Frank- 
furt. I respond gladly to your wish, though I have not much to 
tell. Upon my return home, a gentleman in Gotha, who had for 
a long time been taking a friendly interest in myself and my work 
was good enough to entrust his niece to me, a girl of eighteen years, 
to be trained in the care of children and the conduct of a family 
Kindergarten. I found another young woman in my own place 
ready for a like training ; and therefore at once began- a regular 
course with these two, and again took up my old occupation. 
The girl who shortly before had left me to undertake the direction 
of a crec/ie near Saalfeld has up to now, I am pleased to say, given 
satisfaction to her superiors. The second of the two girls I have 
just been speaking of has already found work in Salzungen. 

From many quarters I receive applications for children's gover- 
nesses, "Kindergarten teachers" as I would fain have them called, 
and for principals of Kindergartens as well. For example, they 
wTite to me from Dortmund, where they are founding a normal 
school and a high school. But I have no one to recommend 
for the post, since those who have been trained by me up till 
now have always had their posts already setded before they 
came to me. You would give me much pleasure, and what is of 
more importance, you would help forward the cause, if you could 

234 Letters of Froebel. 

find a couple of right good girls, of the stamp of your Nanni, for 
example, and send them to me for training. They must be able 
to pay the fees during the course, but these are only two thalers 
(six shillings) a week for board, lodging, and teaching.^ The more 
this system of children's education is welcomed, and the more it 
comes into actual practice, the more important it is to provide 
thorough trained persons, competent to direct the institutions 
which are founded. If you meet with such persons, qualified in 
mind and body for our vocation, make it your business, in the 
interest of the world of children, to win them to the task. 

Another piece of work which greatly occupied me after I came 
home was the formation of " Associations of German Men and 
Fathers for the Promotion of Education." My address on this sub- 
ject must have already reached you in the columns of the Didas- 
kalia." The idea met with much encouragement in these parts. ♦ 
* * -X- -x- -x- 

{Cetera desunt.) 

t Letter II. 

Keilhau, i6t/i July, 1848.2 
Dear Madam, — 

You were amongst the first of the thoughtful German ladies 
thoroughly to comprehend my aim in the improvement of the 
common education of children, not only to give it its proper mean- 
ing and its place in the education of mankind, and also to obtain 
State recognition for it. You showed your appreciation of my 
ideas by raising the narrow, almost negative, work of your creche 
into the broad, educationally progressive, positive work of a Kinder- 
garten. Years have passed since that time, when my endeavours 

^ Even if we take into account the gi-eater value (roughly speaking, about 
the double) of money in Froebel's day, these fees niust strike the reader as 
absurdly low. Nothing, perhaps, could more strikingly prove how sincere was 
Froebel's love for his life-work, and what great sacrifices he was prepared to 
make for it. 

2 An important educational literary and scientific journal of the period. 

2 Three years later than the previous letter. 

Propagation and Extension. 235 

first met with your helpful sympathy, and we have been steadily 
working on in our respective spheres with hardly any news of each 
other ever since. But I have always remembered your Kindergar- 
ten work with the warmest wishes for its success, and have greatly 
appreciated your recognition of the fundamental principles of the 
Kindergarten when I set them forth in their original form. 

It seems to me, therefore, a pleasant duty to be fulfilled, that I 
should imform you of the latest results of my efforts. The entire 
body of national school teachers of the duchies of Meiningen and 
Coburg, and the National School teachers of the kingdom of 
Saxony also have acknowledged the Kindergarten to be the forma- 
tion of real German national education ; and they are petitioning 
their chief authorities to recognise it as the earliest, and therefore 
a highly important department, of the system of national educa- 
tion, and they ask that it should be incorporated, with all its 
various institutions, in that system, receiving like privileges and 
like support with the other departments. 

That such a result should follow upon the request which these 
teachers made for a searching examination into the aims and 
methods of the Kindergarten, or rather into educationally progres- 
sive instructions in general, comes from the nature of the thing 
itself; and it was quickly resolved to hold a conference where 
several might meet to discuss the matter, an idea which has now 
developed into a public invitation to this conference being 
addressed to all German National teachers and educationalists. 
The invitation appeared in No. 25 of the Saxon School Joimial 
for 1 2th July, a few copies of which I venture to send you. 

Since the members of this conference will of course desire to 
obtain as thorough a knowledge as possible of the aims and 
methods of the Kindergarten, a fresh necessity makes itself felt, 
namely, that they should see the results of the work of the estab- 
lished Kindergarten, and hear the experience of all those who have 
turned their earnest attention to the system in its practical appli- 
cation. Circulars have therefore been sent out requesting speci- 
mens of work and statements of experience for the conference. 

It comes vividly before my mind, upon this, that you are 
blessed with a clear sight into these matters. You will therefore 

236 Letters of Froehel. 

think it quite natural for me to ask you especially to give an 
account of your experience in this field of work, in the form of 
an open letter which maybe laid before us for friendly discussion. 
It would give us all pleasure if you would grant this request, and 
it would be a special pleasure to myself to get news once more 
of your beautiful and blessed work. 

With the assurance of my especial esteem, 

I am, yours faithfully, 

Fr. Fr. 


Seven ^ Letters of Froebel to the Kinderg-arten Teacher, 
Mile. Luise Frankenberg-.^ 

Letter I. 

Keilhau, 13/// Nov.^ 1846. 
Dear Luise, — 

1 was quite astonished to find, on my return to Keilhau about 
a week ago, that you were no longer there, and I was much 
pleased to hear that you had so good a situation — good, that is, as 
far as salary and home comfort are concerned. But I soon heard 
that your situation is a very hard one in regard to work, and I 
satisfied myself that it really is so, on reading your clear account 
of it in your letter to Madame von Born. Now as to hard work 
there is not much to be said. Very great hardships may be over- 
come, and indeed they are sent to us for the purpose of being 
overcome, and in all circumstances it is our duty to overcome 
them, if they are commensurate with our strength. Having 
assured ourselves of this we must not run away from present 
difficulties ; firstly, because we know what they are, and secondly, 
because " as thy days, so shall thy strength be." But it is true 

^ Not " Six," as in the German. 

2 Sister of Froebel's friend and disciple, Adolf Frankenberg^, who prepared 
t]ie way for the master so ably in Dresden. Luise Frankenberg married Por- 
fcss^r Marquardt, of Dresden. 

Propagation and Extension. 237 

that there are occasions when the difficulties are too great for our 

Now I trust implicitly to your own true judgment and your 
experience of life not to deceive yourself in this matter; that is, 
neither to under-rate your strength, nor over-rate your difficulties. 
If your work is really harder than you can manage, please write 
to me at once, as it may be possible to find you a situation as 
Kindergarten teacher in the neighbourhood where you now are. 

Send me word if you have any opportunity of going to 
Chemnitz, as I could send you a card of introduction to some 
one there. Here in Keilhau everything is going on in the old 
way. I have four students to teach. I wish I had a few more 
of them, because there is a project to open some new Kinder- 
gartens at Easter. Perhaps amongst your new acquaintances you 
may run against some young women of- eighteen to twenty-eight 
wdih qualifications such as these : purity of character, love of 
children, fondness for play, and the gift of song ; and wnth a 
longing to be trained for the education of children ; if so, I beg 
you to put me in communication with them. 

From all I send you kindest wishes : and I, in especial, cordially 
wish you well. 

Friedrich Froebel. 

Letter II. 

Keilhau, nth April, 1847. 
Dear Luise, — 

Your gay happy lines of 23rd February, from Dresden, were 
delightful to receive. I wish you joy from the bottom of my 
heart, upon this happy turn in your destiny, and give you my 
warmest thanks for the friendly privilege you have granted me by 
telling me all about it. Nor will I withhold my opinion, but on 
the contrary I will tell you openly that by holding fast to the 
habit of confiding in people and uniting with them, and especially 
to that of feeling a true, steadily maintained, and humanly 
natural spirit of thankfulness, such as that which breathes- 

238 Letters of Froebel. 

through your dear letter, you are laying the real foundation for a 
happy development of your whole educational career.^ 

Glance, dear Luise, at the spring, now beginning to burst forth 
and bud, to bloom and even in a concealed way to fruit ; see 
how on all sides everything grows and develops so healthily and 
strongly, so freshly and merrily, through the continual and increas- 
ing influence of air and Hght, warmth and moisture, sun and earth. 
It is like some wondrous educationally progressive institution, 
where each one is fulfilling his own precise vocation, and is drawn 
forward according to the determination of his own nature. It is 
like some wondrous garden, nay, it/>a very garden, wherein God 
trains His children for the aim and purpose of their existence. 
And is not this wonder due to the unbroken harmony of the 
life ? Wherever that harmony is broken, there the life-develop- 
ment is narrowed and hindered. 

Moreover, we see how the tiniest bud, plant or flower seeks 
to bind itself in harmony with air, light and sunshine. But 
what the powers and operations of nature are to the growth of 
nature, the powers of the rtiind and the working of the soul are 
to the growth of mankind, to the growing child. Therefore, dear 
Luise, in order to work holily in your adopted vocation, seek alway^ 
after unfettered and unbroken harmony between mind and soul/ 
such as manifests itself in your friendly letter. 

This testimony of mine is old ; it served as 'motto at the head 
of the mountaineers' greeting when we celebrated the foundation- 
feast of the German Kindergarten : — 

"Thankfulness is the most lovely of human possessions, and 
the teaching of thankfulness is the greatest benefit that can be 
conferred upon mankind." 

But what else is thankfulness than the cherishing of the most 
intimate and spiritual communion between mind and soul ? 

You tell me how much pleasure it would give you to see me 
again in your Kindergarten, especially if I were to bring you 
something new. Perhaps you may be gratified in both points. 

1 Mile. Frankenberg had recently received the appointment of teacher in 
tha Kindergarten of the Women's Charitable Institution, at Dresden. 

Propagation and Extension. 239 

particularly if you were to extend your individual and personal 
wish to an invitation from several people. As to my bringing 
you something new and spirited, there is no trouble in that. 
Every day we work out something fresh in the students' course I 
now have on hand. The last course was very good ; it bore 
charming blossoms and rich fruit, but the present course is far 
better, fuller of blossoms, heavier with fruit. And so will each 
succeeding course, assuredly, mount upon the shoulders of its 
predecessor ; but if we all remain truly united in mind and soul 
whatever is thus newly won will become at once the possession 
of the past students as well as of the present. 

Tell me, does your institution bear the name of Kindergarten 
by the order of the Ladies' Association, or is it an addition 
of your own ? If the latter, then endeavour to get it acknow- 
ledged at once by the Association, as it is of unspeakable 
advantage. It forms a strong bond of union in mind and soul 
with all other Kindergartens and Kindergarten teachers, and 
with myself. 

All here who knew you send their kind remembrances. 
Always your faithful friend, 

Fr. Froebfx. 

Extract from Lettf:r III. 

Keilhau, 12/// Octol^er, 1847. 
My very dear Luise, — 

You must have been wondering why you have had no answer 
to your kind letter of iSth August; but that letter had to be 
sent after me, as it arrived at Keilhau during my absence. 
(Note : Some business matters follow, and are omitted.) 

I am heartily glad that things go so well with you and your 
institution, though I can quite believe that it costs you a good 
deal of trouble, and that it is a long matter to get everything 
arranged as you like it. But patience overcomes all things. 

If it had been possible I should have liked very much to visit 
you and the committee of the Ladies' Association in Dresden, 
but neither time nor money sufficed. Make my compliments to 

240 Letters of Froebel. 

the committee, especially to Mile. Marschner. Tell her that I 
have firmly determined to write to-day to her : but it is now 
striking eleven, and the letter ought to go very early to-morrow 
to the post ! Besides all which, I am very tired. 

I have also received most cheering accounts from Ida Seele 
and Marie Christ. From all sides, in fact, I hear of but one re- 
sult. Even if the cause progresses but slowly, it is spreading more 
widely on every side. Particularly in the direction of a closer 
connection throughout the whole movement we are making great 
strides. Of this more soon. 

I will only now add the hearty good wishes of all the ladies 

here ; and my own as well. 

Friedrich Froebel. 

Letter IV. 

Keilhau, 13M February, 1848. 
Dear Luise, — 

Again you have given me real pleasure, with your last little 
letter. But she who is in so fortunate a position as to be able 
to give pleasure to others, must be happy also in herself, and 
cannot indeed help feeling so. Therefore I rejoice doubly over 
your kind words, which not only give me pleasure, but are in 
themselves an assurance that you are happy too ; and with good 
reason, for you are continually spreading joy in the circle of your 
daily work. I feel intensely, as do you, how the love of the little 
ones for you, and your love for the litde ones — love and respon- 
sive love — grow by their mutual interchange ; and I am convinced 
that this must have had an excellent effect upon you, even from a 
purely physical point of view, for you write that you have begun 
this year under much more cheerful auspices as far as health is 
concerned. God grant they may be fulfil-led. 

Make this thing clear to your own mind— and encourage your- 
self with the thought of it, even if others seem unable to com- 
prehend, or to acknowledge it — that while working in your own 
sphere, at the care and culture, the progressive deveilopment and 
the imperceptible formation of the character of children, you are in 

Propagation a7id Extension. 241 

fact engaged in a great and permanently advancing good work. 
It is also true that such work assuredly receives its acknowledg- 
ment in the long run, and that, too, according to the measure 
which it deserves, though this acknowledgment may be often late 
in manifesting itself. 

This reminds me of the gratitude I now feel, as an old man 
nearing my grave, for the thoughtful care which, as I have been 
told, a young girl bestowed on me when I was a child. She her- 
self was scarcely more than a child. It is a pleasant thought to 
me, to be able to assure myself, while I study the efforts of 
children to express their emotions, that my own little childish 
hands may have thankfully patted her cheeks in return for her 
goodness. And such sentiments of enduring thankfulness will 
become ever more and more general through our Kindergarten 
work, and you yourself will be rewarded by them even down to 
your last days. 

* * * # * 

As to the power of the thousand, and yet another thousand, of 
those mere prettily painted toys which you are so afraid of, I am 
perfectly convinced that it will be broken, or at all events much 
weakened, by the awakening interest of the children themselves 
for occupations which make for culture. The parents, as I have 
so often repeated, will in their turn discover by experience that 
children are far fonder of the simpler unpainted toys, and are 
happier and play longer and in a more permanently educational 
way with them, than is the case with all the thousand painted 

Your wish that this year may see me amongst you all in Dres- 
den may possibly be fulfilled, if your dear sister-in-law, who so 
enthusiastically enters into all the circumstances of our life, is able 
to carry out a plan which she has told me about. I should be 
able to tell you of many a new invention for the benefit of that 
world of children which is so dear to us both. 

On the ist proximo a new Kindergarten is to be opened at 
Erfurt. Auguste Michaelis,^ of Gotha, has decided to begin there 

^ Not a relative of the present Editor. 

242 Letters of Froebel. 

(at Erfurt) with twenty-five children. On the ist May Madame 
Doris Llitkens will found a Kindergarten in Hamburg. With a 
view to this she published an important article on the Kindergar- 
ten system in the Hamburg News of 5th November last (No. 47). 
You ought to try and get this article ; it would both interest and 
improve you. 

If at any time you meet with newspapers containing anything 
relative to our work, pray make notes, at any rate, of the title and 
number of the paper, and send them to me at the first oppor- 
tunity. It helps me greatly in my work to know how I stand in 
the eyes of the world, and where I may find persons who are in 
sympathy with my views. Even in your Saxony the cause gains 
more and more adherents. A short time ago I had a letter from 
a Herr Stade, of Reichstadt, a teacher, who wrote very apprecia- 
tively about our affairs and asked me to send him samples of 
several of our educational materials. I could only wish Herr 
Stade would visit you or your brother. He seems from his letter 
to be an active-minded practical young man. 

In Zoblitz, in the Upper Erz mountains, a teacher, Herr 
Kromer, has established a Kindergarten, which is really a result 
of that at Marienberg ; and I hear from Superintendent Schneider 
at Marienberg that the new institution is making healthy progress, 
and also that they are doing well at Marienberg, under the in- 
tellectual and spirited direction of Mile. A. Steiner. 

As to Luise Levin,^ who is sending you news of herself, I have 
only to repeat my former accounts of her progress ; she is taking 
the greatest possible pains to put herself in thorough harmony 
with her work, both as to the spirit of her life and as to her tech- 
nical proficiency. If, therefore, later on a fitting opportunity 
should offer, you might recommend her with the fullest con- 

(Here follow names of several Kindergartens.) 

I bid you cordially farewell. 

Fr, Froebel. 

1 Who became Froebel's (second) wife three and a hah'' years later (July, 

Propagatioji and Extension. 243 

Letter V. 

Marienthil, \Wi Jan., 1851. 
Dear Luise, — 

After a long silence you are now to receive another letter from 
me. I always find pleasure in writing to you. It has been a long 
uncomfortable time that I have been cut off from you, from that 
Dresden which had become so dear to me, and still more from 
the friends in Dresden whom I had grown to esteem so highly, 
and by whose many manifestations of affection I set such store. 
The reason of our long separation, if I may speak symbolically, 
precisely resembles the events of May at Dresden,^ for the in- 
visible yet lovely and, as it seemed, substantial building of hope 
crumbled overhead and fell upon me, burying me alive in its ruins. 

Ever since that time I have been working away like some 
buried miner to win out from night and the depths of the earth 
to the light of day and the living men above, and especially to 
those among them who are my friends, but not seldom when I 
have thought that in another few moments I might be able to 
raise the joyful shout " Light ! " I have sunk anew into the depths, 
almost deeper than before. It has been a very dreary miserable 
time. I cannot depict the curious condition of mind, soul, and 
life in which I was, entangled in a spider's web, or rather spun 
around in a cocoon. My soul and mind were afflicted with a 
creeping malady which ate them away like a cancer, and this 
trouble fell upon me before I was aware of its coming. 

Not until the beginning of the new year did day break upon me 
and surround me and abidingly dwell with me, and perhaps by 
the time May comes again, the second May since 1849, I may 
have dug my way completely out and up into the land of the 
living, or let me say rather into life. With each fresh word I 
write I draw a deeper, fuller breath, and my spirits rise. I feel 
like a man crossing a mountain, who inhales the fresh mountain 
air and enjoys the open landscape of the valley meadows stretch- 

^ The revolution of jNIay, 1848, when the high political hopes entertained 
by the progressive party were doomed to bitter disappointment. 

244 Letters of Froehel. 

ing before him, and assures himself that he will soon be near that 
lovely goal of his wanderings. I think I shall soon be able to 
visit my very dear Dresden friends again, free in soul and in 
mind ; pray say so to Herr Strauch and the two Lecerfs, who 
stand so high in my esteem. As for your good brother, I intend 
to put in a {(t\N lines for him with this letter. 

Now to answer your kind letter of the 14th inst. The fore- 
going will give you a notion of the cause wherefore three letters of 
yours, as well as letters from several other friends, have remained 
unanswered. I may put the matter in another way, thus : — 

The reins of life had fallen from my hands. I felt unable to 
resume them, or attempt anything that related to the conduct of 
life. It was as if I were in a state of coma, and I saw and felt 
nothing but that I was in this paralysed condition. Others ex- 
perienced the effect of this, especially the dear friends in Dresden. 
Yet even at this time I thought of every one, yourself included, 
with all kindness, and I am glad that the consciousness of this 
kept you unchanged in your trust towards me. I thank you for it, 
and hope that no one may have lost faith in me because of my 
apparent neglect. ' — 

I have always felt the greatest interest in your life, and am glad 
to find you once more speaking wath such good courage that you 
even think of founding a Kindergarten of your own. I cordially 
wish you success. In this regard do not forget A. M.'s^ experience 
in Erfurt. She had many difficulties at first, it is true, to contend 
with, but now she prospers well ; and I could tell you of many 
others who are working to the great satisfaction of both parents 
and children. 

If only you had thought to tell me in what part of the country 
you mean to make your venture ! I wish it were possible to 
carry out our old intention, and make you the Kindergarten 
teacher at Blankenburg, my Blankenburg. Ask Middendorff 
about this. There you would be well known and receive much 
friendly support ; and I would help forward this plan in every 
possible way. Keilhau would be quite near to assist you ; and if 

^ Aiiguste Michaelis (see previous letter) 

Propagation and Extension. 245 

the income was small, the expenses would be less there than any- 
where else. 

I enclose a testimonial for you, as you request. But a testi- 
monial to be effective must rely on facts, and I find that many 
particulars have escaped me as to our mode of working together, 
time, place, etc. Therefore tell me plainly if it is not sufficient for 
your purpose. 

You see that your hope has been fulfilled. Yesterday I 
received your kind letter, and to-day the answer is already 
written. Write to me as soon as possible with further details of 
your plans. 

Kind regards to your brothers, your sister-in-law, and yourself, 
from your true friend, 

Fr. Fr. 

Letter VI. 

IMarienthal, 2gth Jan., 1852.^ 
Dear and highly esteemed Luise, — 

Your kind letter gave me a double pleasure, first, because it 
brought me fresh news of you, and secondly, because the news 
was at the least fairly satisfactory. From the bottom of my heart 
I wish success to your courage, to your perseverance, in a word, 
to your trust in God, and to your steady use, having that feeling 
always in mind, of your powers and acquirements. This habit of 
feeling and action will assuredly accompany you, and those qual- 
ities will be like protecting genii always stationed beside you. 

Try ever more and more to penetrate to the spirit of the whole, 
the spirit of union and unity , the spirit of mutual support and 
furtherance in all that the dear children entrusted to your care 
may do, and in all that you may do with them ; the spirit of the 
link of agreement, the reconciliation of opposites, the spirit of 
real life-culture, of true love. Read my Weekly Journal of 

^ There is some mistake of the German editor as to this date. The letter 
follows evidently not far after Letter V., i.e. during 1851 ; but by error bears 
the same date as Letter VIL 

246 Letters of FroehcL 

Education} and do not merely read it, but really study it. Be 
in yourself both the gardener and the plant in your garden of 
children, your Kindergarten. Work out everything for yourself, J 
and observe what happens in your own mind, soul, and life./ 
Make yourself mistress of the circumstances, in this way, in youij 
mind and practice ; and carry the same principles into your work! 
in the Kindergarten and with your little ones, observing whan 
happens also to them ; and in this way it will not be long befora 
the knowledge of the spirit of the whole comes to you. ^ 

Helpful and encouraging recognition of your work will also 
come in good time. Enough for to-day. Your dear namesake ^ 
has probably sent you all further news, herewith. 

Your sincere Friend, 

Friedrich Froebel. 

Letter VII. 

Marienthal, 2(^thjan.^ 1852. 
Dear and much-esteemed Luise, 

1 am deeply gratified to learn from your letter that you have 
perceived the great fact that in order to win a satisfactory acknow- 
ledgment of the meaning and value of our work it is not enough 
merely to labour well and bravely within our allotted sphere of 
action, but that the locality of this sphere itself must have been 
carefully chosen for its position, its outward environment, and so 
forth, so as to be in harmony with our actual work, and truly 
helpful to us. Always be ready to make little sacrifices for the 
advantage of the cause, with this end in view, even if in other 
ways you have to give up something. I am firmly convinced that 
you will meet with an ample reward. 

But I do not in the least mean by this that you should set in- 
ward things below the outward. God forbid ! The inward, the 
invisible, thought, love, zeal, these are always and for ever the 
chief things to cherish. I only mean that outward things serve to 

^ The Wochenschrift, a continuation of the Sunday Journal {Sonntao[sblatt). 

2 His second wife, Madame Luise Froebel ; probably only recently then 
married, if this letter is, as we believe, dated August, 1851. 

Propagation and Extension. 247 

express these, especially as regards rendering them precise and 
clear, and manifesting their union with Nature. 

If your work seems to need help in this direction, tell me so 
plainly, and I will see what is possible to be managed. 

You must on no account give up Bautzen, ^ but strive your 
utmost to retain it. As for your foes, the clergy,^ they must be 
vanquished. It is very cheering to know that men of importance, 
such as Deacon Seybt, are visiting your Kindergarten, and I hope 
many others may follow their example. 

Could you not find a nice girl amongst the peasantry and train 
her into an assistant ? Later on she might go as Kindergarten 
nurse into some family, and then bring her little charges with her 
to your Kindergarten. This would give you some one with whom 
to talk about your work and its results, which is always good for 
you in an educational sense. 

Your namesake, my wife, sends you a sisterly greeting, and you 
have also the cordial good wishes of 

Your faithful Friend, 

Friedrich Froebel. 

Letter to Miss Howe, at Leitheini, near Donauworth. 

Keilhau, \Zth April, 1847. 

First, let me offer my warmest thanks for your cordial sympathy 
with my efforts in education. I hope that your enthusiasm for 
the work may hereafter produce blessed results for the budding 
human race, somewhere or other in the world. 

Your kindly meant proposal, which you suggest to me as the 
best way of attaining my life-aim — the establishment of my system 
of education (now proved by years of trial to be true, for it has 

^ Where Mile. Frank enberg had established her Kindergarten. 

2 At this time the clergy were very strongly prejudiced against the Kinder- 
garten, and no doubt had been using their influence against the movement in 
Bautzen. Kindergartens were prohibited in Prussia, in 185 1, as being anti- 
religious and socialistic in aim. 

248 Letters of Froebel. 

been fully tested by results), namely, educatioti by development^ in 
one of the great centres of the world, such as London or Paris, or 
in the United States of America, so that it may be thoroughly 
examined and applied on a large scale — has been put before me, 
many times already, by influential men. But there is one insur- 
mountable objection to it as far as I am concerned — my want of 
a complete mastery of foreign tongues. 

The educational scheme in itself, and the plan for carrying it 
into practice, are quite complete in every particular, and clearly 
and precisely arranged in my mind, and, indeed, they have already 
been many times applied in actual practice, whenever, and so 
far as opportunity has allowed. A small part of the system has 
been printed and published, but this consists of detached frag- 
ments only. 

Every sharply defined grade of human culture, such as that 
under which we now live, demands a system of education which 
sliall embrace the whole being of man, his mental and natural 
sides, and all his varied affinities and relations, and shall therefore, 
as true to both man and child, educate the latter progressively and 
by development, in such a way as to produce and constantly 
maintain a sense of unity and completeness running through the 
whole of its life. 

Such a scheme of education is mine, and therefore it sets itself 
(and always, from the first plan, did set itself) the definite task of 
founding anew the practical methods of actual teaching, so as to 
bring them into satisfactory relation with the needs of our life of 
to-day ; that is, from each grade of culture to produce the next 
higher grade, by natural and logically consecutive development, 
in the same way that we see the fruit develop from the blossom 
and ripen into seed. This will occur with the following plan. 


I. Decision, zeal, and perseverance must be brought to 
bear in working upon my plan ; so that 

{a) More careful observation of the child, his relationships and 
his line of development, may become general amongst us ; and 

Propagation and Extension. 249 

{b) A better grounded insight be obtained into the child's 
being, mental and physical, and the general collective conditions 
of his life. 

{c) The laws of educational progress may be more and more 
clearly deduced, for the child and the man, through the observation 
of those engaged in teaching ; the truth of these laws proved, and 
the child actually trained in accordance with them. 

(yd) Deeper insight will be gained into the meaning and im- 
portance of the child's actions and outward manifestations ; and 
also into 

{e) The way of dealing with children which has been evolved 
naturally by the mother, led by her pure maternal instinct ; treat- 
ing both the mother's action and the child's as representative, 
regarding them firstly in relation to the child's destiny as a man, 
and secondly, to the means and methods of attaining that destiny. 
Thus, careful observation would be directed towards the combined 
mother-and-child-life, for it is here in a peculiar and especial 
sense that we are to seek the expression of the natural laws of 
development and their application, which laws, when deduced, are 
those whereby alone our problem can be fully and completely 
solved : that is, the problem of the general all-embracing pro- 
gressive development and education of the child. Therefore, 

(/) It is the aim of my plan, by working so as to gain all the 
objects above enumerated, to bring about a more general use of 
progressive development in the culture and education of children ; or 
rather, indeed, that this view of education may establish itself as 
the one which alone truly expresses and satisfies the needs of each 
individual as well as of each community, large or small. 

According to the above it comes within the scope of my plan, 
II. To lay down a scheme of culture covering the entire 
bodily and mental circumstances and condidons affecting the 
child, which must express, truly and harmoniously, the line of 
development and education to be followed. 

As early as the year 1826 I took much pains to lay the founda- 
tions for such an undertaking by my book, called " The Education 
of Man " {Menschen-Erziehung). 

250 Letter's of Fi'oebel. 

But as the work of education really begins with the birth of 
the child, and must at first be pursued in the family, and especi- 
ally by the mother, I started a journal (1838-40), called The 
Sunday Journal (Sonutagsblatt), to direct attention to this aspect 
of the matter, and in particular to begin and carry out an educa- 
tional course planned in reference to this doctrine. The course 
eventually resolved itself into a quite unique form of practically 
educational book for the very first training of the child, that is, 
for mere babyhood ; influencing and training the child's body, his 
limbs and his senses, as well as his soul, his mind and his whole 
inner nature — the book for mothers and families known as •' Songs 
for Mothers and Nursery Songs " {Mutter- und Kose-Lieder). 

III. But such a course of training and occupations for 
children, answering to the laws of development and the laws of 
life, demanded a thoroughly expressive medium in the shape of 
materials for these occupations and games for the child : therefore, 
to meet this want I arranged a series of play materials under the 
title of " A complete series of gifts for play." 

IV. The present condition of our social life, in all its 
varied grades, first demands, however, if we are to attain an earlier 
and better training for children, a much more complete training 
for their mothers and outside helpers, in the shape of children's 
nurses, nursery governesses and teachers. Whatever is itself 
perfect and vigorous will produce what is perfect and vigorous in 
its turn. But such a result can only be attained by associated 
work ; just as in the education of children we absolutely need the 
association together of numbers of children alternately with the 
quiet of the home training. I therefore recognised as early as 
1840, that for the needs of our present grade of social development 
two distinct species of schools or training establishments were 
absolutely necessary. 

{'A) We need a training establishment for those who are to 
assist in the home education of families in the capacities of 
children's nurses, nursery governesses and teachers. But, since 
children to a quite peculiar degree educate one another, mutually, 
if meeting together for associated play, under proper guidance and 
suggestive influence, we equally need 

Propagation and Extension. 

{B) Establishments for training quite young children, in their 
first stage of educational development, where their training and 
instruction shall be based upon their own free action or spon- 
taneity, acting under proper rules ; these rules not being arbitrarily 
decreed, but such as must arise by logical necessity from the 
child's mental and bodily nature, regarding him as a member of 
the great human family ; such rules as are, in fact, discovered by the 
actual observation of children when associated together in com- 
panies. These establishments bear the name of Kindergartens, 
or " Gardens of Children," a name expressing both their aim and 
their methods of working. 

{A) In the first-named species of training establishments, those 
for the training of teachers to assist educationally at home, in the 
family, the teachers for the second species of establishments, the 
Kindergartens, would also be trained. These last-named teachers 
might be called " Child-gardeners " {Kiyidergdrtnerimien)^ accord- 
ing to the work they will have to do as Kindergarten teachers. I 
made great efforts at the time of the Guttenberg Festival, in 1840 
(4oolh anniversary of the invention of printing), to awake a 
general public interest in this matter, and to found a perfectly 
arranged Kindergarten Training College by public subscription. 
I have, however, hitherto failed to obtain the amount of public 
support necessary to carry out the establishment on the scale 
needed for completeness ; and I have, therefore, been compelled 
to do the best I could by private enterprise, alone, and without 
funds, working myself and at my own risk. Consequently, I have 
held a training course annually, the length of which I was forced 
to confine to six months, and the object of which was to educate 
young girls in Kindergarten methods so far as to enable them to 
take the entire educational charge of children up to school age. 
They are to occupy the children in such wise that ennobling and 
educationally progressive impressions shall remain imprinted on 
their minds, and they are to develop the children's ideas so as to 
tend towards the culture of their whole nature, and to the ex- 
pression of every need of their life. Wherefore, I always associate 

^52 Letter's of Froebel. 

actual work in a Kindergarten with my Training Course to give 
my students opportunity for practice in their future duties. 
The practical working of my training course is as follows : — 

(a) The working day for students generally begins at 7 o'clock 
in the morning ; and they attend from 7 to 8 the various classes 
of the usual morning's religious instruction given in the elder 
boys' school, so that they may be guided to the right method of 
imparting religious instruction to children, and may be trained to 
the care and observation of the earliest germs of the religious 
instinct in man. 

(b) From 8 to 9, breakfast and recreation. 

(c) From 9 to 10, explanation and observation of the develop- 
ment of child-life, of the nature of the child thereby unfolded, and 
of the laws and corresponding needs of the culture and education 
of children ; as well as demonstration that these laws are at the 
same lime essentially those of every satisfactory scheme of educa- 

(d) The rest of the various weekdays up till 7 o'clock in the 
evening, except for two breaks (for dinner and tea) is devoted by 
the students to the study and practice of practical efficiency in my 
methods for children's education. These comprise, amongst 
others, — 

1. The acquisition of little games, arranged to exercise the 
limbs and senses of the child, using also the family nursery-book 
before mentioned. 

2. The acquisition and practice of other games for children, 
arranged to serve special ends, and particularly suited to varied 
grades of development, these games being played with the mate- 
rial already referred to in Section III. These games collectively 
form a series, linking themselves one to the other into a har- 
monious whole, full of life and vigour, and bringing out, amongst 
them, every phase and side of the child's life. 

3. Further acquisition of many and varied little occupations or 
handicrafts in various materials, bearing the same causal connec- 
tion with the games before referred to as a fruit bears to its 
flower, and expressing all possible grades of the child's develop- 
ment with precision. This department of the training course is 

Propagation and Extension. 253 

in the highest degree important for the student ; indeed, it is quite 
as important as the preceding, because the child exercising its 
own spontaneous activity through these handicrafts, and becom- 
ing acquainted with common facts of hfe, is carried forward in the 
path of education as a firmly compact, vigorous, complete unity. 

4. Practice in combined games for many childrenj, and particu- 
larly action-games, which will, from the first, train the child (by 
his very nature eager for companionship) in the habit of associa- 
tion with comrades, that is, in good fellowship and all that this 
implies. A logically necessary part of my system, deeply rooted 
in the innermost principles of the whole, is the fundamental rule 
that frequent changes must be made in the children's games and 
occupations, and for these changes (which must be by no means 
left to chance to determine, but must be well thought out) the 
students of the Kindergarten system must be thoroughly prepared. 
For example : to games for individual children succeed games for 
the whole Kindergarten together ; to games which involve sitting 
or standing still succeed games which involve action. The child 
in these associated games alternately appears first as taking some 
individual or separate part, and then as merely one of several 
closely knit and equally important members of a greater w^hole, 
so that he becomes familiar with both the strongly opposed 
elements of his life ; namely, the individual determining and 
directing side, and the general ordered and subordinated side. 
x\nd all this must, of course, invariably be suited to the nature of 
the child ; to the course of development which is being pursued ; 
to his physical capacities, etc., and must express the outward cir- 
cumstances of his life, their condition and laws. The aim is to 
train the child harmoniously on all sides of his being, and to 
bring him to comprehend the intelligent, the well-mannered, the 
moral, and finally, the religious elements in life. One of the 
most powerful agencies for furthering this aim is Singing, which 
works by words and by musical tones, by meaning as well as by 

5. Therefore, further, the students have to be specially trained 
in children's songs, little songs to elevate the heart and open the 
mind ; partly used also to accompany the many various games 

254 Letters of Froebcl. 

played by the children, in which case they are carefully devised 
to lay bare the inner meaning of the game, and also to serve as 
an outlet for the spontaneous and diligent activity of the children; 
and, further, these songs always set forth the harmony, the inner 
concord, and the love which pervade the universe, and which 
make known to us the Creator as our true and loving Father. 

It is acknowledged that children entrusted to the care of 
teachers of this kind quickly gain pleasure in singing, and some 
amount of executive power ; and even the love for real music 
itself awakes within them, and is cherished. To the culture of 
the heart, the soul, and the intellect through the ear, by the 
means of song, corresponds precisely their culture through the 
eye by the means of beautiful forms, figures, and colours. And 
to singing in the one case correspond drawing and colouring in 
the other. 

6. The rudiments of drawing are therefore invariably and quite 
completely developed amongst the students through the study 
and constant practice of the various games, especially those in- 
volving construction, partly by the culture of the eye in judging 
of size and form, and partly by the use of the hand in the con- 
structive work. 

7. The necessary naming of objects, and the description of 
their properties, and relationships in drawing, bring us quite 
naturally to the consideration of the beginnings of speech. And 
in the simplest way, by the necessity of expressing words and 
tones in some visible manner— that is, by definite signs which 
may be seen, we reach Writing and Reading ; the passage being 
quite spontaneous, and satisfying the inner as well as the outer 
nature of the child, his natural instinct for active work driving 
him towards presentation of all kinds. 

8. The continually growing crowds of all kinds of objects, and 
their comparison together, necessitate the consideration of the 
first rudiments of Number, and its relationships. 

9. And since Order, Measure, Rhythm, Form, Size, Number, 
Ratio, etc., are on all sides visible and audible, nay, even they 
may often also be touched and tasted, it seems as if everything 
were pointing to Mathematics as the one true way, and the one 

Propagation and Extension. 255 

true science of order and knowledge, as, so to speak, the central 
point of all true perception of things ; and that is why she has 
to show herself to the child, but in purest childlike guise, and like 
the earnest wayworn philosopher becoming herself a child for the 
child's sake. And the same paths by w^hich the child is led, 
through the quiet observation of fixed forms and objects, are also 
opened to him even more readily by comparison of the living and 
moving forms and objects of animated nature. Wherefore, in no 
less a degree than to the foregoing, — 

10. The students must devote themselves to the thoughtful 
observation of Nature, as a book and a scripture of God, and to the 
introduction of the little ones entrusted to their care to the same 
study, through which they may be led on to perceive and ac- 
knowledge the Father who loves them all, the Creator of this 
world of beauty. Through all nature, especially the vegetable 
world, the kingdom of bud, and flower and fruit, fly the angels, 
silent, bearing holy messages to us from Him. Therefore, also, — 

11. The students must acquire some knowledge of the cultiva- 
tion of plants, and flowers and gardens. Gardens for children 
should receive their special attention, as these are an important 
means of education and development, and therefore form part of 
the Kindergarten system. 

12. The self consciousness, the feeUngs and the thoughts 
awakened by all these means of stimulus must be Hnked to the 
Word, must be made manifest in little songs or proverbs. This 
is especially the case as regards the dim perceptions of a wise 
Creator of Nature, and a Father who thinks for us and loves us. 

{B) The students get their practice with classes of children ; 
twice a week with our own children, and a few otliers from the vil- 
lage, and twice a week also with a larger class in the next village. 

Just one word now on the Kindergarten itself, in which all the 
above scheme is brought into practical application. The Kinder- 
garten is to undertake the entire care and training of the child 
from the earliest possible age to school-age, that is, till he is six or 
seven years old. As to age much depends upon the grade of 
development of the individual child, and much upon the culture 
of the teacher. 

256 Letters of Froebel. 

I can but hope that the rmune of my method for the early 
care of children may meet with your approval. For further 
details I will refer you to my published works. 

Receive the assurance of my special esteem, and believe me, 

Yours faithfully, 

Friedrich Froebel. 

Letter to Mile. Marschner, of Dresden. 

Keilhau, Sept. 2nd, 1847. 
Dear Madam, — 

Permit me to put before you, for your examination, a matter 
which is of the highest importance in my educational projects. 
For some time I have felt the necessity of issuing a short explana- 
tory address about my institution for the training of nurses and 
governesses for young children — a sort of programme of it, in 
fact. But up till now I have continually put off its preparation, 
knowing so well how much more readily one can express one's 
meaning by facts than by words ; and, indeed, the simpler and 
more precise a written account is desired to be, the harder is it 
to write. I trust, however, that the sketch I send you herewith 
is both simple and precise, and at the same time I hope it pos- 
sesses also a much higher quality. 

I am most deeply convinced that in the present age there exist 
certain sharply defined needs with regard to the human race, 
which perpetually renews itself in childhood, and with regard to 
the grade of human culture whereon we stand to-day, at least so 
far as it is manifested amongst us Germans. Foremost of these 
needs of our age are the observation, care and training of the 
budding and growing part of the human race, that is, of children. 
Furthermore, I am as deeply convinced that our collective efforts 
in the improvement of education, whether the education of indi- 
vidual minds, or of families and communities, and whether in 
regard to the State or the Church, can only tend towards the 
desired result when we have made clear to our minds the nature 

Propagation and Extension. 257 

of these needs, and when we seek to supply them with active 

Consequently, I bend my efforts, above all else, towards the 
clear apprehension of the present grade of human culture, and 
its educational needs ; and I seek after the true means of satis- 
factorily meeting those needs. The soul of a woman who thinks 
and teaches is so sure a touchstone for what is right in time and 
place, as well as in ways and means, that I come to you in 
all confidence, to submit my aims and my researches to your 
judgment. I want to know the impression the enclosed sketch 
makes upon you, even if it should be an unfavourable one. I 
only want the truth ; for all my trust is anchored upon that. 

So that you may quite understand my drift in this sketch, I 
should like to offer a few explanatory remarks. 

Women, whatever their stage of culture, ought to take their 
rightful position with regard to the development and education of 
the human race ; and this position ought to be universally acknow- 
ledged, whether with regard to the individual child, the family, 
or the entire nation. Woman's work must be many-sided, com- 
prehensive, and must embrace action, feeling, and thought alike. 

I speak of the whole female sex. The several spheres of work 
must be allotted to individual women according to their degrees 
of culture. 

Again, I speak of the whole female sex, as contrasted with 
the whole male sex ; the two sexes uniting in closely bound 
union to set forth the phenomenon of mankind as a complete 
fact — a Thing-in-itself. Just as head and heart go together to 
make up the perfect human soul ; so do men and women unite 
with a close and reciprocal influence upon each other, to make 
up the complete presentation of humanity ; and in this each sex 
takes a distinct part, according to its own individuality. 

I set out from this conviction — Mankind is a complete fact, a 
Thing-in-itself, a Thought of God! Man, as a being of change 
and development, must necessarily be divided,^ whence comes 

^ Necessarily ; because, according to the teaching of Hegel, which Froebel 
here refers to, all development is the result of reconciliation or union of two 


258 Letters of Fi'oehel. 

the opposition of the sexes ; and still further, the development of 
each individual man similarly necessitates his two-fold manifesta- 
tion as a thinking and a feeling subject. 

But the precisely similar duty of all women in relation to 
progressive education also follows of necessity as a consequence 
of these views : I mean, that their duty is similar as to its nature 
and importance, though women have many quite distinct spheres 
of work' To woman belongs the subjective element in educa- 
tion, the awakening and the culture of the inner mental world, 
in the budding human race, the child-world. And on the other 
hand, to man belongs the objective element, the outlook over 
the external world, and the comprehension thereof. Both these 
spheres of culture and development are alike essential. If we 
are to investigate their relative importance, however, we cannot 
do better than follow the analogy of a building, where a good 
and sufficient foundation is rightly regarded as the most important 
part of the structure ; or we may take our example from farming, 
where a vigorous germination, rooting, and commencement of 
growth is the most essential preparation for a good crop. Just 
so is it with man in his rise towards his lofty goal of culture ; 
certainly the most important step is the awakening, the fostering, 
and the culture of the child's mind and soul, that is, of the mind 
and soul of humanity renewing itself through childhood. 

But, further, the education which men impart to our youths is 
never left to the unassisted promptings of nature, because, even 
though they are often quite right in intention, they may be 
wrongly pursued, everything must be thought out and duly 
ordered. So also must it be with the training of children by 
women, the development and education of manhood at its first 
commencement ; all must be thought out and duly ordered, after 
the laws which have been given to us by God. 

You see, honoured madam, this is indeed at once the starting- 
point and the goal of all my educational efforts. I want to see, 
universally acknowledged, and in operation, the rightful position 
of the whole female sex, with regard to the education of the 
race ; each one working according to the measure of her power, 
her culture, and the nature of her environment. But women's 

Propagation and Extension. 259 

work in education must be based, not upon natural instinct, so 
often perverted or misunderstood, but upon intelligent knowledge, 
inspiring a nature originally child-loving, and penetrated with the 
lofty meaning of its task. 

Some mothers, who by thought and by years of actual practice 
in their former days, in teaching and training children, had 
evolved a method of instruction of a certain kind, and had made 
this suffice for their own narrow circle, levelled the taunt at me, 
that I, a man, understanding nothing therefore of a mother's life, 
a mother's instinct, etc., etc., should dare to presume to instruct 
mothers in their dealings with their own children, a matter which 
they as mistresses of the household and as women, endowed with 
all the specially feminine qualities of soul and heart, must of 
course understand far better than I. How could such a thought 
enter my head as to attempt anything against the course of 
nature ? My whole strength is exerted, on the contrary, to the 
work of getting the natural instinct and its tendencies more 
rightly understood, and more acknowledged ; so that women may 
follow its leadings as truly as possible, aided by the higher light 
of intelligent comprehension, and yet at the same time in all free- 
dom, and with complete individuality. 

This is the intention of my games for the educational develop- 
ment of the powers, this the purpose of my Kindergarten, this 
the aim of my institution for the training of nursery governesses 
and teachers of children. 

I observe that in pursuing my line of thought I have laid 
before you not merely an explanation of the plan of the proposed 
institution which accompanies this letter, but the entire scope of 
the views as to the progressive development of mankind which 
form the basis of my whole system ; but I gladly submit these 
also to your kindly and searching examination. 

It is very possible, dear madam, that you may hold views of 
human life and its needs quite other than those I have expressed ; 
but I beg you to criticise me with the utmost frankness, for I 
seek only the truth. In any case, I shall have submitted my 
views, I am sure, to a very severe examination in submitting 
them to you. 

26o Letters of FroebeL 

Whatever verdict I may obtain at your hands, even if it be 
blankly adverse, rest assured of my continued deep respect, and 
believe me, 

Your obliged 

Friedrich Froebel. 

Letter to Mile. Hesse, of Annaburg*. 

Keilhau, near Rudolstadt, Nov. 27///, 1847. 
Dear Anna, — 

Now, as our musicians say, I can write to you con amore, 
which has been up to this time impossible for me to manage. I 
can picture you to myself surrounded by your charming circle of 
little children, stimulating the tender life towards loving sacrifice, 
strengthening the feeble will with gentle earnestness, and deve- 
loping the immature physical powers. I see you with my mind's 
eye, engaged in translating into the glowing language of the 
living soul what I have taught you in the still life of the under- 
standing ; expanding what our limited time here only allowed 
us to work out along some one set path, into a many-sided, 
lovely, ever-varying method, penetrating deep into the life of 
the dear ones entrusted to your charge, awaking them to the 
perception of the inner life, and already cherishing that sense of 
an altogether higher life, which as yet exists all unconsciously 
within them. Thus do I see you, dear Anna, busy amidst your 
many glad tasks ; and I enjoy the picture more than I am able 
by words to express. 

Yet even a little word sometimes serves to bind all together : 
let me therefore rejoice over you, in one word, as over a very 
dear, true-hearted and faithful daughter. As I write the word 
daughter^ you seem to stand before me, with all your own well- 
known ways, ordering everything with care and gentle firmness, 
and surrounded by dear little children. The better to realize 
your present career, I have collected all the letters which you 

Propagation and Extension, 261 

have so kindly sent me during the year, memorials of your good- 
ness and faithful remembrance of me^ that I may read them all 
through one after the other. I know beforehand that this task 
will set my heart beating quicker at the guilty thought of my long 

But, dear Anna, as you will some day experience in your own 
life, in all likelihood, the life of a man who is devoted to some 
lofty sphere of work, to the service of some noble ideal, presents 
so many peculiarities, that it is hardly comparable to an everyday 
existence : these peculiarities are grounded in life, it is true, but it is 
in the higher life. One of them, which as a Kindergarten teacher 
you must yourself have already discovered, is the fact that when 
we are absorbed by a thought, especially an idea whose manifes- 
tation and elaboration wholly engages us, we become lost to our 
surroundings, and we appear careless and unresponsive. We 
wander amongst our fellow-men like a very stranger, exchanging 
speech with them, it is true, but not really mingling in their life. 
In such a state I have been living for years. You see the conse- 
quence in this pile of unanswered letters that you have sent me. 
Now the spell begins to break ; and you are receiving as a reward 
for your patient waiting, the first-fruits of my freedom. 

For many years my mind and soul have been engrossed with 
the unspeakable importance of the Kindergarten and its develop- 
ment ; all my thoughts and feelings have been concentrated upon 
a proper manifestation and systematisation of the Kindergarten 
idea, and upon the possibility of its general establishment, which 
would result as a consequence. See the marksman taking aim, 
how he bends his whole power of action upon attaining his mark, 
and how he disregards everything beside that one object. Just 
so my thoughts and actions have been bent upon the perfect- 
ing of the Kindergarten system, with this further addition that 
the task was so unexpectedly heavy, that my whole being was 
abandoned to the effort. 

Now at length the idea of the Kindergarten has touched 
bottom, not only striking deep root in heart and soul, but con- 
vincing men's minds and wills that it is a many-sided complex 
unity, complete within itself, operating upon the inward and the 

262 Letters of Froebel. 

outward nature alike, and more and more controlling and direct- 
ing the relations of life. This bright and fascinating hope comes 
to me from national school teachers in town and country ; those 
of Meiningen, of the Hildburghausen district, and of the Thur- 
ingian Forest, for example, are ready, with all the firmness of con- 
viction, to propagate and develop this idea in fitting time and place. 
* # * * * 

{Cetera de stint.) 

An Appeal to German Women. 

Keilhau, Friday, 26th June, 1848. 4 «.;;/. 

Honoured noble German Women, — 

In the clear moonlight the approaching dawn is gradually 
beginning to unveil, and I sit, upon my return from my travels in 
the cause of education, alone in my silent chamber, thinking over 
the results which are the blossoms and fruit of the last few weeks, 
days and hours. The clear-shining morning star softly pierces 
through the twilight, brilliant herald of the coming sun, so soon 
to give form anew to the world which its beams embrace, and to 
show us the glad, peaceful, joyful face of Nature^ fulfilling her 
highest function as the revelation o^ God. Like that morning star 
a thought rises in my soul, still bathed in the gentle twilight of 
meditation : — "Amidst the growing self-consciousness and mutual 
consciousness of the souls of the women of our day, amidst the 
conception to which they are now attaining of their lofty womanly 
worth and destined work, and amidst the fulfilment of those 
blossoming feminine wishes and hopes which in the regions of a 
higher enthusiasm have developed into living activities, there 
rises the brilliant morning star of a new era, prophesying to us 
the speedy advent of a glorious sun — the sun of a joyful union 
of Germany, of a peaceful united action amongst Germans, of a 
free German national life." 

Propagation and Extension. 263 

Yes, so it is, ye noble German women ! Like the morning 
star, which is at first scarcely distinguishable and almost un- 
marked, but rising higher and brighter amidst the twihght, pre- 
sently becomes the harbinger of the day which will make all 
things manifest in the new-born sunlight, so also the enthusiasm 
for a general united action on the part of all German women and 
maidens in the cause of the true care of children and their true 
training and education — an enthusiasm based upon the deepest 
feelings of your pure and womanly souls, which are, as it were, a 
sanctuary amidst all the errors and tangles of life — rises as a star, 
heralding not only the dawn of a new race, but the uprising of a 
new nation, a new German people, born again unto a higher 
destiny — yea, of a new Humanity, one, at last, worthy of itself. 

Words are all too weak to express the imaginings of the noble 
nature, the great worth of the possible future of our German 
national and family life, which fill my soul when I think upon 
such a union of wives and maidens. Yet it has to be attempted, 
after some fashion, for your sake, O noble German women, in 
whose soul and spirit all that is truly human in our German 
national and family life lies reflected, whether from intuition or 
from actual experience. Moreover, all effort, and especially that 
of the tender, thoughtful, modest, and retiring soul and life of 
woman, needs some outward recognition to make it clear, since 
of itself it is manifested inwardly alone. It shyly germinates 
concealed, and the influence of the sun is necessary, from without, 
to enable the germ, already formed within, to burst through its 
envelope and manifest itself externally. 

Let me lay before you, my esteemed countrywomen, what I 
read in the open book of man's destiny, and especially in the 
pages referring to our German nation. I am driven by an 
irresistible force to tell you what I read therein, and I can see no 
appeal from its teaching, for it is the voice of my own soul, and 
though it comes but from one man, it is at the same time the 
voice of all humanity : — 

" In such an enthusiastic and inspiriting adoption of the 
essentially feminine vocation of the progressive education and 
development of children as that which springs from out the 

264 Letters of Froebel. 

sanctuary of your pure souls lies the one indispensable condition 
necessary, that humanity, and the German nation in especial, may 
be born again into a higher state of existence, and attain a higher 
grade of development." 

- And I am no less irresistibly carried on to make an earnest 
prayer to you, valued wives and maidens — indeed, it is the main 
purpose of this letter to do so — that you will cherish and nourish 
this sacred enthusiasm that I have spoken of; and first of all 
within yourselves. Review it perpetually by searching your own 
and others' lives, in the history of their development, so far as it 
lies open before you ; read, to help yourselves, in the books of 
the present and the past, and explore the writings of those who 
seek to lift the veil of the future ; dive deep into the histories 
of the inward and outward career of man, in the race, the nation, 
the individual; compare what you have read with the silent 
creations of organic Nature, their conditions and the history of 
their development ; in a word, use every opportunity that comes 
before you to elevate and stimulate your enthusiasm. Such an 
opportunity may be found everywhere, if only the glance which 
searches for it be keenly intelligent ; and the search will enable 
you to appreciate and truly live for your high rank and destiny 
" to cherish and develop the Divine in the Man, through the 
Child." For what is there higher than thus to recognise oneself 
as the Child of God, as true to God our Father, and as gratefully 
serving Him ? 

But cherish this enthusiasm also for the sake of the loftier 
purpose of life which will thereby unite you amongst yourselves. 
Let its weakening, let its cooling, seem to you as a denial of your 
own powers, and as a refusal of those demands which humanity 
has a right to make upon you, because of your life's vocation. 
Few mortals stand in so fortunate a position as you, who are able 
to work for so many noble aims, and always to press onward and 

Seek therefore for the impressionable amongst your sex, and 
surely you will find that many such are members of your circle 
of acquaintance of wives and maidens ; win them over to the 
adoption of the care of little children as a career, penetrate them 

Propagation ajid Extension. 265 

with your own enthusiasm ! Let no opportunity slip for this 
propaganda, and utihse the many varied relationships of your 
life to promote it. Oh, I pray you, do not evade this highly 
important duty, so often lightly passed by in the whirl of our 
common life : acknowledge it as an imperative command laid 
upon you, that every one of you in her own station shall work 
towards the well-being of humanity with all the powers and 
means at her command, and especially through careful observa- 
tion and study of the budding childhood of the race. ^loreover, 
the work is not difficult ; indeed, the conviction of others is 
rather to be attained by the force of your own conviction, the 
way laid down for others and their path made straight by the 
power of the truth within yourselves ; the warm glow of enthu- 
siasm called up in them by the reflection of the fire which burns 
so brightly in you. Success is certain beforehand, even if at 
first it extends to only a very few; for as the work endures a 
few others will come, and so others, again, and yet others ; and 
all of them will be mutually encouraged more and more, and 
cheered in tlieir work as time goes on. Effort will call forth 
responsive effort, and firm resolves in some will induce resolves 
as firm in others. 

Further, the second equally indispensable condition of a final and 
comprehensive state of well-being for humanity, and especially for 
our own people, the educational co-operation of the other half 
of mankind — I mean of the male sex — will rise to meet your own 
perfect fulfilment of your duty ; and the men will stand beside 
the women and give them powerful support and protection. At 
first, perhaps only those men and youths will come forward who 
are convinced of the high importance of education, and especially 
of a natural system of education for children, and who are already 
as thoroughly penetrated with these ideas as yourselves. It is 
not needful, I am glad to say, that I should take all the responsi- 
bility of this statement, pledging merely my own consciousness 
of my duty and my destined career, as a man and as a member 
of mankind, in proof of it ; you may call witnesses from your 
own family circle — your sons, your brothers, uncles, husbands — 
who will justify what I have asserted by their convictions and 

266 Letters of Froebel. 

their actions ; so that even if our beginnings may be small, we 
shall grow as the work grows firm and endures, and shall see 
once again, for sure, a perfect German race, not in fine isolated 
specimens here and there, but everywhere, and everywhere united, 
as a possession and characteristic of the German national life ; in 
fact, what is now scattered and solitary shall then be universal. 
As the tenderness of Jesus to some few children is now shared 
by all children alike, and has thus become the possession of 
all mankind, so what was once the outcome of a single man's 
sensations or thoughts shall now become the possession of the 
intellect of all mankind; that intellect which represents man's 
highest united and clearly self-conscious existence. 

Noble women, support, I pray you, with all the force of your 
soul and your will, the earnest struggles of our men and youths 
devoted to the education of man and of the human race, and 
glowing with enthusiasm for the improvement of our German 
national culture ; for if we men work separately, unaided by you 
and your sex in some permanent and effective manner, we cannot, 
with all our efforts, accomplish anything comprehensive and 
satisfactory, either for separate families, still less for the nation, 
least of all for mankind at large, though the need is everywhere 

It is only by united action, and only through the children, 
through the care and training of childhood, that the t7uo sexes can 
reach their lofty aim, the aim of mankind, of our nation, and of 
every family — to completely fulfil our common vocation and 
realize our destiny. For just as in family life the child, whose 
nurture so sharply divides the sexes as represented by his parents, 
yet after all unites them the more firmly, since they continue 
in self-sacrifice to fulfil their noble vocation as members of 
humanity, so also in virtue of the lofty decrees of providence, 
the collective body of children, ever renewing itself, acts upon 
the greater family of mankind at large. The care of childhood 
is seen to be the one unfailing, perfectly satisfactory condition 
and means of uniting the two separate sexes to form the one 
great body of mankind, and fully to work out their destiny. This 
chord of three notes melts together in a higher sense to form an 


Propagation and Extension. 267 

unison, which sounds abroad in a full and clear tone. This 
larger unity is but the unity of the family over again, where the 
love of the two parents finds in the child its meaning and its 
union, attains its purpose and meets its God and Father, reaches 
its highest development of means and aim, of condition and 
destiny. Childhood and Manhood melt together to form the 
unity of Mankind, and this last, as the everlasting child of God, 
melts in its turn into unity with its Divine Father. 

As the greatest friend and loftiest teacher of mankind has 
said : — The kingdom of peace and purity, unity and truth, 
belongs to the children (" For of such is the kingdom of God," 
Mark x. 14) ; and, again : Only by returning to the spirit of 
childhood can we regain this kingdom (" Whosoever shall not 
receive the kingdom of God as a little child, he shall not enter 
therein," Mark x. 15). So also upon the earth, it is the return 
to childhood which ensures us those blessings of heaven, 
peace and purity, unity and truth, and all that of necessity 
blossoms and fruits from these ; and it is the sanctifying and 
loving care of childhood which alone can bring us earthly 
salvation and joy. 

x\nd now also, noble women, I must pray you to support me, 
too, in my efforts to found a progressively developing education 
for children, amidst which they shall unconsciously mature, like 
plants under the gardener's eye, as I have so often told you ; 
support me, too, who am driven on by an irresistible force to 
become the spokesman in this cause, the protagonist in this 
battle. For indeed, without the powerful support of your sex I 
am as nothing ; just as I should be nothing, either, without the 
support and active maintenance of my own sex. I am, as it were, 
the third party in this holy bond ; in this complete and sacred 
threefold chord I am the representative of the innocent voiceless 
children, and like the helpless children I am nothing without the 
support of at least the majority of those of both sexes, who share 
with me the belief in what the greatest friend of children pro- 
phesied, and, what is now at last about to come to pass in a 
more general acceptation — that the loving care of childhood and 
of manhood is in the ultimate resort one and the same thing, an 

268 Letters of Froehel. 

everlasting, self-complete unity; and that the attainment of this 
unity is the divinely appointed duty of the two sexes ; a duly 
which, moreover, unites into one humanity these sexes so widely 
divergent in their nature and their position with regard to each 

While I look forward with confidence to the support of your- 
selves and your sex, I am also assured of the support of my own ; 
and you too, as I have said above, may satisfy yourselves in your 
own families of the existence of this male sympathy with our aims. 
For in your families, so dear to you, so tenderly cherished, you 
may see already in actual living operation the consummation to- 
wards which humanity at large is now striving ; and this sort of 
proof is the highest triumph of the truth of anything that is ac- 
knowledged to be true, and that has been properly described — 
the inward tmiofi of those elemejits which are outwardly separate^^ 
perceptible unity in visible diversity, the lofty unison of all exist- 
ence sounding amidst the many various notes of different phe- 
nomena, the law of life shining as the basis of the freedom of the 
will. The salvation of the world is born anew — our German 
family life is its latest birthplace ; and in that typical family life it 
shall continually renew itself in every child and through every 
child, needing nothing more than our protecting care. 

Up, then ! and let us, of both sexes, see to it that this protect- 
ing care is provided on the part of that combined humanity 
which we unite together to form. And thus shall we drink to- 
gether at the fountain head of all truth. Further, it is truth alone, 
and our conduct (which should have its roots in truth), which can 
free us, and which can endow us with all things needed for our 
good ; all those things that the Saviour, centuries long since, 
sought to obtain for us by His life, and by His love. Every one of 
us of either sex should now and henceforth strive like Him — I 
mean, should strive with love like His, but in a correspondingly 
lower degree— towards the good of all men, working through his 
or her life, and setting forth our purpose in that life ; each one 
according to his or her powers and surrounding circumstances. 

In conclusion, may the one source and fountain of all that lives 
stream through our souls and unite into one flood the separate 

Propagation and Extension. 269 

runlets of our life ! May Love, Goodness, Truth, Fidelity, the 
elements of that great stream, be apparent in our every action ! 
May these four qualities, even upon earth, unite you women in- 
separably with us men, and unite both of us inseparably with 
humanity, and especially with our German nation, and with every 
individual member of that great people, for the salvation of each 
one and of all together, by vigorous endeavour, blossoming fairly, 
and coming in time to noble fruit ! Then the peace which has 
hitherto belonged to the other world may descend also upon this, 
and the soul which is joyful in this world may carry over its joy 
into that other ; so shall the earth be as a part of heaven, and 
mankind actually become in consciousness and in deed what it 
already is according to its nature— namely, the free-born daughter 
of God ! 

With which considerations, noble German women, I bid you 
and those who are dear to you a mutual farewell in all unity of 

Friedrich Froebel. 


Letter to Mile. Gumpert. 

Keilhau, 2yd July, 1S48. 
Respected Madam, — 

Will you pardon the freedom I take in writing to you ? The 
thoughts which busied us together so engrossingly during the last 
hours of my recent stay in Dresden have sunk so deep into my 
mind, and have called up further developments of thought which 
are so important, and which seem so completely to embrace the 
inmost nature of life, that I really feel compelled to share them 
with you, and therefore venture upon continuing our conversation 
in this epistolary manner. 

It seems to me that we must admit this to be the first great 
fact of to-day : — that life, with all its attendant circumstances, is 
drifting daily faster and faster towards ruin and dissolution. 

The second great fact, closely connected with the first, relates to 

2/0 Letters of Fro eh el. 

physical nature and the great generalisations of life, and is to this 
effect : — that both in nature and in life, wherever we find decay 
and dissolution, we find also the germs of a new development; so 
that swiftly, to him who has eyes to see, the new form takes sub- 
stance and rises into view upon the ruins of the old. Every one 
who desires to understand his own time and its phenomena, to 
seize its meaning, to carefully observe it, and to use it for the 
best, whether for the present moment, or for the more permanent 
needs of life — and what man of prudent habit has not such a 
desire as this? — must before all things else keep his mind open 
and eye clear to recognise and acknowledge these new forms 
and developments as they arise from the old. 

This brings us to the third great fact, which is one of the 
highest possible moment for the fulfilment of our vocation in life, 
and necessary, not only for each one, but also for every society : — \ 
that it is never blind chance that directs us, but that, on the con- ' 
trary, we are controlled in all things, thanks to a loving, guiding 
providence, by one great everlasting law, whose nature is unfolded 
by numberless subsidiary laws, always active and always con- 
nected amongst themselves ; and these subsidiary laws, though ; 
they are but parts of a greater unity, nevertheless rule us eveni 
in the smallest occurrences of life. 

Now let us apply these three main facts of life, dear madam, to 
our own work, which has itself, as I believe, been called forth even 
through that mighty law of life whereof I have just spoken. We 
find, first of all, that our educational system has for its deepest 
foundation the germ of a new life which is budding forth, accord- 
ing to the eternal law, amidst the decay and dissolution of all 
life-relationships that mark the world of to-day — a new life, lead- 
ing us onward to a higher, a purer, a more peaceful, and a more 
joyful existence. The development, the cherishing of this new 
life-germ depends solely upon the living human race, and we are 
of the number : that is to say, this unfolding of the new life-germ 
into full growth and perfect development depends in an especial 
sense upon those amongst men who are rich in experience of the 
inward and outward hfe, who are clearly conscious of their lofty 
vocation as human beings and wilhng and able to fulfil it — each 

Propagation and Extension. 271 

one practically efficient and active in his particular station and in 
his own individual way. In all modesty we must reckon ourselves 
amongst the chosen few. 

But to say that anything needs tender cherishing care for its de- 
velopment, is but in other words to postulate the womanly life and 
sensitiveness, the womanly soul and manner of working — as your 
own charming poems have so truly expressed it. Therefore we 
must turn towards the world of women, towards the noble woman's 
soul, conscious of its own nature and of its high vocation; and we 
must make our petition that women will trustfully accept the charge 
which we would fain lay upon them of the cherishing and shaping 
this tender germ of the new life which is struggling with all its 
powers to burst forth from its bud. 

This, then, was the result we arrived at during the short time 
we held conference together, and the conviction was firmly 
shared by both of us alike ; — that the germ of the new existence 
whose arrival we awaited, lay in the world of Childhood ; was, in 
feet, the source of its ever-fresh renewal, and was thrusting out its 
roots and stem from within. The practical result of our exchange 
of ideas was consequently a resolve to enlist the valuable services 
of mothers and maidens in the cause of children's education, and 
also, and especially, to influence ladies of high birth and position — 
of the very highest, indeed, if we could reach them — and to con- 
vince them of the true value for mankind and of the stringent need 
of the system we are advocating ; for such ladies would have the 
means as well as the will to help us ; the material as well as the 
shaping idea ; the power to execute as well as the earnest zeal 
to endeavour. And let us also be ever mindful of the lesson of 
our time, enforced by so many and such terrible examples — that 
in the case of all persons of such high position, wealth and 
poverty, possession and deprivation frequently lie in the mere 
glance of an eye, in the lightest whisper of a mouth, in a single 
word ; that it is often the fate of an instant to decide that he who 
is to-day extolled as the benefactor of his nation, or of all man- 
kind, shall to-morrow be hooted down as the betrayer of both. 
Each one of those highborn ladies, spotlessly pure as a lily, 
shining clear as an angel, must yet see narrowly to it, lest the fatal 

2/2 Letters of Froehel. 

words, " Too late ! " plunge all that high and holy purity into 
darkness and misery. 

If only our queens, our princesses, all our highest and mighti- 
est ones, would but think of this ! If they could but realize what 
power a lovingly guiding Providence, an everlasting paternal good- 
ness has placed in their hand and laid in their heart, for the firm 
foundation of the happiness of their subjects, in the family and in 
the nation ahke ! If they would but see how he invites them to 
scatter abroad the seeds of individual and national prosperity ! 
If they would but recognise that the duty is laid upon them to 
vigorously support this movement for the culture of very young 
children in families and in Kindergartens, with all the rich conse- 
quences dependent upon that ! Then we should save for our 
people, for humanity, for our contemporaries, and for posterity, 
through them, through the deep and true feeling of their woman's 
heart, that superfluity of this world's best things which they still 
now possess, even after the large amount which the male sex has 
taken from them. 

May it come to pass in the great family of the nation, the 
married life, so to speak, of the human race, as it often comes to 
pass in real families and in ordinary married life, and to the bless- 
ing of all — that where the men have trampled down all that is 
noble, the love of woman is able to revive it and upraise it again ! 

That I might express these thoughts to you, dear madam, is the 
purpose of this letter, in addition to my natural wish to thank 
you for the confidence you have reposed in me, which I do, as 
you see, in my own peculiar way. Confidence is the true thanks 
for confidence. I might have put that as a heading to this letter 
if it were not that with me ideas involuntarily follow the same 
order of development on paper as that in which they originally 
arose in my mind ; a circumstance which indeed has its good side 
in regard to their inner connection, though it sometimes may be 
rather wearisome for the reader. I can only hope that the pub- 
lished circular letter, which I venture to enclose in the present 
one, may not prove an example of what I have just said. I have 
enclosed that letter also in the same spirit of mutual confidence 
which has induced me to write this one to you. 

Propagation and Extension. 273 

The printed letter enclosed deals with the actual situation, and 
has, in fact, like the present letter, arisen directly therefrom : it 
differs simply by being addressed, not to one friend, but to a 
large number of noble women, all inspired by the thought of work- 
ing towards a satisfactory and complete education of children, 
and thereby towards family and national well-being through the 
united action of mothers and maidens. I have thought it my duty 
to send you a copy of this circular letter, dear madam ; for by 
your child-loving mind you already stand upon the same plane of 
activity (activity in an imperishable work) with that sweet circle 
of women whom a common motive has bound toofether so fast 
that they are become almost as one person. And since the order 
of ideas in that circular letter is not the same as in this, it is my 
hope that the two letters may be mutually explanatory, may com- 
plete one another, so to speak : especially with regard to the most 
important conception of a single mighty Law of Life, individual- 
ising and all-embracing at the same time, and enduring for ever 
and ever. This Law rules the great unities of Mankind and of 
Life — it is our duty to strive to understand its all-penetrating 
force ; and as soon as we have arrived at its understanding, then 
voluntarily and in all freedom of will we ought to bring it to 
practical application in our life, and to live according to its behest. 
This mighty all-penetrating law expresses itself everywhere, and 
in a manner especially marked with regard to the sexes in their 
mutual relations ; wherefore we recognise it in remarkable clear- 
ness and simplicity in the family, in the relationship between 
father, mother and child. Whence it becomes our particular 
duty to hold high the idea of the family as a holy thing; for 
in it lies and germinates the weal of all nations, the salvation of 

This conception, this conviction, form the basis of my Kinder- 
garten system. Lovers of that system have called upon me to 
bring it to a public test by demonstrating its nature upon a scale 
suitable to its complete exhibition, and request me to invite the 
public to witness this demonstration. 

I send you some copies of my invitation to this meeting, 
which I published originally in the Educational Journal for 


2/4 Letters of Froebel. 

Saxony} As soon as further details of time and place are de- 
cided upon I will let you know them. 

As I close this letter I receive a number of programmes of the 
" Second General Teachers' Conference for Saxony." I see that 
the Kindergarten is admitted to its true place in this programme, 
as an organic member of the national German educational system 
and this fact is of such exceeding importance that I send you one 
of the copies herewith. 

I should rejoice greatly, dear madam, if you should feel in 
duced to favour me soon with some account of the results of your 
labours in extending this system of Kindergarten education for 
very young children, which we offer as suitable to the spirit o 
the age ; and which embraces their education in private families 
also, through and by means of the Kindergarten. 
With very great esteem, 

I am, yours truly, 

Fr. Froebel. 


Letter to Luise Hertlein, of Vienna, 

Kindergarten Teacher with Madame Doris Liitkens^ t7t Hamburg. 

Marienthal, 29//^ March, 1852. 
There was no need to apologise for your long silence. You 
know my own negligence as a correspondent, and indeed I have 
long been a letter in your debt. And, moreover, you say quite 
truly that in these matters we must trust to that bond of spiritual 
union which connects our IJves, and which should make us 
strong enough in soul and spirit to overcome anything that thus 
threatens to weaken our friendship. Indeed, it could not fail to 

^ Schuheitun^ 

Propagation and Extension. 275 

quicken and raise our lives if we were more constantly brought 
to feel the reality and necessity of this spiritual bond between us. 
It is by such incessant mutual attraction that the stars preserve 
the harmony of the heavens. In my view it is by such a senti- 
ment that mankind will be enabled to arrive eventually at that 
highest plane of development where it will become possible for 
us to recognise the intimate and perpetual interconnection of all 
the living phenomena of mind, resting on the essential unity of 
all the forms of life. What a vast series of ascending planes of 
development stretches out thus before us on this earth alone ! 
And yet, in the ultimate resort, all that vast series already poten- 
tially exists in germ in the Kindergarten and its developments. 

Yet, in spite of the above, which I have put forward to quiet 
your conscience as to your long silence, I am glad that this 
latter is at last broken, and especially glad because of the imme- 
diate reason for it. 

I have already known for some time that Madame B. desired 
to have one of my students as a nursery governess, and I did 
actually send one to her for trial, all the way to Coblenz. Why 
it was that the engagement was not entered into I do not know ; 
but it is certainly remarkable that an engagement so actively 
sought for by the student who then went to Coblenz should have 
fallen through, and yet the very same thing should now come 
of its own accord to you, who knew nothing about it and had 
taken no trouble to secure it. This is an example of the curious 
chances of life ; and shows us that our best course is always 
patiently to await the development of things. How many times 
has not fortune favoured you already in your life ; and, while you 
were steadily fulfilling the duties that lay immediately before you, 
expanded and enlarged those duties into a wider and more 
congenial sphere of culture. 

In another sense, too, your new engagement, generally so satis- 
factory, seems to me especially important ; and the more I think 
of it the greater its importance grows upon me. You will 
remember the great value I used to attach, when I was teaching 
you the unities of hfe, to the great principles of observation, re- 
cognition, and conjunction, or in one phrase — " The reconcili- 

2/6 L etters of Froebel. 

ation of opposites by a mediating link." I think I can offer you 
a striking proof of the justice of my views in this regard, drawn 
from your own life, and doubly manifested there. In all your 
future career, pray listen to and observe the deep laws of nature 
and life which underlie the Kindergarten system of education. 

You know, as the song "North and South" tells us, what 
sharply contrasted opposites we find in North and South Ger- 
many, both in the aspect of the country and in the races which 
inhabit it. Here, then, is a remark which I might easily develop, 
and apply to the guidance of your future life. You, dear Luise, 
are a Viennese, a South German ; and the mediating link of my 
own life has served to connect you with your opposite, Madame 
Doris Liitkens, a North German, by the most perfect and stable 
relationship. Then, again, how do you become connected with 
Madame R. B. ? Where is the point of origin of this new for- 
mula? Is there any opposition between North Germany and 
Hamburg? Perhaps not much : but Madame B. learnt Kinder- 
garten principles in Baden, pondered over them a whole month 
by herself. At last in stony Berlin the spark kindled into flame, 
and she turned towards the North, towards yourself at Hamburg, 
to satisfy the wishes, the maternal necessities, which had been 
borne in upon her, as I have said, in the South (in Baden).^ . 

Further, you know that for generations men have been long- 
ing for a bond of union between South and North. Now you 
see wherein such a bond is conditioned, and whereby it becomes 
possible. Acknowledge, then, in these occurrences (which I 
cannot now properly comment upon) the truth of the Kinder- 
garten principle — the principle of the progressively developing 
culture of mankind towards unity and high purpose in life — and 
see how it stands in all the strength of a true, a high, a Fatherly 
protection. And think, moreover, how we are pledged to faith- 
fully enforce this principle, especially in the family. Finally, 
convince yourself of the great importance of your future position 

^ The English Editors feel bound to remark that in these examples Froebel 
would seem to have pushed his favourite principle beyond what it can fairly 
be made to bear. It must be remembered that he was now within a few 
days of seventy years old, was in ill health, and more than usually fanciful. 

Propagation and Extension. 277 

with all its duties, which now lie certainly before you, though as 
yet they are still indistinctly determined. Wherefore keep that 
consciousness of their importance continually before you, and let 
it rule all your actions. 

Observe, dear Luise, that we must bend our attention firstly 
towards the kernel, the main centre of our national life, the family ; 
and in the family, firstly, to the mothers and daughters, that 
they may hunger and thirst for instruction, as I have often found 
the case in my association with the simplest peasant families; 
secondly, that the rulers of our land, our governments and their 
leaders, may become learned, willing, and helpful, in educational 
matters, and may find the due scope for their energies in the 
Kindergarten system ; and thirdly — as the mediating link con- 
necting these two opposites — we are to come forward and satisfy 
at once the hunger and thirst of the people, and the statesman- 
like desires and efforts of their rulers. 

By which you see that I not merely recognise the gravity 
of these new relationships, as well as Mile. D. does, but I 
seek to extend and widen your considerations concerning them. 
At the same time this will serve you as an example of my usual 
practice of examination into the phenomena and the events of 
life, that I may range them in an orderly way and come to a 
clear view of them and of their intimate vital interconnection 
one with the other. I attach the greatest importance to this 
study of phenomena, and regard that life as the highest and best 
which is lived in accordance with the results and conclusions of 
such a study. 

As I remarked above, our life, regarded as a clear self-con- 
sciousness, a living intuition, and a firm will, must remain ever 
in harmony with the will of the life universal (that is, must not be 
disturbed by our perpetual efforts)— just as harmonious, in fact, 
as are the great unconscious entities of physical nature and the 
general scheme of the world. This, indeed, was the highest and 
ultimate aim of Jesus, who says, " 1 and my Father are one " 
(John X. 30), and " I listen to the voice of my Father " (John viii. 
28, 47). All my efforts in the cause of education are in har- 
mony with these words of Jesus, and rest, as Jesus commands, 

2jZ Letters of Froehel. 

upon the basis of the unity of life — as indeed I have already 
above expressed it. 

Thank God that you have not been led to imitate the pre- 
sumption of certain highly cultured circles who deny their 
Master, whereby you would have falsified your whole principles 
and denied the eternal law which lies beneath them, founding 
all your future work upon lies and deceit, to say the best of it : 
for your escape from this snare you cannot thank God too 
warmly. I must here confide to you a conclusion of the deepest 
significance, which I draw from observations extending over my 
whole life. Ever since I have taken the standing of a national 
educationist, and have spoken out freely upon the principles 
which should govern the education of the people (and the 
education of mankind, in fact), I have observed that all those who, 
after having once enthusiastically acknowledged the truth of the 
principle of progressive development, have later on deserted it 
and turned their back upon it, perhaps have even denied it alto- 
gether, have thenceforth suffered their life long from confusion and 
disaster. I could almost say that this conclusion might be drawn 
from my own life. And hence this educational idea becomes a 
sacred thing to me, not because it is mine, but because it is 
deeply implanted, with all its many various roots, in the nature of 
the human mind. I know that I can conyince but very few of 
my fellow men of the intense verity of this, to the extent that I 
myself am convinced ; but this need not hinder me, any the 
more, from being faithful to my light. 

Rejoice in your motto, " Everywhere with pride and joy truth 
to acknowledge," and I, too, rejoice in your hope that by your 
removal to Coblenz and the B. family you will bring " some good 
to our cause, which thereby becomes more widely known." I 
am sure you will ; and you have my cordial good wishes for a 
blessing on your efforts. 

A most excellent student will be your successor at Madame 
Liitkens', and if I were sure you would not misunderstand me I 
should say she is the precise opposite of yourself, being a sweet 
gentle soul. 

Observe how in the life of Madame Liitkens we find the con- 

Propagation and Extension. 279 

trast to what I was saying a little above. Although it cannot be 
denied that she takes up a position almost the contrary of mine 
in her opinions on society, on life, and I might perhaps even 
add on education, yet from the first moment that she really 
thoughtfully considered and acknowledged the truth of my edu- 
cational aims she has remained their true supporter : and she has 
been so fortunate as to receive, one after the other, three 
Kindergarten teachers from out my students, who have all of 
them proved most able assistants to her. Here you see the 
truth, from another side, of the proverb: — "Whoso faithfully 
cherishes the idea shall be faithfully rewarded by the idea," 
and in the second place you see also that life in general, and 
true vital powerful educational work in particular, exist by the 
reconciliation and union of opposites ; for you are as opposite 
to Alwine ^ as two persons of similar education and work can be, 
and your successor is equally unlike you. 

Hence you may assure yourself, dear Luise, that life is ever made 
up by developments of the union of opposites, according to the 
everlasting law God has imposed upon it, and that it lies upon 
your spirit to search out and acknowledge examples of this 'law, 
through which you may become able to walk warily in your life 
by the light of consciousness and insight, intelligently following 
out the will of God and submitting yourself thereunto. 

And this happens to be especially the point that my opponents 
never seem to see, or at all events never admit. But so long as 
we do not acknowledge these palpable facts of nature, ^vllich are 
objective to us, that is, which are independent and outside ot 
ourselves, as representing a law of society and life, and refuse 
to recognise this law in our spirit as being truly a law of God (but 
still leaving to ourselves the freedom of the will) — until, I say, 
these facts are felt, by at least a few chosen souls amongst men, 
to constitute a fundamental law of life, Life will never lose its 
perpetual waverings, its misunderstandings, and its want of faith 
This is my deepest, firmest, and ever present conviction. 

^ Alwine INIiddendorft (afterwards Madame Wichard Lange), her predeces- 
sor with Madame Lvitkens— see Letter XIX. to Madame Schmidt, Part I. of 
the present book. 

28o Letters of Froebel. 

And while even so firm and decided a statement of my convic- 
tion may nevertheless fail to convince another man that this law 
is really true, it will still have this effect, that you, and all others 
to whom the intelligence of this great law may come, will be 
attentive to the phenomena of life and to the laws of God, which 
are expressed through them, so that you may come to acknow- 
ledge the will of God as an objective perception. To become 
what we ought to become, we must clearly acknowledge that we 
and our mental phenomena are a mingled mass of opposites — 
and this not to our hurt, but to our good — as for example, soul 
and intellect, heart and head, intuition, feeling and reason, etc. 
To such opposite-similars it is our task in life, and by means 
of life, to find the mediating link, the point of union. 

The Incarnation and the life of Jesus are conditioned by this 
same law, as is also his harmony of action with the One God : 
and so, too, turning to another sphere, my own action, and my 
own aim in life are harmonised with those of Jesus; for from 
them come unity of life, unity with God, and the real power and 
vigour of life. "By their fruits ye shall know them" (Matt, 
vii. 20). 

Osberve all this and prove it from the thousand experiences of 
life, and from time to time, as opportunity serves, let me know 
how it goes with your inner as well as your outer life ; thus, for 
one of us at least, may hfe be made clear, which is but another 
way of saying that its conduct may be made more true. 

I know that many others with whom I am personally not 
acquainted have like aims with myself; and we may perhaps hope 
that we may thus accomplish together something for the peace 
of life which we all so long for, and for the joy of life which we 
all so need. 

You are right to make the Journal your study ; for there is 
much more in it than the mere w^ords express, many undeveloped 
germs, much seed-corn. Believe me, I should study the Journal 
myself, if I could but spare the time, and that with profit : I mean 
that I should study it with a view to the development of those said 
germs and seed-corn. In the fourth number of the Journal is 
an article upon " Stick laying," which contains a deep-lying con- 

Propagation and Extension. 281 

ception of society and of life, the recognition of which is of great 
importance for the conscious and sure guidance of life, and of 
children's education, and men's too. Whether many will recog- 
nise it, is quite another question ; yet, if only a few perceive 
the truth of it, that is sufficient, for they will work upon others. 

Now, as a conclusion* of the whole matter, you see by what 
I have written that I not only approve of your resolve to accept 
the Coblenz invitation, but that you have acted in the affair in 
every way precisely as I could have wished. God's blessing on 
your work ! This letter must serve for quite half a year, I entreat. 
Do not forget to come to the public demonstration of the "gifts" 
which I intend to give at the Liebenstein Kindergarten next 

All desire to be kindly remembered to you, especially your 
namesake, and myself. 

Your Friend, 

Fr. Fr. 
{Friede^ Freude, Fret/ieit.)^ 

^ Von mir, Ihrcn Frd., Fr. Fr. [not Ihnen Frd.^ Fr. Fr., as in the 
German text. That is, " peace, joy and freedom:" a play upon his usual 
abbreviated signature, " Fr. Fr." (Friedrich Froebel), with Frd, added, for 
Freund (friend). See also the same signature to the letter toLisette Kirchner, 
in Section IV. The namesake is, of course, Madame Luise Froebel. 



Introduction. 1 

HE more foes, the more honour." This proverb 
serves well for Froebel. And his foes were not 
only many, but mighty ; nay, of the mightiest in the 
land, and such as few persons have had to encounter. 
Amongst them was the Prussian Minister of Education, Von 
Raumer, who on 7th August, 185 1, simply abolished the Kinder- 
garten in Prussia, on the ground that it was "a part of the Froe- 
belian Socialistic system, calculated to bring up our young people 
in atheism ! " 

Froebel, on principle, did not usually answer his foes ; he 
sought rather to overcome their hostility by making his practical 
work as perfect as possible, and trusting to the evidence of 
actual facts to prove the justice of his ideas. But he abandoned 
his usual course in this case of the Prussian Minister, and sent 
him (quite in vain, it is true) a paper of defence and justification, 
the draft of which, in Froebel's own handwriting, is in my posses- 
sion, and shall one day be published. 

The following letters of Froebel were all written during the last 
three years of his life, and dated from Liebenstein and Marienthal. 
They are concerned throughout, in an indirect way, with his 
opponents of the orthodox religion, and they contain the evidence 
that he never lost the Christian faith, nor separated himself from 
the Protestant Church, in which he had been brought up, but 
held the position of a broad-minded tolerant Churchman as regards 
the less orthodox communities.- 

^ By the German Editor, Herr Poesche. 

2 The Protestant {Evangelischen) Churches of North Germany are now two 
in number, and every citizen, whatever the private belief of his parents or him- 
self, must be baptized and confirmed in one or the other, unless he is a 
Roman Catholic. These two branches are the Old Lutherans and the New 

286 Letters of Froehel. 

In the first letter, which is addressed to Madame Doris Liitkens, 
at Hamburg, it is more particularly the pedantic educationist 
Folsing who claims our attention ; in the two letters to the 
Kindergarten teachers of Nuremberg, the decree for the abolition 
of the Kindergarten in Bavaria is dwelt upon, and in the last letter 
Froebel tells us about his educational efforts on behalf of the 
" Home Missionary Society." ^ A few remarks are necessary upon 
these various points. 

1. The opposition between the strictly orthodox conception 
of society, and that of persons holding freer religious views, still 
manifests itself daily, and almost seems to grow more and more 
intense in regard to the instruction of very young children. For 
example, even down to our own day an invariable charge is made 
against the Kindergarten by persons of rigidly orthodox views, that 
it has no definite profession of faith ; and " Oberlin Schools " are 
founded, under the protection of the aegis of the great strategist 
Von MoUke, and others, with the direct view and in the full 
purpose of working against the "godless" Kindergarten. ^ And 
on this account, too, the old-fashioned creches are taken into 
favour ; for in these, as a rule, only children of one denomination 
are gathered together. 

2. Froebel saw in the earliest education of children a neutral 
ground, a place of peace, and in giving his Kindergarten its form 
and method, he entered into friendly relations with Catholics and 
Protestants, Jews and Free Christians {e.g. as to the latter, Wis- 
licenus, Baltzer, Hildenhagen and Uhlig). He made use of all 
forms of "practical Christianity." What belief Froebel himself 

or Reformed Lutherans, corresponding roughly to our High Church and Broad 
Church. Froebel belonged to the latter, but his father would certainly have 
belonged to the former, if the division of the Church had taken place during 
his life, instead of about 1845. 

1 As to this great work of the philanthropist, J. X. Wichern, see the notes 
to the last letter in this book. 

2 The German Editor might have added a choicer example of narrowness 
drawn from Berlin usage, where, to counteract any ill effect from the Kinder- 
gartens under the influence of Madame Schrader (Froebel's great-niece), the 
orthodox have thought fit to establish several so-called " Christian Kinder- 
gartens " of their own. General von Moltke is a patron of these " Christian 
Kindergartens," also, as well as of the Oberlin Schools. 

Attack and Defence. 287 

held can be at once perceived quite clearly from the following 
letters. But if a more explicit testimony of FroebeFs perfectly 
Christian views be needed, I will add here a few words from his 
nephew, Karl Froebel, some time professor at Edinburgh. 1 
Herr Karl Froebel says : " My uncle was truly pious in the 
Christian sense, through and through. His whole life has left 
this distinct impression upon me. Certainly it was rather the 
spirit than the form of Christianity with which he was penetrated 
in so remarkable a manner. He believed that his work in educa- 
tion would eventually bring about a new form of Christianity, and 
that Christendom would become conterminous with the whole 
human race." Not the form, but the spirit of Christianity, we 
see, enthralled Froebel. If we want more precisely to describe 
this spirit, we may turn to a little book he himself has recom- 
mended - — "Psyche" (the soul), by Dr. R. Carus, 1846; 
" which," as he says in a letter to Felsberg, of 7th February, 1847, 
"is most remarkable to me on this account, that the writer and 
I set out from completely opposite standpoints, and yet he arrives 
by similarly ordered reasoning at precisely my own results. Up 
to the present I have met with no work which bears such clear 
witness as this to the truth of my aims and efforts." What, then, 
were the results gained by viewing the world from Carus's Theistic 
standpoint ? He shows us nature, as a huge, powerful, immortal 
life unity, ruled by moral principles and by the mind of God. 
Every living thing is a leaf or twig of this tree of life ; especially 
man, in whom, as the crown of creation, nature arrives at self- 
consciousness. The connection of man's life with the natural 
universal hfe is show^n in triple wise ; firstly, as a desire for 
harmony with the highest life, that is, for unity with God ; secondly, 
as a desire for harmony with all the living beings that surround 
us, that is, for unity with the wo^dd ; and thirdly, as a desire for 
unity with self, called forth by the everlasting conflict between 
mind and body. If Froebel's religious position is desired to be 
accurately known, Carus should be closely studied. The Theism 

^ Where he still resides. 

2 As, for instance, to his cousin, Madame Schmidt, of Gera, to whom he in- 
troduces the book at the end of Letter XX,, Part I. of the present volume. 

288 Letters of FroebeL 

of Carus has, of course, nothing to do with Pantheism, which 
latter simply identifies God and the world. Enough has been 
said upon this point. 

3. The opposition of Folsing, in Darmstadt, was certainly 
grounded upon a divergence from Froebel in religious matters ; 
but was aggravated by Folsing's over-weening conceit. He was 
an organist and a military schoolmaster (began as an artillery- 
man, then went to the Teachers' Training College at Friedburg, 
where Curtman was director, and was there trained as a teacher); 
and he had founded at Darmstadt an Infant School, which showed 
good and practical results. In 1844 Froebel, travelling in the 
Rhine, Main, and Neckar district, came to Darmstadt and 
entered into nearer relations with Folsing. On some practical 
points Folsing was superior to the creator of the Kindergarten ; 
he led the children's singing well, and was very clever in keeping 
their attention constantly^ alive by recitations, stories, verses, fairy 
tales, etc.; and he had large curved pieces of wood for building 
with, that enabled the children easily to construct the most in- 
teresting forms. At the beginning Froebel was successful in 
placing his first and best disciple, Mile. Ida Seele, at the head 
of an Infant School in Darmstadt ; and he desired them to have 
the name as well as the thing—'* Kindergarten." But Folsing 
stood for his own tide. His ideal was the " Infant School," and 
his influence was sufficient to prevent the use of the word 
*' Kindergarten." 

As the name "Kindergarten" also plays a part in the letters to 
the Bavarian Kindergarten teachers in Nuremberg, it is worthy 
of remark that Froebel expresses himself very fully to his disciple 
in Darmstadt, Ida Seele, about the unpleasantness there, and the 
difiference between the names " Kindergarten " and " Infant 
School." This is how he writes to Ida Seele on 14th March, 
1847, when she had already been appointed mistress of the Infant 
School at Darmstadt : — 

" Also I hope I may attain here (in Darmstadt) my third great 
object — which is the establishment of a Normal-Kindergarten, 
one which will serve as a practical model to others as to actual 
working, and will also bear the name of ' Kindergarten.' For 

Attack and Defence. 

the name of the thing, or of a person, is by no means to be 
neglected as without influence. You know how often I have 
remarked upon this with reference to your own name;^ and we 
have a proverb which says the same thing, with that good com- 
mon sense which is the characteristic of proverbs, 'Call a child 
by its right name.' 

" You remember well enough how hard we worked, and how 
we had to fight, not occasionally but constantly, and with all our 
force, that we might elevate the Darmstadt creche, or rather 
Infant School, by improved methods and organization, until it 
became a true Kindergarten. And you remember to what a 
great extent we soon succeeded in this task, by our united efforts. 
You know what trouble I took to acquire a piece of garden 
ground for that Institution, so that the children might have their 
own little gardens in the central part, surrounded by the general 
school-garden on all sides ; because I consider all such Institu- 
tions incomplete without this important adjunct, of whose far- 
reaching influence and importance you must have been thoroughly 
convinced at Blankenburg. You know what pains we both took 
to meet the school's requirements on the purely teaching side, 
when Herr A., our teacher, unexpectedly left us ; and what 
trouble we gave ourselves to make you qualified for every emer- 
gency of this kind, so far as we could forecast the future ; and 
you remember how in all these points we succeeded to the 
general satisfaction of all concerned, not merely just at first, but 
in the permanent enduring work, 

" Now what was the outcome of all this, even during my own 
stay at Darmstadt? Why, the fetters which always cripple a 
Cfcche, or an Infant School, and which seem to hang upon it 
from its inception, and to cling round its very name — these 
fetters were allowed to remain unbroken. Every one felt pleased 
with so diligent, so faithful a mistress as yourself, and appreciated 
the fruitfulness of your work ; all esteemed you and recognised 
your worth properly ; yet at the same time they withlield from 
you the main condition of an unimpeded development, that 

Seek, in German, means " Soul." 

290 Letters of Froebel. 

freedom on all sides which is absolutely necessary to every young 
healthy and vigorous plant : and instead of this they crippled you 
with old mechanical and formal restraints, as far as possible. 
You must remember the half-a-folio-full of ' House- Rules,' or 
whatever they were called, which made their appearance even 
while I was still in Darmstadt. They seemed to me like chains 
thrown round the whole, preventing its free outgrowth ; but I can- 
not say if you too felt them as such, since I carefully abstained 
from making any remarks to you upon the subject, for fear of 
dashing your courage. 

" Gratitude for the possession of the living principle involved 
in our method of child-development — whose value is, moreover, 
abundantly manifested by its results — ought by this time already 
to have induced the committee to call the child by its right 
name. This is what they have done in Homburg, where they 
have set your people a striking example by adopting the name 
of ' Kindergarten ' at the same time that the old Infant School 
was remodelled upon the basis of our games and occupations. 

" Is there really such importance underlying the mere name of 
a system? — some one might ask. Yes, there is ; and it is proved 
by results which are simply surprising, and which are not con- 
fined to any one place. See, for example, Gotha, Liinen, etc. — 
for I will not name Dresden. I will grant you this, as to your 
influence, that the personal result of your work is very great, 
indeed greater than at either Gotha or Liinen, and that you have 
deserved all possible recognition of your labours in your own 
sphere ; but that sphere was and still is only an Infant School, 
one of a large class of such schools, and distinguished from them 
mainly by its superior excellence. It is true that any one carefully 
watching your teaching would observe a new spirit infused into it, 
expressing and fulfilling the child's own wants and desires, and 
would welcome a fresh mode of handling subjects and developing 
them, suitable to that new spirit ; but that your method of chil- 
dren's instruction was completely adapted to lead up to the entire 
sphere of the human culture and development of to-day our care- 
ful observer would not be able to admit, at all events, upon the 
single specimen submitted to him in your school. You would 

Attack and Defence. 291 

strike him as personally capable, nay, as extremely capable, but 
you would fail to strike him as a high-minded, true-hearted and 
heaven-sent servant and priestess of the idea which God has 
now called to life within man's bosom, and of the struggle towards 
the realization of that idea — education by development — the 
destined means of raising the whole human race, and before all 
else the German nation, to a new plane of culture. For, after all, 
what do we mean by ' Infant School,' and what do we mean by 
' Kindergarten ' ? 

" A School is a place and a method in and by which a man 
obtains knowledge of something outside himself, and is won to 
the contemplation and acquisition of facts placed before him. 
But the child must first himself be something, before he can turn 
to the contemplation of strange things foreign to his nature. 
One ought already to have some firm standpoint of his own, 
before one begins to acquire things altogether novel. So the 
spirit of the age commands it to be, and above all with children. 
We must admit that no man can acquire fresh knowledge, even 
at a school, beyond the measure which his own mental strength 
and stage of development fits him to receive. But little children 
have no development at all. Wherefore, in their one-sided and 
hilf-hearted way, men set about to create infant schools, which 
are nothing but a contradiction of child-nature. Little children, 
especially those under school age, ought not to be schooled and 
taught, they need merely to be droeloped. It is the pressing need 
of our age, and only the idea of a garden can serve to show us 
symbolically — but accurately also — the proper treatment of chil- 
dren. This idea lies in the very name of a Kindergarten, which 
is destined to fulfil the need of true childward care : would it were 
universally acknowledged and adopted ! And the name is there- 
fore absolutely necessary to describe the first education of children. 
We misconceive our time if we think otherwise; we cramp the 
progress and the spread of that culture of childhood which is 
dear to God and to Jesus ; we render impossible the harmony, 
and concord, unity and union, which comprehensive and truly 
blessed and hallowed educational principles would bring us, if 
we do not make this name of ' Kindergarten ' general, which so 

292 Letters of Froebel. 

exactly describes the thing we mean. Facts tell for this view, as 
already said above ; for where the name has been adopted, 
there a cheerful interest has been at once awakened, if no more. 

"I am very tired, for it is already past midnight, and possibly 
I may have been somewhat prolix over all this ; but you may 
gather the grief with which I have seen my fairest hopes deceived, 
and have found, as a result of your unusual gifts, your faithful 
services, and your perseverance — all placed at the service of 
Darmstadt — only an excellent Infant School, instead of the fair 
blossom of a Kindergarten. 

" The results of your work are good — are indeed very good. 
Who could refuse to acknowledge so much ? But how much 
better and fairer would they have been, had only your committee 
been able to resolve to call your work by its proper name, and to 
make evident, by that expression, the real nature of the new spirit 
you have introduced ! Then first, and then only, will your 
institution and your own work become a living member of the 
great fundamental unity of education which we so urgently need 
to see established, when you adopt the name 'Kindergarten'; 
then only will your institution and your work acquire that deep 
meaning and value for the life of the town which they so well 
deserve ; then only can I become to you, as you have a right to 
hope and expect of me, a kind of father, a source of trust, 
a stay and support, remaining, for want of this, confined to kindly 
words and feelings, and unable to place at your service those 
means which I long to make yours. 

" Well, then, consider the whole scope of what I have said. 
Do you not now feel a spiritual breath of life, a unifying, peace 
and joy-bringing sensation sweep over you, even at the contem- 
plation of this necessary step as a thing quite possible to be 
attained? How much more, then, would you not rejoice if it were 
actually accomplished ! " 

Notwithstanding this, things remained in the same old groove at 
Darmstadt ; and Froebel ceased to worry himself about Folsing. 
This man, however, in 1849, levelled a direct attack against 
Froebel in a pamphlet called " Froebelian Kindergartens." 
Froebel did not take the trouble to answer. But his talented dis- 

Attack and Defence. 293 

ciple, Madame Doris Liitkens, of Hamburg, took up the cause on his 
belialf, and stoutly defended him in a pamphlet called " Froebel's 
Kindergartens, by Doris Liitkens, nee Von Cossel, of Hamburg." 
(Perthes-Besser and Mauke, 1849.) "Then appeared," says Dr. 
Wichard Lange, who carefully followed the whole course of these 
proceedings in Hamburg, " in a journal edited by the lady, 
under the title of Our Children^ a series of letters from Herr 
Folsing, all of them penetrated with the spirit of opposition to 
the Kindergarten system. These letters were answered as they 
appeared by Madame Doris Liitkens herself, and in a most clever 
way ; for while hitting the nail on the head, and leaving her 
opponent in a very unpleasant plight, she contrived to pay him 
personal respect and to acknowledge his great services. In this 
correspondence Herr Folsing falls so lamentably short of his 
fair antagonist that at the close one cannot but pity the poor 
man. The attentive reader is forced to the conclusion that 
Folsing's opposition does not really spring from the system it- 
self, but that it is due to his own egregious conceit, which drives 
him to hail down blows blindly upon a thing which he ought, on 
the contrary, to have most carefully weighed and considered. 


Three Letters to Madame Doris Lutkens (Principal 
of a Girls' High School in Hamburg). 

Letter I. 

Liebenstein Spa, -^ist August^ 1849. 
Esteemed ]\L\dam, — 

A number of kind and friendly letters of yours lie before me, 
expressing your warm and practical sympathy with my educational 
aims, and your intimate conviction of the truth of them. And 
yet these letters, which I prize for my own sake as well as for the 
sake of the cause of childhood, remain unanswered, which seems 
hardly to be explained. Nevertheless, the cause of this neglect is 

294 Letters of Frocbel. 

very simple. It is that such sympathy as yours makes me forget all 
else, awakens me to fresh effort, and gives me the clear assurance 
that I shall succeed in carrying through my work, which can then 
speak for itself; for I perceive more and more as time goes on, 
that only a glance unfalteringly fixed upon the wished-for goal, 
only steady continuous footsteps along the allotted path, only un- 
ceasing fulfilment of the current necessities which such efforts 
unceasingly produce will suffice to bring me at last, and that but 
slowly, to the accomplishment of my purpose. 

It is true that in a mode of life and work such as mine, one 
has to lose much that is kind and friendly, such as life freely puts 
forward in ordinary commerce with Nature, with Societ}'-, and even 
with oneself; and I have to forego very much pleasure in this 
way that falls to the lot of others who take the world more 
lightl)'. Yet at the same time, such as I are privileged to escape 
much that is unfriendly, and life provides plenty of this latter 
material, especially for active workers ; or if anything of the kind 
reaches us eventually, it is not till it has worn itself out, and the 
bitterness of its sting has left it. This has happened to me with 
Folsing's pamphlet on " Froebelian Kindergartens " — for never 
since I heard of its existence have I had a free moment to pro- 
cure it, still less to read it. On the other hand, we of this " take 
no notice" policy, who utterly neglect such censorious pamphlets, 
and instead of answering them trust to our life and our work to 
give them the lie, someiimes miss many kind and friendly side- 
passages. Thus it is only a few days ago that I heard of your 
reply made on my behalf to Folsing, a reply which surprised and 
delighted me by its calmness, clearness, and simplicit}^ All who 
heard it read — for we had it read to us at a little meeting of 
educationists — acknowledged the pleasure your pamphlet gave 
them by its main characteristics just named, and beyond, and 
especially, moreover, by the delicacy and precision with which all 
personalities were avoided. 

Many thanks, dear madam, for what you have done by this 
pamphlet for the cause we have at heart, even though the thanks 
come somewhat late. 

I should have liked to be able to give you a more sub- 

Attack and Defence. 295 

stantial sort of thanks, to thank you in right practical fashion 
for your long-continued protective care of my idea and its out- 
ward manifestations, — namely, by having you here as my guest for 
some weeks, or some months for that matter, that you might 
witness the vigorous support vouciisafed to me at the Lieben- 
stein Spa in the cause of children's education ; those who support 
me being of all classes of society, of botii sexes, and of every 
conceivable stage of culture. I observed no age, no position 
which formed an exception, right from the humble day-labourer 
up to some royal highnesses from Weimar, who were staying for 
tiie summer in Wilhelmsthal and came over to Liebenstein to 
examine carefully and seriously our methods of training children, 
by means of occupations and games. 

I am glad to be able to look forA'ard to spending some months 
next winter at kindly Hamburg, so good and gracious towards 
the Kindergarten, and I can then fulfil my pleasant duty of thank- 
ing you for your continued sympathy. Until then I must retain 
the expression of my deep feelings within my own breast. 

Believe me. 

Yours very sincerely, 

Fr. Froebel. 

Letter II. 

Marienthal, 1st Marc/i, 1851 
Esteemed Madam, — 

From Hamburg I get news of a kind utterance of yours about 
me — that a letter from me would be even more welcome to you 
than the friendly message which the bearer had given you from 
me. Coming from a noble heart and clear-sighted intelligence 
like yours, such a challenge has not failed to arouse many various 
considerations in my mind. Thus, beside the feeling of pleasure at 
your kindness, I have also the unpleasant feeling of being your 
debtor ; for I have not yet expressed to you my thanks for the 
constant and watchful way in which you have fostered and aided 
my educational endeavours. That I have not manifested my 
thankfulness in black and white must show you, esteemed madam. 

296 Letters of Froebel. 

in an unmistakable manner — even with your slight knowledge of 
my nature, which is easily wrought to thankful feelings — how my 
life is fettered. You may judge how overburdened I am, when I 
have hitherto been unable to find time simply to express what I 
so keenly feel. 

But it is so, and ever was. Though I gain a clear view of life, 
and therefore may indulge in definite expectations as to the 
future, yet there always rush in upon me a crowd of life- 
phenomena, of life- experiences, disturbing my soul and oppress- 
ing my mind, the more powerfully and the more distressingly be- 
cause so little expected ; and these intruders push further on and 
further till they win a footing in the very centre of my existence. 
On the other hand, I am penetrated with thankfulness towards 
you, none the less, as well as with the sense of my obligation to 
express those thanks I ow^e you for your protecting and fostering 
care of the great educational ideas whose exponent I have be- 
come. I am not saying all this in a mere personal and individual 
way, but recording it as a matter which may aid in the investiga- 
tion of great departments of life, and the laws thereof, whose 
discovery and acknowledgment lie so near the heart of both of 

And as it belongs to my character to cherish thankful thoughts 
(as indeed is the case with most men), so also does it equally form 
a necessary part of me to be irresistibly driven to search out the 
inmost, the ultimate (or rather indeed the primary) cause of every 
external phenomenon or fact of life ; and to discover its germ, its 
point of departure, its root. My whole work is based upon this 
peculiar need of my nature, that of searching out the primary 
basis of all phenomena. Amongst such investigations there is 
none that urges itself upon me more closely, definitely and press- 
ingly than this acknowledged fostering care of yours towards the 
Kindergartens of Hamburg. I do not regard this merely as a 
thought, an idea of your own ; far rather does it appear to me as 
something that has been imported into and become interwoven 
with your life, so that it is an actual potent fact of life with you, 
of far-reaching influence. And where, dear lady, are we to look 
or the origin of this important life fact? What form did it take ? 

Attack and Defence. 297 

It was a simple casual thought of your own, caught at by me and 
stayed in mid-career, the thought, namely, that once occurred 
to you to send me the results of your work x^ci the theory and 
practice of education. To this communication you, un- 
consciously following the great law of the union of opposites, 
which is tlie basis of the union of all nature and all life, added a 
request for a personal conference with me. In this seemingly 
unimportant request (based on the double thought, as I at once 
remarked with interest, of a v/ished-for union between us and 
of the connecting or mediating link necessary to that union), a 
mere breath of the mind, as it vv^ere, lay the foundation of it all ; 
and Hamburg already rejoices, and for centuries to come will 
rejoice, in growing fervour and fulness at what it has brought 
forth. Assume that there are now in Hamburg seven or eight 
institutions for the care of children, managed in an intelligent and 
progressively educational manner ; this gives us at least 300 
children in Hamburg, who enjoy this inestimable blessing. Now 
look along the chain of events which culminates in this point, and 
by which this rich result has been arrived at. Take away the first 
link, that is the fancy which impelled you to write to me, and can 
you imagine the noble great result as nevertheless existing? In- 
deed you cannot ! Think then, and be sure, how thankful I must 
be, when I perceive and acknowledge this, and how gladly I 
would express my thanks to you. For though the system itself, 
wherever it is made known, produces a great impression, it is only 
continual and progressively fostering care that yields true results^ 
as we both know from our separate and our common experience, 
that is to say, a fostering care of the work under the consciousness 
of its aim and purpose, its ways and means. We ought also never 
to forget, and must constantly bring back clearly before us, the fact 
that we live in a new age, in the age of endeavour and struggle to- 
wards knowledge, consciousness, insight — The Age of Perception. 
We must all follow along this great plane of the present develop- 
ment of Society, Life and Mankind ; in the same way as out of 
doors, in the free natural life, the smallest violet root and the 
colossal oak alike have to follow the call of the coming spring, a 
gentle breeze or a warm slender ray of sunshine. We, as thinking. 

298 Letters of Froebel 

free-willing men, have it in our power to resist or follow the call, but 
good results lie only along the path of the great unmistakable course 
of life-development; and just as the fate of violet and oak are 
bound up with the coming natural spring, and its circumstances 
of place and time, of when and how, so is the fate of man, and of 
us two along with the rest, bound up with the coming of the great 
springtime of human life and of the race of man. We are assured 
of this by the results already obtained through the study of the 
law that development is due to the reconciliation of opposites 
through the link of mediation, and we have to decide as thinking, 
self-conscious and free-w^illing men whether this law is to operate 
aione, of itself, independent of ourselves, and to produce new 
developments in this way, or whether these developments are to 
be watched for and fostered by us as thinking beings possessing 
the consciousness of their aim and purpose, and of the conditions 
Avhich surround them. This much is clear, that whatever we may 
have already gained by the study of this great law of development 
is but a small fraction, but a beginning of those great results which 
we may eventually attain from it by intelligent observation and 
careful, conscious attention. The main purpose of this letter, 
dear madam, is to speak to you frankly on this subject, and all 
that has gone before has been by way of introduction. 

I have already remarked that we are living in an age when we 
are consciously under a law of development acting by the recon- 
ciliation of opposites, and that man must be swept along the 
general stream of life according to this law, whether he wishes or 
not ; but it is surely nobler and more worthy of mankind to know 
the course we are pursuing, to observe it rationally, and follow it 
consciously and with some independence of character. For all 
this you can supply proofs easily from your own experience. 

You have, as I hear, thougli as yet I have not been able to 
procure it, published an article in your journal, called Our 
Children^ which seeks to reconcile and harmonise my views as 
to the nature and life of man and the path of his development, etc., 
with the orthodox dogmatic or Church view ; and I learn from 
letters of friends that your task has been performed in a way 
which calls for the highest approval and grateful acknowledg- 

Attack and Defence. 299 

ment. You see in this the truth of what is said above. Here you 
are striving to find the middle-point wherewith to mediate and 
unite the two opposites, you are consciously aiming at balancing 
the two. If, therefore, you have acted from self-determination, 
from free-will, you have followed in every point the general for- 
ward sweep of the coming springtime of man's development to- 
wards self-consciousness. Here are displayed your position, your 
sphere of work, your scope of character as parts of the great 
unities of life and of mankind ; you are seen as working with full 
consciousness of the meaning of your efforts, towards uniting to- 
gether the many-sided elements of life by means of mediation. 
This is the claim which life makes upon you, upon both of us ; it 
is the task of our individual and united lives. 

What I have just been saying is in no wise to be taken as 
merely personal, or self-regarding, though it relates to myself; it 
is, in truth, altogether relative to humanity at large. This is not 
a paradox, for everything that is acquired by a great unity, say by 
a family, a community, a nation, must in its beginnings be 
acquired by the single members of that unity ; and further, it will 
take them in one of the three grades of development, either that 
of mere unconsciousness^ or of vague feelings or in the third and 
highest grade, that of cojiscious intelligence, so far as it has been 
maintained by mankind up to the present time. This last grade, 
of course, includes but comparatively few amongst men, who, in 
consequence of their development above the general mass, will be 
the first to acquire the new truths. 

It thus becomes our clear duty, without any selfish vanity or 
assumption of superiority— and especially is it your duty to 
steadily further the doctrine which has brought forth already 
blessed fruits, the doctrine that development is gained through 
the union obtained by the reconciliation of opposites. 

If one desires to do vigorous and effective work in the service 
of an idea, one must fully comprehend that idea ; and the prob- 
lem now resolves itself into hozi' to work for the doctrine of the 
union of opposites. 

I have said above that men may be sharply divided into three 
stages of culture, or, to be more accurate, I should have said 

30O Letters of FroebeL 

that in the progress of development three stages differentiate 
themselves and fall apart ; and these stages are seen both in 
individual men and in the race as a whole. They are (i) Uji- 
co7isciousness^ the merely instinctive stage; (2) Vague Feeli?ig, 
the tendency upwards towards consciousness ; and (3) relatively 
clear Conscious Intelligence. We find also three attitudes, spheres 
of work, and regions of mind in man ; (i) the region of the soul, 
the heart — Feeling; (2) the region of the mind, the head — 
Intellect ; (3) the region of the active life, the putting forth to 
actual deed — Will. 

As mental attitudes these three divisions seem the wider 
apart and the more opposed in their nature, the more we con- 
template them ; as spheres of work and regions of mind they seem 
quite separate and perfect opposites ; in fine, they are entirely 
strange to each other, one might say they are at enmity with 
each other, as Theory and Practice, as Empiricism and Science, 
as Religion and Philosophy, as human, arbitrary, externally pro- 
duced Manufacture and natural, ordered, internally developed 

But the highest and most absolute opposition is that w^hich 
most needs and necessitates reconciliation ; complete opposites 
condition their uniting link. The highest grade of development, 
and therefore that with the sharpest opposites, is as we have seen, 
human life, such as we know it to-day, with all its varied phe- 
nomena. The need for the uniting link appears in every circum- 
stance of life, and efforts to reconcile the clashing life-elements 
are perpetually made from all sides. To satisfy that need, to 
bring those efforts to a successful issue, is the most imperative task 
now set before the human race, before its communities, its fami- 
lies, and, indeed, before each individual man, according to the 
measure of his ability and sphere of his usefulness. 

There are three main opposites in life which ever seek a 
mediating link, and which strive perpetually towards union — 
Religion, Philosophy (in all the varied forms of theory and 
practice, science and the conduct of life) and Nature ; regard- 
ing Nature here as representing all physical life, everywhere de- 
veloping itself by internal laws. 

Attack and Defence. 30 1 

Considering these three opposites as ever engaged in efforts 
towards mutual reconciUation and union we might expressively 
represent them in a figure, thus : — 


Religion. Piiilosophy. 

Now, with your educational enterprises, you have, as I conceive, 
the thing, begun to create this mutually mediating link, so de- 
sired and so conditioned ; and you have righdy apprehended the 
whole position and seen the way to meet the indicated conditions. 
For the cJiild — the progressively developing education of the child— 
this is the mediating link, which can reconcile and unite all these 
opposites, and bring together what are now so widely separate. 
In the vocation in which you are more particularly engaged, and 
also in your literary work, and especially your journal, Our 
Children, you have rightfully given to tlie child his true position 
in the midst of these confliciing emotions. 

You have so rightly apprehended the aims of our day, the needs 
of our time, and you liave so vigorously set to work to fulfil them, 
that I claim of you, esteemed madam, that you shall go further 
and deeper and more comprehensively into the work ; that you 
shall not confine yourself to reconciHng religion and philosophy 
by the truly mediating link which will unite them, but proceed 
to the harder task of reconciling the training of children in dog- 
matic theology, that is, the work now done in the schools of 
orthodox religious communities, with the education of children 
as it ought to be, governed purely by the laws of reason and of 

According to my view, this is your lofty mission in life. In the 
place of the old dogmatically religious, orthodox Church teaching, 
you in your character of woman, of mother, will restore the child, 
the future man, to teaching governed by the laws of life and 
mind, to development, to culture, to true education ; and you will 

302 Letter's of Froehel. 

realize that the strengthening of character, which we all agree to 
be a necessity of the age, is to be gained not only by stimulating 
the soul, and elevating the emotions, in one department of life, 
but by raising the whole mind, by training the intellect and the 

Examine closely what I have said, I pray you. Nothing has 
been set down from personal motives, nor from arrogance. I 
have felt compelled to let you know how you and your work 
affect me, in my deepest, my inmost convictions; and to show 
you how 1 have considered it all from many various standpoints. 
I am convinced that in this way alone, can the efforts, the work, 
the will of Jesus become apparent in all their truth, and the 
meaning of His life be made clear and be acknowledged by all 
men — a consummation as devoutly to be wished by us in our 
character of men as in that of Christians. Then the soul would 
acknowledge and esteem the intellectual power, just as the intellect 
already recognises the soul as that which gives true warmth to our 
lives ; and life as a whole would make manifest the soul, which 
quickens existence and gives it a meaning, as well as the intellect, 
which gives it precision and culture. Intellect, feeling and will 
would then unite, a many-sided power, to build up and rightly 
constitute our life. In the room of the unstable character which 
must result from the mere cultivation of one department of 
emotion, in the room of the doubt, or I might say empty 
negation, which too often proceeds from the mere cultivation of 
the intellect; in the room of the materialism, animalism and 
sensuality which must come from the mere attention to the 
bodily and physical side of our nature, we should then have the 
harmonious development of every side of our nature alike, we 
should be able to build up a life which would be everywhere in 
touch with God, with physical nature, with humanity at large. 
The life of mankind, of each individual, as well as of the com- 
munities into which individuals are gathered, from the single 
family up to the whole human race, will thus become a 

" Combined work of God, of Nature and of Man." 
In this manner alone, by the unity given to human life, through 

Attack and Defence. 


the reconciliation of its opposites, can the life of Jesus be mani- 
fested in humanity, in individual men and in the whole rare. 

It is scarcely possible, dealing with so much as I have here 
done, that I can have always made myself quite clear; but I 
have desired to give you a proof of the great esteem in Avhich I 
hold you, of my recognition of the value of your work, and of the 
thankfulness I shall always feel towards you, and I have there- 
fore spoken with perfect frankness and without circumlocution of 
our common work, or rather, to be accurate, of the relationships 
of our separate work, towards a common end. 

This is neither the time nor place to thoroughly exhaust the 
subject, nor could I ever, perhaps, manage this in correspondence 
amidst the many claims on my life ; but my intention is later on 
to develop its chief points in a general article upon it in the 

It would be an excellent opportunity for talking over our 
whole work if you could arrange to take your holiday next 
summer in Liebenstein and Alarienthal with us. 
Believe me, with the highest esteem, 


Friedrich Froebel. 

Letter III. 

jSIarienthal, \oth Ma7'c/i, 1852. 
Esteemed Madam, — 

I have derived much genuine pleasure from reading your 
article in No. '^'^ oi \.\\q Hamburg Ne^vs. You have done good 
service therein, not only to our cause, to tlie idea, but also 
to mankind, which searches for it knows not what. The idea 
itself is unshakably true, and the conviction of its truth has 
established itself now in the souls and minds of many men. The 
most pressing of all needs to-day is that each one should as 
clearly as possible ascertain his standpoint in society, and his 
relationship to the various mental attitudes and forms of effort 
which exist there. And how, then, can we, seeing how seldom 
truth offers herself to our eyes in this life, how can we do less 

304 Letters of Fro eh el. 

than announce this truth, which is so irresistibly borne in upon us ? 
If the idea whose servants we both are, pledged with deepest 
conviction to its furtherance as our life-work, contains disturbing 
elements, or were limited in scope, one-sided — of actual falseness 
I need scarcely speak — it would be worth absolutely nothing, 
and in fact, would be altogether mischievous. Constant and 
close scrutiny from every possible standpoint is the one and 
only way in which to be assured of the truth of an idea ; and 
this way you have adopted, esteemed madam, and this way you 
also recommend to others, and rightly so, as being their sole path 
to the desired goal. 

You have understood me perfectly, and why should I refrain 
from cheerfully admiiting that in these later days I can scarcely 
call to mind any one who has so thoroughly succeeded in attain- 
ing my point of view and in sharing my ideas as yourself? My 
endeavour is not to bring to market my individual views and 
personal experience in order to seek recognition for them, or, as 
it were, to find purchasers of them. No, my endeavour is to in- 
dicate certain universal facts of life, certain universal truths, to 
whose influence, I as well as every other man, with the whole per- 
sonality formed by my intellect, my actions, my feelings, and my 
will, am subject, and which form the universal basis and ground- 
work of life, and give limits and conditions to its development. 
We see in clean, rich, fruitful soil how all sorts and species of 
various plants grow quite well, each developing according to its 
own habit, and true to the laws of its own kind : and just so, 
according to your testimony, can the most varied phases of belief 
build up their vigour from natures which are alike in having 
peace of mind, joy of heart, and freedom of action. Up till now 
I have drawn my closest friends, the keenest sympathisers with 
my work and my endeavours, from men of very various religious 
beliefs ; the professors of my own religion alone are either my 
open foes, or, at least, are quite unsympathetic towards my ideas. 
Now you have demonstrated the folly of the two sources of weak- 
ness in our Church — enmity and indifference towards truth, so far 
as they are applied against my ideas ; you have made yourself 
thoroughly acquainted with my life, which for fifty years has laid 

Attack and Defe7ice. 3^5 

open to the scrutiny of every one, in all its parts and with all its 
relationships; and you have acknowledged that during all my 
struggles to gain acceptance for demonstrative truths of life I 
have never made proselytes, nor instituted propaganda ; my work 
has had but one aim, to set forth those truths of life which 
irresistibly show themselves upon examination to be the basis and 
condition of life, so that they may lie bare and open to the 
scrutiny of every man. So shall we all, to our great peace of 
mind, attain to the knowledge of these general truths, which are 
of universal and fundamental apphcation, and which give us 
support in individual instances also. Every one can now examine 
for himself, and he who refuses to examine stands self-con- 

Blessings, in time and in eternity, be upon your head, because 
you, with your orthodox views, have nevertheless called men to 
this grave inquiry. May your proposal, your invitation, your 
desire, meet with every attention and have rich results ; may girls 
arrive from all denominations, according to your wishes, and 
present themselves as students of your course upon educational 
principles ; and may they, without polemical wrangling, and still 
less with feehngs of enmity drawn from religious motives, closely 
scrutinise the truth you lay before them ; then will they take it to 
their bosom and let it melt deep into their inmost nature, and 
become a part of their very being, especially in regard to the 
religious aspect of it ; and they will give it out again to others as 
the whole and entire unity which it will thus have become to 

The half-hearted, undetermined, characterless condition of 
German Hfe to-day is fast becoming intolerable to the man of 
character, powerful in will and deed. Wherefore I have made a 
firm resolve, that if the conditi>ons of German life will not allow 
room for the development of honest efforts for the good of humanity 
(and the present conditions are such as to make one think of the 
sword of Damokles, and expect its speedy fall) ; if this indifference 
to all higher things continues— then it is my purpose next 
spring to seek in the land of union and independence a soil 
where my idea of education, as a force working towards unity of 


306 Letters of F7veb£L 

life and power of life, may strike firm root.^ This is the present 
aim and object of my work. I will tell you in confidence, 
honoured madam, that only to-day I have sent off a very definite 
statement to the United States, where I have a most estimable 
energetic brother-in-law. And besides I know in whom I trust, 
I have put my trust in Him from my youth up, and I am without 
fear or trembling, without nervousness or apprehension as to my 
personal concerns, therefore. 

As I am quite sure that in your earnest inquiries and work 
everything that throws clear light on the various relationships and 
views of life, such as prevail at the present day, or are seeking to 
prevail, is welcome to you, I venture to recommend to you a 
treatise in the Germania which would well repay your study. It 
is called " Germany and the Home Mission," and runs through 
three numbers (6, 7, and 9). It is by Dr. Gwinner, of Frankfurt, 
and is written in an extremely quiet manner, regarding the subject 
objectively. I think you will like it much, and am anxious for your 
frank account of what impression it makes upon you. I especially 
recommend to your notice the ninth number of the first volume ; 
for if I rightly understand the appendix to your recent publica- 
tion, it says that we must before all else strive to raise the science 
of teaching (paedagogik) into a united whole, and we may then 
use it as a starting-point from which to proceed through many 
various faiths, and with full recognition of their religious 
diff'erences, but with perfect mutual toleration among them, to the 
attainment of true religious peace between ail Churches. To win 
this holy result let us unite heart, head, and hand ; soul, mind, 
and action ; feeling, intellect, and will ; religion, philosophy, and 
education ; intuition, experience and observation. 
With the highest esteem, 

I am, Yours sincerely, 

Fr. Froebel. 

^ This was written in March, 1852 ; but in June all his plans were to cease 
for ever. 

Attack and Defence. 307 


Letter to Mile. Johanna Hebept, Kinderg'apten Teacher 
at Nuremberg". 

x^Iarienthal, 2 2?id Nov.^ 1851. 
Dear Johanna, — 

I wanted specially to add a request of my own to the letter my 
wife sent you yesterday, but I could not find time for it. 

You tell us that in Nuremberg, also, the Kindergartens belong- 
ing to the Free Christians are prohibited, and that two official 
proposals have been made to you as to your future : either to con- 
tinue your Kindergarten work on your own responsibiUty, under 
the name of a creche, or to keep the name of Kindergarten on 
condition of joining the Church. 

My request to you is that you write to me as quickly as pos 
sible what you think of doing, so that we may not permit the 
somewhat favourable relationships which have formed around 
you and the movement to be wasted ; and I have important 
suggestions to make to you in this connection. 

If you desire to know my views upon the proposals made to 
you, but without at present receiving their explanation, or any 
statement of the grounds upon which I base them (for which I 
have no time), they are shortly these. As regards the first, re- 
lating to the change of name, I would not, I could not, agree to 
it. Why should truth be ashamed to bear her own name ? For 
if it is agreed, as I have said to you hundreds and thousands of 
times, that truth will make us free, why is adherence to the name 
of truth to be less effective in this case ? 

As to the second proposal, it touches, I admit, a very tender 
and difficult point ; but its difficulty merely lies, as my deepest 
conviction will have it, in the present imperfection of our know- 
ledge. If all those good folks who go about ordering and altering, 
and turning topsy-turvy all the relations of life, had but been 
clearer and more perfect in their knowledge, we should not have 
had to submit to this sorrowful and confusing period, whence 
as yet nothing seems to be coming to release us. 

3o8 Letters of Froebel. 

If my teaching and the hfe of all of us here are still fresh in 
your memory, you must remember that one of the fundamental 
truths which we all feel irresistibly impelled to acknowledge, is 
this : All things develop — little things or great, internal or ex- 
ternal, unconscious or perfectly conscious — through fast mainten- 
ance of the bond of inner connection and relationship. This 
bond of inner connection may, however, permit of countless 
changes of various external forms, and yet be all the while truly 
maintained at bottom. The endeavour to hold fast the true inner 
connection of things is the main pillar, the foundation stone of 
our life and work here. You know that we and you all lived here 
in joy, peace, and freedom : and I may add that our present 
students, who have a very good mutual understanding amongst 
themselves, live even more happily than their predecessors, for 
they are as happy as children, or as one of them put it in childish 
fashion a couple of days since — " she did not think the angels in 
heaven could be any happier than she was ! " In this joyful way, 
amidst this peacefulness, with all this freedom of soul, mind and 
life, am I to be regarded as cut off from my mother Church ? Or 
do I not rather, as I think, live in her midst, and in perfect union 
with her ? Is all this merely phenomenal, or is it truth ? Does 
our happiness rest on vague emotion, on mystic phrases, or on 
clear intuitions of nature, of intellect, and of life ? Does it not 
rest upon the everlasting laws of thought, independent of all out- 
side interference or condition, embodied in our very speech itself, 
that is, in the laws governing that mother tongue which has 
originated from our own brain ? And further, dear Johanna, you 
have not only a theoretical, i.e.^ an intellectual argument to guide 
you in this ; but you have also a considerable experience, covering 
many things and much time, that is to say, a practical argument, 
that it is possible for one to live truly and uprightly and at peace 
inwardly, and to develop one's nature peacefully, joyfully, and 
freely ; and this all the better within the mother-church than with- 
out, as I truly believe : and I have all the experience of my 
seventy years to convince me of it. 

This frank expression of opinion is not meant as a piece of pro- 
paganda, nor to talk you over, but simply as a faithful answer to 

Attack and Defence. 309 

your second proposal. I think the Kindergarten should be carried 
on as a Kindergarten, you returning to church-membership. Do 
not forget, moreover, that Kindergartens have only arisen in the 
Protestant Evangelical Church, and could not have proceeded 
from any other. Again let me say, this is and must be taken 
only as the answer to your questions as to what we thought of the 
proposals made to you. 

Write quickly and tell me how all goes, and what you think of 
doing. I can tell you of a place now open, if you wish : Madame 
S has again left Kiel, and wants a successor for the Kinder- 
garten she has begun there. This letter has grown under the pen 
beyond what I thought to write when I sat down ; but I hope its 
length is not to the detriment of its whole effect. 

Luise, the ever-thoughtful vigorous mistress of our household, 
greets you as a true friend ; and I also, in a fatherly spirit. 

Friedrich Froebel. 


Letter to Mile. Lisette Kirchner, at Nuremberg'. 

Marienthal, 2yd Nov. ^ 1851. 
My dear Lisette, — 

If I do not mistake, I am a letter in your debt : but even if I 
were not, I am impelled to write to you. The Bavarian Kinder- 
gartens are now prohibited, at all events those belonging to 
the Free Christians, tliat is, such as those which you have hitherto 
been conducting. Now, what are you going to do ? I beg you 
earnestly to write and tell me as quickly as possible, that we may 
come to well thought-out decisions worthy of the circumstances, 
and that we may choose the right path. 

As I hear, your comrade was informed, being known as a Free 
Christian, that she could only be permitted to carry on the 
Kindergarten in her own name, if she rejoined her mother- 
church ; you, my dear Lisette, have never left your mother- 
church, you have remained in it, like myself — a position which 
seems of the highest importance in the present state of things. 
While you were studying with us, you gained the conviction that 

310 Letters of Froehel. 

one could live a truly Christian life, and more particularly a life 
based upon the Protestant Evangelical doctrines, and yet have a 
perfectly joyful and free existence, expressive of the entire being 
of a man, and permitting the development of the character in such 
a way as to satisfy all the many-sided wants of our being. 

Therefore, as regards you, dear Lisette, if I am rightly informed, 
it would be quite in consonance with the laws of your state for 
you to conduct a Kindergarten in your own name. If I am not 
in error, and this is so, it would be a great gain for the cause ; 
for it would be at once apparent that the prohibition did not touch 
the principles of the Kindergarten, nor its fundamental basis. 
Such a practical proof of this' would be in the highest degree im- 
portant. So write to me, I beg, what you are willing to do, and 
what steps it would be necessary to take for the estabHshment of 
a real Kindergarten in your name at Nuremberg. 

I have heard that you have been asked for my publications, that 
they might be examined as to the orthodoxy of the religious basis 
which underlies them and all my other endeavours, of course in- 
cluding the Kindergarten. I enclose you a pair of publications 
herewith, some twenty or thirty years old, it is true, but which 
faithfully exhibit my thoughts upon Christianity and the Church. 
To these thoughts I have never been unfaithful, never even once 
wavering in all these years. Perhaps it would be a good thing 
to present these works to the same person who asked you for the 

In the pamphlet entitled "A Thorough Education, etc.," ^ 
please allow me to call your attention to passages on pp. 6 and 7. 

1. " Every form of education which is intended to be really 
fruitful, must be based upon religion, . . ." etc., etc. 

2. "The Christian religion, the religion of Jesus, satisfies to 
perfect completeness the mutual relations of God and man ; and 
indeed creates them. . . ." 

3. " Every form of education which is not based upon the 
Christian religion, the religion of Jesus, is deficient and limited." 

1 The full title of this pamphlet (published in 1 821) occurs in the following 

A ttack and Defence. 3 1 1 

4. (Page 20) " Through Jesus came to us that deepest of all 
truths, and that profoundest of all experiences — God is our 

And in my " Principles of the Education of ?^Ian " (pp. 
I, 16, 23), please read over the passages referring to religion, and 
point out the places indicated to the same person when you give 
him the pamphlet. 

This unbroken lifelong faithfulness of mine towards my original 
thoughts, convictions and efforts as to religious and Church 
subjects is amply shown, as you very well know, in "Songs for 
Mothers and Nursery Songs" {Mutter- und Kose-Lieder)^ which is 
the basis of Kindergarten teaching — and indeed, in all my other 
publications. Such unalterable maintenance of my position all 
through the gradual clearing of my conceptions on such matters, 
and through their steady application to the problems of life, my 
unchanged religious thoughts, convictions, and endeavours, all 
moulded by the spirit, teaching and example of Jesus, are a source 
of pride to me, bring calm, security, and permanence to my mind, 
peace and joy to my soul, freedom to my actions — and all these 
blessed results rejoice me as but various manifestations of one 
and the same essential unity. 

You, dear Lisette, an independent student, a daughter, so to 
speak, and a teacher, as you love to call yourself in describing 
your position to me, have now to think if — and how — you can 
base your future action upon ground-principles. Write me your 
decision upon the matter of this letter, for we must see that life, 
whenever possible, is made clear, true, and certain. 

Make no secret of anything about me, my life, my teaching, 
my publications, or my conferences on first principles : whatever I 
have said I will abide by. In all my actions I have aimed at 
clearness of life, thought, speech, and action. 

My wife, myself, and all here who know you unite in kind 
wishes towards you — especially 

Your fatherly Friend, 

Friedrich Froebel. 

312 Letters of Froebel. 


Letter to Henriette Breymann ^ (now Madame 
Schrader, of Berlin), at Baden. 

Marienthal, (ith February^ 1852. 
Dr. Gwinner, of Frankfurt, has published three articles in the 
Gennania, in the first of which he show^ the real essence and the 
unsatisfactory nature of Wichern's "Home Mission "^^ and in 
the third and last, while fully admitting the necessity of raising the 
moral status of the people, he shows that Wichern's " Home JNlis- 
sion " is not calculated to do this work, and, indeed, does not seem 
fitly planned for the purpose. He would, on the other hand, rather 
seek the means of elevating the people, the means of their salva- 
tion, if you please to call it so, in education. The German nation 
can be morally saved, in his view, only through education, and he 
therefore speaks of a " Mission of Education." You see, then, 
that Dr. Gwinner, in thus considering the life of the German 
people, agrees entirely with me in the supreme point of all ; for 
you know very well that in 182 1 I wrote a pamphlet on this 
special subject, as the very tide of it shows at a glance, " A 
thorough education — at once creating and satisfying the German 
character — the primary necessity of the German nation." All 
my educational work has reposed on this basis ever since, and, in- 
deed, had done so for years before that pamphlet was issued. This 
is one fact of sufficient importance. But if you go further, and 
carefully examine our educational system, beginning with the baby 

^ Froebel's grand-niece. 

^ J. H. Wichern was born in 1808, at Hamburg, and studied at Gottingen 
and Berlin. After taking orders, he turned his whole attention to the miser- 
able condition of the poor in his native city, and in his Sunday-schools soon 
had 400 to 500 children about him, whose lives he sought to elevate ; a staft 
of forty or fifty volunteers aiding his efforts. About 1840 his activity was very 
great, including refuges, homes for the fallen, etc. In 1848 he combined all 
his philanthropic work, and extended it, under the title of the Home Mission 
{Innere Mission). From 1848 to 1850 he had 10,000 orphans on his hands, 
victims of the scourge of typhus then raging, and entrusted to him by the Prus- 
sian Government. Later on, his efforts reached the houses of correction and 
prisons ; and, in fact, his whole life was one long labour in the cause of poor 
and suffering humanity. 

Attack and Defence. 313 

on the mother's knee, and continuing through the nursery to the 
Kindergarten, then through the transition class to actual teaching 
instruction, and if you compare it with what Dr. Gwinner has said 
here about the essential nature of education — this education which 
he claims shall save the people, in his " Mission of Education " — 
you must surely perceive, as I do, a second and still more import- 
ant fact : — that his " Mission of Education " aims at precisely the 
sort of training which we actually give, and which we seek to give 
v/ith wider and ever wider extension. All the time I was reading 
these articles this close similarity of his thought and our work was 
present to me, so that I kept saying to myself that some one must 
quickly set to work to proclaim that it is the Kindergarten system 
that provides the sort of education fitted to fulfil all the needs of 
the " Mission of Education." Have you read the article atten- 
tively, my dear niece ? Have you not had the same thoughts ? 
And then, when it becomes imperatively necessary for Dr. Gwinner 
to describe the sort of education we are to seek for, he only says 
(p. 612), "We can but forecast its nature, and strive to aid in the 
common work of attaining it." But do not I — do not we all — 
know that German education should be a national German work ? 
Did I not say this in 1836 ? Have I not said so in all my pub- 
lications for this last thirty years ? 

And what does he say next ? " A total reform of the present 
education of the young must be the first comprehensive and really 
practical step." Is this anything other than the very tide of my 
pamphlet of 1820, " K Thorough Education, etc." Then he says : 
" In what sense such a reform should be understood is clearly seen 
from the preceding." But what is the " preceding " other than 
what I have said all along, from 18 16 to 1852, and with especial 
clearness since 1838 and 1840, through the Kindergarten? Fur- 
ther, " Only a few tentative beginnings — but even as such, re- 
markable — show the genius, the zeal, and the courage whose 
uprising the spirit of history awaits." When you read this, did 
you not expect, would not any one expect, who knows even only 
a little about my educational work and aims, that in connection 
with these " few tentative beginnings of the genius, etc.," Dr. 
Gwinner would surely refer to our work, which has existed for 

314 Letters of Froebel. 

thirty years as a " thorough educational system, creating and satis- 
fying the German character"? Did it not seem that he must 
notice this as a national work, both by aim and act ? What does 
he do, whither does he point our attention, while not one institu- 
tion of ours only, but half a hundred actually exist, and afford 
hundreds of proofs of the success of the system they embody ? 
He, a German, seeking to found a " Mission of Education " in 
Germany, goes out of Germany for his pattern ! He directs us to 
model ourselves on a certain Swiss institution, and that, moreover, 
one whose spirit was not strong enough to maintain its existence, 
for, as is well known in Switzerland, and especially in the Canton 
of Bern, the ruling spirit of this place was a spirit of egotism, 
and in consequence of this the institution went to pieces years 
ago, and has now quite fallen into ruin.^ That is the way he 
cherishes and advances German life and endeavour, German sen- 
sibility and intelligence, and that is his compliment to German 
scholarship ! Seeing all this, I think that we Froebelians (and 
by Froebelians I mean those who conceive the germinating point, 
the seed-leaves, the very life-source of progressively developed 
human education, to be contained in the dogma that "life is 
one," that all the varied life of man is to be regarded and treated 
as a single unity), that we Froebelians, I say, should now put 
forward our claims and our views in some comprehensive mani- 
festo, setting forth our fundamental principles, our accompHshed 
work, and our lives ; for we can very well join all this on to the 
articles before us, simply and solidly, as an expansion and com- 
pletion of Dr. Gwinner's views therein made known ; but the 
immediate result of such a manifesto would be to show that the 
progressively developed education for which we have so long 
striven is, in fact, such as completely satisfies Dr. Gwinner's de- 
mand for a " Mission of Education." The proposed article or 

^ This unkind reference to Pestalozzi's practical failure is yet not without 
truth. We do not understand the word " egotism " to be levelled at Pestalozzi 
(which would be absurd), but at his staff, such as Niederer, Schmid, etc. It 
is a pity that Froebel did not pause a moment in his argument to acknow- 
ledge the permanent, as well as to point out the fallacious and transitory, 
elements of the work of his great predecessor. 

Attack and Defence. 315 

manifesto must be made throughout to refer continually to Dr. 
Gwinner's articles, and must move from subject to subject in 
parallel lines with them. When written, it had better be pubUshed 
in our journal, and the number containing it should at once be 
sent to Dr. Gwinner and to the editor of the Gennania. Arndt 
himself is now too old to do much on that paper, and merely lends 
it, as titular editor, his name, his good wishes, and his patriotic 
efforts, which continue to form the footing upon which it is con- 
ducted. I would have gladly sketched the proposed manifesto 
myself, but time fails me for such a task. Now, on p. 616 of the 
Gerniania in the notes, you will find that this very article of 
Dr. Gwinner's acknowledges the collective power of women in an 
educational capacity ; and since you have a ready pen, and are 
not at this moment overburdened with weighty business, I look 
to you for such an article as I have described. At the same time, 
many can lend you a hand with it, for the ground to be covered 
is extensive, and the matters to be dealt with are of profound im- 

I think I have now fully explained what I mean by sending you 
Dr. Gwinner's articles, and what I desire and expect of you. But 
in such cases the ultimate decision rests with the person to whom 
the request is made : it is you yourself, in fact, who have to decide 
upon the acceptance or rejection of the task. Yet I may point out 
one thing, which has long been upon my mind to say. In laying 
the foundations for our work towards inward and outward unity 
of life, mention is frequently made of "Froebelians." Now, such 
an expression is not only dead against my own feeling, not only 
contradicts my own convictions, but also works against our very 
aim and object, the unification of life. For all " ans " and " ites " 
have shown themselves throughout history to be sources of divi- 
sion, not of unification ; and yet it is unification that is the purpose 
and end of life ; to find unity in variety ; and to recognise the 
one in the all. Why is it that these personal sectarian names, 
these "ans" and "ites," are sources of division? Why, if not just 
because they are personal, and all that is personal is separatist, 
carries the seed of division within its nature. In one sense, and 
that a sense by no means to be passed over, these sectarian 

3i6 Letters of Froebel. 

names are a source of union and strength amongst their own 
adherents, but the sect, as a whole, means division. Wherefore 
I have ahvays refrained from using personal names in my under- 
takings. For example, not the " Froebelian," but the " General 
Educational Institution for Germany " ; and in Blankenburg, not 
" Froebel's Children's Educational Institution," but the " Institu- 
tion for the Promotion of Spontaneous Activity in Children," or 
the " Institution for Children's Occupations," or the " Kinder- 
garten " ; and so also in Switzerland, and everywhere else that I 
have worked. The expression " Froebelian " divides you from 
me, divides me from you ; we seem to stand opposed to one 
another, and only in our capacity of fellow " ans " or " ites " are 
we united. But I hope, on the contrary, that we are altogether 
at one, altogether united, in being, aim, and hfe, in regard to 
the main principles of our work and action, as I have often said 
before. Let us call ourselves the "Lovers of Unity," if you 
please, and by such a name the element of complete personal 
individuahty is not at all excluded ; or if this seems colourless to 
you, and since those who Uve for unification of life must of neces- 
sity be filled with peace and joy, we might call ourselves, if you 
think it better, the " Lovers of Peace and Joy." However, this 
is a question which had better remain, awaiting the free develop- 
ment of hfe for its settlement ; it is sufficient to have mentioned 
it this once. 

Now you have plenty to work at for a long time ! Luise sends 
her kind wishes, and all the students greet you. Do you know 
that Ottilie Baring is to go to Switzerland ? As for the rest, we 
have excellent news from many various regions. 
In love and truth, I remain. 

Your affectionate Great- Uncle, 

Friedrich Froebel. 



1746. Birth of Pestalozzi. 

1770. June 24. Birth of Christian Ludwig Froebel. 

1780. Sept. 17. Birth of Froebel's first wife, Henriette Wilhelmine 

Hoffmeister, at Berlin. 
1782. April 21. Birth of Friedrich August Wilhelm Froebel^ at 

Oberweissbach, Thuringia, 

1792. Froebel is sent to Superintendent Hoffman (his mother's 

brother) in Stadt-Ilm. 
Sept. 3. Birth of Heinrich Langethal, at Erfurt. 

1793. Sept. 20. Birth of Wilhelm Middendorff, at Brechten, near 

Dortmund, Westphalia. 
1797. Froebel is sent to Neuhaus, in the Thuringian Forest, to learn 

1799. Returns home ; goes thence to the University of Jena. 

1801. Leaves Jena (having closed his student's career there with 

nine weeks' imprisonment for debt), and begins to study 
farming with a relative of his father's, near Hildburghausen. 
Dec. 29. Birth of Middendorff's wife, Albertine Froebel, eldest 
daughter of Christian Froebel. 

1802. Death of Froebel's father. Froebel becomes actuary to the 

Forest Department of the episcopal State of Bamberg. 
Nov. 29. Birth of Johannes Arnold Barop, at Dortmund, 

1803. Froebel goes to Bamberg, and takes part in the governmental 

land-survey, Bamberg now passing to Bavaria. 

1804. Becomes Secretary and Accountant first to Herr v. Wolders- 

dorf, in Baireuth, and afterwards to Herr v. Dewitz, in Gross 
Milchow, Mecklenburg. 
July 1 1. Birth of Barop's wife, Emilie Froebel, second daugh- 
ter of Christian Froebel. 

1805. Death of Superintendent Hoffman. Froebel, going to study 

architecture at Frankfurt, is persuaded instead to become a 
teacher in the Model School, under Gruner. Visits Pesta- 
lozzi at Yverdon. 
1807. Froebel becomes tutor to the sons of Herr v. Holzhausen 
near Frankfurt. 


3i8 CJironological Abstract. 

1808. Goes with his pupils to Pestalozzi, at Yverdon. 

1809. Draws up an account of Pestalozzi's work for the Princess of 


1 8 10. Froebel returns from Yverdon to Frankfurt. 
i8ri. Proceeds to the University of Gottingen, in July. 
1S12. Thence to the University of Berlin, in October. 

1 8 13. EnHsts in Lutzow's Chasseurs (Langethal and Middendorff also 

serving) to resist Napoleon's invasion. His eldest brother, 
(Christoph), dies of typhus while nursing French prisoners in 

1814. Jan. 5. Birth of Elise Froebel (Madame Schaffner), youngest 

daughter of Christian Froebel. 
May 30. Peace of Paris. In August Froebel becomes assist- 
ant professor in the Mineralogical Museum of the University 
of Berlin. 

181 5. April 15. Birth of Froebel's second wife, Luise Levin. 

1816. Nov. 13. Froebel founds his Universal German Educational 

Institute, in Griesheim. 
I Si 7. The School is transferred to Keilhau. Arrival of Langethal 

and Middendorff. 
1 818. Froebel marries Mile. Henriette Wilhelmine Hoftmeister. 

1820. Christian Froebel arrives at Keilhau with his wife and daugh- 

ters. Froebel writes To the Germa?i People. 

1 82 1. Froebel publishes privately, Pr/Vz^^^/^j-, ^zwj-, and hiiier Life 

of the Unive?'sal German Educational Institute at Keilhau j 
and also Aphorisms. 

1822. Followed by On Ger7nan Educatio?i, especially as regards the 

Univ. Germ. Ed. Inst, at Keilhau, and O71 The U?iiv. Gerjn. 
Ed. List, at Keilhau. 

1823. Publishes Co7itimiation of the Accoimt of the Univ. Germ. Ed. 

Inst., at Keilhau, 

1824. And Christmas at Keilhau. 

1826. Middendorff marries Froebel's niece, Albertine, and Langethal 

marries Ernestine Chrispine, the adopted daughter of 
Madame Henriette Froebel. Froebel publishes the Educa- 
tio?i of Man, {Meiischen-Ersiehung). Later he founds the 
weekly Fa?nily fournal of Education. 

1827. Death of Pestalozzi. Froebel writes his autobiographical 

Letter to the Duke of Meini7igen, never completed. (Trans- 
lated in the " Autobiography of Froebel.") 

1828. Second autobiographical sketch \n -a. Letter to K7-ause (trans- 

lated in the "Autobiography of Froebel." Barop joins Keil- 

1829. Plan drawn up by Froebel and his friends, for the Duke of 

Meiningen, for a National Educational Institue, at Helba. 

1830. Death of Wilhelm Carl, one of the Keilhau community, by 

drowning in the Saale. 

1 83 1. Froebel breaks with the Duke of Meiningen, and gives up the 

Helba project. Goes to Frankfurt, meets the musical com- 

Chronological Abstract. 319 

poser, Schnyder, and accepts his offer of his castle at War- 
tensee, near Sempach, Luzern. 
The Institution at Wartensee opened by Froebel and his 
nephew Ferdinand. Barop marries EmiHe Froebel. 

1832. Barop goes to Wartensee, and soon afterwards the school is 

transferred to Willisau, Luzern. Froebel at Keilhau for a 
short time. 

1833. Madame Henriette Froebel joins her husband at Willisau. 

The authorities engage Froebel to lecture to young teachers 
at Burgdorf. Langethal replaces Barop, who returns from 
Willisau to Keilhau. 

1835. Froebel and Madame Henriette Froebel, with Langethal, 

undertake the foundation of an orphanage and school for 
the Canton of Bern, at Burgdorf. 

1836. Middendorff and Elise Froebel come from Keilhau to join 

Ferchnand Froebel at Willisau. Froebel writes The New 

Vear, 1836, demands a Re7iC'wal of Life. 
1836. Madame Henriette Froebel's health gives way, and Froebel 

takes his wife to Berhn. Ferdinand Froebel and Langethal 

succeed him at Burgdorf. 
1S37. Froebel begins to work out his series of gifts and occupations. 

Opens an Institution for the education of little children at 


1838. Froebel begins his Siniday Jounial {Sonntagsblatt), which 

continues till 1840. 

1839. Froebel and Middendorff visit Dresden and found " Institu- 

tion for Care of Little Children," under Adolf Frankenberg, 
and next year a similar school in Frankfurt, under Hoch- 
stetter and Schneider. 
Death of Madame Henriette Froebel. 

1840. Festival of the 400th anniversary of the invention of printing. 

Creation of the Universal German Kindergarteit., at Blank- 
enburg, as a joint stock company. The first Kindergarten 
is opened in Blankenburg, June 28, and the second at Rudol- 
stadt, on the first Tuesday in December. Henceforward 
Froebel and Middendorff make frequent journeys from 
Keilhau to various parts of Germany to promote the Kinder- 
garten movement. 

1 84 1. Third Kindergarten opened in January, at Gera, by Madame 

Schmidt, Froebel's cousin ; see Part II. of this volume, 
which consists of twenty letters to her on this subject. 
March. Printing of a collection of Koseliedchen by Froebel. 

1843. Publication of Froebel's Songs for Mothers and Nursery 

Songs {III utter- tnid Kose-Lieder). 

1844. Fourth Kfbdergarten opened under Ida Seele, at Darmstadt^ 

Froebel makes a tour for propaganda amongst the Rhine 
Main, and Neckar districts. 
1846. Fifth Kindergarten opened, at Quetz, under Pastor Hilden- 
x.agen and his sister-in-law, Amalie Kriiger. 

320 Chronological Abstract. 

1847. Ten more Kindergartens opened : Homburg (Madame Miiller), 

Dresden (Luise Frankenberg), Gratz, Marienberg, Anna- 
burg, Hildburghausen, Zoblitz, Erfurt, Liinen (Marie Christ), 
and Gotha (Herr August Kohler). 

1848. Opening of the Hamburg Kindergarten, under Alwine Midden- 

dorff, by Madame Doris-Liitkens. General Congress of 
teachers called by Froebel at Rudolstadt. Second journey 
to Dresden in the autumn. 

1849. Froebel settles at Liebenstein, intending to train Kindergarten 

teachers there, and appoints Mile. Luise Levin directress of 
his training college. Folsing's bitter pamphlet against 
Froebelian Kiitdergartens answered at once by Madame 
Doris Liitkens, in FroebePs Kindej-garte7is. Continuation of 
the controversy by the same opponents in the journal Our 
Child7-en. Propaganda work at Hamburg, first by Midden- 
dorfF, then by Froebel. 

1850. Froebel returns to Liebenstein. Through the influence of 

Madame von Marenholtz-Biilowhe receives the neighbouring 
country seat of Marienthal from the Duke of Meiningen for 
the purposes of his Training College. Founds the Weekly 
Jonr-nal of Education ( Wochenschrift^ etc.), under the 
editorship of Wichard Lange. Elise Froebel marries 
Dr. Siegfried Schaffner. 

1851. Jan. 9. Death of Christian Ludwig Froebel. 

Aug. 7. Entire Prohibition of the Kindergarten in Prussia by 
the Education Minister, Von Raumer. Bavaria follows 
suit in November, so far as regards all Kindergartens 
except those attached to the orthodox Protestant churches, 

July. Froebel's (second) marriage to Mile. Luise Levin. 
Foundation of the four7ial for Friedrich FroebePs Educa- 
tiojial A ims {Zeitsch rift., etc.). 

1852. April. Froebel attends the Educational Congress at Gotha, 

under the presidency of Theodor Hoffman. 
June 21. Death of Froebel. 
College at Marienthal removed to Keilhau and placed under 

Middendorff, Madame Luise Froebel also assisting. 

1853. Middendorff enthusiastically received by the Congress at 

Salzungen, when addressing it on Froebelian methods. 
Nov. 27. Death of Middejidorff. Keilhau under Madame 
Luise Froebel. 

1854. Madame Luise Froebel goes to Dresden in the spring to assist 

Dr. Bruno Marquardt (husband of Luise Frankenberg) in 
his Kindergarten and Training College ; Keilhau ceasing to 
be a Training College. Goes to Hamburg in the autumn 
as directress of the Public Free Kindergarten, and trains 
teachers there, (She is still earnest in the cause ; and still 
resides at Hamburg, 1890.) 

First Kindergarten 171 E7igla7id^ at Ha772pstead. 

Madame von Marenholtz-Biilow begins her long series of mis- 

Chronological Abstract. 321 

sionary journeys in favour of the Kindergarten by coming 
to England, 1854-5. 
Madame Ronge founds the Kindergarten in Fitzroy Square, 
London — the first English Kindergarten of any importance — 
and not long after transfers it to Miss Praetorius, herself 
going to Manchester to lecture, etc. The outcome of this was 
the foundation of the Manchester Kindergarten Association, 
the oldest Kindergarten Society in England. 

1855. Herr H. Hoffmann, of Hamburg, lectures in London. 

i860. Aug. 18. Death of Madame Barop (Emilie Froebel). 
Foundation of the Froebel Society of Berlin. 

1 86 1. Miss Heerwart comes to England to conduct the Kindergar- 
ten at Miss Barton's school, at Manchester, and ALadame de 
Portugall that at Mrs. Fretwell's school, also at Manchester. 
Madame von Marenholtz-Biilow founds the Education of To- 
day {Erzielmngder Gegeniuart)^ edited by Dr. Karl Schmidt, 
of Kothen. 

1866. Miss Doreck (who had come to England in 1857) establishes 
a school with Kindergarten attached, in Kildare Gardens, 
London (removes in 1870 to Kensington Gardens Square). 
Miss Heerwart goes to Dublin ; establishes a Kindergarten. 

1873. Establishment of the Pestalozzi-Froebel-House at Berlin, un- 

der Madame Schrader, by the National Kindergarten Society, 
Fricdrichstadt, l>erlin. 

1874. April. Madame Michaelis, who had been engaged in Kinder- 

garten work in Switzerland and Italy, comes to England. 
Is appointed in the summer to lecture to the School Board 
teachers at Croydon. Founds Croydon Kindergarten with 
Mrs. Berry, January, 1875. 

November. The London School Board appoint Miss Bishop 
to lecture on the Kindergarten system to their infant school- 

Miss Heerwart becomes principal of the Stockwell Training 
College, under the British and Foreign School Society. 

November. Foundation of the Froebel Society of London by 
Miss Doreck (President), Miss Heerwart, Miss Bishop, 
Madame Michaelis, Prof. Joseph Payne, and Miss Manning. 

Miss Shirreff (President in 1877 and ever since), Mrs. Wm. 
Grey, Miss Mary Gurney, and other educationists, joined 
very soon afterwards. 
1876. First examination for Kindergarten teachers held by the 
Froebel Society. Madame de Portugall chief examiner. 

1879. DeatJi of LangetJiat. The Froebel Society founds a Training 

College in the autumn. (Transferred to the Maria Grey 
College in 1883.) 

1880. May. The Croydon Kindergarten Company (Ltd.) is founded, 

with Madame Michaelis as its head-mistress. 
1882. Centenary of Froebel's birth. Concert at Willis' Rooms in aid 
of Blankenbur^ Memorial Kindercrarten. Soiree at Stock- 

322 CJironoIogical Abstract. 

well Training College. Monument at Blankenburg, erected 
at the cost of Madame von Marenholtz-Biilow. 

1883. Foundation of the Bedford Kindergarten Co. Head-mistress, 

Miss Sim. 
Miss Heervvart leaves England to re-found the Blankenburg 

1884. January. Dr. Wichard Lange (Middendorff's son-in-law, and 

editor of the standard edition of Froebel's works) died. 

May. International Exhibition at South Kensington, London, 
on Health and Education, at which a Kindergarten section, 
with an exhibition of work and materials, and with model 
lessons at weekly intervals, was arranged by the British and 
Foreign School Society, all the London Kindergartens (in- 
cluding Croydon) contributing. 

August. Conference on Infant Education in the Exhibition ; 
M. Buels of Brussels, Prof. Stoy of Jena, Madame la Com- 
tesse Dinanof Paris, and all the leading English Froebelians 
taking part. 

October. Close of the section by a Conference of the Kinder- 
garten teachers of England. 

1887. June. The Manchester Kindergarten Association joins the 

Froebel Society of London to create the National Froebel 
Union — an examining body for Kindergarten teachers and 
governesses. The Croydon Company was already repre- 
sented on the Froebel Society's Council. 

1888. March. The Bedford Kindergarten Company joins the Na- 

tional Froebel Union. 

The Froebel Society begins the work of testing the Kinder- 
garten work of the London School Board by examination. 

Frederick III., Emperor of Germany (son-in-law of Queen 
Victoria), amongst the i^w acts of his brief reign, pensions 
Madame Luise Froebel. 

1889. The Manchester Kindergarten Association withdraws from the 

National Froebel Union. 

1890. Monument to Pestalozzi, erected by public subscription, at 

Yverdon. Inscribed: " To Pestalozzi, 1746-1827. He lived 
like a beggar, to show beggars how they ought to live like 
men. Saviour of the poor in Neuhof. Father of the orphans 
in Stanz. Founder of the popular school in Burgdorf. 
Educator of men in Yverdon. All for others, nothing for 


Abolition of Kindergartens in Bavaria, 
307 ; in Prussia, 2S5. 

Action Games, 253. 

Adler, Prof. (U.S.A.), 210. 

Allstedt, 183. 

Alsace-Lorraine, 190. 

Altenburg, 182. 

Altenstein, — festival at, 17S ; 1S4. 

Altona, 189. 

Amburg, 191. 

America, 209-213 ; Froebel's resolu- 
tion of emigration to, 305-6 ; 
— Froebel Union of, 210. 

Anhalt, 187. 

Annaburg, 145, 151-2, 177-8. 

Apolda, 183. 

"Appeal to German Wives and 
Maidens," 1844, 220; "to 
German Women," 1848, 262. 

Arad, 194. 

Association, Free K.G., of Chicago 
(U.S.A.), 211 ;— Froebel, of 
Chicago, 211 ; — Froebel, of 
Moravia, 193 ; — Kindergarten, of 
Davenport (United States), 213 ; 
— Kindergarten, of Gera, 76; 
— Kindergarten, of Italy, 197 ; 
— Kindergarten, of Vienna, 
192 ;— Manchester K.G., 202, 
207 ; — Mothers', of Rudolstadt, 
75. 90 j — National Froebel, of 
Germany,2i8; — Swiss K.G., 196. 

Attack and Defence, Part IV., 285 
and seq. 

Augsburg, 191. 

Aussig, 193. 

Austria, 192-4. 

Ball-games, 83-4, 

176, 220. 
Bamberg, 191. 
Baptism, 19. 

101-3, 107, 

[ Biirmann, Mile., 19S note. 

Barop, 52. 

Barton, Miss, of Manchester, 202-3. 

Bautzen, 247. 

Bavaria, 190-r, 286 ; abolition of all 
except Church Kindergartens, 

Bedford, 207 ; Kindergarten Co. of, 

Bela, 194. 

Belfast, 203. 

Belgium, 197. 

Ben fey. Prof., 32. 

Berlin, 185, 187-8 ; Educ. Soc. of, 
1S5 ; Froebel Soc. of, 34, 188 ; 
Nat. K. G. Soc. of, 34, 188. 

Bern burg, 187. 

Beny, Mrs., 204. 

Bertuchek, Mile., 198 note. 

Beust, Herr F., of Zurich, 196. 

Beuthen, 189. 

Biala, 193. 

Bielitz, 193. 

Bilbao, 200. 

Bion, Pastor, Pres. of Swiss K.G. 
Association, 196. 

Birn, 190. 

Birth, 14. 

Bishop, Miss, 204-5. 

Blankenburg, 44, 118, 176, 178, iSi, 
203, 205, 244, 289. Letters 
written at — Letter to Wives and 
Mothers, 1839, 215-9; I. -XVI. 
to Mme. Schmidt, 1840-3, 43 
and seq. ; Plan for National Ger- 
man Kindergarten, 1840, 156 ; 
Appeal to German Wives and 
Maidens, 1844, 220. 

Blankenhein, 183. 

Bleicherode, 185. 

Bohemia, 193. 

Bologna, 198. 



Bornstadt, 189. 

Coblenz, 278, 281. 

Borschitzky, Mr., 21 1. 

Colenso, Bishop, 202. 

Boston (U.S.A.), 213. 

Colour-games, 124-6. 

Bourne, Rev. Alfred, 201, 206-7. 

" Come, let us live for our children," 

Bowen, H. Courthope, 207-8. 

146, 156, 169, 220. 

Boys and girls compared, 99. 

Comenius, 189 note. 

Brandenburg, 189. 

Comte, Aug., 185. 

Bremen, 190. 

Cork, 207. 

Bremerhafen, 190. 

Courses for K.G. teachers, Froebel's, 

Breslau, 189. 

144-5, 17S, 237; fully de- 

Breymann, Mile. Ilenriette, see 

scribed, 252. 

Schrader, Mme. ; Mile. Marie, 

Creches, 150, 160, 191-4, 224, 289. 

187 note 

Croatia, 123. 

Brideship, 231-2. [201-6. 

Croydon, 204 ; — School Board, 204, 

British and Foreign School Soc, 

206 ; — Kindergarten Co., 205-6, 

Bromberg, 1 89. 

209 note. 

Brunswick, 151, 153, 1S6. 

Brussels, 197. 

Danzig, 189. 

Briix, 193. 

Darmstadt, 140, 177, 191, 2S8-90. 

Buckau, 185. 

Davenport (U.S.A.), 213. 

Budapest, 193. 

Davenport-Hill, Miss R., 207-8. 

Budweis, 193. 

Dessau, 187. 

Buels, M., of Brussels, 197 note, 2c6. 

Development, always occurs between 

Building, 96. 

two worlds, 22 ; — due to recon- 

Bukowina, 193. 

ciliation of opposites, 98, 258, 

BUlow, ]\Ime. von Marenholtz, see 

275-6, 279, 298-300 ; — human, 

Marenholtz, Mme. von. 

three grades of, 299-300;— of 

Buttelstedt, 183. 

human life compared with that 

of nature, 297-8 ; — higher, neces- 

Caas, M. Clausen, 33. 

sary to German nation, 264. 

Calcar, Mme. van, 185, 200 (and notej. 

Dickens, Charles, 202. 

Camburg, 182. 

Diesterweg, 31, 179, 1S3 ; epigram 

Carinthia, 193. 

of, 214. 

Carlsruhe, 141, 190-1. 

Dinan, Comtesse, 206. 

Carteret, M., of Geneva, 194-5. 

Dirschau, 189. 

Carus, Dr., 155, 287. 

Dobschau, 194. 

Castro, Signor Vincenzo di, 19S note. 

Doreck, Miss, 203-4. 

Catholics (Roman) and K.G., 2 86. 

Dorpat, 200. 

Cheltenham, 207. 

Drawing, 127, 254. 

Chemnitz, 184. 

Dresden, 66, 176-8, 183-6, 203, 

Chicago (U.S.A.), 211-13. 

237-8, 243, 290 ; Gen. Soc. of 

Child, The, 13. 

Educ, 186. 

Child-and-Mother life, 20. 

Dublin, 203. 

Christ, Mile. Marie, 177, 240. 

Dlirkheim, 190. 

" Christian Kindergartens," 286 note. 

Diisseldorf, 190. 

Christianity and K.G., see Kinder- 

garten, religious aspects of. 

Education, International Exhibition, 

Christians, Free, and K.G., see Free 

South Kensington, London, 


1884, 205-6, 209 note. 

Christie, Miss, 202. 

Eckication of Man (Froebel), 249. 

Christmas, 71, 73, 138-9, 215-9. 

Education of To-day (newspaper). 

Cleveland, Mrs. (wife of ex-Pres., 

180, 186. 

U.S.A.), 211. 

F.ger, 193. 


Eimbeck, iS6. 

Eisenach, 153, 1S2. 

Eisleben, 1S5. 

Ekenaes, 200. 

Elbogen, 193. 

Elizabeth, the little Archduchess, 
of Austria, 192. 

Ellrich, 185. 

Emden, 186. 

England, 136, 1S5. 195 note ; Ap- 
pendix, History of the English 
Kindergarten, 201-8. 

Erfurt, 177-8, 185, 241, 244. 

Erzgebirge, 151, 194, 242. 

Erzichiuv^ der Gc^cn7i.<art, see 
Education of To-day. 

Eschwege, 186, 

Essen, 190. 

Examinations of Froebel Soc, etc., 

Factory, Froebel's K.G. , 175, I So. 

Family Kindergartens, iSS. 

Festivals, Children's, 178, 180. 

Finland, 200. 

Fitzroy Square, 202. 

Flensburg, 189. 

Florence, 186, 197, 198 note. 

Folsing, 140, 177, 286, 288,294. 

P^-ancc (Paris), 185, 

Frankenberg, town, 1S4 ; Adolf, 32, 

176; Luise, 177; — Letters to, 

236, etc. 
Frankenthal, 190. 
Frankfurt, 90, 113, 140, 176-7, 186; 

Letter XVL to ]Mme. Schmidt, 

1844, written at, 137. 
Franks, Miss, 206. 
Frederick, Empress - Dowager, of 

Germany (Princess Royal of 



Free Kindergarten Association of 
Chicago, 211. [307-11. 

Free Christians and the K.G., 280, 

Freiberg, 1S4. 

Fretwell, Miss, of Manchester, 203. 

Freudenthal, 193. 

Froebel and Pestalozzi, I ; general 
sketch of his education system 
by Poesche, i and seq. ; by 
himself, 247-56 ; sketches his 
own life, io5 and seq. ; as a 
child, 241; his daily life, 117; 

his struggles, 137-S, 148 ; his 
desolation, 244 ; his letters, 
175, 180; his publications, 175, 
180; his system of propaganda, 
175 and seq. ; his journeys as 
propaganda, 151, 179, 181, 202; 
his religious faith, 285-7, 29S, 
301-2, 304, 308, 310-11, with 
extracts from his own works ; 
centenary of birth of, 198, 203, 
205, 214 ; name engraved on the 
Glockner, 181. 

Froebel, Mme. Henriette (Froebel's 
first wife), 29-30, 127-8, 130, 
147-8, 215. 

Froebel, Mme. Luise (Froebel's second 
wife) — life of, vi\ 13,183, 190, 
203, 242, 2S1, 316. 

Froebel, Christian Ludwig (brother), 
52 ; Ferdinand (nephew), 135 ; 
Ferdinand (great-grand-nephew), 
196 note ; Karl (nephew), of 
Edinburgh, 196 note, 287 ; 
Theodor (nephew), of Ziirich, 
196 note. 

Froebel Association (.ftv also "Asso- 
ciation") —National, of Germany, 
182;— of Chicago, 21 1; — of 
Moravia, 193. 

Froebel Society of Berlin, 34 ; — of 
London, 203-5. 

Froebel Union of America, 210 ; 
-^National, of England, 207-8. 

FroebeVs Educational Aims, yoiirnal 
for, 176, 280. 

"Froebel's Infant Garden," Daven- 
port, U.S.A., 213. 

FroebeVs Kindergartens, Mme. Liit- 
kens, 293. 

Froebelian Kindergartens, Folsing, 

Froebelian Literature, 31: 

" Froebelians," Froebel's dislike of 
such terms, 315-6. 

Frohlich, Herr, 165 note. 

Fulda, 186. 

Gaisburg, 177. 

Galicia, 193. 

Games, symbols of Life, 61 ; — inner 

meaning of, 82 ; 86, 91, 252. 
Gardens, K.G., 115, 120. 
Geneva, 185, 194-6. 



Gera, — K.G. Association of, 76; 

89-90, 93> io5» 112, 114, 131, 

i34-5» 151, 176, 182. 6"^.? also 

Schmidt, Mme. 
Germany, 181 and seq., 214. 
Gifts, 72, 96, 99, 220, 250. 
Glauchau, 184. 
Gorlitz, 189. 
Gorz, 193. 

Gotha, 151, 153, 177-8, 182, 290. 
Gothenburg, 201. 
Gottingen, 186. 
Gradisca, 193. 
Grafentonna, 182. 
Gratz, 177-8, 192. 
Greece, 200. 
Griez, 182. 

Grey, Mrs. Wm., 204. 
Grimma, 184. 
Guillaume, M. and Mme., 32, 185, 

Gumpert, Mile., Letter to, 269. 
G list row, 189. 

Guttenberg Festival, see '* Printing." 
Gwinner, Dr., 306, 312 and seq. 
Gymnastics, 64. 

Halberstadt, 185. 

Halle, 152, 1S5. 

Hamburg, 152, 177-8, 189, 202, 242, 

293> 295-7- 
Hampstead, 185, 202. 
Hanau, 186. 

Handicraft Schools, 33, 40, 199. 
Hanna, the, 193. 
Hanover, 186. 
Hebert, Mile., of Nuremberg, Letter 

to, 307. 
Heerwart, Miss, 32, 181; life of, 203, 

204, 206. 
Heidelberg, 140, 191. 
Heilbronn, 191. 
Helmstadt, 1S6. 
Helsingfors, 200. 
Henne, Mile., 177. 
Herford, Miss, 207. 
Herrmanstadt, 194. 
Hersfeld, 186. 
Hertlein, Mile. Luise, of Vienna, 

32. Letter to, at Hamburg, 

Hesse, Mile., of Annaburg, 177. 

Letter to, 260. 

Hesse Darmstadt, 191. 

Hesse-Nassau, 1S6. 

Hildburghausen, 177, 182. 

Hildenhagen, 177. 

Hildesheim, 1 86. 

Hoboken, 213. 

Hof, 191. 

Hoffmann, Herr Theodor, of Ham- 
burg, 190 ; — Herr Heinrich, lec- 
tures in England, 202-3. 

Hofmeister, Herr (father of Mme. 
Henriette Froebel), poem bv, 

Holland, 185 note, 200. 

Homburg, 151, 177, 290. 

Home Mission, Wichern's, 286, 306, 

Howe, Miss, Letter to, 247. 

Hungary, 193-4. 

Iglo, 194. 

Infant Gardens, Mme. v. Marenholtz, 

Infant Schools and Kindergartens 
compared, 291. 

Ingleheim, 177. 

Inspection of K.G. s by Froebel Soc, 

International Exhibition on " Edu- 
cation " held at S.Kensington, 
London, 1884, 205-6, 209 note. 

Italy, 186, 196 note, 197-8 ; — King 
and Queen of, 198. 

Jacobs, M. J. F. ("Manuel Pratique," 

etc.), 197. 
Japan, 209. 
Jena, 183. 

Jews and K.G., 198 note, 286. 
Joint Board for Exams , 207. 
Journal fo7' Fr. FrocbcVs Educ. Aims, 

176, 280. 
" Jugend-Garten," 199. 

Kaiserslautern, 190. 

Kanizsa, 194. 

Kant on the Stars and the Mind, 24 

Karlsruhe, see Carlsruhe. 
Kaschau, 194. 
Kassel, 186. 
Keilhau, 70, 90, 118, 122, 147, 152- 




2 letters to Mme. JNIiiller, 1S45- 
8, 231; Letters I.-IV. to Luise 
Frankenberg, 1846 - 8, 236 ; 
Letters XVIH.-XX. to Mme. 
Schmidt, 1847-8, 144; Letter 
to Miss Howe, 1847, 247 ; 
Letter to Mile. Marschner, 1847, 
256; Letter to Mile. Hesse, 
1847, 260; Appeal to German 
Women, 1848, 262 ; Letter to 
Mile. Gumpert, 1848, 269. 

Kessmark, 194. 

Kelbra, 185. 

Kiel, 309. 

Kiew, 200. 

Kindergarten, foundation of the, 29, 
44 ; — practical observations on 
work in the, 37, 61, %2>-, 85, 90, 
94, 98, 101-3, 240, 246, 260-1. 
{Sec also Ball Games, Games, 
Songs, etc.); — religious aspects of 
the, 47, 55, 71, 75-8, 86-7, 92, 
94, 97, 131, 141-2, 217-8, 226, 
254, 264, 267-8, 278-80, 2S6-7, 
301-2, 334, 307-11; the name 
essential, 63, 151, 239, 288-9; 
— aim of the, as sketched by 
Froebel, 220 and seq., 251, 255, 
312 and seq. 

Kindergarten, National German, 103. 
122, 131, 141 ; — full plan of, by 
Froebel, 156; 161.— financial plan 
for, 165-6 ; 220, 225 ; — financial 
aspect of, 227-9. 

Kinderoarten Guide, Ronge's, 202. 

Kindergarten in England, in Ger- 
many, in Gera, etc., see England, 
Germany, Gera, etc. 

Kindergai-ten (newspaper), 180-2. 

Kindergarten, Siviss (newspaper), 180 

Kindergarten Teachers, see Teachers. 

Kindergarten Training College of 
Froebel Soc. of London, 204. 

Kindergartens, first sixteen, 176-7. 

Kirchner, Mile., of Nuremberg, 
Letter to, 309. 

Klagenfurt, 193. 

Kohl, Herr (music of K.G.), 116. 

Kohler, Aug., 32, 177, 182. 

Konigsberg, 189. 

Korneuburg, 192. 

Koseliedchen, 109-11. 

Kothen, 187. 

Krain, 193. 

Kraus-Boltes, the, New York, 210; 

their Guide to K.G. one of the 

best, 210 note. 
Krause, Prof, 31. 
Kremsier, 193. 

Krieger, Miss (U.S.A.), 210 note. 
Krimmitschau, 184. 
Kromer, Herr, of Zoblitz, 177, 242. 
Kronstadt, 194. 
Kriiger, Mile., 177. 
Kriisi, Herr ("Woman's Mission"), 

72, 74, 80. 

Lagier, Mile., 187 note. 

Landau, 190. 

Landshut, 191. 

Lang, Pastor, of Gera, 59-64, S9- 
90, 92, 102. 

Lange, Dr. Wichard, 31, 152 note, 
189, 293. 

Langensalza, 185. 

Langethal, H., — extract of letter of, 
20; 97, 165, 214. 

Lausanne, 185, 196. 

Law, Universal control of — not 
chance, 270-1. 

Lawrence, Miss, 205. 

Leipa, 193. 

Leipzig, 51, 69, 113, 1 84. 

Leitmeritz, 193. 

Letters, Froebel's use of, as propa- 
ganda, 175, 180. 

Leonhardi, Herr v., 122, 139-40,191. 

Leutschau, 194. 

Liebenstein, 178-9, 182-4, 193, 281, 
295. Letters dated at — Letter 
to Mme. Lutkens, 1849, 293. 

Life, One Law of, 273 ;— tends 
towards ruin, whence arise new 
developments, 269 ; — three main 
facts of, 270. 

Linz, 192. 

Lisbon, 199. 

Lissa, 189. 

Livonia, 200. 

Lobau, 184. 

London, 185, 207 ; School Board, 
204, 208. 

Lonja, 194. 

Lord, Miss Emily, 204, 2o8 ; — Miss 
Frances, 2c6. 



Lotzen, 189. 

Liineburg, 186. 

Liinen, 151, 177-8, 290. 

Lutkens, Mme. Doris, of Hamburg, 
32, 152, 177, 189, 242, 274-9, 
286, 293 ; three letters to, 
1849-52, 293-306. 

Liitzen, 185. 

Luzern, 196. 

Lyschinska, Miss, 204, 206. 

Madrid, 200. 

Magdeburg, 185. 

Manchester, 195 note, 197 note ; 
— K.G. Association of, 202, 207. 

Mannheim, 190. 

Manning, INIiss, 204, 206. 

Man's objective influence in Educa- 
tion, 258-9. 

Marburg, 186. 

Marenholtz-Biilow, Mme. von, 32, 
181 ; life, 183 ; 186, 195 note, 
197-200, 202, 205. 

Maria Grey Training College, 205. 

Marienberg, 1 5 1-2, 177, 242. 

Marienthal, 178, 182, 184, 213. 
Letters dated at, — Letter to 
Mile. Hebert, of Nuremberg, 
185 1, 307 ; Letter to j\Ille. 
Kirchner, 1851, 309; Letters 
V.-VIL to Luise Frankenberg, 
1851-2,243-6; Letter to Luise 
liertlem, 1852, 274 ; Letters 
II., in., to Mme. Doris Lutkens, 
1 85 1-2, 295; Letter to Mme. 
Schrader, 1852, 312. 

Markwitz, Letter to Mme. (U.S.A.), 


Marquardt, Herr Bruno, 32, 184, 

Marriage, 76, 231-2. 

Marschner, Mile., of Dresden, 184, 
210; letter to, 256. 

Marwedel, Miss Emma (San Fran- 
cisco), 210. 

Mecklenburg, 189. [184. 

Meiningen, — (Duchess of), 45; 182, 

Merseburg, 185. 

Michaelis, Mme., 177, 187 note, 203- 
4, 206-8;— Mile. Auguste, 177, 
241, 244. 

Middendorff, W., 32, 52, 55, 66, 124, 
137, 152, 185, 202-3, 245; 

Middendorff, Mile. Al\vine(Mme. W. 

Lange), 152, 177, 279. 
Mikado, the, 209. 
]\Iilan, 198. 
Minfeld, 190. 
Moltke, General v., 2S6. 
Montefiore, Claude G., 207-8. 
Month, Object for the, 1%. 
Moore, Mrs., 203. 
Moravia, 193. 
Moscow, 200. 
Mother-and- Child life, 20. 
IMullhausen, 185. 
Miiller, Mme., of Homburg, 177 ; 

letter to, 231. 
Miiller, Herr, of Gera, 59, 60. 
Munich, 191. 
Aliittei-- iind Kose-Lieder^ no, 122-3, 

129, 176, 220, 250, 311. 

Nagyvaszany, 194. 

Names, influence of, d^ii 79j 289 ; 
see also Kindergarten, the name 

Naples, 196 note, 197, 197-8 note. 

Nassau, Hesse-, 186. 

Natal, 202. 

National Froebel Union, of England, 
207-8 ; Nat, Froebel Associa- 
tion of Germany, 182. 

National German Kindergarten, 
see Kindergarten, Nat. German. 

Nature, Observation of, necessary, 

Naumburg, 185. 

Navan, Mile. 1 hekla, 32, 1 82, 289. 
Neuchatel, 185. 
Neustadt, 183. 
New York, 211, 213. 
Nordhausen, 185. 
Netting Hill, 204. 
Number, 254. 

Nuremberg, 191, 2S6, 307-II. 
Nurses, see Teachers. 

Oberlin Schools, 2S6. 

Oblique lines, 126. 

Occupations, K.G. , 252. 

Oedenburg, 194. 

Oertel, Mme., of Blankenburg, Letter 

to, 215. 
Offenbach, 191. 
Omsk, 200. 



Oporto, 199. 

Opposites, Three main, in Life 
(Religion, Philosophy, and 
Nature), 300-1, with diagram. 

Orleans, Duchess of, 104. 

Our Children (Mme.Liitkens' paper), 
293, 298, 301. 

Over Flakee, 200 note, 201. 

Palatinate, 190. 

Pancsova, 194. 

Pape-Carpentier, ]^.Ime., 206. 

Paris, 197. 

Pattison, ^Nliss, 208. 

Payne, Prof. J-, 204. 

Peabody, Miss (U.S.A.), 210. 

Pearce, Miss, 206. 

Pestalozzi, i, 314; monument to, 

Pestalozzi-Froebel-House at Berlin, 


Petermann, Mile., 197 note, 198. 

Petersburg, St., 200. 

Pfurzheim, 191. 

Philadelphia, 210. 

Philpotts, Dr., 207-8. 

Pick, Prof. Adolfo, 186 note, 198. 

Pilsen, 193. 

Pistorius, Mme. v., 141, 177. 

Plan, Froebel's, for National German 
Kindergarten, 156 and seq. 

Plan, detailed, of the work of a 
Training College and K.G., 248. 

Plauen, 152, 184. 

Plymouth, 207. 

Poesche, Hermann (German Editor 
of these Letters) ; General In- 
troduction with Sketch of 
Froebel's Educational System, 
I ; Introd. to Part IL, Founda- 
tion of the K.G., 29; 32,33; 
Introd. to Part III., Propaga- 
tion and Extension, 175 ; — at 
Marienthal fete, 213 ; Introd. 
to Part IV., Attack and De- 
fence, 285. 

Poole, Dr., 207-8. 

Portugal, 199. 

Portugal!, Mme. de, 187 note; life 
of, 194-6 note; 198 note, 203. 

Posen, 189. 

Possneck, 182. 

Praetorius, Miss, 202. 

Prague, 193. 

Preparatory School, 39. 

Pressburg, 194. 

Price, Alfred R., 207-8. 

Pricking, 126. 

Printing, Festival of the 400th Anniv. 
of Invention of, 43-4, 104 note, 
156, 165, 251. 

Progler, Mile., 196 note. 

Propaganda, Froebelian, 175, iSo. 

Prossnitz, 193. 

Protection of little Children, Society 
for, 193. 

Protestant Churches of Germany, 
285 note. 

Protestants and K.G., 2S6, 309. 

Prussia, 178; abolition of K.G. in, 
184, 285, decree of abol. with- 
drawn, 185 ; 189. 

Psyche {}')x. Carus), 155, 287. 

Publications, Froebel's, 175-180. 

Quarati, Signor, 198 note. 

Quedlinburg, 185. 

Quetz, 152, 177 ; festival at, 178. 

Raab, 194. 

Ratibor, 189. 

Raumer, Herrv., 178, 285. 

Reading and Writing, 254. 

Reay, Lord, 206. 

Reichenbach, 184. 

Reichenberg, 193. 

Resurrection, Froebel's beliefs about, 

Reuss, 182. 

Rhine, Main, and Neckar journey, 
Froebel's, 137-9, 288. 

Rhine News {Rheinischc B hitter) 214, 

Rhine province, 190. 

Riga, 200. 

Rome, 186, 198. 

Ronge, Mme., 202. 

Roslin, 189. 

Rostock, 189. 

Roth, 203. 

Rudolstadt — Princess Karl of, 54, 75; 
— ^Mothers' Association of, 75, 
90; 44, 54, 64, 66, 69, 75, 81, 
88, 99, 100, 118, 120, 176; — 
festival at, 178; 179, 182. 

Russia, 200. 



Saalfeld, 182. 

Silesia, 193. 

Saaz, 193. 

Sim, Miss, of Bedford, 205, 207-8. 

Sacrifice, necessity of, for the cause, 

Snell, Miss, 206, 207-8. 


Sondershausen, 81 ; Princess of, 112; 

Saffron Walden, 205. 


St. Gall, 196. 

Songs, K.G., 62, 89, 95, 98, III, 

St. Louis (U.S.A.), 211. 

116, 145, 253. 

St. Petersburg, 200. 

" Songs for Mothers and Nursery 

Salles d' Asile (Paris), 206. 

Songs," see Mutter- nnd Kose- 

Salzburg, 193. 


San Francisco, 210, 213. 

Sonntagsblatt^ see Sunday Joiirnal. 

Saxony, kingdom, 183, 242 ; pro- 

Spain, 199, 200. 

\dnce, 185. 

Spires, 190. 

Schalkau, 182. 

Stangenberg, Herr (K.G. songs). 

Schellhorn, Mile., 182. 

145, 182. 

Schenkendorf, Herr v., 189. 

Steiner, Mile. Auguste, 177, 242. 

Schleswig Holstein, 189. 

Sternberg, 193. 

Schmidt, INIme., of Gera (Froebel's 

Stick laying, 145-6, 280. 

cousin). Twenty letters to, 43 

Stockwell, 203, 205. 

and seq. ; opens play classes at 

Storr, Fras. J., 208. 

Gera, 63; founds Gera K.G., 

Stoy, Prof., of Jena, 31, 206. 

89; illness of, 144; 176, 182. 

Strasburg, 190. 

Schmidt, Herr, of Weimar, 32, 182. 

Strubing, 191. 

Schmidt, Dr. Karl, of Kothen, 187 

Stuttgart, 141, 177, 191. 


Sunday Journal, Froebel's, 52, 62, 

Schneider, Herr, of Frankfurt, 126. 

64-7, 88, 96, loi, 104, no, 112, 

Schnyder, Herr (musical composer), 

135, 176, 250. 


Sutton K.G. Co., 205. 

Schonebeck, 185. 

Sweden, 201. 

School, Infant, 291 ; Preparatory, 

Stviss Kindergai-tcn (newspaper), 180 


note, 196. 

Schrader, Mme. (Froebel's great 

Swiss Kindergarten Association, 196. 

niece), 32, 35, 183, 186, life of, 

Switzerland, 185, 194-6. 

187 note; 195, 197, 286; 

Szarvas, 194. 

letter to, 312. 

Szatmar, 194. 

Schwab, Herr (School Gardens), 

Szegedin, 194. 


Szolnok, 194. 

Schwabe, Mme. Salis-, 196 note ; 

life, 197-8 note. 

Tablets, 124-6. 

Schwartz, Mme., 195. 

Teachers, K.G., 63, 121-2, 144, 

Schweinfurt, 191. 

162-3, 216, 229, 250, 259. 

Schwerin, 189. 

Teachers' Conference for Saxony, 

Seele, Mile. (Mme. Vogeler), 32, 79, 


139) ^1^-1 1 240, 288. 

Teachers' Meetings, Froebel's, 179- 

Seidel, Herr, 32, 182. 


Sexes, Union of the two, necessary in 

Temesvar, 124. 

Education, 258-9, 266-7. 

Tephtz, 193. 

Sheffield, 207. 

Thankfulness, 238. 

Shirreff, Miss (Pres. of Froebel 

Tillotson, Miss, 206. 

Society of London), 202, 204. 

Tinsley, Miss, 205. 

Shrewsbury, 207. 

Trabert, Mile., 153. 

Siebenbiirgen, 194. 

Training Colleges, see also Courses, 

Siklos, 194. 

41, 208 ; in England, 250. 



Transition Class, 39. 
Trieste, 193. 

Uebeljamo, 193. 

Union of sexes necessary in Educa- 
tion, 258-9, 266-7. 

Vegesack, 190. 

Venice, 186, 198 note. 

Verden, 186. 

Verona, 186. 

Vida-Levi, Mme. della, 198 note. 

Vienna, 192 ; K.G. Association of, 

Victor, Pastor, 186. 
Vocation in Life made clear by K.G., 


\ ogeler, Mine., see Seele, Ida. 

Waldorf, 191. 

Wales, II.R.II. The Prince of, 206. 

Waltershausen, 182. 

Ward, Miss, 205. 

Wutzum, 187. 

IVeekly Journal, Froebel's, 115, 176, 

Weida, 183. 
Weimar, — Grand Duchess of, 45 ; 153, 

182, 203, 295. 
Weissenfels, 185. 
Weisskirchen, 194. 
Westphalia, 190. 
Wichern, J. X., 286 ; — and Home 

Missions, 312 note. 
Wiebe, Edw., 211. 
Wiesbaden, 186. 

Wiggin, Miss (San Francisco), 210. 

Winter thiir, 196. 

Wiseneder, Mme. (Music for K.G.), 

. 37> 187- 

Wismar, 189. 

" Wives and Maidens, Appeal to 
German," 1844, 220. 

" Wives and ^Mothers of Blanken- 
burg, Letter to the," 1839, 215. 

IVochcnschrift^ see Weekly Jour- 

Wolfenbiittel, 187. 

Woman's true work (as an Educator), 
221 and seq , 257-60. 

Woman's subjective influence in Edu- 
cation, 258-9. 

ITomen, Civilization of ManJdnd by 
(Martin), 155. 

"Women, Appeal to German," 
1848, 262. 

Worms, 191. 

Wriezen, 189. 

Writing, 254. 

Wurtemberg, 191. 

Wiirzburg, 191. 

Zeitschrifi, etc., see FroebePs Edue. 

Aims, Journal for. 
Zeitz, 185. 
Zerbst, 187. 
Zittau, 184. 
Znaim, 193. 
Zoblitz, 177, 242. 
Zollikofer, Mile., 194. 
Zulus, 202. 
Zurich, 196. 

Butler & Tanner, The Selwood Printing Works, Froine, and Loudon. 

1137 D11243b 

Wheelock College Library 


BOSTON. Mass. 02215 

Froebel o 
^ Froebel 's letters on 
the kindergartePo 

Stack Collect'on 


cop. 2 

Froebel o 

Froebel 's letters on 

the Kindergarteno 

Stack Collection 




Wheelock College Library 

Boston, Mass.