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Title: Froebel's Gifts
Author: Wiggin, Kate Douglas Smith, 1856-1923, Smith, Nora Archibald, 1859-1934
Language: English
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                      The Republic of Childhood

                           FROEBEL'S GIFTS

                        BY KATE DOUGLAS WIGGIN
                       AND NORA ARCHIBALD SMITH

                        REPUBLIC OF CHILDHOOD

                         KATE DOUGLAS WIGGIN
                         NORA ARCHIBALD SMITH

                          _FROEBEL'S GIFTS_

                      The Republic of Childhood

    _The Kindergarten is the free republic of childhood._--FROEBEL

                           FROEBEL'S GIFTS

                         KATE DOUGLAS WIGGIN
                         NORA ARCHIBALD SMITH

                The true teacher is a student of human
                nature, and the student of human nature
                is the pupil of God.--HORATIO STEBBINS

                         BOSTON AND NEW YORK
                    The Riverside Press, Cambridge

                           Copyright, 1895,
                        BY KATE DOUGLAS RIGGS
                        NORA ARCHIBALD SMITH.

                       _All rights reserved._

          _The Riverside Press, Cambridge, Mass., U. S. A._
       Electrotyped and Printed by H. O. Houghton and Company.


The three little volumes on that Republic of Childhood, the
kindergarten, of which this handbook, dealing with the gifts, forms
the initial number, might well be called Chips from a Kindergarten
Workshop. They are the outcome of talks and conferences on Froebel's
educational principles with successive groups of earnest young women
here, there, and everywhere, for fifteen years, and represent as much
practical work at the bench as a carpenter could show in a similar
length of time. They are the result of mutual give and take, of
question and answer, of effort and experience, of the friction of
minds against one another, of ideas struck out in the heat of
argument, and of varied experience with many hundred little children
of all nationalities and conditions. They are not theories, written in
the seclusion of the study; and if perchance they have the defects, so
should they have the virtues, too, of work corrected and revised at
every step by the "child in the midst." If it is objected that many
things in them have been heard before, we can but say with Montaigne:
"Truth and reason are common to every one, and are no more his who
spake them first than his who spake them after."

The various talks have been cut down here, enlarged there, condensed
in one place, amplified in another, from year to year, as knowledge
and experience have grown; many of the ideas which they advocated in
the beginning have been eliminated, as being completely reversed by
the passage of time, and much new matter has been added as the
kindergarten principle has developed. They are as much a growth as a
coral reef, though the authors have little hope that they will be as

The kindergarten of 1895 is not the kindergarten of 1880, for the
science of education has made great strides in these past fifteen
years. Many things which were held to be vital principles when we
began our talks with kindergarten students, we now find were but
lifeless methods after all. It is not that time has reversed the
fundamental principles on which the kindergarten rests,--these are as
true as truth and as changeless; but the interpretation of them has
greatly changed and broadened with the passage of years, and many of
the instrumentalities of education which Froebel devised are destined
to further transformation in the future. For this reason, the last
book on the kindergarten is sometimes the best book, since it
naturally embodies the latest thought and discovery on the subject.

These talks on the kindergarten have purposely been divested of a
certain amount of technicality and detail, in the hope that they will
thus reach not only kindergarten students, but the many mothers and
teachers who really long to know what Froebel's system of education is
and what it aims to do. They will never of themselves make a
kindergartner, and are not intended to do so; but they certainly
should shed some light on Froebel's theories, and establish a basis on
which they can be worked out in the home and in the school.

We shall attempt no defense of the kindergarten here. It has passed
the experimental stage; it is no longer on trial for its life; and no
longer humbly begging, hat in hand, for a place to lay its head. As an
educational idea, it is a recognized part of the great system of
child-training; and to say, in this year of our Lord, one thousand
eight hundred and ninety-five, that one does not believe in the
kindergarten is as if one said, I do not believe in electricity, or, I
never saw much force in the law of gravitation.

True, Froebel's ideas are often misinterpreted and misapplied; often
espoused by ignorant and sentimental persons; often degraded in their
practical application; true, the ideal kindergarten and the ideal
kindergartner are seldom seen--(though they are worth traveling a
thousand miles _to_ see)--all this is true, and no one knows it better
than we; but that a divine idea is wrongly used does not invalidate
its divinity.

That kindergarten principles are gaining ground everywhere; that every
year more free and private kindergartens are established, more
training schools opened, more students applying for instruction, more
books written on the subject, more educational periodicals seeking for
kindergarten articles, more cities adding it to their school systems,
more normal schools giving courses in kindergarten training, more
mothers and teachers seeking for light on Froebel's principles,--all
these are matters of statistics which any one may verify by
consulting the Reports of the Commissioner of Education and the
various educational magazines.

Our modest volumes, of which the second will deal with the
occupations, the third with the educational theories of Froebel, do
not claim to be deeply philosophic, nor even to be exhaustive. They
are, in a sense, what is called a "popular" treatise on a scientific
subject; and though some scientists decry such treatises, yet there
are many persons to whom a simple message carries more conviction than
a purely philosophic one.

It is hoped that the psychologic principles on which the talks rest
are at least measurably correct, though when doctors disagree on vital
points, how shall the layman know the extent of his own ignorance?

The authors have always been of a humble and docile spirit, and in the
earlier years of their work with children, looking upon all treatises
on education as inspired, tried faithfully to make the child's mind
work according to the laws therein laid down. But sometimes the
child's mind obstinately declined to follow the prescribed route;
it refused to begin at the proper beginning of a subject and go on
logically to the end, as the books decreed, but flew into the middle
of it, and darted both ways, like a weaver's shuttle. If, then, any
one of the theories we enunciate does not coincide with your
particular educational creed, we can only say that ours, we fear,
has sometimes been a "rule of thumb" psychology, and that in our
experience it has occasionally been necessary to turn a psychologic
law the other end foremost before it could be made to fit the child.

We have endeavored not to be dogmatic in any of these talks, for we
do not claim to have seen and counted all the facets of the crystal
of truth. We humbly acknowledge that we have often been wrong in the
past, and no reason has latterly been given us to believe ourselves
infallible; but these disputed points in the kindergarten are, after
all, of no more vital importance than the old theologic controversy
as to how many angels can stand on the point of a needle. If the
occupations are found to be based on incorrect psychologic principles,
do not use them; if a similar objection is made to the gifts,
substitute others. These are all accessories,--they are of no more
importance than the leaves to the tree; if time and stress of weather
strip them off, the life current is still there, and new ones will
grow in their places.

                                              KATE DOUGLAS WIGGIN.
                                              NORA ARCHIBALD SMITH.
  _August_, 1895.


          THOUGHTS ON THE GIFTS OF FROEBEL                 1
          FROEBEL'S FIRST GIFT                             6
          FROEBEL'S SECOND GIFT                           31
          THE BUILDING GIFTS                              54
          FROEBEL'S THIRD GIFT                            57
          FROEBEL'S FOURTH GIFT                           76
          FROEBEL'S FIFTH GIFT                            89
          FROEBEL'S SIXTH GIFT                           112
          FROEBEL'S SEVENTH GIFT                         124
          FROEBEL'S EIGHTH GIFT                          142
          FROEBEL'S NINTH GIFT                           159
          FROEBEL'S TENTH GIFT                           175
          GENERAL REMARKS ON THE GIFTS                   189

                           FROEBEL'S GIFTS


"A correct comprehension of external, material things is a preliminary
to a just comprehension of intellectual relations."
                                                  FRIEDRICH FROEBEL.

"The A, B, C of things must precede the A, B, C of words, and give to
the words (abstractions) their true foundations. It is because these
foundations fail so often in the present time that there are so few
men who think independently and express skillfully their inborn divine
                                                  FRIEDRICH FROEBEL.

"Perception is the beginning and the preliminary condition for
thinking. One's own perceptions awaken one's own conceptions, and
these awaken one's own thinking in later stages of development. Let us
have no precocity, but natural, that is consecutive, development."
                                                  FRIEDRICH FROEBEL.

"Every child brings with him into the world the natural disposition to
see correctly what is before him, or, in other words, the truth. If
things are shown to him in their connection, his soul perceives them
thus as a conception. But if, as often happens, things are brought
before his mind singly, or piecemeal, and in fragments, then the
natural disposition to see correctly is perverted to the opposite, and
the healthy mind is perplexed."
                                                  FRIEDRICH FROEBEL.

"The linking together which is everywhere seen, and which holds the
Universe in its wholeness and unity, the eye receives, and thereby
receives the representation, but without understanding it except as an
impression and an image. But these first impressions are the
root-fibres for the understanding that is developed later."
                                                  FRIEDRICH FROEBEL.

"The correct perception is a preparation for correct knowing and
                                                  FRIEDRICH FROEBEL.

"No new subject of instruction should come to the scholar, of which he
does not at least conjecture that it is grounded in the former
subject, and how it is so grounded as its application shows, and
concerning which he does not, however dimly, feel it to be a need of
the human spirit."
                                                  FRIEDRICH FROEBEL.

"The sequences which the child builds, as well as the sequence of the
kindergarten gifts, point on the one hand to physical evolution,
wherein each form 'remembers the next inferior and predicts the next
higher,' and on the other to the process of historic development,
which magnifies the present by linking with it the past and the
                                                      SUSAN E. BLOW.

"Let us educate the senses, train the faculty of speech, the art of
receiving, storing, and expressing impressions, which is the natural
gift of infants, and we shall not need books to fill up the emptiness
of our teaching until the child is at least seven years old."
                                                          E. SEGUIN.

"As soon as we, young or old, have taken to the habit of asking the
book for what it is in our power to learn from personal observation,
we dismiss our organs of perception and comprehension from their
righteous charge, and cover the emptiness of our own minds with the
patchwork of others."
                                                          E. SEGUIN.

"Natural geometry (taking the word in its limited sense of study of
form in space) is the object of a desire which generally precedes the
artificial curiosity for the meaning of letters."
                                                          E. SEGUIN.

"Without an accurate acquaintance with the visible and tangible
properties of things, our conceptions must be erroneous, our
inferences fallacious, and our operations unsuccessful."
                                                    HERBERT SPENCER.

"The truths of number, of form, of relationship in position, were all
originally drawn from objects; and to present these truths to the
child in the concrete is to let him learn them as the race learned
                                                    HERBERT SPENCER.

"If we consider it, we shall find that exhaustive observation is an
element of all great success."
                                                    HERBERT SPENCER.

"Learn to comprehend each thing in its entire history. This is the
maxim of science guided by the reason."
                                                      WM. T. HARRIS.

"Geometrical facts and conceptions are easier to a child than those of
                                                        THOMAS HILL.

"Instruction must begin with actual inspection, not with verbal
descriptions of things. From such inspection it is that certain
knowledge comes. What is actually seen remains faster in the memory
than description or enumeration a hundred times as often repeated."

"Observation is the absolute basis of all knowledge. The first object,
then, in education, must be to lead the child to observe with
accuracy; the second, to express with correctness the results of his

"If in the external universe any one constructive principle can be
detected, it is the geometrical."

"The education of the senses neglected, all after-education partakes
of a drowsiness, a haziness, an insufficiency, which it is impossible
to cure."
                                                         LORD BACON.

"Of this thing be certain: Wouldst thou plant for eternity? Then plant
into the deep infinite faculties of man, his fantasy and heart.
Wouldst thou plant for year and day? Then plant into his shallow,
superficial faculties, his self-love, and arithmetical understanding,
what will grow there."
                                                      THOS. CARLYLE.

                         FROEBEL'S FIRST GIFT

    "I wish to find the right forms for awakening the higher
    senses of the child: what symbol does my ball offer to him?
    That of unity."

    "The ball connects the child with nature as much as the
    universe connects man with God."      FRIEDRICH FROEBEL.

    "Line in nature is not found, Unit and Universe are round."

    "Nature centres into balls."              R. W. EMERSON.

                        "From thy hand
        The worlds were cast; yet every leaflet claims
        From that same hand its little shining sphere
        Of starlit dew."                       O. W. HOLMES.

        "The Small, a sphere as perfect as the Great
        To the soul's absoluteness."        ROBERT BROWNING.

1. The first gift consists of six soft woolen balls colored in the six
standard colors derived from the spectrum, namely, red, orange,
yellow, green, blue, and violet.

The balls should be provided with strings for use in the various

    [1] "The string unites the ball, symbol of the outer world,
    with the child, and is the means by which it can act upon his
    inner nature." (E. G. Seymour.)

2. Froebel chose the ball as the first gift because it is the simplest
shape, and the one from which all others may subsequently be derived;
the shape most easily grasped by the hand as well as by the mind. It
is an object which attracts by its pleasing color, and one which,
viewed from all directions, ever makes the same impression.[2]

    [2] "The Egyptians and the Greeks hung geometrical forms over
    their cradles, so as to strike the eyes of the child with
    lawful relations. Froebel introduces colored balls for the
    same purpose, which, considering the psychological and
    emotional condition of the child, leads to the joyful
    conception of motion, color, and life." (Emma Marwedel.)

3. The most important characteristics of the gift are Unity, Activity,

The various colors serve to distinguish these several playmates of the
child by special characteristics, and enable him to make his first
clear analyses or abstractions, since the color is the only point
wherein the objects differ. This contrast in color results in the
abstraction of color from form.

4. Since the ball is the most mobile of inanimate shapes, it may be
considered as the "opposite equal" of the living organism. The
quickness and ease of its motion as well as its elasticity cause the
child to regard it as instinct with life, while its softness renders
him able to grasp and handle it readily.

Its material is also of great advantage in that it lessens the
possibility of startling noises which would distract the child from
the contemplation of its qualities. By its use, he is first led to
observation, and then to self-expression. As the simplest type-form
as well as the most universal, it offers a satisfactory basis for the
classification of objects in general; while its indefiniteness and
adaptability make it a useful medium for the expression of the child's
vague ideas. With the ball we give first impressions of _Unity_,
_Form_, _Color_, _Material_, _Mobility_, _Motion_, _Direction_, and
_Position_. The ball songs and plays are used as the first exercises
in language, singing, and rhythm.

5. As the kindergarten gifts are designed to serve as an alphabet of
form, by whose use the child may learn to read all material objects,
it follows that they must form an organically connected sequence,
moving in logical order from an object which contains all qualities,
but directly emphasizes none, to objects more specialized in nature,
and therefore more definitely suggestive as to use.

"Each successive gift in the series must not only be implicit in, but
demanded by, its predecessor;" so Froebel selects the ball, with its
simplicity but great adaptability, for the starting-point of his

6. Connected contrasts of Motion, Direction, and Position are shown in
the first gift. By the use of pigments, the so-called secondary
colors, purple, orange, and green, may be produced from the opposite
hues, red and blue, red and yellow, and blue and yellow.

"The mind is aroused to attention and led to comparison by contrasts;
on the groundwork of comparison, it is enabled to do the work of
classification, of clear abstraction, of the formation of definite
ideas by the connection of these contrasts."[3]

    [3] "Suppose, e. g., that the child, by dint of repeated and
    varied playing with the blue ball of the first gift, has
    succeeded in getting a tolerably clear notion of the blue
    ball. If then you bring the yellow ball to his notice, his
    mind will be led to examine more closely and to compare the
    two playthings, resembling each other so fully in every
    respect, yet differing so widely in color. The other balls of
    the gift are introduced in judicious succession, offering new
    yet milder contrasts: these reconcile, combine, the contrasts
    first offered; they are aided in this by the colors of
    surrounding objects. The child begins to feel that these
    color impressions, however widely they differ, have a similar
    source; he is connecting the contrasts, and as he succeeds in
    this, he succeeds, too, in separating, abstracting, the
    _ball_ from its _color_." (W. N. Hailmann.)

       *       *       *       *       *

The Ball a Universal Plaything.

"The presentiment of truth always goes before the recognition of it,"
says Froebel; and it would seem, indeed, as it, in selecting the first
gift, he looked far back into the past of humanity, and there sought
the thread which from the beginning connects all times and leads to
the farthest future.

"The ball is the last plaything of men, as well as the first with
children." In Kreutzer's "Symbolik" we read that the educators of the
young god Bacchus gave him golden balls to play with, and also that
the youthful princes of Persia played with them, and alone had this

It is a significant fact that we find balls even among the remains of
the Lake Dwellers of Northern Italy and Switzerland, while small,
round balls, resembling marbles, have been found in the early Egyptian
tombs. The Teutons made ball-plays national, and built houses in which
to indulge in these exercises in all sections of Germany, as late as
the close of the sixteenth century. The ancient Aztecs used the game
of ball as a training in warfare for the young men of the nation; and
that it was considered of great importance is evident from the fact
that the tribute exacted by a certain Aztec monarch from some of the
cities conquered by him consisted of balls, and amounted to sixteen
thousand annually.

The ball entered into many of the favorite games alike of the Greeks
and the Romans, the former having a special place in their gymnasiums
and a special master for it. It may be noted also that nearly all our
modern sports are based upon the effort to get possession of a ball.

Froebel's Ideas of First Gift.

Froebel considered the ball as an external counterpart of the child in
the first stages of his development, its undivided unity corresponding
to his mental condition, and its movableness to his instinctive
activity. Through its recognition he is led to separate himself from
the external world, and the external world from himself.[4]

    [4] "But as he grows he gathers much,
           And learns the use of 'I' and 'me,'
           And finds 'I am not that I see,
         And other than the things I touch.'

        "So rounds he to a separate mind
           From whence clear memory may begin,
           As through the frame that binds him in
         His isolation grows defined."
                                   Tennyson's _In Memoriam_.

Froebel's intention was that the first gift should be used in the
nursery,[5] but as this is for the most part neglected, or imperfectly
and unwisely done, we begin the series of kindergarten play-lessons
with it, illustrating its qualities and asking questions concerning
them, always diversifying the exercises with rhymes, games, and songs.
We must remember that to the young child, as to primitive man, the
activity of an object is more pleasing than its qualities, and we
should therefore devise a series of games with the fascinating
plaything which will lead the child to learn these qualities by
practical experience.

    [5] Many suggestions for the use of the ball in the nursery
    may be found in Froebel's _Pedagogics of the Kindergarten_,
    translated by Josephine Jarvis.

Manner of Introduction.

Before beginning any exercise we should fully decide in our own minds
the main point or points to be brought out,--Color, Form, or
Direction, for example; then, and only then, will the child gain a
clear, definite impression, and have a distinct remembrance of what we
have been trying to teach. By way of diversion, every song or rhyme in
which the ball can play a symbolic part in action, and illustrate the
point we wish to make, is of use in the lessons.[6]

    [6] See _Kindergarten Chimes_ (Kate D. Wiggin), pages 22-32,
    Oliver Ditson Publishing Co.

With this dainty colored plaything we begin our first bit of
education,--not instruction, mere pouring in, but true education,
drawing out, developing. The balls should be kept in a pretty basket,
as the beautiful should be cultivated in every way in the true
kindergarten; and when they are given to the class, it should be with
some little song sung by the kindergartner or one of the older
children. At the close of the lesson, as the basket is passed, each
child may gently drop his ball into it, saying simply, "Thank you for
my ball," or naming its color. At other times they may be called by
the names of fruits or flowers, the child saying, "I will give you a
cherry," or, "I will give you a violet."

Method of Introduction.

The qualities of the ball must of course be brought before the child's
observation in some more or less definite order, and it will be
profitable to consider the relative claims of Form and Color to the
first place.

We might say, correctly, that to illustrate the ball, we should begin
with its essential qualities.[7] The essential quality is Unity. Unity
depends on Form, and the ball's form never changes; therefore we might
conclude that this should be the first subject under consideration,
since we always treat of the universal properties of objects before
special ones, proceeding from homogeneous to heterogeneous. This view
of the subject is supported by Ratich's important maxim, "First the
thing, and then its properties."

    [8] "The infant begins to examine forms from the commencement
    of his existence; for without this knowledge it is doubtful
    if he could distinguish one object from another, or even be
    aware of an external world. Gradually he begins to know
    objects apart and to recognize them, and in time discerns
    resemblances which cause him to classify them."--W. W.
    Speer's _Form Lessons_.

Conrad Diehl.

On the other hand, Conrad Diehl says: "Color is the first sensation of
which an infant is capable. With the first ray of light that enters
the retina of the eye, the presence of color forces itself on the
mind.... When light is present, color is present. The first impression
which the eye receives of an object is its color; its form is revealed
by the action of light upon its surfaces. We recognize at a distance
the color of a leaf, an apple, a flower or berry, long before we are
able distinctly to make out their forms. In the absence of light,
neither the color nor the form of an object can be seen."[8]

    [8] Conrad Diehl's _Elements of Ornamentation and Color_.

Herbert Spencer.

Spencer says:[9] "The earliest impressions which the mind can
assimilate are those given to it by the undecomposable sensations,
resistance, light, sound, etc. Manifestly decomposable states of
consciousness cannot exist before the states of consciousness out of
which they are composed. There can be no idea of form until some
familiarity with light in its gradations and qualities, or resistance
in its different intensities, has been acquired; for, as has long been
known, we recognize visible form by means of varieties of light, and
tangible form by means of varieties of resistance. Similarly, no
articulate sound is cognizable until the inarticulate sounds which go
to make it up have been learned. And thus must it be in every other

    [9] _Education_, page 130.

    [10] "That priority of color to form which, as already
    pointed out, has a psychological basis, and in virtue of
    which psychological basis arises this strong preference in
    the child, should be recognized from the very
    beginning."--Spencer's _Education_.


The balance of authority seems to be, on the whole, upon the side of
presenting color first to the young child, as we appeal to the
emotions at this age rather than to the intellect; and while the
senses revel in color, form follows more the law of use. Let us hear,
however, what the "great pioneer of child study" says upon this point.
Froebel says, as distinct and different as color and form may be in
themselves, they are to the young child indivisible, as inseparable as
body and life. Nay, the idea of color seems to come to the child, as
perhaps to mankind in general, through the forms; so, on the other
hand, the forms gain prominence and impressiveness by the colors.
Hence ideas of colors must at first be coupled with ideas of form, and
_vice versa_; color and form are in the beginning an undivided

    [11] "A person born blind, and suddenly enabled to see, would
    at first have no conception of _in_ or _out_ (of eye), and
    would be conscious of colors only, not of objects; when by
    his sense of touch he became acquainted with objects, and had
    time to associate mentally the objects he touched with the
    colors he saw, then, and not till then, would he begin to see
    objects."--Preyer's _Mind of the Child_, page 58.

    "Color cannot be abstracted from that which gives it
    vitality,--i. e., Form,--from which it cannot be abstracted
    without rendering the color flat and meaningless." (Geo. L.

The color and form of the ball being indissolubly blended in the
child's eyes, we can scarcely teach them separately at first. We may,
however, consider each by itself, in order to present the subject more


To teach form in an interesting manner, to make it plain to the child
without giving him any terms, but rather coaxing him by ingenuity to
formulate his own knowledge, is a difficult thing to do, and should
not be attempted at all with very young children. It seems
unnecessary to say that Froebel did not intend the ball should be made
a medium of object lessons for babies, although this distorted view of
his idea seems to have entered the minds of some critics.

The child, when old enough to enter a kindergarten, will generally
know round objects, and be somewhat familiar with the ball already in
his home plays. We should let him roll and grasp it in his tiny
fingers, till gradually, in comparison with other objects handled in
the same way, he notices the absence of corners, edges, or any
obstructions which would meet his touch or eye. Then we may ask him if
he could make a ball out of a rough block of wood which we show. Some
bright little one will guess that a carpenter could do it with his
tools. "What would he have to do?" "Plane it off," will perhaps be the
answer. "Where and how is he to plane?" may be the next inquiry, and
the child often answers, "All the rough parts and the parts that stick
out." "Why does he like to play ball?" He does not know exactly.
"Would he like to play ball with the scissors?" "Why not?" "Then why
does he like to feel the ball in his hand?"

After such preliminary conversations upon the form of the ball, we may
lead the children first to note other round things in the room, and
then to recall what they have at home of a similar shape and what
they may have seen in the streets. These exercises are always
delightful to the little ones, and are invaluable to the
kindergartner, as they furnish a thorough test of the child's
comprehension of the subject she has been handling.[12] We should
notice slight divergences from the spherical form in the objects the
children name, and speak of them. They will soon be able to tell in
every case where the egg or cobblestone is not "just round."

    [12] "Finding forms of the same general shape as those taken
    as types is of the highest importance. Unless this is done,
    pupils are not learning to pass from the particular to the
    general. They are not taught to see many things through the
    one, and the impression they gain is that the particular
    forms observed are the only forms of this kind. Unless that
    which the pupil observes aids him in interpreting something
    else, it is of no value to him. Certain things are taught
    that through them other things may be seen. Pupils should not
    be trained to see for the sake of the seeing, but that they
    may have the power to see." W. W. Speer, _Lessons in Form_.

They will of course mention stove-lids, dinner-plates, etc., as round
objects, and the attempt to give a clear and definite understanding of
the difference between solids and planes is difficult at first, but
they very soon discriminate between rounding objects that possess
thickness and those that are flat but have curved edges. A ball of
putty or one of dough is a good thing with which to illustrate this

We must remember that any abstract teaching on Form is too difficult
at this time, much more difficult than Color. Let the children, during
these first few weeks, draw circles on the blackboard and on paper,
and sew, and draw pictures of balls, peaches, or round fruits; they
may also make balls of wax, dough, or clay. Rousseau says, "A child
may forget what he sees, and sooner still what is said to him, but he
never forgets what he has made."


"The comprehension of the single tone of color gradually leads to the
comprehension of the full chord; the recognition of single colors
leads to the recognition of shades and their harmonious connections:
thus, step by step, the capacity of comprehending nature in its beauty
and with its treasures is developed."[13]

    [13] Emma Marwedel, _Childhood's Poetry and Studies_, page 35.

Again, suppose the play-lesson for the day to be upon Color. Of
course, the subject may be handled in a dozen different ways and serve
for a dozen different lessons; a few hints only are here given, as in
matters of detail it is better that each teacher should be free and
unguided in the use of her own ingenuity.

We may take, perhaps, the red[14] ball, and, holding it high in the
air, ask, "Who has a ball exactly like mine? Look carefully, now, and
then show me." A volley of balls, comprising every color in the
rainbow, will be shot into the air, and then becomes necessary the
task of discrimination. We may find the red ones, and gratify the
children by naming those who possess them, as it seems a great honor
in their eyes. Now they should be led to find every bit of red in the
room,--Andrew's stockings, Mary's ribbon, the tiny pipings on Katie's
apron, Jim's necktie, your belt, the flowers on the wall, etc. The
scene will become intensely exciting; the bright eyes will begin
searching in every corner of the room, and the transport which will
greet us when anything far out of sight and of the right color is
discovered is truly refreshing.

    [14] Professor Earl Barnes, of Stanford University, reports
    that in his various color experiments on the Pacific Coast,
    1000 children having been studied, a very large majority
    selected red as their favorite color.

All the children, as far as possible, should be engaged in this
diversion, while the most timid and backward should be kept near and
encouraged with word and smile. The name of the color should not be
asked for, or given, till it can be matched by all, and found in
surrounding objects.

We may ask what flowers they have seen which were like the color they
are studying, and show them some of the more familiar kinds; also
speak of the action of the sun in making certain fruits red,--the
raspberries and strawberries, for instance. Some rosy-faced little
urchin in the class may be chosen and asked how he keeps such red
cheeks, and from this the idea of red as the color of warmth and life
may be developed. We may proceed with blue and yellow, then with
violet, orange, and green, in like manner, constantly diversifying the
exercises with plays, songs, and appropriate stories.

Hints on Additional Color Exercises.

The formation of the so-called secondary colors will not be very
obvious to the younger children, nor is the fact to be taught
scientifically or learned by them; they will, however, be greatly
interested in the mixing of paints in small dishes, or the blending of
different colored crayons on the blackboard.

                  _Red_ and _Yellow_ into _Orange_.
                  _Yellow_ and _Blue_ into _Green_.
                   _Blue_ and _Red_ into _Purple_.

Pieces of glass are serviceable objects with which to show the same
thing, or we can buy the "gelatine films" from any kindergarten supply
store. Holding the red and yellow, one on the other, for instance, the
piece nearer the eye will, of course, determine the shade; if the red
piece be next the eye, the orange color will be deeper than if the
yellow were in the same position. None of these experiments, however,
will produce pure colors, the green and purple being especially

Among the devices with which to teach color may be recommended a color
quilt made of various shades and shapes of woolens and silks or
ribbons. This may be used as a sort of chart, to the great delight of
the children, and is one of the valuable aids in teaching, because it
calls out both individual and general action. We may also make a
clothes-line of twine and suspend it from door to door, or between any
two suitable points, attaching to it pieces of all colors, and, after
a while, of various tints and shades of worsted, letting the children
touch the ones designated, or find bits of the same color as their

Cards wound with different tints and shades of the same color are also
useful when the children have developed greater powers of
discrimination, and a chart or map may be made by pasting colored
squares, triangles, oblongs, or circles on a ground of gray Bristol

Then, too, we may have a box of tablets of the simple geometrical
figures, and, giving a quantity to the children, let them arrange the
different colors in separate rows.

Children of all ages will be fascinated by the spectrum, "Nature's
palette of pure colors," which the sunlight streaming through a prism
shows upon the wall; and as it can be supplemented by a spectrum chart
for cloudy days, they will delight to arrange their colored papers to
imitate it. The older children will gain much valuable knowledge by
experimenting with the color tops, and if a color wheel with the
accompanying Maxwell disks can be obtained, the materials for color
education will be quite complete.

It must not be forgotten that the purpose of all these exercises is
that the child may learn to know the six standards, and subsequently
their intermediates, and may in time learn to use and combine them
harmoniously. It is, therefore, essential that the colors supplied him
shall be fresh and pure,[15] and that he not only have freedom to make
his own experiments, but materials to preserve them in permanent form
when they prove successful.

    [15] "Care should be taken, in the selection of all materials
    for color lessons, to get as perfect foundation colors as
    possible; no faded or poor shades are allowable, as they lead
    the child astray."

When the children are just making friends with the teacher and with
each other, it is very interesting and profitable for them to
formulate their mite of knowledge into a sentence, each one holding
his ball high in the air with the right hand, and saying:--

  My ball is red like a cherry.
  My ball is yellow like a lemon.
  My ball is blue like the sky.
  My ball is orange like a marigold.
  My ball is green like the grass.
  My ball is violet like a plum.

We should not, however, allow this to degenerate into mere recitation,
but let the child find his own objects of comparison, and change them
when he chooses for any others that occur to him. This prevents parrot
repetition, and gives room for individuality and real self-expression.


The child of three or four years has seldom any conception of the

                  Right----Left.   Here ----There.
                  Up   ----Down.   Near ----Far.
                  Over ----Under.  Front----Back.

Even if he has a dim idea of direction, he cannot express himself
regarding it, nor is he certain enough of his knowledge to be able to
move or place the ball according to dictation.

Motion is always easy and delightful to the child, and therefore he
will move his ball in different directions, as the words and music
suggest, when he would be too timid to express a thought, and is
willing and happy to do in unison what he would hesitate to do by

The ball may be made a starting-point in giving the child an idea of
various simple facts about objects in general, and in illustrating in
movements the many terms with which we wish him to become familiar.
The meaning of the terms to _swing_, _hop_, _jump_, _roll_, _spring_,
_run away_, _come back_, _fall_, _draw_, _bounce,_ and _push_ may be
taught by a like movement of the ball, urging the child to give his
own interpretation of the motions in words. All the children may then
make their balls hop, spring, roll, or swing at the same time,
accompanying the movements by appropriate rhymes.

The ball is more purely a plaything than anything which the child
receives in the kindergarten, and its mobility is so charming, it so
easily slips from his hands and travels so delightfully far when
dropped, that exercises with it soon become riotous if not carefully
guided. Every play-lesson on the ball should close with some active
exercise in which the children may indulge their wish for a game with
their dear playfellow, and in which they may also gain greater skill
and learn practically the laws of motion.

When sitting at their tables, each pair of children may roll a ball to
and fro, all beginning at the same moment; or the first pair may
begin, the second and third follow, and so on until all are rolling.
They may throw balls against the wall, or toss them in the air, or
throw them alternately first in the air, then against the wall; they
may toss them to each other at increasing distances. The whole company
of children may be arranged in two rows and throw the balls to each
other in unison, or they may pass them from hand to hand as in a
Wandering Game,--all the exercises being accompanied with appropriate
songs or rhymes.

The laws of incidence and reflection may be simply taught by leading
the children to note that if they strike the ball straight against the
wall it will bound straight back, and then asking them to see if it
returns when thrown in a slanting direction.

Symbolic Stage of Child's Development.

In order to present the ball in a more attractive light in the
kindergarten, to suit it to the symbolic stage of the child's
development, and to bring it nearer to his sympathies, we constantly,
in our play, suppose it to be something which it resembles in certain
of its characteristics. By its color, it may represent a fruit, a
flower, or a gayly dressed child; by its form, an egg, a downy
chicken, a tiny duckling; by its mobility, a bird, a squirrel, a baby;
or when fastened to its string, a bucket in the well, a toy wagon, a
pendulum, or a pet lamb tethered by the roadside.

The child is always at home in the world of "make-believe," and
delights in the stories and the many charming songs to which this
imaginative use of the ball gives rise.

Perhaps we may wisely remind ourselves, however, that though the
child's fancy is most vivid, and though the ball is well adapted to
represent many objects, yet if it resemble in no single point the
thing to which we liken it, we are indulging in empty imaginings which
will only hinder the child's comprehension of truth.[16]

    [16] "The resemblance of the symbol to the thing signified
    is a very important matter in education, especially in
    kindergarten education."--Geo. P. Brown, _Essentials of
    Educational Psychology._

Coöperative Exercises.

The teacher who truly understands the great principles on which
Froebel built the kindergarten will ever be mindful of one of the
highest of these,--"the brotherly union of those who are like-minded."
Even in the simple plays with the first gift, group work is easily
possible. The stringing of the first gift beads or the supplementary
modeling in clay may be made into a coöperative exercise, the work
with the balls at the sand-table may have a similar aim, and many of
the ball games are well fitted to unite the whole community of
children, older and younger, in a common aim, a common purpose.[17]

    [17] "If, therefore, genuine brotherliness, ... consideration
    and respect for playmates and fellow-men, are again to become
    prevalent, they can become so only by being connected with
    the feeling of community abiding in each man (however much or
    little of it may be found), and by fostering this feeling
    with the greatest care."--Friedrich Froebel, _Education of
    Man_, page 74.

What we should strive for.

We must remember that on a carefully prepared plan of procedure
depends much of the value of any system of education; therefore we
must decide, when the child comes under our tutelage, what we wish to
accomplish and what shall be our method of accomplishing it; and yet
as the first gift is not the last, as it is but the first link in a
chain of related objects, it is obvious that it must be chiefly useful
as a starting-point. Each lesson should be carefully studied by the
teacher, for the foundation is being laid for all future acquisition.

The kindergarten gifts are designed to lead to the mastery of material
objects, but at the same time they are always connected with the
child's experience and affection by being often transported into the
region of fancy and feeling in a blending of realism and symbolism.
Omitting everything which has reference to the moral and physical
development, and speaking now only of that which is intellectual, what
we should strive for at the beginning is that the child may acquire a
habit of quick observation, with clear and precise expression; that in
due time he may see not only quickly, but accurately; in short, that a
slight degree of judgment may begin to attend his perceptions, so that
he may know as well as observe. It is not enough to awaken the
curiosity of a child, and to heap up in his memory a mass of good
materials which will combine of themselves in due time, and which the
brain when more highly developed will arrange in systematic groups; we
should endeavor as far as possible to control the first impressions
which sink unconsciously into a child's mind, but still more careful
should we be in the selection of those later ones which we try to
inculcate, and of the links which we wish to establish between such
and such perceptions, sentiments, or actions.

We should seek to develop, side by side with the perceptions, the
faculty of judging and acting rightly.

To give a child very little to observe at a time, but to make him
observe that little well and rightly, is the true way of forming and
storing his mind.

The process of receiving an idea must be through sensation, attention,
and perception, conception and judgment being later processes. The
curiosity to know must be kept alive, for it is our greatest ally, and
the imagination must be fed, for the child remembers only what
interests him.

Recognizing what is to be accomplished, we say, then:--

    _a._ The ball is one of the first means used in awakening and
    developing the dawning consciousness and growing faculties of
    the child.

    _b._ The beginning must be well made, or no later step will
    seem clear.

    _c._ If the first opportunity which occurs of dealing with
    the gift (or with any instrumentality of education) is
    wasted, interest on the part of the child is permanently

    _d._ The mind retains clear impressions in proportion to the
    degree of spontaneous interest and attention with which they
    are received.

    _e._ The law of diminishing interest decrees that each point
    in a successful exercise shall be more interesting than the
    previous one.

    _f._ The lessons must not be confined to so narrow a channel
    that they become monotonous, and they must leave room for the
    child to develop and not attempt to prescribe his mental

Tiedemann says: "Liberty of action even in imitated actions is one of
the conditions of a child's happiness; besides that, it has the effect
of exercising and developing all his faculties. Example is the first
tutor, and liberty the second, in the order of evolution; but the
second is the better one, for it has inclination for its assistant."


  From Cradle to School. _Bertha Meyer_. Pages 118-20.
  Education. _Herbert Spencer_. 128-40.
  Kindergarten Culture. _W. N. Hailmann_. 41-46.
  Education. _E. Seguin_. 7, 8.
  The Kindergarten. _Emily Shirreff_. 10.
  Kindergarten at Home. _Emily Shirreff_. 46.
  Reminiscences of Froebel. _Von Marenholtz-Bülow_. 208, 209.
  Lectures on Child-Culture. _W. N. Hailmann_. 24.
  Kindergarten Guide. _J._ and _B. Ronge_. 1-3.
  Koehler's Kindergarten Practice. Tr. by _Mary Gurney_. 5-12.
  Child-Culture. _Henry Barnard_. 567, 568, 570-75.
  Education of Man. _Fr. Froebel_. Tr. by _J. Jarvis_. 105, 106, 206.
  Lectures to Kindergartners. _E. P. Peabody_. 30, 31, 38, 39, 44-51.
  Pedagogics of the Kindergarten. _Fr. Froebel_. Tr. by _J. Jarvis_.
  Paradise of Childhood. _Edward Wiebe_. 7-9.
  Law of Childhood. _W. N. Hailmann_. 31-33.
  Kindergarten Guide. _Kraus-Boelte_. 1-15.
  Froebel and Education by Self-Activity. _H. Courthope Bowen_.
  Childhood's Poetry and Studies. _E. Marwedel_. Part I. 7-15.
  Childhood's Poetry and Studies. _E. Marwedel_. Part II. 6-17.
  A System of Child-Culture. _E. Marwedel_. 1-5.
  The Dawn of History. _A. Keary_. 44-47.
  Hints to Teachers. _E. Marwedel_. 5, 6.
  Froebel's Letters. Tr. by _Michaelis_ and _Moore_. 83-85, 98,
      101-03, 107, 176, 220.
  Conscious Motherhood. _E. Marwedel_. 106, 107, 118, 119, 153,
      162-64, 170-74, 256-62, 291-96.

                        FROEBEL'S SECOND GIFT

    "From the ball as a symbol of unity, we pass over in a
    consecutive manner to the manifoldness of form in the cube."

    "The child has an intimation in the cube of the unity which
    lies at the foundation of all manifoldness, and from which
    the latter proceeds."                 FRIEDRICH FROEBEL.

    "Notice has now become observation, and observation leads to
    discrimination. He sees and is curious by nature, but it
    belongs to us to lead him to observe and inquire."
                                             EMILY SHIRREFF.

1. Froebel's second gift consists of a wooden sphere, cube, and
cylinder, two inches in diameter (as now made), with rods and
standards for revolution.[18]

    [18] "The wooden sphere has no string like the balls of the
    first gift, because the child no longer needs the outward
    connection; he now realizes the spiritual connection between
    himself and the outer world." (E. G. Seymour.)

2. In the first gift the child received objects of the same shape and
size but of different colors, thus learning to separate color from
form. In the second gift he receives unlike objects, and learns to
distinguish them from each other by their individual peculiarities.
The first gift suggests unity, and leads to the detection of
resemblances; the second suggests variety or manifoldness, and
emphasizes contrasts.

3. The most important characteristic of the gift is contrast of form,
leading to the distinction of different objects. The mediation of
contrasts here suggests the connection of all objects, however widely

4. The purpose of the gift is to stimulate observation and comparison
by presentation of striking contrasts, and to afford new bases for the
classification of objects. Spencer says that any systematic
ministrations to the perceptions ought to be based upon the general
truth that in the development of every faculty markedly contrasted
impressions are the first to be distinguished; that hence sounds
greatly differing in loudness and pitch, colors very remote from each
other, and substances widely removed in hardness or texture should be
the first supplied; and that in each case the progression must be by
slow degrees to impressions more nearly allied.[19]

    [19] _Education_, page 132.

5. The geometrical forms illustrated in this gift are:--

           { Sphere.
           { Cube.
  Solids.  { Cylinder.
           { Double Cone. } Seen in motion.
           { Conoid.      }

  Planes.  { Circles.
           { Squares.

6. The sphere and cube are sharply contrasting forms, and the cylinder
illustrates the connecting link between the two, possessing
characteristics of both.

"The cylinder is the first example Froebel gives of the intermediate
transition--forms connecting opposites, which he explains as the very
ground plan of Nature, and on which his fundamental law of contrasts
and connection of contrasts, the law of all harmonious development and
creative industry, is based."[20]

    [20] E. Shirreff.

       *       *       *       *       *

Points to be noted in each New Gift.

"That which follows is always conditioned upon that which goes
before,"[21] says Froebel, and he makes this apparent to children
through his educational processes; the gifts show this idea in
concrete form.

    [21] "We cannot evolve what has not first been involved."

In entering upon a consideration of the second gift one thing cannot
fail to impress us, and that is the continuous development in each new
set of objects placed before the child; together with an increase of
difficulty or complexity which is never without a corresponding
forethought, careful arrangement, and attention to logical sequence;
thus the newly introduced objects can never seem unnatural to him.

We shall find that in every new gift or occupation there is always a
suggestion of the last, enough to make it a pleasant reminder of
knowledge gained and difficulties surmounted, and so the child sees
not everything painfully strange, but something which at least recalls
to his mind his former friend and familiar playfellow.[22]

    [22] "Nothing charms us more than the recognition of the old
    in the new. The man who hurries through a foreign city,
    indifferent and inattentive to the passing crowd, feels a
    quick thrill of pleasure when in the midst of all the
    strangers he recognizes a familiar face." (E. Minhinnick.)

Method of Attack in First Exercise.

In the first lesson with the second gift the child will quickly see
the similarities between his former worsted ball and his new
companion, the wooden sphere. Let him take these two balls together,
and find out the similarities and dissimilarities, remembering that
before he compares objects _consciously_, experiences should
invariably be given him.

We should always draw attention to the universal properties of things
first and then proceed to the specific. The qualities common to all
objects are the universal ones: Form, Size, Color, Material, etc. The
invariable rule should be: simple before complex, concrete before
abstract, unity before variety, universal qualities before special

If we are in doubt as to whether we shall first direct attention to
the similarities or to the dissimilarities between the ball and
sphere, we may recall the educational maxim, "The child's eye always
at first seizes the analogous, the point of union, the whole
connection of things, and only after that begins to discern
differences and opposition."[23]

    [23] "The infant mind is transparent to resemblance, but
    opaque to difference."--Susan E. Blow, _Symbolic Education_,
    page 83.

Ball and Sphere.

In comparing the ball and the sphere the child will observe, in the
first place that they are both round and both roll equally well, but
that one has color, one being without; one is soft, the other hard;
one quiet, one noisy; one a little rough to the touch, the other
velvet smooth. He should find for and by himself, aided by our
suggestive questioning, the reasons for these evident differences.

It is absolutely necessary that each child should have one of the
boxes containing the solids, or at least the three forms of the gift
without the box, rods, and standards, and examine them thoroughly and
often as he will be glad to do.

If the solids as ordinarily manufactured are too costly for a
kindergartner of limited means, she can substitute large marbles,
blocks, and linen thread spools; the material does not matter so long
as each child has the objects to handle.

Value of the Discriminative Power; Method by which it may be developed.

We need not be distressed if the lessons are a little noisy when the
children are making the acquaintance of these wonderful new friends.
To be sure they will pound the wooden forms heartily up and down on
the table (if they are three-year old babies, they certainly would and
should do so); but within bounds what does it matter? If it can be
arranged so that other classes shall not be disturbed, and each child
can have the same opportunity for experimenting as his neighbor, there
will be no great harm done.

We are endeavoring to rouse all the latent energies of the child by
the presentation of these objects to his observation, and he must have
full liberty to make the various experiments which suggest themselves
to him. His desire to hear the sound of the objects is so manifest
that it would be folly to try and thwart it. It is far better to use
the desire for educational purposes and divert it into the channel of
systematized noise. Let us suppose that we are carpenters today and
pound the wooden objects on the floor in exact time with a building
song; let us play we are drummer boys and tap with our drumsticks for
the soldiers to march; or shall we make believe that the sphere is a
woodpecker and let it tap on the trees while we recite some simple
little rhyme?[24]

    [24] For second gift songs, see _Kindergarten Chimes_ (Kate D.
    Wiggin), pages 32, 33, Oliver Ditson Publishing Co.

"This craving of young children for information," says Bernard Perez,
"is an emotional and intellectual absorbing power, as dominant as the
appetite for nutrition, and equally needing to be watched over and

It is not alone the noise of the sphere which delights the child,[25]
though this is always pleasing,--it is the knowledge he is gaining,
the new ideas that dawn upon him for the first time in recognizable
form. It is, in fact, a knowledge of cause and effect. He has often
dropped the woolen ball and pounded it on the table, and it produced
no sound. He does the same with the sphere and recognizes the
difference. He will begin to experiment with other objects, by and by
to classify his knowledge, and finally, he will see and remember that
like causes produce like effects, and in progressing thus far will
have made a tremendous stride. The child will see all the more
clearly, in comparing the woolen ball and wooden sphere, the
difference between soft and hard, rough and smooth, light and heavy,
if he is allowed to perform his own experiments.

    [25] "The sound is a yet higher sign of life to the child,
    as he then, and also later, likes to lend speech to all dumb
    things; therefore he also desires to hear sound and speech
    from everything."--Froebel's _Pedagogics_, page 72.

The Cube.

We will now turn to the investigation of the cube and open a new world
of information to the child, and here we seem to deviate a little from
the famous educational maxim, "Proceed from the known to the unknown,"
and almost to make a leap into the dark. However, we very soon give
the cylinder, and thus connect the opposites. Here he meets a dazzling
quantity of new appearances; the square sides or faces, and the many
edges and corners, all of which must be viewed in comparison with the
sphere. We can give him an experience of the faces of the cube without
conscious analysis, by letting the ball roll against them.

Mediation of Contrasts.

Of course we shall see the underlying idea of the gift to be the
connection of opposites. Not too much can be said of this law, so
all-important and significant in Froebel's system.[26] We should bear
it constantly in mind, and bring it in connection with every new phase
of our work. Froebel cannot be understood clearly unless this deep
principle, which lies at the very root of his system, is appreciated
and comprehended. At the same time it is, when formulated, an abstract
and metaphysical statement, which one cannot grasp at once, but to
which one must grow.

    [26] "But each thing is recognized only when it is connected
    with the opposite of its kind, and when the union, accord,
    similitude with this object are found; and the connection
    with the opposite, and the discovery of the uniting, renders
    the recognition so much the more complete."--Froebel's
    _Education of Man_, page 26.

It may be said that comparatively few kindergartners know its value;
nevertheless knowledge of this kind can never be useless or fruitless
to the person who is forming the mind of the child, and who should be
a perfect mistress of her science and her art.

Value of Contrasts.

These contrasts of the second gift, and all contrasts, arouse the mind
to attention. We can have no judgment without comparison. We should
have no idea of heat or darkness if we had not a conception of cold
and light; the quality of sweetness would have no meaning if its
opposite did not serve to stimulate comparison.

The sphere is sharply contrasted with the cube, so that there may be a
ready perception of the striking qualities of both. The more abrupt
the contrast the more readily noticed and described; for it takes a
more developed eye to discern the difference between a sphere and a
spheroid, for instance, than between a sphere and a cube.

The contrasts of the first gift were contrasts of color, mediations of
them being shown also, and contrasts of direction and position or
situation. Another point less readily seen in the first gift perhaps
was Froebel's thought that the ball, in its perfect simplicity and
unity, when first given to the young child, is regarded by him as
another contrasted individuality, almost as capable of life in its
varied movements as he is himself.

Mobility of Sphere.

The sphere is the symbol of motion, the cube the embodiment of rest,
and the fact should be illustrated in divers ways. We may, for
instance, place the sphere near the rim of a plate, and by inclining
the latter a little, the sphere will roll rapidly round its own axis
and round the rim. A few simple little rhymes may be taught, which the
children may say or sing together while the sphere is journeying
rapidly round and round the plate, for, as Froebel says, the thought
always grows clearer to the child when word and motion go hand in

Sphere and Cube.

The cube can only be moved, on the contrary, when force is exerted,
and then it merely slides, to stop when the force is removed. The
children will soon see why the cube is so lazily inclined, and why the
sphere is ever rolling, rolling about, scarcely to be kept still, for
by various experiments we may show that the sphere stands only on a
little part of its face, the cube on the whole.

The sphere is always the same in whatever way regarded, and to
whatever tests subjected. It is always an emblem of unity, and cannot
be robbed of its simplicity, its unity, its freedom from all that is

The cube, on the contrary, being made to revolve on any one of its
axes, constantly shows a different aspect, so that the child views it
as a very extraordinary little block, full of fascinating surprises
and whimsical apparitions.

It is put upon the string, and, when whirled rapidly, mysteriously
loses its identity, and appears to the little one's laughing gaze as
an entirely different object; and yet as the motion grows more sedate,
the new form fades away and the cube reappears so quickly as to make
him rub his eyes and wonder if he has been dreaming.

Counting Faces.

The square faces of the cube, in comparison with the one curved,
unbroken surface of the sphere, must now be noted, and may be counted
if we are using the gift as a means of instruction.

We must beware, however, of making this counting exercise into a
lesson, or requiring that the number of faces shall be learned and
recited. Every teacher of experience will corroborate Mr. W. N.
Hailmann when he says: "If the kindergartner sets the cube before the
child and counts the faces, edges, and corners, so that he may 'know
all about it,' the child's interest, if born at all, will soon die."

If the faces are counted, as they are all so exactly alike, the
children may sometimes be puzzled as to the number, by enumerating the
same one more than once. This difficulty may be obviated by pasting a
paper square of a different color on each face, and then submitting it
to examination, giving each child an opportunity to count, since
independent self-activity is to be more and more encouraged.

If the faces, edges, and corners be made the integral point of an
interesting story or play, the child will have little difficulty in
recalling their number and character, but we must remember that
"lively interest and steady progress come only from following and
feeding the child's purposes."


We now proceed to the cylinder, the reconciliation of the two
opposites; an object which having qualities possessed by both occupies
a middle ground in which each has something in common.

Froebel originally took the doll[27] as the intermediate form "uniting
in itself the opposites of the sphere and cube," and thus showed that
he understood child nature well, for no toy follows the ball with
greater certainty than the doll.

    [27] "But now as man both unites the single, which finds its
    limits in itself, and the manifold, which is constantly
    developing, and reconciles them within himself as opposites,
    there results also to the child from both, from _sphere_ and
    _cube_ outwardly united, the expression of the animate and
    active, especially as embodied in the _doll_."--Froebel's
    _Pedagogics_, page 106.

The cylinder, however, was subsequently selected, as being more in
line with the other geometrical forms shown in the sequence of gifts.
It is as easily moved as the sphere, upon one side; as prone to rest
as the cube, when placed upon the other; it has the curved surface of
the sphere and the flat faces of the cube; it has no corners but two
curved edges; more edges than the sphere, fewer than the cube; less
unity than the sphere, more than the cube.

Its importance as a mediation, or connecting link, is further shown by
suspending the cube on a string, by which it may be twisted rapidly
and caused to revolve; in this motion a cylinder being readily seen.
When the cylinder is spun in like manner a sphere suddenly appears,
and so the wonderful and subtle bond of union is complete.[28]

    [28] "On revolving the cylinder on an axis parallel to the
    circular faces, we find that it incloses a solid, opaque
    sphere; teaching us the lesson, not only that each member of
    the second gift contains each and all of the others, but that
    whatever is in the universe is in every individual part of
    it; that even the meanest holds the elements of the noblest;
    that the highest life is even in what in short-sighted
    conceit we call death."--W. N. Hailmann, _Law of Childhood_,
    page 35.

Hints as to Manner and Method.

Let the children call the cylinder a "roller" or "barrel" if they
choose, and tell them the right name when it is needful. Each gift
must be thoroughly understood before we pass to the next, or there
will be no orderly development; but as the impressions have all been
made through the senses of the child, we must not expect him to voice
these impressions in logical phrases all at once, so beware of making
the lesson irksome or wearisome to him through a formal questioning
that does not properly belong to childhood.

When the keen appetite for knowledge disappears we may well despair.
If several children in our class express dislike of a certain exercise
or lesson, and seem to dread its appearance, we may be well assured
that the fault lies in our method of putting it before them, and
strive in all humility for a better understanding of them, of
ourselves, and of the subject.

We must not, however, be too hard in our self-judgments and lose
courage. We are not responsible for a child who is "born tired," and
who seems to have no interest in anything, either in heaven above or
in the earth beneath, until, by ingenuity and perseverance, we are
able to open the eyes and ears which see and hear not.

It will be remembered that in discussing the first play or lesson with
the second gift great freedom was advised; but let us note the
difference between liberty and lawlessness, between spontaneity and
the confusion of self-assertion which is sometimes mistaken for it.

No lesson or play amounts to anything unless conducted with order and
harmony, unless at its close, no matter how merry and hearty the
enjoyment, some quiet and lasting impression has been made on the
mind. Many teachers miss the happy medium, and in trying with the best
intentions to allow the individuality of the child proper development,
only succeed in gaining excitement and disorder.

Dangers of Object Lessons.

The second gift is, more than any other, too much used for mere object
lessons, and these are invariably dangerous because there is apt to be
too much impressing of the teacher's own ideas upon the mind, and too
little actual handling, perceiving, observing, comparing, judging,
concluding, on the child's part, and that is the only logical way in
which he is able to form a clearly crystallized idea.

We can have no higher authority than Dr. Alexander Bain, who says that
the object lesson more than anything else demands a careful handling;
there being "great danger lest an admirable device should settle down
into a plausible but vicious formality."

How to deal successfully with Second Gift.

It is not uncommon to hear students in kindergarten training classes
(and even some full-fledged kindergartners) express a distaste for the
second gift, and it is, unfortunately, even more common to find the
children dealing with it either sunk in deepest apathy, or mercifully
oblivious of the matter in hand and chatting with their neighbors. The
fact is that we have too commonly made the exercises dull, dreary
affairs; we have doled out the forms to the children and asked a
series of formal questions about them, giving no experiments, no
concerted work, and no opportunity for action. The children have been
intensely bored, therefore either stupid or wandering, and the
kindergartner has attributed her want of success to the gift, and not
to her method of dealing with it.

Let the light of imagination shine on the scene, and note the
answering sparkle in the children's eyes. Who cares for the names of
all the faces on a stupid block; but who doesn't care when it's a
house and Johnnie can't find his mother, though he looks in the front
door and the back door, the right-hand door, the left-hand door, the
cellar-door, and finally the trap-door leading to the roof? Nobody
knows, or wants to know, when questioned if the cylinder rolls better
on its flat circular face, or on its rounding face; but when it's a
log of wood in the forest, and must be taken home for winter fires,
then it is worth while to experiment and see how it may be moved most

The second gift, too, is delightful for groupwork in the sand table,
where the objects may be treated symbolically, and likened to a
hundred different things. With the second gift beads, which in the
natural wood color are admirable supplements to the larger forms, the
children are always charmed, assorting and stringing them according to
fancy or dictation, and with the addition of sticks making them into
rows of soldiers, trees in flowerpots, kitchen utensils, churns,
stoves, lamps, and divers other household objects.

The kindergartner may give many a lesson in the simple principles of
mechanics with the second gift and its rods and standards, allowing
the children to experiment freely as well as to follow her
suggestions. The pulley, the steelyard, the capstan, the pump, the
mechanical churn, the wheelbarrow, etc., may all be made, adding the
beads where necessary, and thus the child gain a real working
knowledge of simple machinery.

Treatment of Previous Gifts when passed over.

The preceding gift need not entirely disappear, but be used
occasionally for a pleasing review as a bond of friendly intercourse
between older and younger pupils.[29] This will convey an indirect
hint, perhaps, to the little ones that it is not well to neglect old
friends for new ones, but that they should still love and value the
playthings and playmates of former days.

    [29] "The giving of a new play by no means precludes the
    further use of the preceding and earlier plays. But, on the
    contrary, the use of the preceding play for some time longer
    with the new play, and alternating with it, makes the
    application of the new play so much the easier and more
    widely significant."--Froebel's _Pedagogics_, page 145.

Second Gift Forms in Architecture and Cube in Ancient Times.

These three objects, the sphere, cylinder, and cube, constitute a
triad of forms united in architecture and sculpture producing the
column, which is made up of the pedestal or base (the cube), the shaft
(the cylinder), and the capital (the sphere).

In a book on Egyptian antiquities we find that, in the beginning of
the culture of that country, the three Graces, or goddesses of beauty,
were represented by three cubes leaning upon each other. The Egyptians
did not, of course, know that it was the first regular form of solid
bodies in nature or crystallization; but the significant fact again
brings us to the thought expressed in the first lecture: "It would
seem, indeed, as though Froebel, in selecting his gifts, looked far
back into the past of humanity, and there sought the thread which from
the beginning connects all times and leads to the farthest future."

Froebel's Monument.

And here we leave the second gift, that trinity of forms which,
wrought in marble, marks the place dear and sacred to all
kindergartners, the grave of Froebel,--a simple monument to one so
great, yet so connected with our study and the child's experience that
with all its simplicity it is strangely effective. A still more
enduring monument he has in the millions of happy children who have
found their way to knowledge through the door which he opened to them;
indeed, if half the children he has benefited could build a tower of
these tiny blocks to commemorate his life and death, its point would
reach higher than St. Peter's dome and draw the thoughts of men to

Suggestions of the Gift.

This gift can hardly be studied but that an inner unity, born of these
reconciled contrasts, suggests itself to the imagination.

The cube seems to stand as the symbol of the inorganic, the mineral
kingdom, with its wonderful crystals; the cylinder as the type of
vegetable life, suggesting the roots, stems, and branches, with their
rounded sides, and forming a beautiful connection between the cube,
that emblem of "things in the earth beneath," and the sphere which
completes the trinity and speaks to us of a never-ending and perfect
whole having "Unity for its centre, Diversity for its circumference."

The cube seems to suggest rest, immobility; the cylinder, in this
connection, growth; and the sphere, perfection, completeness,--so
delicately poised it is,--only kept in its proper place by the most
exquisite adjustment. And so to us, sometimes, the things that are
visible become luminous with suggestions of greater realities which
are yet unseen; and in the least we discern a faint radiance of the

Things that are small mirror things that are mighty. The tiny sphere
is an emblem of the "big round world" and the planetary systems. The
cube recalls the wonderful crystals, and shows the form that men
reflect in architecture and sculpture. As for the cylinder it is
Nature's special form, and God has taught man through Nature to use it
in a thousand ways, and indeed has himself fashioned man more or less
in its shape.

Mr. Hailmann says: "The second gift presents types of the principal
phases of human development; from the easy mobility of infancy and
childhood,--the ball,--we pass through the half-steady stages of
boyhood and girlhood, represented in the cylinder, to the firm
character of manhood and womanhood for which the cube furnishes the

Bishop Brooks, speaking from the words, "The length and the breadth of
it are equal," in his sermon on Symmetry of Life, uses the cube as a
symbol of perfect character: The personal push of a life forward, its
outreach laterally or the going out in sympathy to others, the upward
reach toward God,--these he considers the three life dimensions. But
such building must be done without nervous haste; the foundation must
hint solidly of the threefold purpose; length, breadth, and thickness
must be kept in proportion, if the perfect cube of life is ever to be

NOTE ON SECOND GIFT. [30] "The second gift, even in the nursery, calls
for modifications from the form in which it comes to us from Froebel.
It is incomparable in its rich symbolism for illustrating Froebel's
thought to mature minds, and answers quite a useful purpose in the
nursery, where it may help mamma tell her stories. But in the
kindergarten the child wants to build with blocks. Hence, the third,
fourth, fifth, and sixth gifts are indicated; the second gift, as
such, is, to say the least, an anachronism. Only in the form of the
beads, or some similar expedient which gives many of these things for
control, will it satisfy the kindergarten child. When he is expected
to _study_ the cube, as an object lesson, to count the squares and
corners and tell where they are, it is wholly unpalatable to him and
entirely foreign to his plans."

    [30] W. N. Hailmann.


    "Mind starts from Discrimination. The consciousness of
    difference is the beginning of every intellectual exercise."

    "Our intelligence is, therefore, absolutely limited by our
    power of discrimination; the other functions of intellect,
    the retentive power, for instance, are not called into play
    until we have first discriminated a number of things."

    "The minuteness or delicacy of the feeling of difference is
    the measure of the variety and multitude of our primary
    impressions and therefore of our stored-up recollections."

    "Bear in mind the fact that until a difference is felt
    between two things, intelligence has not yet made the first

    "The higher arts of comparison to impress difference are best
    illustrated when both differences and agreements have to be
    noted, i. e., similarities and dissimilarities."

    "Discrimination is the necessary prelude of every
    intellectual impression as the basis of our stored-up
    knowledge or memory."

    Definition of the state of mind significantly named
    _Indifference_,--"the state where differing impressions fail
    to be recognized as distinct."

    "The retentive power works up to the height of the
    discriminative power; it can do no more."
                                                 ALEX. BAIN.

    "The most delightful and fruitful of all the intellectual
    energies is the perception of similarity and agreement, by
    which we rise from the individual to the general, trace
    sameness in diversity, and master instead of being mastered
    by the multiplicity of nature."
                                          FRIEDRICH FROEBEL.

    "It is by comparisons that we ascertain the difference which
    exists between things, and it is by comparisons, also, that
    we ascertain the general features of things, and it is by
    comparisons that we reach general propositions. In fact,
    comparisons are at the bottom of all philosophy."
                                              LOUIS AGASSIZ.


  From Cradle to School. _Bertha Meyer_. Pages 132, 133.
  The Kindergarten. _Emily Shirreff_. 11, 12.
  Lectures on Child-Culture. _W. N. Hailmann_. 26, 27.
  Froebel and Education by Self-Activity. _H. Courthope Bowen_.
  Kindergarten Guide. _J_. and _B. Ronge_. 3-5.
  Koehler's Kindergarten Practice. Tr. by _Mary Gurney_. 47-49.
  Kindergarten at Home. _Emily Shirreff_. 47-49.
  Kindergarten Culture. _W. N. Hailmann_. 46, 51, 54.
  Childhood's Poetry and Studies. _E. Marwedel_. Part II. 16-42.
  Pedagogics of the Kindergarten. _Fr. Froebel_. 69-107.
  Paradise of Childhood. _Edward Wiebe_. 9-11.
  Law of Childhood. _W. N. Hailmann_. 33-35.
  Kindergarten Guide. _Kraus-Boelte_. 15-27.
  Education of Man. _Fr. Froebel_. 107-10.
  Kindergarten Toys. _H. Hoffmann_. 12-17.
  Architecture, Mysticism, and Myth. _W. K. Lethaby_. 50, 65.
  Stories of Industry. Vols. i. and ii. _A. Chase_ and _E. Clow_.
  Ethics of the Dust. _John Ruskin_.
  Mme. A. de Portugall's Synoptical Table, as given in "Essays on the

                          THE BUILDING GIFTS

The Building Gifts meet two very strongly marked tendencies in the
child. _a._ The tendency to investigate. _b._ The tendency to

The first and second gifts consist of undivided units, each one of
which stands in relation to a larger whole, or to a class of objects.

The third, fourth, fifth, and sixth gifts are divided units, and their
significance lies in the relationship of the parts to one another, and
to the whole of which they are the parts.

The effect of the Building Gifts is to develop the constructive powers
of the child. Their secondary importance lies in the fact that they
afford striking fundamental perceptions of Form, Size, Number,
Relation, and Position.

The following rules should govern the dictation exercises:--


1. Use all material in order to keep the idea of relation of parts to
a whole, and because all unused material is wasted material.[31]

    [31] "In each construction the whole of the materials must be
    used; or at least each separate 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."--Froebel's
    _Letters_, tr. by Michaelis and Moore, page 72.

2. Build on the squares of the table in order to develop accuracy and

3. "Induce the child to form other wholes gradually and systematically
from the various parts of the cube. In doing this the laws of contrast
and development must be your guide."

4. Give names to each object constructed, thereby bringing it into
relation with the child's experience; for the miniature model serves
to interpret more clearly to him the object which it represents.

5. Connect with the child's life and sympathy in order to increase his
interest and develop the tendency to view things in their right

6. "The younger the child, the more you should talk about the thing
which you intend to construct. You should intersperse passing
observations or short songs. As the children gain intelligence, this
conversation will be replaced by more formal descriptions of the
things represented."

7. Begin with Life forms and proceed from these to forms of Beauty and

8. Allow no child to rely upon the blocks of his playmates in his
building,--thus he will learn economy, self-reliance, and independence
of action.

This should not be carried too far, or rather the necessity and beauty
of interdependence should also be taught. Herein, indeed, lies more
than at first appears. To make the most out of little is the great
work of life; to be contented with what one has, and to make the best
of it with happiness and contentment is surely no small lesson, and
one which is constantly, though indirectly, taught in the kindergarten
work and plays and lessons.

9. Group work, or united building, should frequently be introduced.
"Every direction given by the kindergartner should be followed by
spontaneous work (either in word or deed) by the child. This must not
only be individual, but synthesized for the community."

10. Often encourage the class to imitate some specially attractive
form which has been produced by a child, and named according to his

11. Accustom the child to develop figures or forms by slight changes
rather than by rudely destroying each single one preparatory to
constructing another. From learning to be strictly methodical in his
actions, he will become so in his later reasoning.

12. "Let the child, if possible, correct his own mistakes, and do not
constantly interfere with his work. Whatever he is able to do for
himself, no one should do for him."

                         FROEBEL'S THIRD GIFT

    "All children have the building instinct, and 'to make a
    house' is a universal form of unguided play."

    "It is not a mere pastime, but a key with which to open the
    outer world, and a means of awakening the inner world."

    "This gift includes in itself more outward manifoldness, and,
    at the same time, makes the inward manifoldness yet more
    perceptible and manifest."

    "The plaything shows also the ultimate type of structures put
    together by human hand which stand in their substantiality
    around the child."                    FRIEDRICH FROEBEL.

    "The definitely productive exercises begin with the third
    gift."                                    SUSAN E. BLOW.

1. The third gift is a wooden cube measuring two inches in each of its
dimensions. It is divided once in its height, breadth, and thickness,
according to the three dimensions which define a solid, and thus eight
smaller cubes are produced.

2. We pass from the undivided to the divided unit, emphasizing the
fact that unity still exists, though divisibility enters as a new

3. The most important characteristics of the gift are contrasts of
size resulting in the abstraction of form from size; increase of
material as a whole, decrease of size in parts; increase of facilities
in illustrating form and number.

The new experience to be found in this first divided body is the idea
of relativity; of the whole in its relation to the parts (each an
embryo whole), and of the parts in relation to the whole.

The form of the parts is like the form of the whole, but, in shape
alike, the dissimilarity is in size; the fact becoming more apparent
by a variety of combinations of a different number of parts: thus the
relations of numbers are introduced to the observation of the child
together with those of form and magnitude.

4. The third gift was intended by Froebel to meet the necessities of
the child at a period when, no longer satisfied with the external
appearances of things, he strives to penetrate their internal
conditions, and begins to realize the many different possibilities of
the same element.

5. The geometrical forms illustrated in this gift are:--

  Solids.      {Square Prism.
               {Rectangular Parallelopiped.

  Planes.      {Square.

6. Froebel intends the building exercise to be carried on in a certain
way with a view of establishing a law to regulate the child's
activity. The upper and lower parts of the figure--the contrasts--are
first brought into position, and the balance is established by the
intermediates--right and left.

The cube itself is divided according to the law of Mediation of
Contrasts. The contrasts of exterior and interior, whole and parts,
analysis and synthesis, are also brought into relation with each

       *       *       *       *       *

Hailmann on Third Gift.

Mr. W. N. Hailmann says that the third gift marks an important step in
the mental life of the child. Heretofore, he has had to do with
playthings indivisible, whole, complete in themselves. Every
impression, or, rather, every fact, came to him as a unit, a one, an
indivisible whole.

The analyses and syntheses that are presented to him in the first and
second gifts come ready-made as it were, so that the joyous exercise
of his instinctive activity, guided and directed by the judicious,
loving mother, is sufficient to give him control of them; indeed, the
first and second gifts hold to his mental development the same
relation that the mother's milk holds to his physical growth.

But the third gift satisfies the growing desire for independent
activity, for the exercise of his own power of analysis and synthesis,
of taking apart and putting together.[32]

    [32] "The idea of separation gained here in concrete form
    becomes typical of that condition which must always exist in
    any growth--the seed breaks through its coverings, and seems
    to divide itself into distinct parts, each having its
    function in the growth of the whole plant." (Alice H.

Simplicity but Adaptability of the Gifts.

Simple as this first building gift appears, it is capable of great
things. It lends itself to a hundred practical lessons and a hundred
charming transformations, but if it is not thoroughly comprehended it
will never be well or effectively used by the kindergartner, and will
be nothing more to her than to uninterested observers, who see in it
nothing more than eight commonplace little blocks in a wooden box.

Froebel says if his educational materials are found useful it cannot
be because of their exterior, which is as plain as possible and
contains nothing new, but that their worth is to be found exclusively
in their application.

How Children are to be reached.

Therefore these simple devices with which we carry on our education
should never seem trifling, for we are compelled in teaching very
young children to put forth all gentle allurements to the gaining of

They are to be reached chiefly by the charms of sense, novelty, and
variety, and consequently, to please such active and imaginative
little critics, our lessons must be fresh, vivid, vigorous, and to the

What is Necessary on Part of Kindergartner.

To accomplish this, we can see that not only is absolute knowledge
necessary, but that a well developed sensibility and imagination are
needed in leading the child from the indefinite to the definite, from
universal to particular, and from concrete to abstract. The worth of
the gifts then, we repeat, lies exclusively in their application; the
rude little forms must be used so that the child's imagination and
sympathy will be reached.

Imagination in Child and Kindergartner.

We may be thankful that this heaven-born imaginative faculty is the
heritage of every child,--that it is hard to kill and lives on very
short rations. The little boy ties a string around a stone and drags
it through dust and mire with happy conviction that it is a go-cart.
The little girl wraps up a stocking or a towel with tender hands,
winds her shawl about it, and at once the God-given maternal instinct
leaps into life,--in an instant she has it in her arms. She kisses its
cotton head and sings it to sleep in divine unconsciousness of any
incompleteness, for love supplies many deficiencies. So let us cherish
the child heart in ourselves and never look with scorn upon the rude
suggestions of the forms the child has built, but rather enter into
the play, enriching it with our own imaginative power. The children
will rarely perceive any incongruities, and surely we need not hint
them, any more than we would remind a child needlessly that her doll
is stuffed with sawdust and has a plaster head, when she thinks it a
responsive and affectionate little daughter.

Middendorf said, "This is like a fresh bath for the human soul, when
we dare to be children again with children.[33] The burdens of life
could not be borne were it not for real gayety of heart."

    [33] "If we want to educate children, we must be children with
    them ourselves." (Martin Luther.)

"If it were only the play and the mere outward apparatus," says the
Baroness von Marenholtz-Bülow, "we might indeed find our daily
teaching monotonous, but the idea at the foundation of it and the
contemplation of the being of man and its development in the child is
an inexhaustible mine of interesting discovery."

Reasons for Choice of Third Gift.

This third gift satisfies the child's craving to take things to
pieces. Froebel did not choose it arbitrarily, for Nature, human and
physical, was an open handbook to him, and if we study deeply and
sympathetically the reasons for his choice they will always be
comprehended.[34] Fénelon says, "The curiosity of children is a natural
tendency, which goes in the van of instruction." Destruction after all
is only constructive faculty turned back upon itself. The child,
having no legitimate outlet for his creative instinct, pulls his
playthings to pieces, to see what is inside,--what they are made of
and how they are put together;[35] but to his chagrin he finds it not
so easy to reunite the tattered fragments.

    [34] "What must we furnish to the child after the
    self-contained ball, after the hard sphere, every part of
    which is similar, and after the single solid cube? It must be
    something firm which can be easily pulled apart by the
    child's strength, and just as easily put together again.
    Therefore it must also be something which is simple, yet
    multiform; and what should this be, after what we have
    perceived up to this point, and in view of what the
    surrounding world affords us, but the cube divided through
    the centre by three planes perpendicular to one
    another."--Froebel's _Pedagogics_.

    [35] "_Unmaking_ is as important as _making_ to the child. His
    destructive energy is as essential to him as his power of
    construction." (W. T. Harris.)

    "The child wishes to discover the inside of the thing, being
    urged to this by an impulse he has not given to himself,--the
    impulse which, rightly recognized and rightly guided, seeks
    to know God in all his works.... Where can the child seek for
    satisfaction of his impulse to research but from the thing
    itself?"--Friedrich Froebel, _Education of Man_.

In the divided cube, however, he can gratify his desires, and at the
same time possess the joy of doing right and destroying nothing, for
the eight little blocks can be quickly united into their original
form, and also into many other pleasing little forms, each one
complete in itself, so that every analysis ends as it should, in

Froebel calls this gift specifically "the children's delight," and
indeed it is, responding so generously to their spontaneous activity,
while at the same time it suits their small capabilities, for the
possibilities of an object used for form study should not be too
varied. "It must be suggestive through its limitations," says Miss
Blow, "for the young mind may be as easily crushed by excess as by

    [36] "An element which slumbers like a viper under roses is
    that which is now so frequently provided as a plaything for
    children; it is, in a word, the already too complex and
    ornate, too finished toy. The child can begin no new thing
    with it, cannot produce enough variety by means of it; his
    power of creative imagination, his power of giving outward
    form to his own idea, are thus actually deadened."--Froebel's

Froebel was left motherless at a very early age, and during his first
four years of life his father was entirely engrossed with parish
duties, and the child had only occasional supervision from a
hard-worked servant. Thus it happened that he was frequently alone
long hours at a time in a dusky room overshadowed by the neighboring
church, and naturally strayed often to the window, from whence he
might look down upon the busy world outside. He recalls that he was
greatly interested at one time in some workmen who were repairing the
church, and that he constantly turned from his post of observation to
try and imitate their labors, but his only building material was the
furniture of the room, and chairs and tables clumsily resisted his
efforts to pile them up into suitable form. He tells us that this
strong desire for building and the bitter disappointment of his
repeated failures were still keenly remembered when he was a grown
man, and thus suggested to him that children ought to be provided with
materials for building among their playthings. He often noticed also,
in later years, that all children seem to have the building instinct,
corresponding to what Dr. Seguin calls "the building mania in the
infancy of peoples," and that "to make a house is the universal form
of unguided play."[37]

    [37] "One of the greatest and most universal delights of
    children is to construct for themselves a habitation of some
    sort, either in the garden or indoors, where chairs have
    generally to serve their purpose. Instinct leads them, as it
    does all animals, to procure shelter and protection for their
    persons, individual outward self-existence and
    independence."--Bertha von Marenholtz-Bülow, _Child and Child

We now understand the meaning of the gift, the reason for its
importance in Froebel's plan, and its capabilities as a vehicle for
delightful instruction.

Classes of Forms.

There are three different classes of forms for dictation and
invention, variously named by kindergartners.

1. Life forms, or upright forms, which are seen in the child's daily
life, as a pair of boots, a chair, table, bed, or sofa. Froebel calls
them also object forms, or forms of things.

("The child demands that the object constructed stand in connection
with himself, his life, or somebody or something in his

2. Mathematical forms, or various combinations of the blocks, upright
and supine, for mathematical exercises. They correspond to the forms
of knowledge in Logic.

(Also called by Froebel forms of truth, forms of instruction, forms of

3. Symmetrical forms, or flat designs formed by opposites and their
intermediates. These are figures in which four of the blocks generally
revolve in order around the other four as a centre.

(Also called by Froebel picture forms, flower forms, star forms, dance


Life forms should be given first, as the natural tendency of the young
child is to pile things up,[38] and these forms seem simpler for
dictation, are more readily grasped by the mind, and more fascinating
to the imagination. They are the images of things both dear and
familiar to him, and thus are particularly adapted to the beginning
since the "starting point of the child's development is the heart and
the emotions." It is easier for him to be an architect at first than
an artist, though each will be comprehended in the other after a

    [38] "The building or piling up is with the child, as with the
    development of the human race, and as with the fixed forms in
    Nature, the first."--Froebel's _Education of Man_.

    "Towers, pyramids, up, up, connecting themselves with
    something high, voicing aspiration."

    [39] "The representation of facts and circumstances of
    history, of geography, and especially of every-day life, by
    means of building, 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.... And thus, by means of perhaps a quite
    imperfect outward representation, the inner perception is
    made more perfect."--Froebel's _Letters_, tr. by Michaelis
    and Moore, page 99.

The dictations should be given very simply, clearly, and slowly,
always using one set of terms to express a certain meaning, and having
those absolutely correct. We should never give dictations from a book,
but from memory, having prepared the lesson beforehand, and should
remember that every exercise we give should "incite and develop
self-activity." We must guard against mistakes or confusion in our own
minds; it is very easy to confuse the child, and he will become
inattentive and careless if he is unable to catch our meaning.

Brief stories should occasionally be told, just mere outlines to give
color and force to the child's building, and connect it with his
experience. If it is an armchair, grandmother may sit in it knitting
the baby's stocking. If it is a well, describe the digging of it, the
lining with stones or brick, the inflowing of the water, the letting
down of the bucket and long chain, the clear, cool water coming up
from the deep, dark hole in the ground on a hot summer's day. These,
of course, are but the merest suggestions which experience may be
trusted to develop.

It is better, perhaps, to give a bit of word-painting to each object
constructed than to wait till the end of the series for the day and
tell a longer story, as the interest is thus more easily sustained.
The children, too, should be encouraged to talk about the forms and
tell little stories concerning them. The form created should never be
destroyed, but transformed into the next in order by a few simple


"These forms, in spite of their regularity, are called forms of
beauty. The mathematical forms which Froebel designates forms of
knowledge give only the skeleton from which the beautiful form
develops itself.

"Symmetry of the parts which make up these simple figures gives the
impression of beauty to the childish eye. He must have the elements of
the beautiful before he is in a condition to comprehend it in its
whole extent.

"Only what is simple gives light to the child at first. He can only
operate with a small number of materials, therefore Froebel gives only
eight cubes for this object at this time."

Of course these three classes of forms are not to be kept arbitrarily
separate, and the children finish and lay aside one set before
attempting another. There are many cases where the three may be
united, as indeed they are morally speaking in the life of every human

When the distinctions are clear in our own minds, our knowledge and
tact will guide us to introduce the gift properly, and carry it on in
a natural, orderly, and rational manner, not restricting the child's
own productive powers.

If the children have had time to imbibe a love of symmetry and beauty,
and have been trained to observe and delight in them, then this second
class of forms will attract them as much, after a little, as the
first, though more difficult of execution.

Each sequence starts from a definite point, the four outside blocks
revolving round the central four, and going through or "dancing
through," as Froebel says, all the successive figures before returning
in the opposite direction.

All the dictations are most valuable intellectually, but should not be
long-continued at one time, as they require great concentration of
mind, and are consequently wearisome.

Hints from Ronge's "Guide."

Excellent exercises or suggestions for building can be found in
Ronge's "Kindergarten Guide." He mentions one pleasant little play
which I will quote. "When each in the class has produced a different
form, let the children rise and march round the table to observe the
variety." Let them sing in the ascending and descending scales:--

  Many pretty forms I see,
  Which one seems the best to me?

At another time let each child try to build the house he lives in,
and while this is being done, let them join in singing some song about
home. It is well to encourage singing during the building exercises,
as we have so many appropriate selections.[40]

    [40] See _Kindergarten Chimes_ (Kate D. Wiggin), Oliver
    Ditson Publishing Co.: "Building Song," pages 34, 35; "Trade
    Game," page 70; "The Carpenter," page 92.

Group Work.

With the first of the Building Gifts enters a new variety of group
work, which was not adapted for the first and second gifts. The
children may now be seated at square tables, one at each side, and
build in unison in the centre, the form produced being of course four
times as large and fine as any one of the number could have produced
alone. All the suggestions or directions for building are necessarily
carried out together, and the success of the completed form is
obviously dependent on the coöperation of all four children. Forms of
Beauty are very easily constructed in this manner, as well as forms of
Life, having four uniform sides, and when the little ones are somewhat
more expert builders, Life forms having opposite sides alike, or even
four different sides, may be constructed.

The other various forms of coöperative work are of course never to be
neglected, that a social unity may be produced, in which "the might of
each individual may be reinforced by the might of the whole."


A better idea of these may be obtained through a manipulation of the
blocks and an arrangement of the geometrical forms in their regular

The child, if he were taught as Froebel intended, would make his first
acquaintance with numbers in the nursery, beginning in a very small
way and progressing slowly. The pupils of the kindergarten are a
little older, and having already a slight knowledge of numbers (though
not of course in their abstract relations) are able to accomplish
greater things.

The child can, with our guidance, make all possible combinations of
the parts of the number Eight. The principles of Addition,
Subtraction, even Multiplication and Fractions, can also be mastered
without one tear of misery or pang of torture. He grasps the whole
first, then by simple processes, building with his own hands, he finds
out and demonstrates for himself halves, fourths, and eighths,
sometimes in different positions, but always having the same contents.

Method and Manner of using the Gift.

Even yet we must not suffer this to become work. The exercises should
be repeated again and again, but we must learn to break off when the
play is still delightful, and study ways to endow the next one with
new life and charm, though it carry with it the same old facts. What
we want to secure is, not a formidable number of parrot-like
statements, but a firm foundation for future clearness of
understanding, depth of feeling, and firmness of purpose. So, at the
beginning of the exercise, we should not ask John if he remembers what
we talked about last time, and expect him to answer clearly at once.
Because he does not answer our formal questions which do not properly
belong to babyhood, we need not conclude he has learned nothing, for a
child can show to our dull eyes only a very tiny glimpse of his
wonderful inner world.

Let our aim be, that the child shall little by little receive
impressions so clearly that he will recognize them when they appear
again, and that he shall, after a time, know these impressions by
their names. It is nothing but play after all, but it is in this
childish play that deep meaning lies.

A child is far less interested in that which is given him complete
than in that which needs something from him to make it perfect. He
loves to employ all his energies in conceiving and constructing forms;
the less you do for him the better he enjoys it, if he has been
trained to independence.[41]

    [41] "Probably the chief wish of children is to do things for
    themselves, instead of to have things done for them. They
    would gladly live in a Paradise of the Home-made. For
    example, when we read how the 'prentices of London used to
    skate on sharp bones of animals, which they bound about their
    feet, we also wished, at least, to try that plan, rather than
    to wear skates bought in shops." (Andrew Lang.)

    "Complete toys hinder the activity of children, encourage
    laziness and thoughtlessness, and do them more harm than can
    be told. The active tendency in them turns to the distortion
    of what is complete, and so becomes destructive."

    "Any fusing together of lessons, work, and play, is possible
    only when the objects with which the child plays allow room
    for independent mental and bodily activity, i. e., when they
    are not themselves complete in the child's hand. Had man
    found everything in the world fixed and prepared for use; had
    all means of culture, of satisfaction for the spiritual and
    material wants of his nature, been ready to his hand, there
    would have been no development, no civilization of the human

Pedantry and dogmatism must be eliminated from all the dictations; the
life must not be shut out of the lessons in order that we may hear a
pin drop, nor should they be allowed to degenerate into a tedious
formalism and mechanical puppet-show, in which we pull the strings and
the poor little dummies move with one accord.

Yet most emphatically a certain order and harmony must prevail, the
forms must follow each other in natural sequence, the blocks must,
invariably, be taken carefully from the box, so as to present a whole
at the first glance, and at the close of the lesson should always be
neatly put together again into the original form and returned to the
box as a whole.[42]

    [42] "In order to furnish to the child at once clearly and
    definitely the _impression of the whole_, of _the
    self-contained_, the plaything before it is given to the
    child for his own free use must be opened as follows.... It
    will thus appear before the observing child as a cube closely
    united, yet easily separated and again restored."--Froebel's
    _Pedagogics_, pages 123, 124.

And now one last word of warning about doing too much for the children
in these exercises, and even guiding too much, carrying system and
method too far in dictation. We must remember that an excess of
systematizing crushes instead of developing originality, and that it
is all too easy even in the kindergarten to turn children into
machines incapable of acting when the guiding hand is removed.


In opening the boxes, it is well to observe some simple form. It is
not irksome, but, on the contrary, rather pleasing to the children,
who delight in doing things in concert.


  1. Draw the cover out one half space.
  2. Fingers of right hand placed on left-hand side of box.
  3. Turn entirely over from left to right.
  4. Withdraw lid and place on right-hand upper corner of table.
  5. Lift box gently and place on top of cover mouth upwards.


  Reminiscences of Froebel. _Von Marenholtz-Bülow_. Page 152.
  Child and Child Nature. _Von Marenholtz-Bülow_. 145, 146.
  Education. _E. Seguin_. 95, 96.
  Lessons in Form. _W. W. Speer_. 23.
  Pedagogics of the Kindergarten. _Fr. Froebel_. 108-44.
  Education of Man. _Fr. Froebel_. Tr. by _Josephine Jarvis_. 40, 41.
  Kindergarten at Home. _E. Shirreff_. 12-14.
  Kindergarten Culture. _W. N. Hailmann_. 55-66.
  Paradise of Childhood. _Edward Wiebe_. 11-16.
  Law of Childhood. _W. N. Hailmann_. 35-38.
  Kindergarten Guide. _J_. and _B. Ronge_. 5-13.
  Kindergarten Guide. _Kraus-Boelte_. 27-47.
  Koehler's Kindergarten Practice. Tr. by _Mary Gurney_. 20-23.
  Froebel and Education by Self-Activity. H. _Courthope Bowen_.
  Kindergarten Toys. _Heinrich Hoffmann_. 17-26.
  Conscious Motherhood. _E. Marwedel_. 165, 166.
  The Kindergarten. _H. Goldammer_. 49-70.

                        FROEBEL'S FOURTH GIFT

    "A new gift is demanded--a gift wherein the length, breadth,
    and thickness of a solid body shall be distinguished from
    each other by difference of size. Such a gift will open the
    child's eyes to the three dimensions of space, and will serve
    also as a means of recognizing and interpreting the manifold
    forms and structures with which he is constantly brought in

    "The inner difference, intimated in the three perpendicular
    axes of the cube (and the sphere), now becomes externally
    visible and abiding in each of its building blocks as a
    difference of size."                        FR. FROEBEL.

    "The fourth gift incites the child to consider things in
    their relations to space, and to the forces of nature, and in
    his play with the bricks he is constantly engaged in efforts
    to adapt himself to the laws of their nature, while rendering
    them subservient to his ends."           W. N. HAILMANN.

1. The fourth gift consists of a cube measuring two inches in each of
its dimensions. It is divided once vertically in its height, and three
times horizontally in its thickness, giving eight parallelopipeds or
bricks, each two inches long, one inch wide, and one half inch thick.

2. Like the third gift in form, size, material, and use, it is unlike
it in division. In the third gift the parts were like each other, and
like the whole, in the fourth they are like each other, but unlike the

3. The most important characteristics of the gift are:--

    _a._ Approximation to surface in the symmetrical forms.

    _b._ Greater height and greater extension, resulting in a
    greater possible inclosure of space.

    _c._ The illustration of two philosophical laws, viz., the
    law of Equilibrium or Balance, and the law of Transmitted
    Motion or Propagation of Force.

4. Progress is shown in this gift as follows:--

    _a._ In the difficulty of dictation and manipulation arising
    from the different character of the faces of the bricks, and
    the many positions which each brick can assume.

    _b._ In the necessity of perfect balance.

    _c._ In a clearer illustration of dimension. In the third
    gift the parts were equal in height, breadth, and thickness;
    in the fourth they are unequal, and therefore each dimension
    is emphasized.

As to progression, the increase of difficulty suits the increase in
the child's power of comprehension and receptivity. He is being
developed thus far, not by rapid changes in material or greater
exercise in number, but by practice with differing forms, each one
bringing with it new knowledge and experience. The organs of
perception are being constantly made to grow by exercise with
intention. We are forming the scientific eye which can detect
differences ever after at a glance.

5. The geometrical forms illustrated in this gift are:--

  Solids. { Rectangular Parallelopipeds.
          { Square Prisms.

  Planes. { Oblongs.
          { Squares.

6. The fourth gift presents contrasts of dimension and, as to the area
of its faces, contrasts of size and their mediation.

       *       *       *       *       *

What the Child has gained from Third Gift.

The use of the third gift opened to the child quite a new world of
experiences, each one of which was pleasant and instructive, combining
all the delights of mental and physical activity, imagination,
practical industry, and coöperation.

He has gained an idea, distinct in proportion to the skill with which
it has been placed before him, of the cube as a solid body having
surfaces, corners, and edges; of a whole and its equal fractional
parts; of the power of combining those parts into new wholes; and of
the fact that form and size are two separate and distinct
characteristics of objects. He has also gained new dexterity.[43]
His ten little fingers that seemed "all thumbs" as they arranged so
carefully the clumsy little cubes of the Low Wall can now build the
Bunker Hill Monument with unerring skill, and can even, with the grave
concentration that it demands, drop the last difficult little block
cornerwise into the top of the church window.

    [43] "A child trained for one year in a kindergarten would
    acquire a skillful use of his hands and a habit of accurate
    measurement of the eye which would be his possession through
    life." (W. T. Harris.)

The child has counted his cubes from one to eight until he knows them
like the children of a family, and can divide them into sets of two
and four with equal ease.

These are the deeds. As to the new words the little box of blocks has
brought him, their number is legion, comprising many terms of
direction and position, names of tools and implements, buildings and

Truly if the kindergartner has been wise and faithful, the child has
gained wonders from this simple unassuming toy, one which is almost
too plain and rude to fix the momentary attention of a modern spoiled
child, though even he will grow to appreciate its treasures if rightly

Differences between Third and Fourth Gifts.

And now we approach another cubical box, containing the fourth gift,
and, on opening it, see that it presents resemblances between and
differences when compared with that just left behind.

We notice at once the new method of division, and in separating it
find that the parts, evidently in number the same as before, are
entirely novel in form, though the whole was familiar in its aspect.
If the child is old enough to understand the process of comparison, he
will see that the parts of the two gifts have each six surfaces, eight
corners, and twelve edges; but that while edges and corners are alike,
the faces differ greatly on the new block, which he will probably call
the "brick," as it is a familiar form and name to him. This process of
comparison will be greatly facilitated if he models the two cubes in
clay, and divides them with string or wire, the one into inch cubes,
the other into bricks.

Dr. Seguin's Objections to the Cube as the Primary Figure in the

Dr. E. Seguin, in his celebrated "Report on Education," says, in
regard to the use of the cube as the primary block or figure in the
kindergarten: "Had the kindergartners chosen it with their senses, as
it must speak to the senses of the child, instead of with their mind,
they would certainly never have selected the cube, a form in which
similarity is everywhere, difference nowhere, a barren type incapable
by itself of instigating the child to active comparison. Had they, on
the contrary, from infantile reminiscences, or from more philosophical
indications, selected a block of brick-form, the child would soon have
discovered and made use of the similarity of the straight lines, and
of the difference of the three dimensions. For example: Put a cube on
your desk and let a pupil put one on his; you change the position of
yours, he, accordingly, of his. If you renew these moves till both of
you are tired, they will not make any perceptible change in the aspect
of the object. The movement has been barren of any modification
perceptible to the senses and appreciable to the mind. There has been
no lesson unless you have, by words speaking to the mind, succeeded in
making the child comprehend the idea of a cube derived from its
intrinsic properties; a body with six equal sides and eight equal

Answers to these Objections.

With all deference to Dr. Seguin, whose opinions and deductions are
generally indisputable, we cannot regard as unwise the choice of the
cube as the primary figure in the gifts.

In the first place, Froebel, having a sequence of forms in his mind,
undoubtedly wished to introduce, early in that sequence, the one which
would best serve him as a foundation for further division and
subdivision. This need is, beyond question, better met in the cube
than in the brick, which would lend itself awkwardly to regular

Secondly, although there is in the cube "similarity everywhere,
difference nowhere," and therefore it might be called in truth a
"barren type, incapable by itself of instigating the child to
comparison and action," we do not introduce it, by itself, but in
contrast with the sphere and cylinder.

Then, when it appears again in the building gifts, "as the simplest
and most easily handled form element," the kindergartner has every
opportunity to use it so that it may lead the child to comparison and
action, and to develop the slowly dawning sense of difference and
agreement without which she well knows "knowledge has not yet made the
first step." But, if the cube is a form speaking little to the senses
of a child, and requiring description by words spoken to the mind, it
is evident that we should use great care in dealing with the second
gift, lest we run needlessly into abstractions, and strive to give the
child ideas of which he can have no comprehension.

Value of the Brick Form.

The "brick" is a form rich in impressions, for we find that every
position in which it is placed gives the child a new perception, and
the union of these perceptions furnishes him with a complete idea of
the object, and of its possible uses in relation to its form.

Dr. Seguin does not rate it too highly when he says: "What a spring of
effective movements, of perceptions and of ideas in the exercises with
this form, where analogy and difference, incessantly noted by the
touch and the view, challenge the mind to comparison and judgment!"


The fourth gift contains all that the three former gifts showed, and
introduces differences of dimension and equilibrium only hinted at
before. It also, as Froebel says, "throws into relief the perception
of size by showing similarity of size with dissimilarity of dimension
and position."

As to dimension, the child built the Shot-tower with the third gift,
and knew that it was high, the Platform and that it was broad, the
Well and that it was deep, the Wall and saw that it was thick, etc.,
so that he has a conception of height, length, breadth; but in the
fourth gift he is shown these dimensions in a single block. He is thus
led from the known to the unknown.[44] They are united and contrasted
in one object, and therefore emphasized.

    [44] "The three principal dimensions of space, which in the
    cube only make themselves known as differences of position,
    in the fourth gift become more prominent and manifest
    themselves as differences of size. These three relations of
    size are in the fourth gift as abiding and changeless as the
    position of the three principal directions was before and
    still is."--Froebel's _Pedagogics_, page 189.


As to the law of equilibrium, it is very forcibly brought to the
child's attention every time his forms fall to the table when
constructed without due regard to its principles.

He soon sees its practical significance, takes care to follow its
manifest expression, and to observe with more care the centre of
gravity. Great liberties could be taken with the stolid little cubes
and they seldom showed any resentment; they quietly settled down into
their places and resisted sturdily all the earthquake shocks which are
apt to visit a kindergarten table during the building hour. The bricks
on the other hand have to be humored and treated with deference. The
moment one is placed upon another, end to end, the struggle begins,
and in any of the high Life forms, the utmost delicacy of touch is
necessary as well as sure aim and steady hand.

Here comes in, too, a necessity of calculation not before required.
The cubes could be placed on any side and always occupy the same
space, but the building with the bricks will vary according as they
are placed on the broad, the narrow, or the short face. They must also
fit together and bear a certain relation to each other.

In the dictations it will be perceived that we now have to specify the
position which the brick must take as well as the place which it is to
occupy. We designate the three faces of the brick as the broad face,
the narrow face, and the short face or end.

Fourth Gift Building.

The symmetrical forms are much more interesting than before and
decidedly more artistic when viewed in comparison with the somewhat
thick and clumsy designs made with the cubes. The fourth gift forms
cover more space, approach nearer the surface, and the bricks slide
gracefully from one position to another, and slip in and out of the
different figures with a movement which seems like a swan's, compared
with the goose-step of the stubby little cubes.

It is a noteworthy fact that "the buds," as Froebel calls them, of all
the fourth gift Beauty forms were contained in those of the third
gift, and have here opened into fuller bloom.

The Life forms are much more artistic now, and begin to imitate a
little more nearly the objects they are intended to represent. We can
make more extensive buildings also since we have an additional height
or length of eight inches over that of the third gift, and thus can
cover double the amount of surface and inclose a much greater space.
In the first play with the gift, the children's eyes, so keen in
seeing play possibilities, quickly discover the value of the bricks in
furniture-making, and set to work at once on tables and chairs, or
bureaus and sofas and bedsteads.

They engage too in a lively contest with the law of equilibrium, and
experiment long and patiently until they comprehend its practical

When they understand the fourth gift fairly well, know the different
faces and can handle the bricks with some dexterity, the third gift
should be added and the two used together. They complement each other
admirably, and give variety and strength to the building, whether
forms of Life, Beauty, or Knowledge are constructed.

Froebel, however, is most emphatic in directing that each set of
blocks should be given to the child in its own box, opened so as to
present a whole at the first glance, and carefully rebuilt and packed
away when the play is over. The cubes and bricks should never be left
jumbled together at the close of the exercise, nor should they be kept
in and returned to a common receptacle.

"Unimportant as these little rules may appear," he says, "they are
essential to the clear and definite development of the child, to his
orderly apprehension of external objects, and to the logical unfolding
of his own concepts and judgments."

"The box of building blocks should be regarded by the child," he
concludes, "as a worthy, an appreciated, and a loved comrade."

The mathematical forms are constructed and applied in precisely the
same manner as before. The fourth gift, however, offers a far greater
number of these than its predecessor, while it is particularly adapted
to show that objects identical in form and size may be produced in
quite different ways.

Throughout all these guided plays, it should be remembered that time
is always to be allowed the child for free invention, that the
kindergartner should talk to him about what he has produced so that
his thought may be discovered to himself,[45] and that in all possible
ways Group work should be encouraged in order that his own strength
and attainments may be multiplied by that of his playfellows and swell
the common stock of power. Froebel, the great advocate of the
"Together" principle says, "Isolation and exclusion destroy life;
union and participation create life."[46]

    [45] "The child is allowed the greatest possible freedom of
    invention; the experience of the adult only accompanies and
    explains."--Froebel's _Pedagogics_, page 130.

    [46] _Pedagogics_, page 180.

It is perhaps needless to say that the philosophical laws which govern
the outward manifestations of a moving force, as equilibrium or
self-propagating activity, are for personal study, and are never to be
spoken of abstractly to the child, but merely to be illustrated with
simple explanations.

Transmitted Motion.

To show simply the law of transmitted motion, for instance, let the
child place his eight bricks on end, in a row, one half inch apart,
with their broad faces toward each other. Then ask him to give the one
at the right a very gentle push towards the others and see what will
happen; the result is probably as great a delight as you could
reasonably wish to put within his reach.

When he asks, "What makes them do so?" as every thoughtful child is
apt to do, let us ask the class the same question and set them
thinking about it. "Which brick did it?" we may say familiarly, and
they will see it all in a moment,--where the force originated, how it
gave itself to the next brick in order, that one in turn doing the
same, and so on.

This law of transmitted motion, when so simply illustrated in the
fourth gift, easily suggests to the children the force of example, and
indeed every physical law seems to have its correlate in the moral
world. We may make the children see it very clearly through the seven
poor, weak little bricks that fell down because they were touched by
the first one. They really could not help it; now, how about seven
little boys or girls? They can help doing things, can they not?

By such simple exercises and appropriate comments the children may be
made to realize their moral free agency.


  Kindergarten at Home. _Emily Shirreff_. Pages 58-61.
  Kindergarten Culture. _W. N. Hailmann_. 66.
  Koehler's Kindergarten Practice. Tr. by _Mary Gurney_. 23, 24.
  Kindergarten Guide. _J_. and _B. Ronge_. 13-24.
  Pedagogics of the Kindergarten. _Fr. Froebel_. 166-95.
  Paradise of Childhood. _Edward Wiebe_. 17-19.
  Kindergarten Guide. _Kraus-Boelte_. 47-81.
  Froebel and Education by Self-Activity. _H. Courthope Bowen_.
          141, 142.
  Kindergarten Toys. _H. Hoffmann_. 27-30.

                         FROEBEL'S FIFTH GIFT

    "The material for making forms increases by degrees,
    progressing according to law, as Nature prescribes. The
    simple wild rose existed before the double one was formed by
    careful culture. Children are too often overwhelmed with
    quantity and variety of material that makes formation
    impossible to them."

    "The demand of the new gift, therefore, is that the oblique
    line, hitherto only transiently indicated, shall become an
    abiding feature of its material."

    "In the forms made with the fifth gift there rules a living
    spirit of unity. Even members and directions which are
    apparently isolated are discovered to be related by
    significant connecting members and links, and the whole shows
    itself in all its parts as one and living,--therefore, also,
    as a life-rousing, life-nurturing, and life-developing
    totality."                                  FR. FROEBEL.

1. The fifth gift is a three-inch cube, which, being divided equally
twice in each dimension, produces twenty-seven one-inch cubes. Three
of these are divided into halves by one diagonal cut, and three others
into quarters by two diagonal cuts crossing each other, making in all
thirty-nine pieces, twenty-one of which are whole cubes, the same size
as those of the third gift.

2. The fifth gift seems to be an extension of the third, from which it
differs in the following points:--

The third gift is a two-inch cube, the fifth a three-inch cube; the
third is divided once in each dimension, the fifth twice. In the third
all the parts are like each other and like the whole; in the fourth,
they are like each other but unlike the whole; and in the fifth they
are not only for the most part unlike each other, but eighteen of them
are unlike the whole.

The third gift emphasized vertical and horizontal divisions producing
entirely rectangular solids; the fifth, by introduction of the
slanting line and triangular prism, extends the element of form. In
the third gift, the slanting direction was merely implied in a
transitory way by the position of the blocks; in the fifth it is
definitely realized by their diagonal division.

In number, the third gift emphasized two and multiples of two; the
fifth is related to the fourth in its advance in complexity of form
and mathematical relations.

3. The most important characteristics of the gift are: introduction of
diagonal line and triangular form; division into thirds, ninths, and
twenty-sevenths; illustration of the inclined plane and cube-root. As
a result of these combined characteristics, it is specially adapted to
the production of symmetrical forms.

It includes not only multiplicity, but, for the first time, diversity
of material.

4. The fifth gift realizes a higher unity through a greater variety
than has been illustrated previously. It corresponds with the child's
increasing power of analysis; it offers increased complexity to
satisfy his growing powers of creation, and less definitely suggestive
material in order to keep pace with his developing individuality.

5. The geometrical forms illustrated in this gift are:--

                { Cube.
                { Rectangular Parallelopiped.
                { Square Prism.
                { Triangular Prism.
  Solids.       { Rhomboidal Prism.
                { Trapezoidal Prism.
                { Pentagonal Prism.
                { Hexagonal Prism.
                { Heptagonal Prism.
                { Octagonal Prism.

                { Square.
                { Oblong.
                { Right Isosceles Triangle.
                { Rhomboid.
  Planes.       { Trapezium.
                { Trapezoid.
                { Pentagon.
                { Hexagon.
                { Heptagon.
                { Octagon.

6. The fifth gift shows the following contrasts and mediations:--

The diagonal line a connection between the horizontal and vertical;
the right angle as a connection between the obtuse angle (largest) and
the acute angle (smallest); in size of parts the half cube standing
between the whole and quarter cubes.

       *       *       *       *       *

We have thus far been proceeding from unity to variety, from the whole
to its parts, from the simple to the complex, from easily constructed
forms to those more difficult of manipulation and dictation, until we
have arrived at the fifth gift.

Effect of the Study of Froebel's Gifts on the Kindergartner.

How instructive and delightful have we found this orderly procedure;
this development of great from little things; this thoughtful
association of new and practical ideas with all that is familiar to
the child mind and heart. Every year the training teacher feels it
anew herself, and is sure of the growing interest and sympathy of her

Many persons who fail to grasp the true meaning of the kindergarten
seem to consider the balls and blocks and sticks with which we work
most insignificant little objects; but we think, on the other hand,
that nothing in the universe is small or insignificant if viewed in
its right connection and undertaken with earnestness and enthusiasm.
Nothing in childhood is too slight for the notice, too trivial for the
sympathy of those on whom the Father of all has bestowed the holy
dignity of motherhood or teacherhood; and to the kindergartner
belongs the added dignity of approaching nearer the former than the
latter, for hers indeed is a sort of vice-motherhood.

We must always be impressed with the knowledge which we ourselves gain
in studying these gifts and preparing the exercises with them. In
concentration of thought; careful, distinct, precise, and expressive
language; logical arrangement of ideas; new love of order, beauty,
symmetry, fitness, and proportion; added ingenuity in adapting
material to various uses, æsthetic and practical,--in all these ways
every practical student of Froebel must constantly feel a decided
advance in ability.

Then, too, the simple rudiments of geometry have been reviewed in a
new light; we have dealt with solid bodies and planes, and studied
them critically so that we might draw the child's attention to all
points of resemblance or difference; we have found some beautifully
simple illustrations of familiar philosophical truths, and, best of
all, have simplified and crystallized our knowledge of the relations
of numbers so that the child's impressions of them may be easily and
clearly gained.

Why we are required to study deeply and to know more than we teach.

We have been required to look at each gift in its broadest aspect, and
to observe it patiently and minutely in all its possibilities, for the
larger the amount of knowledge the kindergartner possesses, the more
free from error will be her practice.

Unless we know more than we expect to teach, we shall find that our
lessons will be stiff, formal affairs, lacking variety, elasticity,
and freshness, and marred continually by lack of illustration and

Lack of interest in the teacher is as fatal as lack of interest in the
child; in fact, the one follows directly upon the heels of the other.
For this reason, continued study is vitally necessary that new phases
of truth may continually be seen.

Above all other people the teacher should go through life with eyes
and ears open. Unless she is constantly accumulating new information
her mind will not only become like a stagnant pool, but she will find
out that what she possesses is gradually evaporating. There is no
state of equilibrium here; she who does not progress retrogresses.

It should be a comparatively simple matter to gain enough knowledge
for teaching,--the difficult thing is the art of imparting it. Said
Lord Bacon, "The art of well delivering the knowledge we possess to
others is among the secrets left to be discovered by future

Relation between Gifts, and their Relation to the Child's Mental and
Moral Growth.

These are a few of the technicalities which have been mastered up to
this time by a faithful study of the gifts of Froebel; and yet they
are only technicalities, and do not include the half of what has been
gained in ways more difficult to describe.

"To clearly comprehend the gifts either individually or collectively
we must clearly conceive their relation to and dependence on each
other, for it is only in this intimate connection that they gain
importance or value."

If the kindergartner does not recognize the relationship which exists
between them and their relation to the child's mental and moral
growth, she uses them with no power or intelligence. We conceive
nothing truly so long as we conceive it by itself; the individual
example must be referred to the universal law before we can rightly
apprehend its significance, and for a clear insight into anything
whatsoever we must view it in relation to the class to which it
belongs. We can never really know the part unless we know the whole,
neither can we know the whole unless we know the part.

Pleasure of Child at New Gift.

In the fifth gift, which, it may be said, can commonly only be used
with profit after the child has neared or attained his fifth year, we
find that we have not parted from our good old friend, the cube, that
has taught us so many valuable lessons. We always find contained in
each gift a reminder of the previous one, together with new elements
which may have been implied before, but not realized. So, therefore,
we have again the cube, but greatly enlarged, divided, and
diversified. When the child sees for the first time even the larger
box containing his new plaything, he feels joyful anticipation,
surmising that as he has grown more careful and capable, he has been
entrusted with something of considerable importance. If he has been
allowed to use the third and fourth gifts together frequently, he will
not be embarrassed by the amount of material in the new object.

Lest he be overwhelmed, however, by its variety as much as by its
quantity, it might be well before presenting the new material as a
whole to allow the child to play with a third gift in which one cube
cut in halves and one in quarters have been substituted for two whole
cubes. He will joyfully discover the new forms, study them carefully,
and find out their distinctive peculiarities and their value in
building. When he has used them successfully once or twice, and has
learned how to place the triangular prisms to form the cube, then the
mass of new material as a whole can have no terrors for him.

How great is his pleasure when he withdraws the cover and finds indeed
something full of immense possibilities; he feels, too, a command of
his faculties which leads him to regard the new materials, not with
doubt or misgiving, but with a conscious power of comprehension.

Its New Features.

At the first glance the most striking characteristics are its greater
size and greater number of divisions, into thirds, ninths, and
twenty-sevenths, instead of halves, quarters, and eighths.

These divisions open a new field in number lessons, while the
introduction of the slanting line and triangular prism makes a decided
advance in form and architectural possibilities.

Importance of Triangular Form.

The triangle, by the way, is a valuable addition in building
exercises, for as a fundamental form in architecture it occurs very
frequently in the formation of all familiar objects. Indeed, the new
form and its various uses in building constitute the most striking and
valuable feature of the gift.

We find it an interesting fact that all the grand divisions of the
earth's surface have a triangular form, and that the larger islands
assume this shape more or less.

The operation of dividing the earth's surface into greater and lesser
triangles is used in making a trigonometrical survey and in
ascertaining the length of a degree of latitude or longitude. The
triangle is also of great use in the various departments of mechanical
work, as will be noted hereafter in connection with the seventh gift.

Difficulties of the Fifth Gift.

The difficulties of the fifth gift are only apparent, for the
well-trained child of the kindergarten sees more than any other, and
he will grasp the small complexities with wonderful ease, smoothing
out a path for himself while we are wondering how we shall make it
plain to him.

Effect of Good Training.

But here let us note that we can only succeed in attaining
satisfactory results in kindergarten work by beginning intelligently
and never discontinuing our patient watchfulness, self-command, and
firmness of purpose,--firmness, remember, not stubbornness, for it is
a rare gift to be able to yield rightly and at the proper time.

If we help the little one too much in his first simple lessons or
dictations; if we supply the word he ought to give; if, to save time
and produce a symmetrical effect, we move a block here and there in
weariness at some child's apparent stupidity, we shall never fail to
reap the natural results. The effect of a rational conscientious and
consistent behavior to the child in all our dealings with him is very
great, and every little slip from the loving yet firm and
straightforward course brings its immediate fruit.

The perfectly developed child welcomes each new difficulty and invites
it; the imperfectly trained pupil shrinks in half-terror and
helplessness, feeling no hope of becoming master of these strange new

Arrangement of Pieces.

To return to the specific consideration of the gift, there must be a
plan of arranging the various pieces which go to make up the whole

We have now for the first time the slanting line, the mediation of the
two opposites, vertical and horizontal, and by this three of the
small cubes are divided into halves and three into quarters. It is
advisable, when building the cube, to place nine whole cubes in each
of the two lower layers, keeping all the divided cubes in the upper or
third layer, halves in the middle row, quarters at the back. Then we
may slide the box gently over the cube as in the third and fourth
gifts, which enables us to have the blocks separated properly when
taken out again, and forms the only expedient way of handling the

    [47] "This procedure is by no means intended merely to make
    the withdrawal of the box easy for the child, but, on the
    contrary, brings to him much inner profit. It is well for him
    to receive his playthings in an orderly manner--not to have
    them tossed to him as fodder is tossed to animals. It is good
    for the child to begin his play with the perception of a
    whole, a simple self-contained unit, and from this unity to
    develop his representations. Finally, it is essential that
    the playing child should receive his material so arranged
    that its various elements are discernible, and that by seeing
    them his mind may unconsciously form plans for using them.
    Receiving his material thus arranged, the child will use it
    with ever-recurrent and increasing satisfaction, and his play
    will produce far more abiding results than the play of one
    whose material lies before him like a heap of
    cobblestones."--Froebel's _Pedagogics_, page 205.

The exercises with this gift are like those which have preceded it.

Exercises of the Gift

1. Informal questions by the kindergartner and answers by the
children, on its introduction, that it may be well understood. This
should be made entirely conversational, familiar, and playful, but a
logical plan of development should be kept in mind. A consideration of
the various pieces of the gift may occupy a part of each building or
number lesson.

2. Dictation, building by suggestion, and cooperative plays in the
various forms. With all except advanced children the Life forms are
most useful and desirable.[48]

    [48] "The child, in a word, follows the same path as the man,
    and advances from use to beauty and from beauty to
    truth."--Froebel's _Pedagogics_, page 219.

3. Free invention with each lesson.

4. Number and form lessons. In number there will of course be some
repetition of what has been done before, but a sufficient amount of
new presentation to awaken interest. It is only by constant review and
repetition that we can assist children to remember these things and to
receive them among their natural experiences, and fortunately the
habit of repetition in childhood is a natural one, and therefore
seldom irksome.

Errors in Form Teaching.

As to the form lessons, we must remember that our method has nothing
to do with scientific geometry, but is based entirely on inspection
and practice. It lays the foundation of instruction in drawing, and
forms an admirable preparation for different trades, as carpentry,
cabinet-making, masonry, lock-smithing, pattern-making, etc. Even in
the primary schools, and how much more in the kindergarten, the form
or geometrical work should be essentially practical and given by
inspection. Even there all scientific demonstration should be
prohibited, and the teacher should be sparing in definitions.

It is enough if the children recognize the forms by their special
characteristics and by perceiving their relations, and can reproduce
the solids in modeling, and the planes and outlines in tablets,
sticks, rings, slats, drawing, and sewing.[49]

    [49] "The Conference recommends that the child's geometrical
    education should begin as early as possible; in the
    kindergarten, if he attends a kindergarten, or if not, in the
    primary school. He should at first gain familiarity through
    the senses with simple geometrical figures and forms, plane
    and solid; should handle, draw, measure, and model them; and
    should gradually learn some of their simpler properties and
    relations."--_Report of Committee of Ten_, page 110.


We can now be quite methodical and workman-like in our building, and
can learn to use all the parts economically and according to
principle. We can discuss ground plans, cellars, foundations,
basements, roofs, eaves, chimneys, entrances, and windows, and thus
can make almost habitable dwellings and miniature models of larger

    [50] "The child's life moves from the house and its
    living-rooms, through kitchen and cellar, through yard and
    garden, to the wider space and activity of street and market,
    and this expansion of life is clearly reflected in the order
    and development of his productions."--Froebel's _Pedagogics_,
    page 221.

The child is a real carpenter now, and innocently happy in his labor.
Who can doubt that in these cheerful daily avocations he becomes in
love with industry and perseverance, and as character is nothing but
crystallized habit, he gets a decided bias in these directions which
affects him for many a year afterward.[51]

    [51] "In some German kindergartens large building-logs are
    supplied in one corner of the play garden. These logs are a
    foot or more in length, three inches wide, and one inch
    thick. Several hundred of these are kept neatly piled against
    the fence, and the children are expected to leave them in
    good order. This bit of voluntary discipline has its good
    uses on the playground, and the free building allowed with
    this larger material gives rise to individual effort, and
    tests the power of the children in a way which makes the
    later, more organized work at the tables far more full of
    meaning."--_Kindergarten Magazine_, November, 1894.

Objects which he meets in his daily walks are to be constructed, and
also objects with which he is not so familiar,[52] so that by pleasant
conversation the realm of his knowledge may be extended, and the
sphere of his affections and fancies enlarged; for these exercises
when properly conducted address equally head, heart, and hand.

    [52] "As these building gifts afford a means of clearing the
    perceptions of the child, they give occasion for extending
    these perceptions, and for representing in their essential
    parts objects of which the child has only heard."--Froebel's
    _Pedagogics_, page 222.

Froebel says of all this building, "It is essential to proceed from
the cube as a whole. In this way the conception of the whole, of
uniting, stamps itself upon the child's mind, and the evolution of the
particular, partial, and manifold from unity is illustrated."

Group Work.

Our opportunities for group work, or united building, are greatly
extended, and none of them should be neglected, as it is essential to
inculcate thus early the value of coöperation. We have material enough
to call into being many different things on the children's tables; the
house where they live, the church they see on Sunday, the factory
where their fathers or brothers work, the schoolhouse, the City Hall,
the public fountain, the stable, and the shops. Thus we may create an
entire village with united effort, and systematic, harmonious action.
Each object may be brought into intimate relation with the others by
telling a story in which every form is introduced. This always
increases the interest of the class, and the story itself seems to be
more distinctly remembered by the child when brought into connection
with what he has himself constructed.

The third gift may be used with the fifth if we wish to increase the
number of blocks for coöperative work, and is particularly adapted to
the laying of foundations for large buildings in the sand-table. A
large fifth gift, constructed on the scale of a foot instead of an
inch, is very useful for united building. One child or the
kindergartner may be the architect of the monument or other large
form which is to be erected in the centre of the circle. The various
children then bring the whole cubes, the halves, and quarters, and lay
them in their appropriate places, and the erection when complete is
the work of every member of the community.


These are in number and variety almost endless, as we have thirty-nine
pieces of different characters. Edward Wiebe says: "He who is not a
stranger in mathematics knows that the number of combinations and
permutations of thirty-nine different bodies cannot be counted by
hundreds nor expressed by thousands, but that millions hardly suffice
to exhaust all possible combinations."

These forms naturally separate themselves, Froebel says, into two
distinct series, i. e., the series of squares and the series of
triangles, and move from these to the circle as the conclusion of the
whole series of representations. "From these forms approximating to
the circle there is an easy transition to the representation of the
different kinds of cog-wheels, and hence to a crude preliminary idea
of mechanics."

If the movements begin with the exterior part of the figure instead of
the interior, we should make all the changes we wish in that direction
before touching the centre, and _vice versa_.

Each definite beginning conditions a certain process of its own, and
however much liberty in regard to changes may be allowed, they are
always to be introduced within certain limits.[53]

We should leave ample room for the child's own powers of creation, but
never disregard Froebel's principle of connection of opposites; this
alone will furnish him with the "inward guide" which he needs.[54] It
is only by becoming accustomed to a logical mode of action that the
child can use this amount of material to good advantage.

    [53] "With these forms of beauty it is above all important
    that they be developed one from another. Each form in the
    series should be a modification or transformation of its
    predecessor. No form should be entirely destroyed. It is also
    essential that the series should be developed so that each
    step should show either an evolution into greater
    manifoldness and variety, or a return to greater
    simplicity."--Froebel's _Pedagogics_, page 225.

    [54] "This free activity ... is only possible when the law
    of free creativeness is known and applied; for that a free
    creativeness only can be a lawful one, we are taught by the
    smallest blade of grass, whose development takes place only
    according to immutable laws."--_Reminiscences of Froebel_,
    page 133.

Dangers of Dictation.

The dictations should be made with great care and simplicity. The
child's mind must never be forced if it shows weariness, nor the more
difficult lessons given in too noisy a room, as the nervous strain is
very great under such circumstances. We should remember that great
concentration is needed for a young child to follow these dictations,
and we must be exceedingly careful in enforcing that strict attention
for too long a time. A well-known specialist says that such exercises
should not be allowed at first to take up more than a minute or two at
a time; then, that their duration should gradually extend to five and
ten minutes. The length of time which children closely and voluntarily
attend to an exercise is as follows: Children from five to seven
years, about fifteen minutes; from seven to ten years, twenty minutes;
from twelve to eighteen years, thirty minutes. A magnetic teacher can
obtain attention somewhat longer, but it will always be at the expense
of the succeeding lesson. "By teachers of high pretensions, lessons
are often carried on greatly and grievously in excess of the proper
limits; but when the results are examined they show that after a
certain time has been exceeded, everything forced upon the brain only
tends to drive out or to confuse what has been previously stored in

We find, of course, that the mind can sustain more labor for a longer
time when all the faculties are employed than when a single faculty is
exerted, but the ambitious teacher needs to remind herself every day
that no error is more fatal than to overwork the brain of a young
child. Other errors may perhaps be corrected, but the effects of this
end only with life. To force upon him knowledge which is too advanced
for his present comprehension, or to demand from him greater
concentration, and for a longer period than he is physically fitted to
give, is to produce arrested development.[55]

    [55] "Whoever sacrifices health to wisdom has generally
    sacrificed wisdom, too." (Jean Paul.)


We must beware of abstractions in these forms of knowledge, and let
the child see and build for himself, then lead him to express in
numbers what he has seen and built. He will not call it Arithmetic,
nor be troubled with any visions of mathematics as an abstract

    [56] "Perceptions and recognitions which are with difficulty
    gained from _words_ are easily gained from facts and deeds.
    Through actual experience the child gains in a trice a total
    concept, whereas the same concept expressed in words would be
    only grasped in a partial manner. The rare merit, the
    vivifying influence of this play-material is that, through
    the representations it makes possible, concepts are
    recognized at once in their wholeness and unity, whereas such
    an idea of a whole can only very gradually be gained from its
    verbal expression. It must, however, be added that later,
    through words, the concept can be brought into higher and
    clearer consciousness."--Froebel's _Pedagogics_, page 206.

The cube may be divided into thirds, ninths, and twenty-sevenths, and
the fact thus practically shown that whether the thirds are in one
form or another, in long lines or squares, upright or flat, the
contents remain the same. We may also illustrate by building, that
like forms may be produced which shall have different contents, or
different forms having the same contents.

Halves and quarters may be discussed and fully illustrated, and
addition, subtraction, multiplication, and division may be continued
as fully as the comprehension of the child will allow.

During the practice with the forms of knowledge we should frequently
illustrate the lawful evolution of one form from another, as in the
series moving from the parallelopiped to the hexagonal prism.

It should not be forgotten that whenever the cube is separated and
divided, recombination should follow, and that the gift plays should
always close with synthetic processes.

Some of the mathematical truths shown in the fifth gift were also seen
in the third, but "repeated experiences," as Froebel says, "are of
great profit to the child."[57]

We should allow no memorizing in any of these exercises or meaningless
and sing-song repetitions of words. We must always talk enough to make
the lesson a living one, but not too much, lest the child be deprived
of the use of his own thoughts and abilities.

    [57] "It is through frequent return to a subject and intense
    activity upon it for short periods, that it 'soaks in' and
    becomes influential in the building of character. Especially
    is this true if the principles of apperception and
    concentration are not forgotten by the teacher in working
    upon the disciplinary subjects." (Geo. P. Brown.)


There is a supplemental box of blocks called in Germany the fifth gift
B, which may be regarded as a combination of the second and fifth
gifts, and whose place in the regular line of material is between the
fifth and sixth. It was brought out in Berlin more than thirteen years
ago, but has not so far been used to any extent in this country.

It is a three-inch wooden cube divided into twelve one-inch cubes,
eight additional cubes from each of which one corner is removed and
which correspond in size to a quarter of a cylinder, six one-inch
cylinders divided in halves, and three one-inch cubes divided
diagonally into quarters like those of the fifth gift.

Hermann Goldammer argues its necessity in his book "The Gifts of the
Kindergarten" (Berlin, 1882), when he says that the curved line has
been kept too much in the background by kindergartners, and that the
new blocks will enable children to construct forms derived from the
sphere and cylinder, as well as from the cube.

Goldammer's remark in regard to the curved line is undoubtedly true,
but it would seem that he himself indicates that the place of the new
blocks (or of some gift containing curved lines) should be
supplemental to the third, rather than the fifth, as they would there
carry out more strictly the logical order of development and amplify
the suggestions of the sphere, cube, and cylinder.

It is possible that we need a third gift B and a fourth gift B, as
well as some modifications of the one already existing, all of which
should include forms dealing with the curve.

Goldammer says further: "In Froebel's building boxes there are two
series of development intended to render a child by his own researches
and personal activity familiar with the general properties of solid
bodies and the special properties of the cube and forms derived from
it. These two series hitherto had the sixth gift as their last stage,
although Froebel himself wished to see them continued by two new
boxes. He never constructed them, however, nor are the indications
which he has left us with regard to those intended additions
sufficiently clear to be followed by others."

The curved forms of the fifth gift B are, of course, of marked
advantage in building, especially in constructing entrances, wells,
vestibules, rose-windows, covered bridges, railroad stations,
viaducts, steam and horse cars, house-boats, fountains, lighthouses,
as well as familiar household furniture, such as pianos, tall clocks,
bookshelves, cradles, etc.

Though one may perhaps consider the fifth gift B as not entirely well
placed in point of sequence, and needing some modification of its
present form, yet no one can fail to enjoy its practical use, or to
recognize the validity of the arguments for its introduction.


  Paradise of Childhood. _Edward Wiebe_. Pages 21-27.
  Kindergarten Guide. _J._ and _B. Ronge_. 24-29.
  Kindergarten Guide. _Kraus-Boelte._ 81-113.
  Koehler's Kindergarten Practice. Tr. by _Mary Gurney_. 25-31.
  Froebel and Education by Self-Activity. _H. Courthope Bowen_.
      142, 143.
  Pedagogics of the Kindergarten. _Fr. Froebel_. 201-236.
  Art and the Formation of Taste. _Walter Crane_. 152, 197-242.
  Seven Lamps of Architecture. _John Ruskin_.
  The Kindergarten. _H. Goldammer_. 85-104, 111-116.
  Kindergarten Toys. _H. Hoffmann_. 31-36.

                         FROEBEL'S SIXTH GIFT

    "The artistically cultivated senses of the new generation
    will again restore pure, holy art."   FRIEDRICH FROEBEL.

    "Life brings to each his task, and whatever art you select,
    algebra, planting, architecture, poems, commerce,
    politics,--all are attainable, even to the miraculous
    triumphs, on the same terms, of selecting that for which you
    are apt; begin at the beginning, proceed in order, step by
    step."                                    R. W. EMERSON.

    "The sixth gift reveals the value of axial contrasts."
                                             W. N. HAILMANN.

1. The sixth gift is a three-inch cube divided by various cuts into
thirty-six pieces, eighteen of which are rectangular parallelopipeds,
or bricks, the same size as those of the fourth gift, two inches long,
one inch wide, and one half inch thick. Twelve additional pieces are
formed by cutting six of these parallelopipeds or units of measure in
halves breadthwise, giving blocks with two square and four oblong
faces. The remaining six pieces are formed by cutting three
parallelopipeds or units of measure in halves, lengthwise, giving
square prisms, columns, or pillars.

2. The sixth is the last of the solid gifts, and is an extension of
the fourth, from which it differs in size and number of parts. It
deals with multiples of the number two and three also; with halves
rather than with quarters or thirds, the "half" being treated in a new
manner, i. e., by dividing the unit of measure both in its length and
breadth, giving two solids, different in form but alike in cubical

3. The most important characteristics of the gift are:--

    _a._ Irregularity of division.

    _b._ Introduction of column.

    _c._ Extent of surface covered by symmetrical forms.

    _d._ Greater inclosure of space in symmetrical forms.

    _e._ Introduction of distinct style of architecture.

    _f._ Greater height of Life forms.

    _g._ Severe simplicity of Life forms produced by the
    rectangular solids.

4. The sixth gift has no great increase of difficulty, and though new
forms are presented there is little complexity in dictation. The
building needs a somewhat more careful handling, inasmuch as the Life
forms rise to considerable height and need the most exact balance.

The child sees solids whose faces are all either squares or oblongs,
but of different sizes, viz., oblongs of three sizes, squares of two

This is the last of the Building Gifts; the child having received
sufficient knowledge to be introduced step by step into the domain of
the abstract, the first step being the planes of the seventh gift.

5. The geometrical forms illustrated in this gift are:--

           { Rectangular parallelopipeds.
  Solids.  { Square prisms.
           { Cubes.

  Planes.  { Squares.
           { Oblongs.

6. The brick of the sixth gift is identical with that of the fourth,
therefore it presents the same contrasts and mediations.

In number the different classes of blocks stand to each other as

We may add that the brick is the foundation form of the gift, and that
we gain the remaining two forms, the square block and pillar, by
dividing it in exactly opposite directions.

       *       *       *       *       *

Introduction of the Gift.

The sixth gift is so evidently an enlarged and diversified fourth
gift, that it is well to compare it on its introduction with the
fourth, as well as with its immediate predecessor in the series. When
the fourth is placed beside it, and the contents of the two boxes
brought to view, it is evident at once to the child that a higher
round in the ladder of evolution has been reached, and a new and
highly specialized form developed. He is fired at once with creative
activity, and his eager hands so quiver with impatience to investigate
the possibilities of the new blocks that the wise kindergartner does
not detain him long with comparisons, only assuring herself that he
notes the relation of the new gift to the former ones, that he
compares the two new solids to the brick, or unit of measure, and to
each other, and discovers how each has been produced.

Difficulties of the New Gift.

The difficulties of the new gift are very slight, as has been said,
consisting neither in dictation, in mass of material, nor in new
forms, lines, or angles. Equilibrium alone presents novel problems,
but this law the child now understands fairly well in its practical
workings, while he has gained so much dexterity in his use of the
other blocks that the height and delicate poise of the new forms are
added attractions rather than obstacles.

Forms of Life.

The sixth gift far surpasses all the other building blocks in its
decided adaptation to the purely architectural forms. The bricks of
the fourth gift may be used as a foundation for the construction of
large and ambitious structures, and with this additional material, the
sixth gift may excel in producing elegant and graceful forms.

The bricks of course admit of a much greater superficial extension and
the inclosure of a more extensive space than has heretofore been

The children will unaided construct familiar objects, such as
household furniture and implements, churches, fences, walled
inclosures, and towers, with the new blocks, and seize with delight
upon the possibilities of the column, which is really the distinctive
feature of the gift.

So far, the building of object forms will closely resemble those of
the previous gifts, but a step in advance may be made by the children
if the kindergartner is complete mistress of the new forms and knows
their capabilities. The gift may serve as a primer of architecture if
its materials are thoroughly exploited, and may lead later on to a
healthy discontent with incorrect outline, with vulgar ornamentation,
and with crudity of form.[58]

    [58] "The sense of beauty must be awakened in the soul
    in childhood if in later life he is to create the
    beautiful."--_Reminiscences of Froebel_, page 158.

Froebel himself, who had made exhaustive studies in architecture, and
obtained the training necessary to enable him to take it up as a
profession, has left us many examples of sixth gift building, which
are to be found in all the German "Guides." The structures are no
longer rude representations, but have a marked grace and symmetry, and
in their simplicity, clearness of outline, and fine proportion,
strongly resemble early Greek architecture. Colonnades, commemorative
columns, façades of palaces, belvederes, temples, arches, city gates,
monuments, fountains, portals, fonts, observatories,--all can be
constructed in miniature with due regard to law, fitness, and
proportion, and as the soft, creamy-white structures rise on the
various tables, we see borne out Froebel's saying that the order of
his Building Gifts was such that the child might be led in their use
through the world's great architectural epochs from Egypt to Rome.[59]

    [59] "As the gifts proceed from the first to the sixth,
    observation is demanded with increasing strictness,
    relativity more and more appreciated, and the opportunity
    afforded for endless manifestations of the constructive
    faculty, while all the time impressions are forming in the
    mind which in due time will bear rich fruits of mathematical
    and practical knowledge as well as æsthetic culture, for the
    dawning sense of the beautiful as well as of the true is
    gaining consistency and power." (Karl Froebel.)

Forms of Symmetry.

Although with this gift we cannot produce symmetrical forms in as
great diversity as with the fifth, yet the materials are productive to
the inventive mind, and when the pieces are arranged with care and
taste, beautiful figures may always be developed, those having a
triangular centre being novel and especially pleasing. Although not as
diversified, however, they have the added advantage of approaching
nearer the plane; and that this progression may be more clearly shown,
it seems evident that the symmetrical forms should only be produced by
laying the columns, "square-faced blocks" and bricks, flat upon the
table, and that the practice, advised by some authorities, of changing
the figures by placing the blocks erect, or half erect, should be

Forms of Knowledge.

In the forms of knowledge we find again much less diversity than in
the fifth gift,--the rectilinear solids and consequent absence of
oblique angles limiting us in the construction of geometrical forms.
The blocks, however, offer excellent means for general arithmetical
instruction, for working out problems as to areas, for further
illustration of dimension, and for building many varieties of
parallelopipeds, square prisms, and cubes, and studying the
parallelograms which bound them. The elements of this knowledge, it is
true, were gained with the fourth gift, but we must remember that
interest in any subject is not necessarily decreased by repetition,
and that the value of review depends upon whether or not it is

    [60] "What makes Froebel's gifts particularly instructive is,
    indeed, the fact that the most varied materials constantly
    lead to the same observations, but always under different
    conditions, so that we obtain the necessary repetitions
    without the dryness, the tiresomeness, the fatigue
    inseparable from constant unvaried iteration. But they also
    accustom the child to discover similarity in things that
    appear to differ, to find resemblance in contrasts, unity in
    diversity, connection in what appears unconnected."--H.
    Goldammer's _The Kindergarten_, page 109.

Coöperative Work.

The group work at the square tables is now especially beautiful, both
when forms of symmetry or object forms are constructed. The fourth
gift may be used, as has been said, if more material is needed, and of
course combines perfectly with the sixth gift blocks. A large sixth
gift made as was suggested for the fifth, on the scale of a foot
instead of an inch, is most useful for coöperative exercises in the
centre of the ring, and the slender, graceful columns, for instance,
which may thus be built in unison to commemorate some historic
birthday, are so many concrete evidences to the child's eyes of the
value of united effort.

The Gifts and their Treatment by the Kindergartner.

Every gift and occupation and exercise of the kindergarten has been
developed with infinite love and forethought to meet the child's
wishes and capabilities; every one of them has been so delicately
adjusted to meet the demands of the case, and so gently drawn into the
natural and legitimate channel of childlike play, that they never fail
to meet with an enthusiastic reception from the child, nor to awaken
the strongest interest in him.

The kindergartner should be careful that he never builds hastily or
lawlessly, and above all she should guide him to those forms which he
will be able to construct with perfection and accuracy. She should
always follow him in his work, answering his questions and suggesting
new ideas, letting him feel in every way that she is in sympathy with
him, and that none of his plans or experiments, however small they may
be, are indifferent to her. It is always a delight to the child if
his productions are understood by grown-up people, for he often feels
somewhat doubtful of the value of his work until the seal of approval
has been set upon it by a superior mind.

Underlying Idea of Froebel's Gifts.

If we have grasped the underlying idea which welds the mass of
material which forms the kindergarten gifts into a harmoniously
connected whole; if we have developed the analytical faculty
sufficiently to perceive their relation to the child, the child's
relation to them, and the reasons for their selection as mediums of
education; if we see clearly why each object is given, what connection
it has with the child's development, and what natural laws should
govern it in play, then we comprehend Froebel's own idea of their use.

Education _vs._ Cramming.

Certainly the ignorant and unsympathetic kindergartner may err in
dealing with them, and introduce the cramming process into her field
of labor as easily as the public school teacher, for it is as easy to
cram with objects as with books, and should this occur there is cause
for grave uneasiness, since the opportunity for injuring the brain of
the child is greater during these first years than at any other time.

If we force the child, or make the lesson seem work to him, his
faculties will rebel, he will be dull, inattentive, or restless,
according to his temperament or physical state; he will not be
interested in what we teach him, and therefore it will make no
impression on him.

The child has memory enough; he remembers the picnic in the woods, the
glorious sail across the bay, the white foam in the wake of the boat,
the very tint of the flowers that he gathered,--in fact, he remembers
everything in which he is interested. If we would have him remember
our teachings forever, we must make them worthy of being remembered
forever. And to this end it is essential that only the best teachers
be provided for little children. The ideal teacher should know her
subject thoroughly, but should be able to boil it down, to condense
it, so that the concentrated extract alone will remain, and this be
presented to her pupils.[61]

    [61] "If you would be pungent, be brief; for it is with words
    as with sunbeams,--the more they are condensed the deeper
    they burn."

In leaving these first six gifts, we need finally to remember these

Suggestions as to Method.

First, that we must not be too anxious to resolve these plays into the
routine of lessons; with our younger pupils especially this is not
admissible, and we must guard against it in all exercises with the
kindergarten materials.

Second, we may assure ourselves, in all modesty, that it is a
difficult matter, indeed, to direct these plays properly; that is, to
have system and method enough to guard the children from all
lawlessness, idleness, and disorder, and yet to keep from falling into
a mechanical drill which will never produce the wished-for results.
Play is the natural, the appropriate business and occupation of the
child left to his own resources, and we must strive to turn our
lessons into that channel,--only thus shall we reach the highest
measure of true success.

Third, we must strive by constant study and thought, by entering into
the innermost chambers of the child-nature, and estimating its
cravings and necessities, to penetrate the secret, the soul of the
Froebel gifts, then we shall never more be satisfied with their
external appearances and superficial uses.

    NOTE. In arranging the blocks of the sixth gift, place the
    eighteen bricks erect, in three rows, with their broad faces
    together. On top of these place nine of the square-faced
    blocks, thus forming a second layer. The third layer is
    formed by placing the remaining three blocks of this class on
    the back row, and filling in the space in front with the six
    pillars, placed side by side.


  Paradise of Childhood. _Edward Wiebe_. Pages 27-29.
  Kindergarten Guide. _J._ and _B. Ronge_. 20-31.
  Kindergarten Guide. _Kraus-Boelte_. 113-145.
  Koehler's Kindergarten Practice. Tr. by _Mary Gurney_. 31, 32.
  The Kindergarten. _H. Goldammer_. 105-110.
  Stones of Venice. _John Ruskin_.
  Architecture, Mysticism, and Myth. _W. K. Lethaby_.
  The Sources of Architectural Types. _Spencer's Essays_, vol. ii.
          page 375.
  The Two Paths. _John Ruskin_. (Chapter on Influence of Imagination
          in Architecture.)
  Discourses on Architecture. _E. E. Viollet-le-Duc_. Tr. by _Henry
          Van Brunt_. (First and Second Discourses.)

                        FROEBEL'S SEVENTH GIFT

    "The properties of number, form, and size, the knowledge of
    space, the nature of powers, the effects of material, begin
    to disclose themselves to him. Color, rhythm, tone, and
    figure come forward at the budding-point and in their
    individual value. The child begins already to distinguish
    with precision nature and the world of art, and looks with
    certainty upon the outer world as separate from himself."
                                          FRIEDRICH FROEBEL.

    "Froebel's thin colored planes correspond with the mosaic
    wood or stone work of early man."            H. POESCHE.

    "There is nothing in the whole present system of education
    more deserving of serious consideration than the sudden and
    violent transition from the material to the abstract which
    our children have to go through on quitting the parental
    house to enter a school. Froebel therefore made it a point
    to bridge over this transition by a whole series of
    play-material, and in this series it is the laying-tablets
    which occupy the first place."             H. GOLDAMMER.

1. The seventh gift consists of variously colored square and
triangular tablets made of wood or pasteboard, the sides of the pieces
being about one inch in length. Circular and oblong pasteboard tablets
have lately been introduced, as well as whole and half circles in
polished woods.

2. The first six gifts illustrated solids, while the seventh, moving
from the concrete towards the abstract, makes the transition to the

The Building Gifts presented to the child divided units, from which
he constructed new wholes. Through these he became familiar with the
idea of a whole and parts, and was prepared for the seventh gift,
which offers him not an object to transform, but independent elements
to be combined into varied forms. These divided solids also offered
the child a certain fixed amount of material for his use; after the
introduction of the seventh gift, the amount to be used is optional
with the kindergartner.

3. The child up to this time has seen the surface in connection with
solids. He now receives the embodied surface separated from the solid,
and gradually abstracts the general idea of "surface," learning to
regard it not only as a part, but as an individual whole.

This gift also emphasizes color and the various triangular forms,
besides imparting the idea of pictorial representation, or the
representation of objects by means of plane surfaces.

4. The gift leads the child from the object itself towards the
representation of the object, thus sharpening the observation and
preparing the way for drawing.

It is also less definitely suggestive than previous gifts, and demands
more creative power for its proper use. It appeals to the sense of
form, sense of place, sense of color, and sense of number.

5. The geometrical forms illustrated in this gift are:--


                      { Right isosceles.
                      { Obtuse isosceles.
  Triangles.          { Equilateral.
                      { Right-angled scalene.

                             { Oblong.
                             { Rhombus.
                             { Rhomboid.
                             { Trapezoid.
  In combination.            { Trapezium.
                             { Pentagon.
                             { Hexagon.
                             { Heptagon.
                             { Octagon.

6. The law of Mediation of Contrasts is shown in the forms of the
gift. We have in the triangles, for instance, two lines running in
opposite directions, connected by a third, which serves as the
mediation. Contrasts and their mediations are also shown in the
squares and in the forms made by combination. This gift, representing
the plane, is a link between the divided solid and the line.

       *       *       *       *       *

Step from Solid to Plane.

We have now left the solid and are approaching abstraction when we
begin the study of planes. All mental development has ever begun and
must begin with the concrete, and progress by successive stages toward
the abstract, and it was Froebel's idea that his play-material might
be used to form a series of steps up which the child might climb in
his journey toward the abstract.

Beginning with the ball, a perfect type of wholeness and unity, we are
led through diversity, as shown in the three solids of the second
gift, toward divisibility in the Building Gifts, and approximation to
surface in the sixth gift. The next move in advance is the partial
abstraction of surface, shown in the tablets of the seventh gift.

The tablets show two dimensions, length and breadth, the thickness
being so trifling relatively that it need not be considered, as it
does not mar the child's perception and idea of the plane. They are
intended to represent surfaces, and should be made as thin as is
consistent with durability.

Systematic Relation between the Tablets.

The various tablets as first introduced in Germany and in this country
were commonly quite different in size and degrees of angles in the
different kindergartens, as they were either cut out hastily by the
teachers themselves, or made by manufacturers who knew very little of
the subject. The former practice of dividing an oblong from corner to
corner to produce the right-angled scalene triangle was much to be
condemned, as it entirely set aside the law of systematic relation
between the tablets and rendered it impossible to produce the standard
angles, which are so valuable a feature of the gift.

"One of the principal advantages of the kindergarten system is that it
lays the foundation for a systematic, scientific education which will
help the masses to become expert and artistic workmen in whatever
occupation they may be engaged."[62]

    [62] _Pamphlet on the Seventh Gift_. (Milton Bradley Co.)

In this direction the seventh gift has doubtless immense capabilities,
but much of its force and value has been lost, much of the work thrown
away which it has accomplished, for want of proper and systematic
relation between the tablets. The order in which these are now derived
and introduced is as follows:--

The square tablet is, of course, the type of quadrilaterals, and when
it is divided from corner to corner a three-sided figure is seen,--the
half square or right isosceles triangle; but one which is not the type
of three-sided figures. The typical and simplest triangle, the
equilateral, is next presented, and if this be divided by a line
bisecting one angle, the result will be two triangles of still
different shape, the right-angled scalene. If these two are placed
with shortest sides together, we have another form, the obtuse-angled
triangle, and this gives us all the five forms of the seventh gift.

The square educates the eye to judge correctly of a right angle, and
the division of the square gives the angle of 45°, or the mitre. The
equilateral has three angles of 60° each; the divided equilateral or
right-angled scalene has one angle of 90°, one of 60°, and one of 30°,
while the obtuse isosceles has one angle of 120°, and the remaining
two each 30°. These are the standard angles (90°, 45°, 60°, and 30°)
used by carpenter, joiner, cabinet-maker, blacksmith,--in fact, in all
the trades and many of the professions, and the child's eye should
become as familiar with them as with the size of the squares on his

Possibilities of the Gift in Mathematical Instruction.

Edward Wiebe says in regard to the relation of the seventh gift to
geometry and general mathematical instruction: "Who can doubt that the
contemplation of these figures and the occupations with them must tend
to facilitate the understanding of geometrical axioms in the future,
and who can doubt that all mathematical instruction by means of
Froebel's system must needs be facilitated and better results
obtained? That such instruction will be rendered fruitful in practical
life is a fact which will be obvious to all who simply glance at the
sequence of figures even without a thorough explanation, for they
contain demonstratively the larger number of those axioms in
elementary geometry which relate to the conditions of the plane in
regular figures."

As the tablets are used in the kindergarten, they are intended only
"to increase the sum of general experience in regard to the qualities
of things," but they may be made the medium of really advanced
instruction in mathematics, such as would be suitable for a
connecting-class or a primary school. All this training, too, may be
given in the concrete, and so lay the foundation for future
mathematical work on the rock of practical observation.

The kindergarten child is expected only to know the different kinds of
triangles from each other, and to be familiar with their simple names,
to recognize the standard angles, and to know practically that all
right angles are equally large, obtuse angles greater, and acute less
than right angles. All this he will learn by means of play with the
tablets, by dictations and inventions, and by constant comparison and
use of the various forms.

How and when Tablets should be introduced.

As to the introduction of the tablets, the square is first of all of
course given to the child. A small cube of the third gift may be taken
and surrounded on all its faces by square tablets, and then each one
"peeled off," disclosing, as it were, the hidden solid. We may also
mould cubes of clay and have the children slice off one of the square
faces, as both processes show conclusively the relation the square
plane bears to the cube whose faces are squares. If the first tablets
introduced are of pasteboard, as probably will be the case, the new
material should be noted and some idea given of the manufacture of

There is a vast difference in opinion concerning the introduction of
this seventh gift, and it is used by the child in the various
kindergartens at all times, from the beginning of his ball plays up to
his laying aside of the fifth gift. It seems very clear, however, that
he should not use the square plane until after he has received some
impression of the three dimensions as they are shown in solid bodies,
and this Mr. Hailmann tells us he has no proper means of gaining, save
through the fourth gift.[63]

    [63] "The perception of the difference between a
    surface-extension and an extension in three dimensions begins
    late and is established slowly."--W. Preyer, _The Mind of the
    Child_, page 180.

As to the triangular tablets, it is evident enough they should not be
dealt with until after the child has seen the triangular plane on the
solid forms of the fifth gift. Mr. Hailmann says that a clear idea of
the extension of solids in three dimensions can only come from a
familiarity with the bricks, and again that the abstractions of the
tablet should not be obtruded on the child's notice until he has that
clear idea.

Though the six tablets which surround the cube may be given to the
child at the first exercise, it is better to dictate simple positions
of one or two squares first, and let him use the six in dictation and
many more in invention.

Order of introducing Triangles.

The first triangle given is the right isosceles, showing the angle of
forty-five degrees, and formed by bisecting the square with a diagonal
line. The child should be given a square of paper and scissors and
allowed to discover the new form for himself, letting him experiment
until the desired triangle is obtained. He should then study the new
form, its edges and angles, and then join his two right-angled
triangles into a square, a larger triangle, etc. Then let him observe
how many positions these triangles may assume by moving one round the
other. He will find them acting according to the law of opposites
already familiar to him, and if not comprehended,[64] yet furnishing
him with an infallible criterion for his inventive work.

    [64] "With this law I give children a guide for creating, and
    because it is the law according to which they, as creatures
    of God, have themselves been created, they can easily apply
    it. It is born with them."--_Reminiscences of Froebel_, page

The equilateral is then taken up, is compared with the half-square,
and then studied by itself, its three equal sides and angles (each
sixty degrees) being noted as well as the obtuse angles made by all
possible combinations of the equilateral.

Next, as we have said, comes the right-angled scalene triangle, with
its inequality of sides and angles, which must be studied and compared
with the equilateral; and last of all, the obtuse isosceles triangle,
which is dealt with in the same way.

Here, again, it should be noted that the two last forms should always
be discovered by the child in his play with the equilateral, and that
he should cut them himself from paper before he is given the regular
pasteboard or wooden triangles for study. If presented for the first
time in this latter form, they can never mean as much to him as if he
had found them out for himself.


The dictations should invariably be given so that opposites and their
intermediates may be readily seen. The different triangles may be
studied each in the same way, introducing them one at a time in the
order named, afterwards allowing as free a combination as will produce
symmetrical figures. It is best always to study one of a new kind,
then two, then gradually give larger numbers.

Great possibilities undoubtedly lie in this gift, but it is well to
remember that with young children it must not be made the vehicle of
too abstract instruction. In order to make the dictations simple, the
child must be perfectly familiar with the terms of direction, up,
down, right, left, centre; with the simple names of the planes
(squares, half-squares, equal-sided, blunt and sharp-angled triangles,
etc.); and he must learn to know the longest edge of each triangle,
that he may be able to place it according to direction.

The children should be encouraged to invent, to give the dictation
exercises to one another, and to copy the simpler forms of the lesson
on blackboard or paper. Some duplicate copies in colored papers may be
made from their inventions, and the walls of the schoolroom ornamented
with them. It will be a pleasure to the little ones themselves, and
demonstrate to others how wonderful a gift this is and how charmingly
the children use it.

No exercise should be given without previous study, and in the first
year's teaching it is wiser to draw or make the figures before giving
the dictations. The materials, too, should be prepared beforehand, in
such a form that they can be given out readily and quietly by the
children at the opening of the exercise. To require a class of a dozen
or more pupils to wait while the kindergartner assorts and counts the
various colors and shapes of tablets to be used is positively to
invite loss of interest on the children's part, and to produce in the
teacher a hurry and worry and nervous tension which will infallibly
ruin the play.

Life Forms.

The Life forms are no longer absolute representations, but only more
or less suggestive images of certain objects, and thus show still more
clearly the orderly movement from concrete to abstract.

Hitherto in Life forms the child has produced more or less real
objects,--for instance, he built a miniature house, a fountain, a
chair, or a sofa. They were not absolutely real, and therefore in one
way merely images; but they were bodily images. He could place a
little dish on the table, a tiny cup on the edge of the fountain, a
doll could sit in the chair, and therefore they were all real for
purposes of play, at least.

With the tablets, however, the child can no longer make a chair,
though by a certain arrangement of them he can make an image of it.

The child will notice that many of the forms made with squares are
flat pictures of those made with the third gift, and with the addition
of the right isosceles triangles he can reproduce the façades of many
of the elaborate object forms of the fifth. The various triangles
differ greatly in their capabilities of producing Life forms, the
equilateral and the obtuse isosceles being especially deficient in
this regard and requiring to be combined with the other tablets. The
fact that both the right isosceles and right scalene triangles produce
Life forms in great variety seems to prove that, as Goldammer says,
"the right angle predominates in the products of human activity."

Symmetrical Forms.

The symmetrical forms are more varied and innumerable than those of
any other gift, and with the addition of the brilliant colors of the
pasteboard, or the soft shades of the wooden tablets, make figures
which are undeniably beautiful, and which are mosaic-like in their

The whirling figures are interesting and new, and the child with
developed eye and growing artistic taste will delight in their oddity,
and yet be able to find opposites and their intermediates and make
them as correctly as in the more methodical figures, where the exact
right and left balanced the upper and lower extremes. Here we note
that the equilateral and obtuse isosceles triangles, so ill fitted
to produce Life forms, lend themselves to forms of symmetry in great
variety. The various sequences of the latter in the third and fifth
gifts may of course be faithfully reproduced in surface-extension
with the tablets, and thus gain an added charm.

The amount of material given to the child is now a matter for the
decision of the kindergartner, and is dependent only on the ability of
the child to use it to advantage. This increase of material presents a
further difficulty, and it is time for us to add still another, that
is, to expect more of the child, and to require that he produce not
only something original, but something which shall, though simple, be
really beautiful.

Inventions in borders are a new and charming feature of this gift, and
the circular and oblong tablets as well as the squares and various
triangles are well adapted to produce them. The various borders laid
horizontally across the tablets may be divided by lines of sticks, and
thus make an effect altogether different from anything we have had

Mathematical Forms.

The work with forms of knowledge, as has been fully shown, will be in
geometry than in arithmetic, to which indeed the gift is not
especially well adapted. In addition to the study and comparison of
the various forms, their lines and angles, we have a great variety of
figures to be produced by combination. We can make the nine regular
forms already mentioned in the introduction in a variety of ways, and
thus give new charm to the old truths. We must allow the child to
experiment by himself very frequently, and interpret to him his
discoveries when he makes them.

The Seventh Gift in Weaving.

The square tablets afford a valuable aid to the occupation of weaving,
as all the simple patterns can be formed with them, the child laying
them upon his table until he has mastered the numerical principle upon
which they are constructed. We can easily see how these same patterns
may be further utilized as designs for inlaid tiles, or parquetry
floors. Thus the seventh gift may introduce children to subsequent
practical life, and serve as a useful preparation for various branches
of art-work.

Seventh Gift Parquetry.

It is easy to see when we begin the practical use of the tablets that
the essential characteristics of the gifts in their progress from
solid to point are now becoming less marked, and that they begin to
merge into the occupations, which develop from point to solid. The
meeting-place of the two series is close at hand, and, like drops of
water fallen near each other, they tremble with impatience to rush
into one.

The inventions which the child makes with tablets he now very commonly
expresses a desire to give away, or to take home with him,--a thought
which he seldom had with the gifts, wishing rather to show them in
their place upon the tables. As this is a natural and legitimate
desire, a supplement to the seventh gift has been devised, consisting
of paper substitutes for the various forms, of the same size and
appropriate coloring, and to be had either plain or gummed on the
back. After the inventions have been made, they are easily transferred
to paper with parquetry, and so can be bestowed according to the will
of the inventor.

Group Work.

The parquetry of the seventh gift lends an added grace to coöperative
work, for the children can now combine all their material in one form
to decorate the room, or perhaps to send as a gift to an absent
playmate. They may make an inlaid floor for the doll's house, a
brightly colored windowpane for the sun to stream through, and with
larger forms may even design an effective border for the wainscoting
of the schoolroom.[65]

    [65] "The utility of this united action is not to be
    overlooked. The children all proceed according to one and the
    same law, they all work to produce one and the same result,
    the same purpose unites them all; in short, we see here in
    the children's play all that forms the base of every human
    society, all that renders it possible for men to act together
    in organized communities, such as are the family, the state,
    and the church. And to prepare for the future, to be mindful
    even amidst play of that which a child will afterwards
    require in order worthily to fill his place in the world,
    ought surely not to be among the least important ends of an
    education claiming to be in conformity with nature and
    reason."--H. Goldammer, _The Kindergarten_, page 135.

The group work at the square tables is also carried on very fully with
the tablets, the symmetrical figures when the colors are well combined
being quite dazzling in beauty.

Color with Seventh Gift.

In this connection, a danger may be noted in the treatment of the
gifts, both by kindergartner and children. Color appears again here in
almost bewildering profusion after its long absence in the series, and
is another straw to prove that the wind is blowing strongly toward the
occupations. Many of the pasteboard tablets are of different colors on
the opposite sides, and though this is of great use in Beauty forms,
when properly treated, it is quite often unfortunate in forms of life,
unless careful attention is given to arranging the material
beforehand. The effect of a barn, for instance, with its front view
checkered with violet, red, and yellow squares, may be imagined, or
of a pigeon-house with a parti-colored green and blue roof, an orange
standard, and red supports. Yet these are no fancy pictures I have
painted, and if the child places the tablets in this fashion, they
are often allowed so to remain without criticism from the purblind
kindergartner. She even sometimes dictates, herself, extravagant and
vulgar combinations of color, such as a violet centre-piece with
green corners and an orange border.

There needs no reasoning to prove that such a person is radically
unfit to handle the subject of color-teaching, and is sure to corrupt
the children under her charge; for in general, if ordinarily well
trained, they should now be far beyond the stage in which they would
be satisfied with such crudity of combination. They have had their
season of "playing with brightness," as Mr. Hailmann calls it, and
should now begin to have really good ideas as to harmonious
arrangement of hues. If they have not, if they really seem to prefer
the pigeon-house or barn above mentioned, then they are viciously
ill-taught, or altogether deficient in color sense.

It has been noted that the older children often choose the light and
dark wooden tablets, for invention, rather than the gay pasteboard
forms; but this may be on account of the high polish of the wood, and
its novelty in this guise, rather than because, as has been suggested,
they have been surfeited with brightness.


  Paradise of Childhood. _Edward Wiebe_. Pages 30-38.
  Law of Childhood. _W. N. Hailmann_. 38, 39.
  Kindergarten Guide. _Kraus-Boelte_. 145-237.
  Koehler's Kindergarten Practice. Tr. by _Mary Gurney_. 6-9.
  The Kindergarten. _H. Goldammer_. 116-54.
  Kindergarten Culture. _W. N. Hailmann_. 68-70.
  Kindergarten and Child-Culture. _Henry Barnard_. 210, 255, 257.
  Prang Primary Course in Art Education. Part I. _Mary D. Hicks_,
      _Josephine C. Locke_.
  Color in the School-Room. _Milton Bradley_.
  Elementary Color. _Milton Bradley_.
  Color Teaching in Public Schools. _Louis Prang_, _J. S. Clark_,
      _Mary D. Hicks_.
  Color, an Elementary Manual for Students. _A. H. Church_.
  The Principles of Harmony and Contrasts of Colors. _M. E. Chevreul_.
  Students' Text-Book of Color. _O. N. Rood_.
  Suggestions with Regard to the Use of Color. _Prang Ed. Co._

                        FROEBEL'S EIGHTH GIFT

                          THE STRAIGHT LINE.

          _The Single and Jointed Slats and Staff or Stick._

    "The knowledge of the linear lies at the foundation of the
    knowledge of each form; the forms are viewed and recognized
    by the intermediation of the straight-lined."
                                          FRIEDRICH FROEBEL.

    "Froebel's laths, wherewith the child can form letters,
    correspond to the beech-staves (_buchenen Stäbchen_, now
    contracted to _Buchstaben_, i. e., letters of the alphabet),
    whereon were carved the runes and magic symbols of our
    primitive ancestors."
                                            HERMANN POESCHE.

    "It will be readily seen how useful stick-laying may become
    in perspective drawing, in the study of planes and solids, in
    crystallography; how, while it insures an enjoyable
    familiarity with geometrical forms and secures
    ever-increasing manual skill and delicacy of touch, it
    develops at the same time the artistic sense of the children
    in a high degree."
                                             W. N. HAILMANN.

1. The wooden staffs of the eighth gift (sometimes called the tenth)
are of various lengths, but have for their uniform thickness the tenth
of an inch.

They present, as now made, flat sides and square ends, are sometimes
uncolored and sometimes dyed in the six primary colors.

2. The previous gifts dealt with solids and plane surfaces, wholes or
divided wholes, while this one illustrates the edge or line.

The previous gifts more definitely suggested their uses by their
prominent characteristics; this depends for its value largely upon the
ingenuity of the teacher.

We have contrasts of size in the preceding gifts, both in the units
themselves and in the component parts of which the divided units are
made; but in this gift the dimension _length_ is alone emphasized.

3. The most important characteristic of the gift is the representation
of the line. The relations of position and form enter as essential
elements of usefulness.

4. The laying of sticks may be used as an occupation very early in the
kindergarten course, and thus serve as a preparation for the first
drawing exercises, but there should be no attempt at this time to give
them their legitimate connection with the cube as the edge of the
solid and with the tablet as a portion of the surface.

Later they may be introduced in their proper place in the sequence of
gifts, and thus assume their true relation in the child's mind. This
relation is made more evident as we can and should reproduce the
lessons with the solids in outline with the sticks. When the child is
more advanced, the connection of the sticks with the preceding objects
will be more clearly explained and intelligently comprehended, and
then they may be used in connection with softened peas or tiny corks,
which serve to illustrate the points of contact of the sides of
surfaces and edges of solids whose skeletons the child can then
construct with these materials.

5. The geometrical forms illustrated in this gift are:--

  Angles of every degree.
  Triangles, quadrilaterals, and additional polygons.
  Skeletons of solids by means of corks or peas.

6. The law of the mediation of contrasts is shown in the fact that
every line is a connection between opposite points. As in the other
gifts, the law governs the use of the line in the formation of all
outlines of objects and all symmetrical designs.

       *       *       *       *       *

As we have already noted, the gifts of Froebel are thus far solids,
divided solids, planes and divided planes.

Relation of the Single and Jointed Slats to the other Gifts. How both
are used.

With the single and jointed slats we shall not deal separately, merely
stating that they form a transition between the surface and the line,
having more breadth and relation to the surface itself than to the
edge, but manifestly tending towards the embodied line of which the
little stick given by Froebel is the realization.

The jointed slats, generally ruled in half and quarter inches for
measuring, may be used to show how one form is developed from
another,--for instance, the rhombus from the square, the rhomboid from
the oblong, and they are very useful also for explaining and
illustrating the different kinds of angles, as the opening between the
joints may be made narrower or wider at pleasure.

The disconnected slats are used for the occasional play or exercise of
interlacing, forming a variety of figures, geometrical and artistic,
which hold together when carefully treated.[66]

    [66] "The slats form, in some sort, the transition from the
    surface-pictures of the laying-tablets to the lineal
    representations of the laying-sticks, but have this advantage
    over both tablets and sticks, that the forms constructed with
    them are not bound down to the surface of the table, but
    possess sufficient solidity to bear being removed from
    it."--H. Goldammer, _The Kindergarten_, page 155.

Materials of Froebel's Gifts.

As to the unpretentious little sticks themselves, the use of these
bits of waste wood is entirely unique and characteristic. No one else
would have deemed them worthy of a place in school apparatus or among
educational appliances; but Froebel had the eye and mind of a true
philosopher, ever seeing the great in the small,--ever bringing out of
the commonplace material, which lies unused on every hand, all its
inherent possibilities and capabilities of usefulness. Froebel was no
destructive reformer, but the most conservative of philosophers.

How the Stick is to be regarded.

The stick of course is to be regarded in its relation to what comes
before and after it,--as the embodied edge of the cube, as the tablet
was its embodied face. The child should at last identify his stick,
the embodiment of the straight line, with the axis of the sphere, the
edge of the cube, and the side of the square.[67] The sticks and rings
are, properly speaking, one gift, contrasting the curved and straight

    [67] "Just as we obtained the tablets from the cubes, of which
    they are the embodied faces, so now we obtain also the
    laying-sticks from the cube, whose edges they represent. But
    they are contained also in the laying-tablets, for one may
    regard the surface as produced by the progressive movement of
    a line, and this may be made clear to the child by slicing a
    square tablet into a number of sticks."--H. Goldammer, _The
    Kindergarten_, page 161.

Method and Manner of Lessons.

Although the stick exercises should make their appearance at least
once every week after their introduction, they may always be varied by
stories, and when occasionally connected with other objects, cut from
paper to illustrate some point, are among the pleasantest and most
fruitful exercises of the kindergarten.

The sticks may be used for teaching number and elementary geometry,
both in the kindergarten and school, or for reviewing and fixing
knowledge already gained in these directions, for practice in the
elements of designing, for giving a correct idea of outlines of
familiar objects, and should constantly serve as an introduction to
drawing and sewing lessons, to which they are the natural prelude.

They should be used strictly after the manner of the other gifts,
beginning with careful dictations, in which the various positions of
one stick should be exhausted before proceeding to a greater number,
with coöperative work, and with free invention. These exercises and
original designs may be put into permanent form in parquetry, which is
furnished for this gift in the various colored papers, as well as for
the tablets. The inventions may also be transferred to paper by
drawing, and to card-board by sewing.

The exercises may continue from the various simple positions which one
stick may assume to really complex dictations requiring from fifteen
to twenty-five sticks, and introducing many difficult positions and
outlines of new geometrical figures.

Forms of Knowledge and Number Work.

When we consider that the length of the sticks varies from one to six
inches, and that the number given to the child is limited only by his
capacity for using them successfully, we can see that the outlines of
all the rectilinear plane figures can easily be made by their use. Of
course in these exercises there must be a great deal of incidental
arithmetic, but the gift may also be used for definite number work,
and is far better adapted to this purpose than any other in the
series, since it presents a number of separate units which may be
grouped or combined to suit any simple arithmetical process.
Representing the line as it does, it has less bodily substance than
any previous gift, and hence comes nearest to the numerical symbols,
as the next step to using a line would obviously be making one. It
also offers very much the same materials for calculation as were used
by the race in its childhood, and hence fits in with the inherited
instincts of the undeveloped human being.[68]

    [68] "Each following generation and each following individual
    man is to pass through the whole earlier development and
    cultivation of the human race,--and he does pass it;
    otherwise he would not understand the world past and
    present,--but not by the dead way of imitation, of copying,
    but by the living way of individual, free, active development
    and cultivation."--Friedrich Froebel, _Education of Man_,
    page 11.

Who has not seen him arranging twigs and branches in his play,
counting them over and over or simulating the process, and delighting
to divide them into groups? So the cave-dweller used them, doubtless,
not in play, but in serious earnest, for some such purpose as keeping
tally of the wild beasts he had killed, or the number of his enemies

"With a few packets of Froebel's sticks," as has been very well said,
"the child is provided with an excellent calculating machine." The use
of this machine in the primary school in word making as well as in
number work is practically unlimited; but in the kindergarten it may
very well give a clear, practical understanding of the first four
rules of arithmetic,--an understanding which will be based on personal
activity and experience.[69]

    [69] "Thus the child's sphere of knowledge, the world of his
    life, is again extended by the observation and recognition,
    by the development and cultivation, of the capacity of
    number; and an essential need of his inner nature, a certain
    yearning of his spirit, are thereby satisfied.... The
    knowledge of the relations of quantity extraordinarily
    heightens the life of the child."--Friedrich Froebel,
    _Education of Man_, page 45.

Evolution of the Kindergarten Stick.

It is well by way of prelude to the first few lessons to draw from the
children the origin and history of the tiny bit of wood given them for
their play, and they will henceforth regard it in a new light and
treat it with greater respect and care.

Let us trace it carefully from its baby beginnings in the seed, its
germination and growth, the influences which surround and foster it
from day to day, its steady increase in size and strength, its
downward grasp and its upward reach, the hardening of the tender stem
and slender cylindrical trunk into the massive oak or pine, the growth
of its tough, strong garment of bark, its winter times of rest and
spring times of renewal, until from the tender green twig so frail and
pliant it has become too large to clasp with the arms, and high enough
to swing its dry leaves into the church tower.

Then let us follow out its usefulness; for instance, we might first
paint a glowing word-picture of the logging-camp, the chopping and
hewing and felling, the life of the busy woodcutter in the leafy woods
in autumn, or in the dense forests in winter time, when the snow, cold
and white and dazzling, covers the ground with its fleecy carpet.
Again, let us depict the road and the busy teamsters driving their
yokes of strong oxen with their heavy loads of logs to the towns and
cities where they are to be sold. A scene, a perfect word-picture,
should be painted of everything concerning the trip,--the crunching of
the oxen's hoofs on the pressed snow, the creaking of the heavy truck
as its runners slip along the smooth surface, the breath of the men
and animals rising like steam into the clear, cold air. All these
things rise in image before the child's eye and are not soon
forgotten, you may be sure. The work and life of the river-drivers
might also be described, and their manner of floating the logs down
river in springtime when the water is high and the current strong.
Then perhaps the children will help to tell us about the mill of which
they doubtless know something,--where the sawmills are built, how the
water helps in turning the great wheel, the buzzing and hissing of the
big saws, and the way in which they quickly make boards of the long,
strong logs. This and much more may be said, and if it is well said,
no child can ever look at the tiny stick afterwards and entirely
forget the charm which once surrounded it.[70]

    [70] "These terse graphic descriptions of objects will be
    found very serviceable in sharpening and intensifying the
    powers of observation, as well as securing clearness,
    distinctness, accuracy, and life in verbal description. Here
    the pupil learns practically to give due prominence to
    essentials, and to appreciate the full value of accessories;
    to look for and discover the fundamental ideas of which
    things are the modified, adorned, garbled, or stunted
    expression; to seek and find the very soul of things."--W. N.
    Hailmann, _Primary Helps_, page 17.

Group Work with Sticks.

The sticks are especially serviceable for group work of various kinds,
either at the long or square tables. As the children have now an
abundance of material they can make all the objects, perhaps, which
may be mentioned in a story the kindergartner tells. If it is about
the origin of Thanksgiving Day, for instance, Abby, who sits at one
end of the line, may make a picture of the Mayflower, and John, her
neighbor, make the Speedwell. The next child may construct a cradle
for Oceanus, the little Pilgrim baby born on shipboard; the next use
his material for the Indian huts the settlers saw after landing; and
so on, each child making a different object, which remains upon his
table until the close of the story. When this is completed, it will
have been fully illustrated by the children with their sticks, and
they will be delighted to inspect the different pictures which they
will plainly see are much more varied and beautiful than any one of
them could have made alone. Thus the value of coöperation will be
plainly shown, without a word from the kindergartner.[71]

    [71] "In this group work it is desirable that the common
    aims should be fully within the comprehension of each little
    worker, yet sufficiently beyond his powers of execution and
    endurance to make him sensible of the need of assistance. The
    former secures the possibility of individual enjoyment, and
    hence the only reliable incentive to persistence; the latter
    insures free subordination to the will of the whole, the
    essential condition of success."--W. N. Hailmann, _Primary
    Helps_, page 18.

Forms of Life.

As to Life forms in general, their number is practically unlimited,
though as they are only line-pictures, and heavy lines at that, they
are not as real as those made in the Building Gifts. They are easily
made, however, and the veriest baby in the kindergarten who handles
the sticks as a prelude to his drawing exercises invents with them all
sorts of rude forms which he calls by appropriate names.

The question of color as it enters into these forms needs, perhaps, a
moment's consideration here. As the gift includes both white and
colored sticks, would it not be well to use the former for all
dictations in Life forms, reserving the brilliant hues for the forms
of symmetry whose charms they would greatly enhance?

Connection of other Objects with Stick Dictations.

We may sometimes connect simple, inexpensive objects with stick
dictations, with a view to making them more realistic and delightful.
When the little ones are just getting the various positions and
corresponding terms into their minds, and when therefore it is
advisable to keep them amused and happy with one to three sticks as
long as possible,--that is, until the fundamental principles have
become very familiar,--these objects are most invaluable.

Innumerable lessons may be practiced with one stick only, calling it
at last a whipstock and giving it a bit of curly paper for a lash. Far
from being an instrument of punishment, it makes every child laugh
with the glee of possession.

With two sticks laid horizontally we may give a little paper
horse-car, or when one is vertical and the other runs horizontally
across its end, we may call it a candlestick and snip a half-circle of
paper into the semblance of a flame. The effect is electrical, though
the light be only one candle-power.

And so on, _ad infinitum_; it is enough to give the hint for the play.
We can cut little paper birds for the bird-cages, tumblers for the
rude little tables, green leaves for the trees, etc., making the stick
exercise, even in its first more difficult details, a time of great
satisfaction and gladness.

Complete sets of these card-board objects, one for each child, should
always be kept on hand; if well made they will last a year.

Forms of Beauty.

Enough has already been said of the possibilities of the sticks to
show that they are most valuable for symmetrical forms. They may be
combined with the tablets, and thus very pretty effects be made, and
when four children unite their material at the group work tables, the
dictations and inventions produced are of course very large, and may
be really beautiful if constructed on artistic principles.

Border work may be very fully carried out with the sticks, and another
charming feature of the gift is the way in which it lends itself to
the making of snow crystals. These are symmetrical combinations and
modifications of familiar geometrical forms around the hexagon. Mr. W.
N. Hailmann says regarding them: "At first, it is best to give each
child only six or twelve sticks, and to dictate the central figure (a
hexagon or hexagonal star) verbally or by means of a drawing on the
blackboard. They may then receive a number of additional sticks, and
let the central figure grow, all obeying the teacher's dictation, or
each following his own inventive genius."[72]

    [72] "These forms are invaluable even as _silent_ teachers
    of geometrical and numerical relations. Used judiciously
    in conversational lessons, leading to partial or complete
    analysis of the figures in spoken or written descriptions,
    their teaching power is inexhaustible."--W. N. Hailmann's
    _Primary Helps_, page 21.

In this gift, as well as in the seventh, the child's imitative and
inventive powers are obviously more greatly taxed than in the others,
and the danger will be, if he is not well trained, that, as he
apparently can do anything with the material, he will end by doing
nothing. The greater the freedom given to the child, the greater the
necessity of teaching him to use that liberty in and through the law,
and not to abuse it by failing to reach with its aid the highest ends.

Connection of Sticks with Drawing.

We may make the laying of one-inch sticks in vertical and horizontal
positions, in angles and squares, a prelude to the drawing of similar
lines; and the copying of stick dictations, either from the table, or
from memory, into drawing, is a most excellent exercise, calling into
requisition great correctness and good judgment, besides an unusual
amount of calculation, since the stick dictation will be on a scale of
one inch, and the drawing on a scale of one fourth inch, reducing the
original design to one in miniature. The child will almost always
begin by attempting to make the picture exactly like his model in size
without counting the inches and trying to make it mathematically
correct; but after the idea is carefully explained and fully
illustrated, he will have no further difficulty excepting, perhaps,
with the more complicated figures containing slanting lines.


We should encourage in all possible ways the use of both hands in all
the exercises with gifts and occupations, not only that one may be as
skillful as the other, but also to avoid a one-sided position of the
body which frequently leads to curvature of the spine. The well-known
physiologist, Professor Brown-Séquard, insists on the equal use of
both hands, in order to induce the necessary equal flow of blood to
the brain. Through the effect of our irregular and abnormal
development, the cause of which is the too persistent use of the right
hand, one lobe of our brains and one side of our bodies are in a
neglected and weakened condition, and the evils resulting from this
weakness are many and widespread. Dr. Daniel Wilson says: "In the
majority of cases the defect, though it cannot be wholly overcome, may
be in great part cured by early training, which will strengthen at
once both the body and mind."[73]

    [73] "Whenever the early and persistent cultivation of the
    full use of both hands has been accomplished, the result is
    greater efficiency, without any corresponding awkwardness or
    defect. In certain arts and professions, both hands are
    necessarily called into play. The skillful surgeon finds an
    enormous advantage in being able to transfer his instrument
    from one hand to the other. The dentist has to multiply
    instruments to make up for the lack of such acquired power.
    The fencer who can transfer his weapon to the left hand
    places his adversary at a disadvantage. The lumberer finds it
    indispensable, in the operation of his woodcraft, to learn to
    chop timber right-and-left-handed; and the carpenter may be
    frequently seen using the saw and hammer in either hand, and
    thereby not only resting his arm, but greatly facilitating
    his work. In all the fine arts the mastery of both hands is
    advantageous. The sculptor, the carver, the draughtsman, the
    engraver, the cameo-cutter, each has recourse at times to the
    left hand for special manipulative dexterity; the pianist
    depends little less on the left hand than on the right; and
    as for the organist, with the numerous pedals and stops of
    the modern grand organ, a quadrumanous musician would still
    find reason to envy the ampler scope which a Briareus could
    command."--Dr. Daniel Wilson, _Left-Handedness. A Hint for

Abuse of Eighth Gift.

No materials of the kindergarten (save the beans, lentils, etc., which
serve to represent the point) have been so over-used and so abused as
the sticks. When no other work was prepared for the children, when
helpers were few, and it was desirable to give something which needed
no supervision, when inexperienced students were to take charge of
classes, when the kindergartner was weary and wanted a quiet moment to
rest, when everybody was in a hurry, when the weather was very cold,
or oppressively warm, when there was a torrent of rain, or had been a
long drought, the sticks were hastily brought forth from the closet
and as hastily thrust upon the children. These small sufferers, being
thus provided with work-materials in which it was obvious that
superior grown people took no interest, immediately lost interest
themselves. In riotous kindergartens the sticks were broken, poked
into pockets, and thrown on the floor; in the orderly ones they were
gazed at apathetically, no one deeming it worth while to stir a hand
to arrange them, save under pressure. Sticks had been presented so
often and in so tiresome a manner that they produced a kind of mental
atrophy in the child,--they were arresting his development instead of
forwarding it.

Such an abuse of material is entirely unnecessary in the kindergarten,
where so many ways are provided of presenting the same truths in all
sorts of different and charming guises. It is unnecessary and most
unfortunate, for it has frequently thrown undeserved contempt on an
innocent and attractive gift, which, when properly treated, is one of
the most pleasing and useful which Froebel has bequeathed to us.


  Paradise of Childhood. _Edward Wiebe_. Pages 39-45.
  Kindergarten Guide. _J. and B. Ronge_. 33-36.
  Kindergarten Guide. _Kraus-Boelte_. 239-373.
  The Kindergarten Principle. _Mary J. Lyschinska_. 103-20.
  Law of Childhood. _W. N. Hailmann_. 39.
  Kindergarten Culture. _W. N. Hailmann_. 70-72.
  The Kindergarten. _H. Goldammer_. 154-72.
  Primary Helps. _W. N. Hailmann_.
  Industrial Art in Schools.[74] _Charles G. Leland_.
  Drawing and Decorative Design. _Charles G. Leland_.
  Art and the Formation of Taste. _Walter Crane_.
  Manual of Design. _Richard Redgrave, R. A._
  Principles of Decorative Design. _Christopher Dresser_.
  Art and Ornament in Dress. Introduction. _Charles Blanc_.

    [74] Circulars of Information of the Bureau of Education,
    No. 4, 1882.

                         FROEBEL'S NINTH GIFT

                       THE RING OR CURVED LINE

    "Art developed in the same way. The Egyptian temples show us
    only straight-lined figures, which consequently show
    mathematical relations. Only in later times appeared the
    lines of beauty, that is, the arched or circular lines. I
    carry the child on in the same way."
                                          FRIEDRICH FROEBEL.

    "The curve bears with it in its unity and variety, its rich
    symbolism to everything which lives and moves, the most
    intimate relation to that which the child sees, feels, and
    loves."                                   EMMA MARWEDEL.

    "It might be said that to produce useful objects is the
    result of the struggle for life; but the tendency to create
    that which is simply artistic results from no such urgent
    need, yet it is found wherever the former exists."
                                          CHARLES G. LELAND.

        "Thou canst not wave thy staff in air,
        Or dip thy paddle in the lake,
        But it carves the bow of beauty there,
        And the ripples in rhymes the oar forsake."

1. The rings of the ninth gift are made of silvered wire, either
soldered or unsoldered, and are whole circles three inches, two
inches, and one inch in diameter, with their respective halves and

2. As the first six gifts emphasized solids and divided solids, the
seventh, the plane, and the eighth, the straight line, so the ninth,
the ring, embodies the curve, and illustrates the circumference of the
sphere and the edge of the cylinder.

3. All the objects hitherto used have, with the exception of the ball
and cylinder, dealt with straight lines and the figures formed by
those lines. We now begin a series of exercises with the curve, and
the variety of symmetrical figures that can be constructed is
immensely increased.

4. Much new knowledge can be conveyed by means of this fresh material,
a complete set of new figures may be produced, and the imitation of
objects passes from that of things constructed by man, which are
mostly rectilinear, to those of nature in which curved lines in every
possible variety prevail.

5. The geometrical forms illustrated in this gift are:--

           { Circles.
           { Semicircles.
  Planes.  { Quadrants.
           { Sectors.
           { Segments.

By the union of straight and curved lines (sticks and rings) the
entire geometry of the circle may be illustrated, and the child
may thus become acquainted with the appearance of the


6. The law of mediation of contrasts is shown as follows: the
semicircles, when placed on the table with ends towards right or left,
connect points of opposite direction up and down, and when placed with
ends pointing upward or downward they connect the right with the left

The circle is of course an unending line traced from a given point
back to itself, according to certain laws, but it is also a union of
two semicircles curving outward in opposite directions. "It is a
representation of the general law, since the periphery and centre
stand in contrast to each other, and are connected by the

       *       *       *       *       *

The New Gift and its Charms.

Having already analyzed straight lines in the sticks, we will pass
directly to the consideration of the ninth in the series of Froebel's
gifts, the rings, which are whole, half, and quarter circles of bright
silvered wire.

If the sticks were fascinating to the child as the embodied straight
edge or line, and perfect treasure-houses of new possibilities to the
kindergartner, the rings are just a bit more delightful as, with their
glittering surface and curved lines, and their wonderful property of
having neither beginning nor end, they are quite different in
appearance from anything which precedes or follows them. Of course the
child sees at once that here is an entirely new field for invention,
and he hastens to possess it, fully conscious of his power of
combining the new elements.

Introduction of the Ring.

We must first discuss the new form with the children so as to be
certain that they fully understand its relation to the other gifts.
Perhaps in a previous exercise with the eighth gift we have allowed
the children to experiment with a stick, and to break it partially in
a number of places so as to produce a measurably correct curved line,
afterwards promising them that they should soon have perfect curves to
play with. This exercise has its value because it illustrates
practically that a curved line is one which changes its direction at
every point.

Let us see when to-day's play begins if the children can think of any
way to make such curves, save by the stick already used. Some
quick-witted little one will remember at once the surface of the ball
and his repeated experiments in dividing it, and will suggest in
sufficiently plain words that a curved line might be made from a clay
sphere. His neighbor thinks a clay cylinder would make one more
easily, and both experiments are tried by all the children with a
resultant of quite perfect clay rings. Then some one wants to make
paper rings, and some one else cloth rings, and the wise kindergartner
encourages all this experimenting, knowing that "the power of memory
increases in the same ratio as delight, animation, and joy are
connected with free mental activity."

Material of the Rings.

When the wire rings are at last given, some conversation about their
material will be pleasant and timely, as it is of a kind we have not
had before in the gifts, and shall not have again. The children will
see that it is akin to the substance of which their sewing and weaving
needles and their scissors are made, and possibly some one may know
that both are products of iron. At this juncture it may be well to
show a piece of iron, to let the children handle it and note its
various properties, and while this is being done, to tell them of the
many parts of the world in which it is found, of its great strength
and usefulness, and that its value is greater than that of the shining
yellow gold. A description of iron mines will easily follow, and the
children will delight to hear of the great shafts sunk deep in the
earth, of the baskets in which the miners travel up and down, of the
darkness underground where they toil all day with pick and shovel, of
the safety lamps they carry in their caps, of the mules that drag the
loads of iron ore to and fro, and--startling fact, at which round eyes
are invariably opened--that some of these mules have their stables
down in the ground below, and never come up where the sun shines and
the flowers bloom. If there is a foundry in the vicinity of the
kindergarten, and we can take the little ones to see the huge
furnaces, the intense fires, the molten iron, and the various
roasting, melting, and moulding processes necessary in refining the
ore, they will gain an ineffaceable idea of the value of the metal in
human labor, and of the endless chain of hands, clasped each in the
other, through which the slender wire rings have passed to reach them.

First Exercises.

In the first dictation exercise several whole circles of the same size
may be given, and their equality shown by laying one on top of the
other. Then we may lay them side by side in actual contact, and the
important fact will be discovered by the children that circles can
touch each other at one point only. Subsequent exercises take up rings
of different sizes, when concentric circles are of course made,
showing one thing completely inclosed in another, and next follow the
half and quarter rings, which the children must be led, as heretofore,
to discover and make for themselves.

With the semicircles, which offer still richer suggestions for
invention than the whole rings, another property of the curved line is
seen. Two blocks, two tablets, two sticks could not touch each other
without forming new angles, nor could they be so placed as to produce
a complete figure. Two semicircles, on the other hand, form no new
angles when they touch, and they may be joined completely and leave no

In his work with the sticks the child became well versed in handling a
comparatively large amount of material, so that now he can deal
successfully from the first exercise with a fair number of whole,
half, and quarter rings. We must be careful, however, not to give him
too many of these in the beginning, lest he be overwhelmed with the
riches at his command.[75]

    [75] "The number of rings should only gradually be augmented.
    Satiety destroys every impulse of creation."--Emma Marwedel,
    _Childhood's Poetry and Studies_, page 15.

When the Rings should be introduced.

The rings should not be used freely until the child is familiar with
vertical, horizontal, and slanting lines, and not only familiar in the
sense of being able to receive and obey dictations intelligently, but
in constantly making correct and artistic use of them in his
creations. The practice with them, however, is often deferred entirely
too long, and the intense pleasure and profit which the child gains
from the beautiful and satisfying curved line are not given him until
very late in the kindergarten course. This is manifestly unnecessary,
for although, if we introduce Froebel's gifts and occupations in
orderly sequence, we make greater use of the straight line after the
first and second gifts are passed than we do of the curve, yet we
should not end with it, nor accept it as a finality; neither should
we keep the child tied down altogether to the contemplation of such

There is no need of exhausting all the possibilities of the straight
line before beginning work with the curve, for sufficient difficulties
could be devised with the former to last an indefinite length of time.

If the child understands the relation of the edge to the solid, and of
the outline to the body; if he is skilled in the use of six to a dozen
sticks laid in various positions, he can appreciate perfectly the
relation of the curved edge or line to the spherical and circular
objects which he has seen in the kindergarten. He remembers the faces
of the cylinder, the conversation about spherical and flat rounding
objects in his plays with the ball, and he has seen the circular as
well as square paper-folding.

He will be accustomed in that to the appearance of the semicircle,
segment, quadrant, and sector, and will take great delight in cutting
and drawing rings and crescents if we open the way for him.

How we may keep the Curve before the Child's Eye.

Although the gifts, from third to ninth, illustrate straight lines,
angles, and rectilinear figures, yet the occupations present many
facilities for keeping the curve before the eye of the child. In
sewing, we introduce curving outlines during the study of the ball,
and work out a series of objects in the vegetable and animal world in
order to vary the mathematical precision of the making of lines,
angles, and geometrical figures, as well as to illustrate more fully
the spherical form.

We may also use the circular paper-folding in some simple sequence as
early as the child's development will permit, and we have, of course,
at the very outset, the occupation of modeling, which is one of the
most valuable of aids in this matter, and the stringing of wooden
spheres and beads.

The thread game enters here also, and makes a useful supplement to the
rings, as the wet thread may be pushed while it lies on the surface of
the table or slate into numberless different forms, all of which may
be included under curving outlines.

In linear drawing we give the child lines running in various
directions at the earliest possible time, so that he may not grow into
a strained and unnatural position of the hand, for this constant
drawing of the vertical line, which is necessary to its execution with
perfect precision by the young child, limits the freedom of the wrist
and muscles, and instead of preparing him to write a good hand, does
absolutely the reverse. The various exercises, on the other hand, in
drawing the curves of circle and oval and their combinations are quite
perfect preparations for clear, graceful penmanship.

We also have, in drawing, Miss Emma Marwedel's circular system, and
the outline work performed by means of pasteboard patterns, most of
which are of the curving outlines of leaves, flowers, fruits, and
vegetables. When the children can draw quite well from these patterns
we always encourage the drawing without them, merely looking at the
object to be copied.

These exercises are of the greatest value as connected with modeling
when the subjects chosen for invention are comprehended under the
sphere, prolate and oblate spheroid, ovoid, cone, etc., the cube with
its straight lines coming last of all.

In this way, while keeping up the regular sequence of lessons and
occupations with the straight line, we do not debar the child from the
contemplation of the line of beauty.

Uniting the Straight and Curved Lines.

After this, he takes great pleasure in uniting the straight and curved
lines in his inventions with the sticks and rings given him together,
and is quite able to use them separately or unitedly in his creative
work. About this time the fruit of these exercises will begin to
appear in his drawing. He will attempt to unite his straight lines by
curves, and even essay large designs in curves which will be far from
perfect, but nevertheless will not be without their value.

Copying Inventions.

The first trials of this kind may be in copying the inventions in
rings which he has made on his table, exactly as he previously
transferred his stick inventions to the slate. The spaces should be
just as carefully counted, and accuracy expected in preserving the
numerical proportions. But this needs much tact and patience on the
part of the kindergartner, as well as skill in teaching; for the
principles of drawing the curve are much less obvious to the child and
much more difficult for him to comprehend than the measurement and
calculation of straight lines with their various lengths and

These inventions with rings, which are often wonderfully
beautiful,--so beautiful, in fact, that the uninstructed person is
sometimes skeptical as to their production by the children,--may also
be preserved in permanent form by parquetry. It is furnished in
various colors for this gift, as for the seventh and eighth, and is
greatly enjoyed by the children.

If any should fear that the long contemplation of rectangular solids,
planes, and straight lines in Froebel's gifts should tend towards too
great rigidity and barrenness of imagination in inventive work, it is
obviously within our power, as has been shown, to vary this
mathematical exactness, which is no doubt less agreeable to the child
than the graceful image of his own fancy (could he attain it), by
introducing the curve freely into many of the occupations and
exercises with the kindergarten material in general.

Forms of Life, Beauty, and Knowledge.

The rings are of course not as well adapted to the production of
objects constructed by man as were the sticks, but, nevertheless, the
material is not without value in this direction. Various fruits,
flowers, and leaves may be made, as well as such objects as bowls,
goblets, hour-glasses, baskets, and vases. When connected with sticks,
the number of Life forms is obviously much increased on account of the
union of straight and curved lines thus made possible. Tablets may
also be added and contribute a new element to the possibilities for

For symmetrical forms, however, the gift is admirably adapted, since
the child can hardly put two rings together without producing
something pleasing.[76] Borders enter here in great variety, tablets
and sticks being added when desirable, and the group work forms,
combining the seventh, eighth, and ninth gifts, give full play to the
creative impulses of the child, while calling constantly upon those
principles of design which he has learned empirically.

    [76] "It is true that the child produces forms of beauty with
    other material also, but it is the curved line which offers
    the strongest inducements to attempt such forms, since even
    the simplest combinations of a small number of semicircles
    and circles yield figures bearing the stamp of beauty."--H.
    Goldammer's _The Kindergarten_, page 177.

The forms of knowledge which can be made with the ninth gift are
necessarily few. It is not especially well fitted for number work, and
development of geometrical form is limited to the planes and lines of
the circle.

Wooden Rings.

Miss Emma Marwedel introduced a supplement to the ninth gift in the
form of wooden circles and half-circles in many colors. These are much
heavier than the metal rings, therefore somewhat easier to handle and
give, as she claims, "the child's creative powers a much larger field
for æsthetic development." Of course, this larger field is to be
found in color blending, not in beauty of design, as the form elements
remain the same. The bright hues are undoubtedly a great attraction,
however, and perhaps are in line with that return to color which was
noted in the seventh gift, when the architectural forms were laid
aside. If we adopt the wooden rings we need not on that account lay
aside the metal ones, for the two materials may be combined to great

Difficulties of the Gift.

The gift presents little difficulty, the dictations requiring less
concentration than heretofore as the positions in which the rings may
be placed are few and simple. Froebel's purpose evidently was that the
child should now concentrate his activity entirely upon design, and
that he should use the material by itself, and in connection with
sticks and tablets to give out in visible form whatever æsthetic
impressions he had received through the preceding gifts. The office of
the kindergartner is hardly now more than to suggest, merely to watch
the child in his creative work, and to advise when necessary as to
the most artistic disposition of the simple material. She may here, if
she adopts this attitude, have the experience of seeing the direct
result of her teachings, for the child's work will be a mirror in
which she can see reflected her successes or her failures.

Froebel's Idea.

The idea of Froebel in devising all these gifts was not, it seems
hardly necessary to say, to instruct the child in abstractions, which
do not properly belong to childhood, but to lead him early in life to
the practical knowledge of things about him; to inculcate the love of
industry, helpfulness, independence of thought and action, neatness,
accuracy, economy, beauty, harmony, truth, and order.

The gifts and occupations are only means to a great end, and if used
in this sense will attain their highest usefulness.

No dictation with any of the kindergarten materials, no study of
lines, angles, oblongs, triangles, and pentagons, no work with numbers
either concrete or abstract are fit employments for little children,
if not connected in every possible way with their home pleasures and
the natural objects of their love. Only when thus connected do they
produce real interest, only thus can agreement with the child's inner
wants be secured.

Actual experiences in the child's life are its most natural and potent
teachers. We need constantly to remember that the prime value of the
kindergarten lies in its personal influence upon individuals, and seek
to develop each separate member of our class according to his

An Objection answered.

The objection has been made that the study and practice with straight
lines, angles, geometrical forms, cubes, and other rectangular solids
would fit the child for later work in the exact and mathematical
sciences more than for other branches of study. But yet it is
difficult to see how, when the child's powers of observation are so
carefully trained in every way; when he is constantly led to notice
objects in nature and reproduce them with clay, pencil, chalk, or
needle; when these objects are so frequently presented for his
critical inspection and comparison; when he is led to see in the
flowers, plants, rocks, and stars, the unity which holds together
everything in the universe; when beauty and harmony, mingled freely,
constitute the atmosphere of the ideal kindergarten,--it is difficult
indeed to see how he can receive anything but benefit from the gift
plays, which present at first mainly the straight line, seemingly
deferring the curve to a later period when it can be managed more


  Paradise of Childhood. _Edward Wiebe_. Pages 45, 46.
  Kindergarten Guide. _Kraus-Boelte_. 373-417.
  The Kindergarten. _H. Goldammer_. 173-78.
  The Kindergarten. Principles of Froebel's System. _Emily Shirreff_.
  Industrial Art in Schools.[77] _Charles G. Leland_.
  Childhood's Poetry and Studies. With Diagrams. _Emma Marwedel_.
  The Grammar of Ornament. _Owen Jones_.
  Art. _Sir John Lubbock_.
  How to Judge a Picture. _Van Dyke_.

    [77] Circulars of Information of the Bureau of Education,
    No. 4, 1882.

                         FROEBEL'S TENTH GIFT

                              THE POINT

    "The awakening mind of the child ... is led from the material
    body and its regular division to the contemplation of the
    surface, from this to the contemplation of the line and to
    the point made visible."              FRIEDRICH FROEBEL.

    "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."
                                                 H. POESCHE.

    "For the last step in this analysis the child receives small
    lentil seeds or pebbles--concrete points, so to speak--with
    which he constructs the most wonderful pictures."
                                             W. N. HAILMANN.

1. The point made concrete, which forms the tenth and last of
Froebel's gifts, is represented by many natural objects, by beans,
lentils, pebbles, shells, leaves, and buds of flowers, by seeds of
various kinds, as well as by tiny spheres of clay and bits of wood
and cork.

2. We have been moving by gradual analysis from the solid through
the divided solid, the plane and the line, and thus have reached in
logical sequence the point, into a series of which the line may be

3. The point which was visible in the preceding gifts, but inseparable
from them, now in the tenth gift has an existence of its own.
Although it is an imaginary quantity having neither length, breadth,
nor thickness, yet it is here illustrated by tangible objects which
the child can handle. By its very lack of individuality, it lends
itself to many charming plays and transformations.

4. By the use of the point the child learns practically the
composition of the line, that its direction is determined by two
points, that the shortest distance between two points is a straight
line, and that a curved line is one which changes its direction at
every point. The gift closes the series of objects obtained by
analysis from the solid, and prepares for the occupations which are
developed by synthesis from the point.

5. The outlines of all geometrical plane figures both rectilinear and
curvilinear may be illustrated with the point as well as straight and
curved lines and angles of every degree.

6. The law of mediation of contrasts is no longer illustrated in the
gift itself, but simply governs the use of the material. All lines and
outlines of planes made with a series of dots show its workings, and
the symmetrical figures, as we have noted from the first, owe to it
their very existence.

Meeting-Place of Gifts and Occupations.

When we begin upon a consideration of the tenth gift, the last link in
the chain of objects which Froebel devised to "produce an all-sided
development of the child," we see at once that the meeting-place of
gift and occupation has been reached. The two series are now in fact
so nearly one that the point is much more often used for occupation
work than as a gift. This convergence of the series in regard to their
practical use was first noted in the tablets, and has grown more and
more marked with each succeeding object.

Though the point is in truth the last step which the child takes in
the sequence of gifts as he journeys toward the abstract, yet we are
met at once in practice by the apparently inconsistent fact that it is
one of the first presented in the kindergarten. This can only be
explained by the statement that it is in truth quite as much of an
occupation as a gift, and is used in the former sense among the
child's first work-materials as a preparation for later point-_making_
(perforating), and as an exercise in eye-training and accuracy of
measurement. It is not an occupation, of course, for the reason that
permanent results cannot be produced with it, and because no
transformation of its material is possible.

The Point as a Gift.

Before the child completes his kindergarten course, however, he should
certainly be led to an intellectual perception of the interrelation
of the gifts and their gradual development from solid to point, for
their orderly progression according to law, though it be but dimly
apprehended, will be most useful and strengthening to the mind. To
discern the logical order of a single series of objects is a step
toward the comprehension of world-order in mature life.[78]

    [78] "This coming-out of the child from the outer and
    superficial and his entrance into the inner view of things,
    which, because it is inner, leads to recognition, insight,
    and consciousness,--this coming-out of the child from the
    house-order to the higher world-order makes the boy a
    scholar."--Friedrich Froebel, _Education of Man_, page 79.

The mind in later childhood should be what Froebel describes his own
to have been. "I often felt," he says, "as if my mind were a smooth,
still pool scarce a handbreadth over, or even a single water-drop, in
which surrounding things were clearly mirrored, while the blue vault
of the sky was seen as well, reaching far away and above."

When the derivation of plane and of straight and curved line and their
place in the gifts are clearly understood by the child, there will be
no difficulty in gaining an equally clear apprehension of the point
and its position in the series. This may be done somewhat as follows.
When the children are playing with blocks on some occasion, we may
direct the conversation to the essential characteristics of the cube,
its faces, edges, and corners. Do they remember which one of their
playthings is like the face of the cube; do they remember cutting clay
tablets from the clay blocks?

It is most unlikely that this experiment will have been forgotten, but
if it has been, it may be easily repeated. Speak next of the edges of
the cube, and let the children recall the derivation of the stick.
That portion of the cube not yet discussed will now be seized upon by
the children, and they will ask if any of their playthings are like
the cube's corners. Can they think of anything; shall we not try to
make something?

Now the clay appears, cubes are quickly fashioned, and each child is
allowed to cut off the eight corners of his block. He has no sooner
done this than he sees the nearest approach we can make to a point,
and proceeds to make a design from them while he recalls the beans,
shells, lentils, etc., he has used before in a similar way.

It is well here to suggest making the bits of clay into tiny oblate
spheroids, and laying them away to dry so that we may make a group
work invention of them to-morrow. Better still, however, is the
instant introduction of sticks or wires to connect with the clay
points, and thus form at once the skeleton of the solid, which will
give an ineffaceable impression of the relation of point and line to
each other.

Pleasure of Child in Point-laying and Stringing.

The pleasure the child finds in point-laying is not confined to the
kindergarten, for playing with beads and pin-heads is an ordinary
nursery occupation in all countries, and which of us cannot recall
long happy hours on the seashore, or by the brookside, when we
gathered and sorted shells and smooth glistening pebbles, and laid
them in rows and patterns? The mere handling of a great store of these
gave a Midas-like delight, and what primitive artistic pleasure we
felt as we arranged them according to the principle of repetition to
border our garden-beds or to inclose our miniature parks and

The same joy is felt in plucking, arranging, and stringing rose-hips,
the seeds of the ailantus, the nasturtium, the pumpkin, or the
"cheeses" of the mallow and wild geranium.

Miscellaneous Materials.

It will commonly be found that the child enjoys tenfold more the
objects for point-work which he finds himself than the more perfect
school-materials. Imagine the joy, for instance, of a bevy of
kindergarten children set free on Pescadero Beach (California), and
allowed to ramble up and down its shining sands to pick up the
wonderful Pescadero pebbles. What colors of dull red and amber, of
pink and palest green, what opaline lights, and smooth, glimmering
surfaces! "Busy work" with such materials would be worth while
indeed,--yet easy to obtain as they are, they are almost never seen
in use.

Smooth, white pebbles, washed entirely clean and sorted according to
size, are not uncommonly seen in the kindergartens, however, and are
especially useful in the sand-table, and if these and the shining
cream-colored shells could be found by the children themselves, their
pleasure in them would be immensely increased. That this is true is
proved by the experience of many teachers with seed-work. One of our
own brood of kindergartners once had a birthday melon party for one of
her children. The melons were brought to the kindergarten room and
there divided, the small host serving his guests himself. Great
interest was immediately shown in the jet-black seeds of the
water-melon in contrast with the smaller light-colored seeds of the
musk-melon, and unanimous appeals were made to the kindergartner that
they might be saved and used for inventions. This was done, and they
were always called for afterwards in point-work, rather than the
beans, or vegetable and wooden lentils.

In those kindergartens where the seeds of all fruits are saved by the
children at lunch hour, it is also noted that the collection thus made
is always the object of universal interest and preference.

Use of the Gift.

One of the first uses of the point may be in following the outline of
some form of life which the kindergartner has drawn in white or
colored chalk on the child's table. This is much more fascinating work
than the placing of seeds one space apart, three in a row, etc., for
the latter belongs to the "knowledge-acquiring side of the game,"
which, as Froebel says, is the "quickly tiring side, only to be given
quite casually at first, and as chance may provide suitable openings
for it."

The forms drawn in chalk may very well be of curving outlines of
vegetables, fruits, leaves, and flowers to connect with the study of
the first gift, and may include any other simple appropriate object
which the kindergartner is capable of drawing.

The more advanced child can of course make his own Life forms without
the aid of drawing, and if he is given different sizes and kinds of
shells, seeds, or pebbles, often arranges them with great ability to
imitate the shading of the object.

The beginning of the forms of knowledge is in placing the points in
regular order on the squared tables at the intersection of vertical
and horizontal lines. Next, the child lays one space vertical lines,
three points in a line, then two space lines with five points, then
horizontal lines, angles, parallelograms, borders, etc., following out
the school of linear drawing, and in this way progresses in an orderly
manner to the designing of symmetrical forms. Curved lines of course
are quite as easily represented as the straight, and really beautiful
designs are often made by the children with them.

Tenth Gift Parquetry.

Tiny circles and squares of colored paper corresponding to the wooden
lentils are also to be had with this gift, and afford a means of
preserving the designs in permanent form. They are so small, however,
as to give occasion for considerable patience in pasting them, and are
rather difficult to arrange with regularity without first drawing the
design. It is doubtful, in our opinion, if they may be considered to
be of any particular educational benefit, if indeed they are not a
positive harm to the child in that they require a too minute and
long-sustained use of the finer muscles.

Objections to the Gift.

These strictures on the tenth gift parquetry bring us naturally to the
criticisms lately made by eminent authorities upon some of the Froebel
materials. The objection that many of them require too minute handling
and too close attention on the part of children of the kindergarten
age seems, as far as the gifts are concerned, to hold especial weight
in regard to point-work.[79]

    [79] The development of motor-ability in children and its
    furtherance or arrest by the kindergarten materials concerns
    the occupations more particularly, and as such will receive
    full consideration in a later volume.

We need not consider here the physio-psychological tests lately made
of the early motor-ability of children and the results which these
have shown, but simply concern ourselves with what we have seen and
noted many times in daily kindergarten practice. Is it not true that
the laying of beans and lentils one inch apart on the tables, for
instance, is an occupation which requires very delicate handling on
account of the smallness of the object, its easy mobility, and the
exactness required to place it precisely at the crossing-point of
vertical and horizontal lines? Is it not true that such work requires
considerable effort from the kindergartner to make it interesting to
the child? Is it not true that there is a cramp of the fingers, shown
by a slight trembling, in getting hold of the tiny object and placing
it, a cramp of the eye in foreseeing and following the movement, and a
cramp of the body accompanying the tension of hand and arm? If all
these observations are correct, or measurably so, if they hold with a
majority of children, then point-laying as an occupation clearly needs
considerable modification in the kindergarten.

What are then the objections to the point as illustrated in bean,
coffee-berry, seed, and wooden lentil? In a word, that when
represented as above, it becomes too small and too mobile. The
difficulty of using these materials is immensely increased by the fact
that a slight movement of the child's table will send them all on the
floor, while even an ill-timed cough or sneeze, or puff of wind, will
blow them out of position. Point-laying is quite difficult enough for
the child's small powers under the best conditions, and need not be
made more so by undue mobility in the materials with which it is
carried on. This criticism would not hold of course as against large
shells or pebbles or as against Miss Marwedel's hemispheres and

How these Objections may be obviated.

The only good reason for using the small materials to which the
preceding objections have been made is a very good one, viz., that if
we are to take any concrete object to represent the point, it should
be as small as possible, since the point is in reality an intangible
something, having no one of the three dimensions. This reasoning seems
to be logical enough, and it is surely equally so, to insist that the
child shall at some time derive his own points from the cube and make
them as small as possible, that he may the better understand their
relation to line, plane, and solid. When once this relation is
understood, however, and before it is suggested to his mind, why may
he not use the larger materials, even though they do not illustrate
the point as perfectly? Any lack in perfect representation would
probably be more than compensated by the removal of the strain on the
accessory muscles and the gain in artistic development. This latter
point, indeed, needs special consideration, for there seems no doubt
that the continued use of such small objects for design leads to
accuracy and prettiness rather than breadth and power.

The Marwedel Materials.

If we throw out all the smaller materials used for point-laying, and
it seems advisable so to do, we still have left smooth pebbles from
one half to three fourths of an inch in diameter, and shells of any
univalve, such as the "money-cowry" (_cyproea moneta_). These should
be polished, as free from convolutions as possible, and not less than
half an inch in diameter. To these we may add Miss Emma Marwedel's
wooden ellipsoids and hemispheres, already mentioned, which are
satisfactory in size, and add the delights of color.[80]

    [80] _Marwedel's Materials for Child-Culture_. D. C. Heath &

The hemispheres, which are about one half inch in diameter, come in
eight colors and also in the natural wood, are pierced for stringing,
and are similar to ordinary button-moulds, having of course one flat

The ellipsoids in the six rainbow hues, black gray, brown, and wood
colors, resemble elliptical shells, having one flat side, are also
pierced for stringing, and vary in length from three fourths of to
something over an inch, being nearly an inch wide, perhaps, and a half
inch thick.

The children are invariably delighted with both hemispheres and
ellipsoids, and need no stimulus from the kindergartner in their use.


In some of Miss Marwedel's pamphlets on the use of these materials,
she speaks of the mind-pictures which can be made with them, and which
are of course quite possible with any of the other gifts. These
mind-pictures, showing form and number groups, are drawn by the
kindergartner on the blackboard, where they are left a second and then
erased. They are then copied from memory, and the results compared,
described, and criticised by the children. This constitutes a valuable
mental exercise, and if the tests are simple at first and made
gradually more difficult will be most valuable in increasing the
memory-span as well as in developing language power.

Abuse of the Gift.

If some of the materials used in the kindergarten are unwisely chosen,
and if this objection applies in the gifts, especially to the point,
then the kindergartner has been, and still is, unnecessarily
increasing her sum of error, for no one of the connected series of
objects (save the stick) is commonly so forced upon the child. It is
somewhat unusual for this reason to find a whole class of children
really enjoying point-work, though several conscientious and
industrious members of the group may be toiling away with praiseworthy

Sometimes the children's feeling toward the gift goes beyond
indifference and passes into active dislike, but in either attitude of
mind the beans, lentils, etc., are likely to be mistreated.

It is not that the work with them is not in itself pleasing to the
child, but that it has been forced upon him _ad nauseam_, and that the
kindergartner has lacked interest in presenting it. His own interest
has in consequence gradually died out, and when once the fire is cold,
who shall light it again?

That there is no need of this abuse of the gift is clear enough, and
it can only come from entire lack of originality in using Froebel's
materials, or from a mental or physical inertia on the part of the
kindergartner, which causes her to prefer giving out such work as
needs neither preparation nor previous thought.


  Kindergarten Guide. _Kraus-Boelte_. Pages 439-53.
  The Kindergarten. _H. Goldammer_. 181-84.
  A System of Child-Culture. _Emma Marwedel_. 6-8.
  Hints to Teachers. _Emma Marwedel_. 49.
  Decorative Design. _Frank S. Jackson_.
  Art in Education. _Thos. Davidson_.
  Manual of Design. _Richard Redgrave, R. A._
  Exercices et Travaux pour les Enfants. _Fanny Ch. Delon_.
  Manuel Pratique des Jardins d'Enfants. _J. E. Jacobs_ and
          _Mme. von Marenholtz-Bülow_.

                     GENERAL REMARKS ON THE GIFTS

As we close the series of talks upon Froebel's gifts and look back
over the ground that has been covered, we see that a number of
important subjects have been only lightly touched upon, while we have
been altogether silent regarding others equally as vital. This is
doubtless inevitable in any work upon the kindergarten which does not
aim to be encyclopædic in character, but a few of the more serious
omissions may be supplied before we close our consideration of the
gifts and enter upon that of the occupations.

First, then, a word on the subject of attention.

Difficulty of holding Child's Attention.

It is not uncommon, when discussing any exercises with kindergarten
materials which require dictation or guidance, to hear complaints of
the difficulty of holding the children's attention. It may generally
be said, doubtless, that when little children fail to give attention
it is because they are not interested, and if the teacher finds the
majority of her pupils listless, indifferent, and vagrant-minded, she
may reasonably conclude that something is amiss either with the
subject or with her presentation of it. The child is as yet too young
to command his mental powers and "drive himself on by his own
self-determination," and if we enforce an attention which he gives
through fear, we lose the motive power of interest which Froebel
sought to utilize in the plays of the kindergarten.

Dr. George P. Brown in a late article on "Metaphysics and
Pedagogics"[81] says, "Every one admits that there is much that must
be done by the child in his elementary education which is a task, for
the reason that his ideas of its worth to himself cannot be
sufficiently appreciated to arouse a lively and impelling interest in
the doing of it," and he adds, "Garfield once complained that he had
done so long those things in which he was interested that he was
losing his power to do that which did not interest him, which suggests
the danger of relying entirely upon interest as an incentive to

    [81] _Public School Journal_, July, 1895.

That there is a danger here cannot be denied, but it is one which need
hardly be considered at the kindergarten age, when that interest which
comes from continued agreement between the work in hand and the
child's inner wants is absolutely essential to the gaining of
knowledge. Mr. W. N. Hailmann puts the whole matter in a nutshell when
he says: "If the kindergartner has the penetration to discover these
inner wants, and the skill to adapt the circumstances and her own
purposes to these, she will find it easy to secure and hold the
child's attention. Without this penetration and skill, all else is
unavailing. She may sing and cajole herself into hoarseness, she
may smile and gesticulate herself into a mild sort of tarantism, or
freeze herself at one end of the table into a statue of Suppressed
Reproach,--if the instruction or dictation has no natural connection
with the purposes of the children, these will remain uninterested or
bored victims of her ill-directed enthusiasm."

Language Teaching.

The plays with the gifts open wide avenues for language teaching if
conducted as Froebel intended. He says many wise things on this
subject in his "Education of Man," and the following is of absolute

"Our children will attain," he says, "to a far more fundamental
insight into language, if we, when teaching them, connect the words
more with the actual perception of the thing and the object.... Our
language would then again become a true language of life, that is,
born of life and producing life; while it threatens otherwise, by
merely outward consideration, to become more and more dead."[82]

    [82] _Education of Man_, page 145.

From the first the child should be led to voice his small observations
on the gifts in clear language and in approximately complete
sentences, brief though they be. He can as easily say, "I would like a
blue ball, please," if asked what color he prefers, as to jerk out a
monosyllabic "Blue!"

After a little practice he will use a short sentence when comparing
two objects, for instance, but as he naturally moves along the line of
least resistance it is hardly to be expected that he will take the
trouble to form complete sentences unless gently stimulated to do so.
The stimulus must be gentle, however, and given at the right time, for
any feeling that his words are criticised will lead him to
self-repression, not expression.

In gift work, too, he explains to the kindergartner what he is
inventing, and for what purpose; he weaves gossamer threads of fancy
about the objects constructed, or describes the forms of beauty and
knowledge he has built by dictation.

There is and should be constant interchange of conversation during the
gift plays, and the kindergartner who directs them like a
drill-sergeant, requiring her recruits only to be silent and obey, has
entirely misconceived Froebel's idea.[83]

    [83] It is a difficult thing to find the _via media_ between
    complete silence on the part of the children save when
    answering questions and a confusion of tongues like that at
    the building of Babel, but there is such a _via media_, and
    it can be found by those who seek it diligently.

It is undeniably much easier for the teacher to do all the talking,
the children serving as audience, but the ideal to be reached is that
she shall be the audience herself, or rather the chairman of the
meeting, guiding the conversation, asking suggestive questions, and
making wise comments.

Our language teaching, however, is not confined to the cultivation of
greater powers of expression, for there is a direct gain in the
child's vocabulary consequent upon his kindergarten experience. He
absorbs many new words from his teachers, but many others he learns
through his daily work and play, and these are his absolute
possession,--the thing and the word together. An interesting series of
experiments was once made in the San Francisco free kindergartens
relative to the number of new words which the child had mastered and
used easily and freely after three years in the child-garden. These
included terms of dictation, geometrical terms, names of tools,
colors, materials, plants, animals, buildings, and places, new and
poetic words of songs, games, and stories, etc., and the experiments
established the fact that the child's vocabulary was fully as great as
that of his parents and decidedly more choice.

Relation of Word to Object.

It should be said here that there is great value to the child in
learning to name things correctly from the very beginning. If the new
word is a simple one, he can learn it with perfect ease, and then the
object is properly labeled, so to speak, for future use.[84] Familiar
names are sometimes used in the kindergarten when the correct term
would be quite as easy to pronounce. This practice often arises from a
false conception of symbolism, and is continued with an idea that it
is pleasing to the child. Sometimes the pseudonyms are absolutely
misleading, as in the frequent speaking of squares as _boxes_, which
must, of course, confuse the child as to the real nature of a plane.
There are many cases where the geometrical name of a form can easily
be taught if it is given _after_ the object is clearly understood.[85]

    [84] "At all stages of learning the mother tongue, the purely
    verbal exercises are more or less accompanied with the
    occupation of the mind upon things. If we suppose the child
    to become acquainted, in the first instance, with a variety
    of objects, the imparting of the names is a welcome
    operation, and the mental fusion of each name and thing is
    rapidly brought about. If the objects are in any way
    interesting, if they arouse or excite attention, their names
    are eagerly embraced. On the other hand, if objects are but
    languidly cared for, or if they are inconspicuous or confused
    with other things, we are indifferent both to the things
    themselves and to their designations." (Alexander Bain.)

    [85] "Language is the necessary tool of thought used in the
    conduct of the analysis and synthesis of investigation." (W.
    T. Harris.)

    "What we are really seeking is the meaning _and_ the word.
    One is of no value without the other in the education of the
    child. There is no such thing as a valuable observation and
    investigation of natural objects without language in which to
    embody the results at every step." (Geo. P. Brown.) _Report
    on Correlation of Studies by Committee of Fifteen_. With
    annotations by Geo. P. Brown.

There is a distinction here as to age, which should be noted. Though
with babies of three years it is not only delightful, but necessary,
to use objects symbolically, to give play-names to the lines they
make, etc., with older children who are nearing the age of school
instruction and therefore passing away from the "sense relations
of things," it is just as essential to begin a more scientific

Value of Knowledge Gained by Individual Effort.

One of the commonest errors in the kindergarten, as well as one of the
most pernicious, is that of assisting the child too much in all his
work. This is perhaps more universally true of the plays with the
occupations than with the gifts, but even in the latter direction
the practice is far too widespread.[86]

    [86] "Of course, there is great difference between the
    disciplinary value of that study in which the pupil solves
    his own difficulties and that teaching in which the teacher
    accompanies the pupil, supplying the needed information or
    suggestion at every step of his progress. The latter is not
    worth much for character building for the reason that it is
    not apt to become a part of the organized self.... The school
    cannot afford to expend much energy in acquiring such
    knowledge." (Geo. P. Brown.) _Report on Correlation of
    Studies by Committee of Fifteen_. With annotations by Geo. P.

The kindergartner often forms his sentences for the child,
over-directs him when he is matching colors, gives names to the
objects he constructs without waiting for him to do so, moves his
blocks, sticks, tablets, rings into more accurate position, changes
his spacing when incorrect, rearranges his inventions, selects the
colors for his parquetry work,--and all for what reasons? Primarily,
to produce a better effect, it is probable, glorying in the
consciousness that the work on every child's table is exactly right,
and blind to the truth that uniformity must always be mechanical; and
secondarily, to quiet her own feeling of impatience, which sometimes
comes from nervous exhaustion and sometimes from an over-eagerness to
get a quantity of work done regardless of the method by which it is

There is a thirdly, too, which is that the inaccurate work, the
awkward designs, the unfortunate blending of colors which the little
one inevitably makes at first, so offend her artistic eye that she
trembles with eagerness to set them right, forgetting that by so doing
she is imposing her superior taste upon the child and thereby failing
to develop his. We shall never see this matter clearly, nor know how
to bear with the crudity of the child's work, until we learn that the
crudity is natural and therefore to be respected, and that it is in a
sense beautiful after all, for it is a stage of being.

This vice, for it is a vice, of assisting the child too much causes
him to lose his own power of bravely and persistently overcoming
difficulties, and makes him weak and dependent. It gives occasion for
teachers to say, and apparently with justice, that kindergarten
children need constant assistance in their school work, that they are
always crying out for help, and seem incapable of taking a step alone.

That this is not true of all kindergarten children we know, but that
it should be true of any is a disgrace to our interpretation of
Froebel's system, which is, in reality, a very treasure-house of
self-reliance, of self-development, and of independence of thought and

Value of Interrelation in Kindergarten Work.

One of the highest essentials of gift work is that it should not be
isolated from other experiences of the child and concern itself merely
with first principles of mathematics, with elements of construction,
reproduction, and design, and with unrelated bits of knowledge.

Froebel says in the motto to one of the poems in the "Mutter-Spiel und

  "Whatever singly with a child you've played,
  Weave it together till a whole you've made.
  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
  "Thus it will dawn upon his childish soul:
  The smallest thing belongs to some great whole."

And again,--

  "Silently cherish your Baby's dim thought,
  That Life in itself is as unity wrought."

Nothing is more evident in all his writings, in his more formal works
as well as in his autobiography, his volumes of letters and his
reminiscences, than that his lifelong struggle was for unity in all
things. He would have this unity expressed in simple concrete form in
the kindergarten by a complete interrelation of all the activities of
the child; and the gifts as "outward representations of his internal
mental world" may be trusted to furnish us with an absolute test as to
how far we are carrying out this principle in our teaching.

Whether or not the necessity of correlation decreases as age increases
we need not discuss here, but that there is absolute need of it in the
kindergarten probably no one will deny. If a single aim does not unify
the kindergarten day, (or month, or season), it will be a succession
of scrappy experiences, of surface impressions, no one of which can be
permanent, because it was slight by itself and received no
reinforcement from others. Such instruction only serves to dissipate
the mind, to blot out the dim feeling of unity inscribed there by its
maker, and to render the child incapable and undesirous of binding his
thoughts into a whole.[87]

    [87] "In the broad view we are safe in affirming that all
    truth is congruous, and that truth in one department of human
    knowledge will always reinforce truth in any other
    department. There is a unity in all truth. While it is true,
    as Dr. Harris affirms in his Report on the Correlation of
    Studies, that the student does not come into the full
    consciousness of this fact before he attains the university,
    is it not also true that he can be so taught that he will
    _feel_ this unity before he can think it, and that his
    feeling it will hasten the development of the power to think
    it?"--Geo. P. Brown, "Congruence in Teaching," _Public School
    Journal_, Sept., 1895.

What the subjects should be, around which the child's mental,
physical, and spiritual activities may crystallize, furnishes a
fruitful field for discussion; but, above all, they should be vital
ones, for, as Miss Blow says, "Serious injury may be done the mind by
developing concentric exercises which belong not to the centre, but
the circumference of thought."

It would be fruitless to suggest suitable subjects here, for if they
do not, on the one hand, conform to the growing mind of the particular
child or class of children, they may either arrest or overtax
development, and if, on the other hand, they do not proceed from the
kindergartner's insight into principle, it would be but "superstitious
imitation" for her to follow them out. No manual, no guide-book, no
treatise, no lecture, can supply the want of fine intelligence and
judgment in all these matters, and not until the teacher "comprehends
the genesis of any principle from deeper principles can she emancipate
herself from even the hypnotic suggestion of the principle itself, and
convert external authority into inward freedom."[88]

    [88] W. T. Harris.

Effect of Froebel's Gifts on the Kindergartner.

Although uninterested and uninitiated persons doubtless regard the
various gifts of Froebel as very ordinary objects, made from
commonplace materials, yet that this view of the matter is only a peep
through a pin-hole is abundantly proven by their effect on the
kindergartner. Those of us who have seen successive groups of young
women in training-classes approach the first few gifts have noted that
interest is commonly mingled at first with a slight surprise that the
objects should be considered worthy of so much study, while underneath
lies a half-concealed amusement at the simple forms produced. Yet this
attitude of mind endures but for a season, for as soon as the gifts
are studied and used practically, it is seen that they contain
possibilities of indefinite expansion. When they are looked at through
the glasses of imagination, it is wonderful how large they appear, and
when one has toiled long hours to invent some sequence with them, one
wonders at the reality and fascination of the forms produced.

The outsider who glanced at the materials hastily would undoubtedly
suppose them capable of only a limited number of changes and
combinations, but the fact remains that every year kindergarten
students invent hundreds of new forms with these simple, insignificant
blocks and sticks and beans.

How, then, does this change come about? How is it that the same
student who once half-scorned the gifts, now, upon the completion of
her course of training, looks upon them with affection, admiration,
and respect? It is that her eyes have been opened, and whereas she was
blind, now she sees. Her imagination has been awakened, her literary
instinct has been stirred, and she has come to look at things in the
child way, which is always the poetic way.

Effect of Froebel's Gifts upon the Child.

The effect of Froebel's gifts upon the child has been shown directly
and indirectly through the entire series of talks, and need not now be
recapitulated. If they are wisely presented and wisely conducted,
"inward and outward, the limits of their influence and scope lie in

Froebel says in one of his letters: "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 kindergartner,--nay, even by one
who is only simple-hearted, thoughtful, and attentive; nor how it
blooms into delicious 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
of a hundred thousand men ring with it! What keenness of sensation,
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."[89]

    [89] Froebel's _Letters on the Kindergarten_, page 145.

It is not that we regard the connected series of gifts as inspired,
nor as incapable of improvement, for it may be that as our
psychological observations of children grow wiser, more sympathetic,
and more subtle, we shall see cause to make radical changes in the
objects which are Froebel's legacy to the kindergarten. This we may
do, but we can never improve upon the motherly tenderness of spirit
with which they were devised by the great pioneer of child-study, nor
upon the philosophic insight which based them on the universal
instincts of childhood.

                           By Mrs. Wiggin.

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                         BOSTON AND NEW YORK.

                         TRANSCRIBER'S NOTES

1. Passages in italics are surrounded by _underscores_.

2. The sidenotes are changed to section headings.

3. The word "cyproea moneta" uses an oe ligature in the original.

4. Other than the corrections listed above, printer's inconsistencies
in spelling, punctuation and hyphenation have been retained.

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