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Kindergarten – The Playway method

If you were schooled in India than you must be aware of the kindergarten/play way method. Kindergarten is one of the most followed method in Indian education system. Indian Teachers of pre school are mostly trained for this method.

Friedrich Froebel was a German philosopher,educationist and founder of kindergarten or the play way method of learning in education. Froebel was the first philosopher to talk about activity and its importance in early life learning. He had a special place in his heart for nature and considered children as tender plants, teachers as gardeners and school as the garden. Hence, he coined the term “Kindergarten” in 1840 which basically means garden for children.

The 3 main principles of his philosophy are as follows –

Self activity and socialisation

In a kindergarten pre-school, a child should be given full freedom for free play with less interference. But yet be disciplined with moral values. Free play would enable the child to grow, learn and develop naturally from within. This is because play makes a child happy and satisfied. Froebel strongly believed that children have the ability to grow from within and achieve their true potential.

Being a naturalist, Froebel admired nature, beauty, art and emphasised on manual activities which provided learning and life skills such as gardening, care of animals, domestic chores, etc. He believed that nature study would result in moral development of skill, creative power, independence and exercise of muscles. He firmly believed that a child becomes a human being because of socialisation and therefore the child has to learn in the company of other children. Froebel believed that the school was a social institution.

Learning through play with gifts/occupations

Froebel proposed that although knowledge can be gained through freedom in play, the play activity should not be aimless, but of great educational value. Which means the ultimate goal of the activity should be learning. He designed 20 key concrete wooden gifts for children to play and learn with.

Froebel encouraged children to appreciate and collect things from nature like twigs, leaves, sticks, etc as these materials are simple and they give a scope for stimulation. A child’s social attitude and behaviour can be traced through his play activities. A child’s inner desires come out through his play activities.

Learning through songs, gestures and construction

Froebel believed that songs, gestures and construction were the three basic forms in which children express themselves. Therefore, even while playing with the gifts there was encouragement and cheer with appropriate songs.

The teacher’s role

  1. A Teacher should be an active participant and guide for the children.

  2. Teacher should help with ideas on how to play with the gifts and demonstrate the same through songs.

  3. Teacher should give freedom and at the same time ensure that the children are self-disciplined and they learn socio-emotional skills and moral values.

Below are the major ways in which this philosophy can inspire all of us –

  1. Including nature in the curriculum (homeschool) and making play an important part of learning.

  2. Children are internally driven, they grow naturally from within like plants. Therefore the right seeds should be sown to nurture them and help them reach their potential.

  3. While giving them freedom is very important, imparting discipline and social/moral values like sympathy, cooperation, care is equally important under this philosophy.

  4. Principle of self – activity – learning by doing is the mantra.

  5. Sensory training through concrete materials and enhancing creativity by encouraging construction forms should be a part of activities or curriculum.

  6. Stress on the study of the child’s behaviour for effective assessment.

  7. Importance of songs, music, stories are used as effective learning tool.

  8. The parent should be actively involved in the teaching – learning process.

  9. A parent should be encouraging, a good guide and skilled enough to bring out the best in child.

Froebel’s gifts –

For complete education and training of a child, Froebel devised a series of gifts. The gifts are a series of material which possess all the novelty of play things yet they form the basis of his educational method. The gifts are to be given in a certain order. The graduation and order of gifts is determined by the principles of development. To know about the gifts in detail please click on the link below.

Froebel’s Gifts

That’s all for the day! If you have any queries you can ask them in the comments below.

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