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Friedrich Froebel (1782–1852) is well known as the “father
of the kindergarten.” Froebel believed in the innate goodness and
capacities of children, and saw God’s image in them. He believed
that education should be based on children’s interests and their
active involvement, and that teachers need to understand children’s
development by directly observing their actions. He described
stages of development that are similar to those Piaget articulated in
the 20th century. He saw infancy (birth to 3 years) as focused on the family and the infant’s
relationship with the mother. He wrote Mother Play and Nursery Songs to assist mothers in
their interactions with very young children – something most mothers today take for granted.
Froebel’s second stage (ages 3 to 7), for which he developed his kindergarten materials, was
the focus of most of his work. The third stage (ages 7 to 10) focused on more formal school
instruction.
Froebel’s metaphor of the children’s garden was more than poetry. He strongly believed
that children’s learning is a process of unfolding from
within. He also believed that learning would occur on
the child’s own timetable and not until the child was
ready. Froebel’s kindergarten emphasized children’s
free play, singing, and movement. The materials he
developed, which were called Froebel’s occupations
and gifts, were used to guide and structure children’s
play. As a result, Froebel’s view of “free” play was
not as free as some interpret today.
The role of the teacher in Froebel’s
kindergarten was to be like a gardener. Teachers were to observe, nurture, and help but not
interfere with the natural growth of the child. They needed to be aware of children’s
development, however, so they could provide a new challenge as children engaged with the
gifts and occupations.
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Froebel’s Gifts and Occupations were materials for children to manipulate in specific
ways. The first gift was a box of six wooden balls in the colors of the spectrum – red, orange,
yellow, green, blue, and violet – plus corresponding strings. Each child could use these
materials in many creative ways, but Froebel and his teachers identified more than 100 games
to play with this one gift and accompanying songs and rhymes. Another gift was a cube that
could be divided into eight smaller cubes and put back together to form a whole. Children
could play many games with this gift, but it also promoted basic math concepts related to
number and geometry. Froebel also invented parquetry blocks – a set of flat, colored, wooden
shapes that could be put together to form various designs. Other gifts included sticks and rings
made of wire and natural materials such as seeds and pebbles. The same or similar materials
are prevalent in early childhood classrooms today where children use them in creative ways,
and also to learn mathematics and science. In contrast to the gifts, occupations were planned
experiences designed to train children’s eye-hand coordination and mental activity.
The occupations included activities such as drawing on grid paper, lacing paper strips,
weaving mats, folding and cutting paper into designs, constructing with sticks, or making
models from cardboard. Froebel believed that the use of the gifts and occupations engaged
children in symbolically representing objects and events in the real world – such as creating a
model or drawing a picture of a building. The importance of representation, which Froebel
presaged, is now supported by research.

по предмету Английский язык

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