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Title: Froebel as a pioneer in modern psychology
Author: Murray, E. R. (Elsie Riach)
Language: English
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                          FROEBEL AS A PIONEER
                          IN MODERN PSYCHOLOGY

                              E. R. MURRAY

        _Author of “A Story of Infant Schools and Kindergartens”_

    “Through the battle, through defeat, moving yet and never stopping.
                        Pioneers! O Pioneers!”

                 BALTIMORE Md. WARWICK & YORK, INC. 1914

                         (_All rights reserved_)


Some day Froebel will come to his own, and the carefulness of his
observation, the depth of his thought, the truth of his theories, and the
success of his actual experiments in education will all be acknowledged.

There are few schools nowadays so modern as the short-lived Keilhau,
with its spirit of freedom and independence and its “Areopagus” in which
the boys themselves judged grave misdemeanours while the masters settled
smaller matters alone. There are few schools now which have such an
all-round curriculum, including, as it did, the mother tongue as well as
classics and modern languages; ancient and modern history; Nature study
and Nature rambles; school journeys, lasting for two or three weeks and
extending as far as Switzerland for the older lads, while the younger
boys visited German towns and were made acquainted with peasant life;
definite instruction in field-work, in building and carpentry, etc.;
religious teaching in which Middendorf endeavoured “to show the merits of
the religions of all nations”; physical training with the out-of-doors
wrestling ground and shooting stand and gymnasium “for every spare moment
of the winter,” and organized games; and dramatic teaching where “classic
dramas” and other plays were performed, and for which the boys built the
stage and painted the scenes. There was even co-education, “flirtation
being unknown,” because all had their heads so full of more important
matters, but where free intercourse of boy and girl “softened the
manners of the young German savages.”

The purpose of this book is to show that all these things, besides the
Kindergarten and the excellent plan for the Helba Institute, did not come
into being by chance, but were the outcome of the deep reflection of a
man who combined the scientific with the philosophic temperament; and
who, because his ideal as a teacher was “Education by Development,” had
made a special study of the instinctive tendencies, and the requirements
of different stages of child development, as I have tried to prove in
Chapters VI and VII.

I should like to explain one or two points, first, that though for all
quotations I have referred to the most commonly used translations of
Froebel’s writings, yet I have frequently given my own rendering when
the other seemed inadequate; secondly, that I have endeavoured to give
the context as often as possible, and have also given the actual German
words, that I might not be accused of reading in modern ideas which are
not really in the text; and, lastly, that I have purposely repeated
quotations rather than give my readers the trouble of turning back to
another page.

In conclusion may I take this opportunity of paying grateful thanks
first to Miss Alice Words and to Miss K. M. Clarke, without whose
kind encouragement I should never have completed my task, and also to
Professor Alexander for several helpful suggestions, and to Miss Ida
Sachs for friendly help.

                                                            E. R. MURRAY.


    CHAP.                                                PAGE

            PSYCHOLOGY                                       1

      II. FROEBEL’S ANALYSIS OF MIND                        12



            AND OF FEELING                                  47

      VI. INSTINCT AND INSTINCTS                            66

     VII. PLAY AND ITS RELATION TO WORK                    122

            PURPOSE                                        148

      IX. WEAK POINTS CONSIDERED                           168

       X. SOME CRITICISMS ANSWERED                         190

            “ACTIVITY”                                     213

            WITH THE ENUMERATION GIVEN BY GROOS            219

    INDEX                                                  225


To the Works of Froebel quoted in the text







“_A great man condemns the world to the task of explaining him._”

The purpose of this little book is to show that Froebel’s educational
theories were based on psychological views of a type much more modern
than is at all generally understood. It is frequently stated that
Froebel’s psychology is conspicuous by its absence, but in a somewhat
close study of Froebel’s writings I have been again and again surprised
to find how much Froebel seems to have anticipated modern psychology.

A probable reason for the overlooking of so much sound psychological
truth is to be found in the fact that much of it is obscured by details
which seem to us trivial, but which Froebel meant as applications of the
theories he was endeavouring to make clear to minds not only innocent of,
but incapable of, psychology.

Most educationists have read “The Education of Man,” but few outside the
Kindergarten world are likely to have bestowed much thought on Froebel’s
later writings. It is in these, however, that we see Froebel watching
with earnest attention that earliest mental development which is now
regarded as a distinct chapter in mental science, but which was then
largely if not entirely ignored.

With the same spirit of inquiry and the same field for investigation--for
children acted and thought then as they act and think now--it is
only natural that Froebel should have made at least some of the same
discoveries as the genetic psychologist of to-day.

It would be unfair at any date to expect a complete psychology from a
writer whose subject is not mental science, but education. Mistakes, too,
one must expect, and these are not to be ignored.[1] Still there remains
a solid amount of psychological discovery for which Froebel has had as
yet but little credit.

Indeed, just as his disciples have been inclined, like all disciples,
to think that their master has said the last word on his own subject,
so have opponents of Froebelian doctrines, irritated perhaps by these
pretensions, made direct attacks on somewhat insufficient grounds. In a
later chapter, an attempt has been made to deal with what seems unfounded
in such attacks.[2]

The major part of the book, however, is intended to show the correctness
of Froebel’s views on points now regarded as of fundamental importance,
and generally recognized as modern theories. For this purpose passages
from Froebel’s writings are here compared with similar passages from such
undoubted authorities as Dr. James Ward, Professor Stout, Professor Lloyd
Morgan, Mr. W. Macdougall, Mr. J. Irving King, and others.

In the first place, it should be noted that Froebel was fully aware of
the necessity for a psychological basis for his educational theories.

Writing in 1841, he says:

    “I am firmly convinced that all the phenomena of the child
    world, those which delight us, as well as those which grieve
    us, depend upon fixed laws as definite as those of the
    cosmos, the planetary system and the operations of Nature; it
    is therefore possible to discover them and examine them. When
    once we know and have assimilated these laws, we shall be able
    powerfully to counteract any retrograde and faulty tendencies
    in children, and to encourage, at the same time, all that is
    good and virtuous.”--_L., p. 91._

Nor was Froebel in any doubt as to how these laws are to be discovered,
and his order of investigation is very similar to that prescribed by
Professor Stout. The latter, though regarding genetic psychology as
“the most important and most interesting,” considers that it should
be preceded by:--1, A general analysis of consciousness, analytic and
largely introspective; 2, An investigation of the laws of mental process,
“analytic also, inasmuch as we endeavour to ascertain the general laws of
mental process by analysis of the fully developed mind.”

Froebel, too, regards the analytic as a necessary preparation for the
genetic, and says that parents and teachers, who wish to supply the needs
of the child at different stages of development:

    “are to consider life _firstly_ through looking into
    themselves, into the course of their own development, its
    phenomena and its claims--through the retrospection (Rückblick)
    of the earliest possible years of their own lives, and also
    the introspection (Einblick) of their present lives, that
    their own experience may furnish a key to the problem of the
    child’s condition (den Zustand des Kindes in sich zu lösen).
    _Secondly_, by the deepest possible search into the life of the
    child, and into what he must necessarily require according to
    his present stage of development.”--_P., p. 168._

Professor Stout adds later that anthropology and philology may ultimately
yield results as important as those yielded by physiology. Froebel could
have no idea of the physiological parallel to mental process, but he did
not omit the anthropological inquiry, for in another passage he enlarges
his first point, declaring that:

    “It is essential for parents and teachers, for the sake of
    their children, and that their educational efforts may meet
    with a rich reward, not only to recall as far as possible the
    first phenomena, the course and conditions of the development
    of their own lives, but that they should compare this with the
    phenomena, the course and conditions of the development of
    the world, and of life in general in Nature and History, and
    so by degrees raise themselves to a knowledge of the general
    as well as of the particular laws of life development, that
    the guidance of the child may find in these laws a higher
    and stronger--their true foundation, as well as their surest
    determination.”--_P., p. 66._

Even his detractors generally allow that Froebel had a wonderful insight
into child-nature, but this is too often spoken of as if it were due to
some specialized faculty of intuition, not known to psychology.

Froebel’s knowledge of child-nature came to him precisely as it comes
to the psychologist of the present day, through patient observation of
the doings of little children, and thoughtful interpretation of their
possible meaning. It is true that he drew his conclusions from too
narrow a field, but of this he was well aware. In a letter to a cousin
thanking her for the “comparative account of the various manifestations
of children,” which she had sent him, he complains, _and this, be it
remembered, in 1840_, that “it is a subject to which one can rarely get
even cultivated parents to pay attention,” and he adds:

    “I would beg of you to collect as many observations for me as
    you can, both things which you yourself have observed, and
    also remarks made by your Robert and the other children when
    at play. If you have the time for this, pray do it for the
    furtherance of the cause; other friends are at work for me in
    the same way.”--_L., p. 67._

In another letter to this cousin he says:

    “It would delight me greatly if you could confide to me what
    you remember of your feelings, perceptions, and ideas as a
    mother greeting the new-born life of her infant, and your
    observations of the first movements of its limbs and the
    beginning of the development of its senses.”--_L., p. 110._

To another friend he writes:

    “In the interests of the children I have still another
    request to make--that you would record in writing the most
    important facts about each separate child. It seems to me most
    necessary for the comprehension, and for the true treatment
    of child-nature, that such observations should be made public
    from time to time, in order that children may become better and
    better understood in their manifestations, and may therefore
    be more rightly treated, and that true care and observation of
    unsophisticated childhood may ever increase.”--_L., p. 89._

Froebel made these requests, as he made his own observations, as the
result of the conviction with which he declares himself “thoroughly

    “that the movements of the young and delicate mind of the
    child, although as yet so small as to be almost unnoticeable,
    are of the most essential consequence to his future
    life.”--_P., p. 53._

    “Why do we observe the child less than the germ of a plant? Is
    it to be supposed that in the child, the capacity to become
    a complete human being is contained less than in the acorn
    is contained the capacity to become a strong, vigorous and
    complete oak?”--_P., p. 62._

    “We cannot pass over unmentioned the fact, essential for
    the whole life of the child, for the whole course of his
    development, that phenomena and impressions which seem to us
    insignificant, and which we generally leave unnoticed, have for
    the child, and especially for his inner world, most important
    results, since the child develops more through what seems to
    us small and imperceptible, than through what appears to us
    large and striking … hence--wholly contrary to prevailing
    opinion--nowhere is consideration of that which is small and
    insignificant of more importance than in the nursery.”--_P., p.

Professor Dewey, one of the few important educational writers who do
justice to Froebel as a pioneer, gives as a general summary of his
educational principles:

“1. That the primary business of school is to train children in
co-operative and mutually helpful living; to foster in them the
consciousness of mutual interdependence, and to help them practically in
making the adjustments that will carry this spirit into overt deeds.

“2. That the primary root of all educative activity is in the
instinctive, impulsive attitudes and activities of the child, and
not in the presentation and application of external material, whether
through the ideas of others or through the senses; and that, accordingly,
numberless spontaneous activities of children, plays, games, mimic
efforts, even the apparently meaningless motions of infants--exhibitions
previously ignored as trivial, futile, or even condemned as positively
evil--are capable of educational use, nay, are the foundation-stones of
educational effort.

“3. That these individual tendencies and activities are organized and
directed through the uses made of them in keeping up the co-operative
living already spoken of; taking advantage of them to reproduce on the
child’s plane the typical doings and occupations of the larger maturer
society into which he is finally to go forth; and that it is through
production and creative use that valuable knowledge is secured and

So little, however, are these principles understood as Froebel’s, that
in the Pedagogical Seminary for July, 1900, a paper was published on
“The Reconstruction of the Kindergarten,” wherein it was maintained
that the basis of reconstruction must be the child’s natural instincts.
The writer, Mr. Eby, had apparently no idea that the Kindergarten was
originally based on this very foundation. He evidently did not know
that Froebel has given, in his “Education of Man,” a very fair account
of these instincts, omitting nothing of great importance, and pointing,
at least, to a better principle of classification than that adopted by
Mr. Eby.[4] It is, however, only fair to Froebel to mention that he
himself regarded his own account as far from being commensurate with
the importance of the subject, for the year following that of the
publication of “The Education of Man” he writes:

    “Since these spontaneous activities of children have not yet
    been thoroughly thought out from a high point of view, and
    have not yet been regarded from what I might almost call their
    cosmical and anthropological side, we may from day to day
    expect some philosopher to write a comprehensive book about
    them.”--_A., p. 76._

The problems Froebel endeavoured to solve are precisely those which are
absorbing the genetic psychologist of the present day, as stated, for
example, in Mr. Irving King’s “Psychology of Child Development,” viz.:
“to examine the various forms of the child’s activity, to get some
insight into the nature of the child himself”--“to get at the meaning of
child-life in terms of itself.”

Every reader of “The Education of Man” will remember how Froebel uses his
own boyish reminiscences to help others to understand childish actions
often utterly misunderstood. In his paper on “Movement Plays” he writes:

    “In that nurture of childhood which is intended to assist
    development, it is by no means sufficient to supply
    play-material in proportion merely to the stage of development
    already outwardly manifest. It is at the same time of the
    utmost importance to trace out the inner process of development
    and to satisfy its demands.… In the nurture, development, and
    education of the child, and especially in the attempt to employ
    him, his own nature, his own life and energy must be the main
    consideration. The knowledge of isolated and external phenomena
    may occasionally be a guide-post pointing our direction, but
    it can never be a path leading to the specific aim of child
    culture and education; for _the condition of education is none
    other than comprehension of the whole nature and essence of
    humanity as manifested in the child_.”--_P., p. 239._

Just as Mr. Irving King, writing in 1904, says that we must take as our
starting-point the child’s bodily activities, so did Froebel too declare,

    “The present time makes upon the educator the wholly
    indispensable requirement--to comprehend the earliest activity,
    the first action of the child.”--_P., p. 16._

To this first action, Froebel devotes a whole paper, “Das erste
Kindesthun,” the opening sentence of which contains the words:

    “As the new-born child, like a ripe grain of corn, bears
    life within itself which will be developed progressively
    and spontaneously, though in close connection with life in
    general, so activity and action are the first manifestations of
    awakening child-life.”--_P., p. 23._

Writing in 1847, Froebel says that “decision, zeal, and perseverance”
must be brought to bear upon his plan, in order that:

    “(_a_) More careful observation of the child, his relationships
    and his line of development, may become general amongst us; and

    “(_b_) A better grounded insight be obtained into the child’s
    being, mental and physical, and the general collective
    conditions of his life.… Deeper insight will be gained into
    the meaning and importance of the child’s actions and outward
    manifestations.”--_L., p. 248._

This quotation is important as showing that Froebel was deliberately
looking for “_a line of development_,” that he might better understand
“the child’s being, mental and physical.” Considering that Froebel wrote
between 1826 and 1850, the important points on which he may be said to
have successfully anticipated modern psychology are, his recognition that
the mind is what he calls “a tri-unity” of action, feeling, and thought;
his treatment of early mental activity and his definition of will; his
conception of the earliest consciousness as an undifferentiated whole;
his recognition of the importance of action not only in the realm of
perception, but also in that of feeling; and his surprisingly complete
account of instinct. Such anticipations are due to the fact that the idea
of development then new to the scientific world possessed his very soul.

    “Humanity, _which lives only in its continuous development_ and
    cultivation, seems to us dead and stationary, something to be
    modelled over again and again in accordance with its present
    type. We are ignorant of our own nature and the nature of
    humanity.…”--_E., p. 146._

    “God neither ingrafts nor inoculates. He _develops_ the
    most trivial and imperfect things in continuously ascending
    series and in accordance with eternal self-grounded and
    self-developing laws. And God-likeness is and ought to be man’s
    highest aim in thought and deed.”--_E., p. 328._

Justice has already been done to Froebel’s philosophy by Dr. John Angus
MacVannel, who says in his closing paragraph:

“Froebel’s system has that unmistakable mark of greatness about it
that makes it worth our faithful effort to understand it, and turn
its conclusions to our advantage.… His philosophy of education taken
as a whole seems, perhaps, the most satisfactory we have yet had. One
cannot but believe, however, that the candid reader will at times
find conclusions in his writings sustained by reasonings, that are
inadequately developed and important questions by no means satisfactorily
answered.… On the other hand we must not forget that it is insight,
rather than exactitude, that is the life of a philosophy; herein lies the
secret of Froebel’s lasting influence and power.”[5]



It is probably due to the emphasis which Froebel laid upon the careful
observation and equally careful interpretation of the very earliest
manifestations of mental activity, that his views as to mental analysis
approach so closely to more modern ideas. His psychology cannot possibly
be dismissed as “faculty psychology” in which the mind of a child is
regarded as a smaller and weaker replica of the mind of an adult. The
older psychologies, Professor Stout points out, are based chiefly, if not
entirely, on introspection alone, while Froebel, as we have already seen,
demanded close observation of children in general, and of “each separate
child,” as well as consideration of mental development in the race, in
addition to introspection.

This “too exclusive reliance upon introspection” to which Professor Stout
refers as “the fundamental error” of the faculty psychology, caused the
older writers to infer that just as a child is possessed of legs, arms
and hands, smaller and weaker, but otherwise apparently the same as those
of an adult, even so did he possess mental “faculties,” such as memory
and imagination, which, like the little legs and arms, only required
exercise in order to grow strong. “It never occurred to them,” writes
Professor Stout, “that the powers of understanding, willing, imagining,
etc., instead of existing at the outset, might have arisen as the result
of a long series of changes, each of which paved the way for the next.”
It did more than “_occur_” to Froebel, it was a cardinal point with him.
Professor Stout points out that the idea of development is essential
to mental science, and Froebel was a biologist actually studying
development, before he became a psychologist. He came to the study of
mind prepared to find just such a series of changes.[6] In speaking of
evolution in general, he says:

    “Each successive stage of development does not exclude the
    preceding, but takes it up into itself, ennobled, uplifted,
    perfected.”--_P., p. 198._

    He speaks of:

    “the master thought, the fundamental idea of our time, that is,
    the education and development of mankind.”--_L., p. 149._

And in his “Education of Man,” in a long and eloquent passage on the need
for continuity of training from the tiniest of beginnings, he says:

    “It is highly pernicious and even destructive to consider the
    stages of human development as distinct, and not as life shows
    them, continuous in themselves, in unbroken transitions.”--_E.,
    p. 27._

The analysis of mind which Froebel recognizes, is the still commonly
accepted “tri-partite,” but he never fails to refer to this as a unity or
a tri-unity. Indeed, his constant harping upon this string becomes almost
wearisome, in spite of the ingenuity with which he continually varies his

    “The early phenomenon of child-life, of human existence in
    childhood, is an activity, one with feeling and perception
    (Wahrnehmen).”--_P., p. 23._

    “That the nature of man shows itself early in the life of
    the child, as feeling, acting and representing, thinking and
    perceiving, and that in this tri-unity is included the whole of
    his life utterance and activity, we have said repeatedly, and
    it lies open for any one to notice.”--_P., p. 122._

Disguised as Love, Life, and Light, this trinity is made the connection
of man, on the one side with Nature, on the other side with God. God--who
is Life, Love, and Light, the All--shows Himself in Nature, in the
universe as life (energy), in humanity as love, and in wisdom or in the
spirit as light. Energy or life man shares with Nature; by love he is
united with humanity; and by light or wisdom he is at one with God.

For his “gift plays” Froebel claims that they “take hold of the child in
the tri-unity of his nature”:

    “As now each of the single plays separately considered takes
    hold of the child early, in the tri-unity of his nature, as
    doing, feeling, and thinking, so yet more do the employments as
    a whole.”--_P., p. 56._

And a forcible passage runs:

    “Only if the child is treated through fostering his instinct
    for activity in the tri-unity of his nature, as living, loving,
    and perceiving, in the unity of his life, only thus can he
    develop as that which he is, the manifold and organized, but in
    himself single, whole.”--_P., p. 12._

This development of the threefold yet single nature constitutes
the “harmonious development,” reiterated _ad nauseam_ and without
explanation, in Kindergarten text-books. It is also the key to much that
seems to us useless detail as to the toys and games of early childhood.
The mother is told that:

    “It is of the highest importance for the nurse to consider the
    earliest and slightest traces of the organization (Gliederung)
    within itself of the child’s mind as bodily, emotional and
    intellectual, that in his development from mere existence
    to perception and thought, none of these directions of his
    nature should be fostered at the expense of the other … the
    real foundation, the starting-point of human development is
    the heart and the emotions, but cultivation of action and
    thought (die Ausbildung zur That und zum Denken) must go side
    by side with it, constantly and inseparably: and thought must
    form itself into action, and action resolve and clear itself
    into thought; but both have their roots in the emotional
    nature.”[7]--_P., p. 42._

The first part of the following quotation from a letter written in
1851 towards the close of Froebel’s life might almost be taken from a
text-book of the present day:

    “We find also three attitudes, spheres of work, and regions of
    mind in man:

    “(1) the region of the soul, the heart, Feeling;

    “(2) the region of the mind, the head, Intellect;

    “(3) the region of the active life, the putting forth to actual
    deed, Will.

    “As mental attitudes these three divisions seem the wider apart
    the more we contemplate them; as spheres of work and regions
    of mind they seem quite separate and perfect opposites. But
    the highest and most absolute opposition is that which most
    needs, and necessitates reconciliation; complete opposites
    condition their uniting link. The need for the uniting link
    appears in almost every circumstance of life.… To satisfy that
    need is the most imperative need now set before the human
    race, … you will realize that the strengthening of character
    which we all agree to be a necessity of the age, is to be
    gained not only by stimulating and elevating the soul and
    the emotions, but by raising the whole mind, by training the
    intellect and the will.… Then the heart would acknowledge and
    esteem the intellectual power, just as the intellect already
    recognizes feeling as that which gives true warmth to our
    lives; and life as a whole would make manifest the soul which
    quickens existence, and gives it a meaning, as well as the
    intellect which gives it precision and culture. _Intellect_,
    _feeling_ and _will_ would then unite, _a many-sided power_,
    to build up and constitute our life. In the room of the
    unstable character which must result from the mere cultivation
    of the one department of emotion; in the room of the doubt,
    or, I might say empty negation, which too often proceeds from
    the mere cultivation of the intellect; in the room of the
    materialism, animalism, and sensuality which must come from the
    mere attention to the body, and physical side of our nature;
    we should then have the harmonious development of every side
    of our nature alike, we should then be able to build up a life
    which would be everywhere in touch with God, with physical
    nature, with humanity at large.”--_L., p. 300._

In his article in the Encyclopædia Britannica, Dr. Ward says, that
in taking up the question of what we exactly mean by _thinking_, “we
are really passing one of the hardest and fastest lines of the old
psychology--that between sense and understanding. So long as it was the
fashion to assume a multiplicity of faculties the need was less felt for
a clear exposition of their connection. A man had senses and intellect
much as he had eyes and ears; the heterogeneity in the one case was no
more puzzling than in the other.”

In this connection it can again be shown that Froebel was in advance of
the old psychologists. In the first of the two games in the Mother-Play
book dealing with sense-training--two out of forty-nine, the remainder
dealing chiefly with action--he makes it very clear that he draws no hard
and fast line between sense and understanding. He tells the mother that
Nature speaks to the child through the senses, which act as gateways to
the world within, but that light comes from the mind:

    “Durch die Sinne, schliesst sich auf des Innern Thor
    Doch der Geist ist’s der dies zieht ans Licht hervor.”

And when he says that the baby in the cradle should not be left
unoccupied if it wakes, he uses a pronoun in the singular in referring to
“the activity of sense and mind.” He suggests hanging a cage containing a
lively bird in the child’s line of vision and adds:

    “This attracts the activity of the child’s senses and mind and
    gives _it_ nourishment in many ways.”[8]--_E., p. 49._

The faculty psychology and the formal discipline theory that came from
it, says Professor Horne, did not admit the possibility of training one
faculty, e.g. perception, by training another, e.g. reason, “it was not
the mind that was trained, but its faculties.”

It is, however, of the merest infant that Froebel uses such expressions
as “the awakening power of thought,” “the tenderest growth of mind,”
and tells the mother that he “shows trace of thought, and can draw
conclusions.” The ball is given to the baby to help him “to find himself
in the midst of his perceptive, operative, and his comparing (thinking)
activity.”[9]--_P., p. 55._ Long years before this he had written of the
teaching of drawing, “this instruction addresses itself to the senses,
and through them to the power of thought.”--_E., p. 294._

    “He who does not perceive traces of the future development of
    the child, who does not foster these with self-consciousness
    and wisdom, when they lie hidden in the depths and in the
    night, will not see them clearly, will not nourish them
    suitably, at least, not sufficiently, when they lie open before
    him.”--_P., p. 58._

Instead of ready-made faculties Froebel recognizes possibilities,
conditions, which will remain possibilities if the necessary stimulus is
not forthcoming, for in noting how the mother talks to her infant, though
she is obliged to confess that there can be no understanding of her
words, he says the mother’s instinctive action is right:

    “for that which will one day develop, and which must originate,
    begins and must begin when as yet nothing exists but the
    conditions, the possibility.”--_P., p. 40._

Elsewhere he asks:

    “Is it to be supposed that in the child the capacity for
    becoming a complete human being is contained less than in the
    acorn is contained the capacity to become a strong, vigorous
    and complete oak?”--_P., p. 62._

And he speaks of how the mother appeals to the infant as

    “understanding, perceptive and capable, for where there is not
    the germ of something, that something can never be called forth
    and appear.”--_P., p. 31._

It is true that in the same passage in which he speaks of “the tenderest
growth of mind,” he does speak of mental powers (Geisteskräfte),
as indeed every one does, but a few lines above he has spoken of
“the cultivation of the mental power of the child in different
directions.”[10] Besides, the mental powers to which he here alludes, and
which are to be awakened and fostered in the infant, are the powers “to
compare, to infer, to judge, to think.”--_P., p. 57._ Here, too, Froebel
gives a description of what he means by memory, and it is clearly not a
separate faculty considered apart from another faculty, viz. imagination:

    “The plays carried on with the ball awaken and exercise the
    power of the child’s mind to place again before himself
    mentally a vanished object, to see it mentally even when the
    outer perception is gone; these games awaken and practise the
    power of re-presenting, of remembering, of holding fast in
    remembrance an object formerly present, of again thinking of
    it; that is, they foster the memory.”--_P., p. 57._

So even the infant is to think, and the progress is well described in the
Mother Plays as

    “from experience of a thing, joined with thought about it, up
    to pure thought.”--_M., p. 121._

In a lecture[11] given many years ago, Dr. Ward sought to drive home to
teachers the futility of this hard and fast line between sense training
and training to think. And there are some interesting parallels between
Dr. Ward’s metaphors here and Froebel’s writing in “The Education of
Man.” Dr. Ward said:

“Training of the senses, as it is not very happily called, is, if it
is anything, so much intellectual exercise.… And nothing can be more
absurd than to suppose it is not necessary.… By a judicious training in
observation you begin to make a child think when it is five years old.…
If a child is to think to any purpose, he must think as he goes on; as
soon as the material he has gathered begins to oppress him he must think
it into shape, or it will tend to smother intellectual life at its dawn,
as a bee is drowned in its own honey, for want of cells in which to store

It is in describing how the little child collects pebbles, twigs, leaves,
etc., that Froebel writes:

    “The child loves all things that enter his small horizon and
    extend his little world. To him the least thing is a new
    discovery; but it must not come dead into the little world, nor
    lie dead therein, lest it obscure the small horizon and crush
    the little world.… It is the longing for interpretation that
    urges the child to appeal to us … the intense desire for this
    that urges him to bring his treasures to us and lay them in our
    laps.”--_E., p. 73._

The help we are told to give at first is merely to supply the child with
a name, for “through the name the form is retained in memory and defined
in thought.” Later the mother is told to provide “encouragement and help,
that the child may weave into a whole what he has found scattered and
parted.” As a type of the help considered necessary we have:

    “‘Mother, are the pigeons and hens birds, for the pigeons live
    in pigeon-houses and the chickens don’t fly?’ ‘Have they no
    feathers, child; have they no wings? Haven’t they two legs like
    all birds?’ ‘Are the bees and butterflies and beetles birds,
    too: for they have wings and fly much higher.…’ ‘Look, they
    have no feathers, they build no nests.’”--_M., p. 56._

In another passage Froebel calls it not only advisable but necessary
that the parents, without being pedantic or over-anxious, should connect
the child’s doings with language, because this “increases knowledge,
and awakens that judgment and reflection (die Urtheilskraft und das
Nachdenken), to which man, left to Nature, does not attain sufficiently
early.”--_E., p. 79._

Giving names, and helping in classification is surely a sufficient
parallel to Dr. Ward’s “thinking the material into shape,” and just as
the latter says that by such training you can “make a child think” when
it is five years old, so Froebel in his chapter on “Man in Earliest
Childhood” makes his ideal father “sum up his rule of conduct in a few
words,” declaring that: “To lead children early to think, this I consider
the first and foremost object of child-training.”--_E., p. 87._

Froebel’s theories, then, cannot be dismissed as based on “faculty
psychology,” since it seems clear that wherever he found them his views
on mental analysis were very similar to those now generally accepted.
It is more remarkable, however, that he should have modern views about
Conation and Will.



It is open to doubt whether any modern psychologist has yet given a
better definition of fully developed Will than that given by Froebel
eighty-seven years ago:

    “Will is the mental activity of man ever consciously proceeding
    from a definite point, in a definite direction, to a definite
    conscious end and aim, in harmony with the whole nature of
    humanity.”--_E., p. 96._

With this definition compare what Professor Stout has to say:

“In its most complex developments, mental activity takes the form of
self-conscious and deliberate volition, in which the starting-point is
the idea of an end to be attained, and the desire to attain it; and the
goal is the realization of this end, by the production of a long series
of changes in the external world … it belongs to the essence of will, not
merely to be directed towards an end, but to ideally anticipate this and
consciously aim at it.”[12]

Between these two definitions the difference is in the omission in
Froebel’s definition of any mention of desire, and this is supplied a
little later, when, having stated that “by school here is meant neither
the schoolroom, nor school-keeping, but the conscious communication of
knowledge for a definite purpose, and in definite connection,” he ends up

    “By this knowledge, instruction and the school are to lead man
    _from desire to will_, from activity of will to firmness of
    will, and thus continually advancing, to the attainment of his
    destiny, of his earthly perfection.”--_E., p. 139._

Now Professor Stout’s whole psychology is founded on his conception of
mental activity. Towards the end of his second volume he says: “The
reader is already familiar with my general doctrine. It has pervaded
the whole treatment of psychological topics in this work. The aim of
the present chapter is to present it in a more systematic form, and to
guard it against objections. Our starting-point lies in the conception of
mental activity as the direction of mental process towards an end.”

It is distinctly significant, therefore, to find how closely Froebel’s
ideas on the subject resemble Professor Stout’s conception of mental

“Conscious process,” writes Professor Stout, “is in every moment directed
towards an end, whether this end be distinctly or vaguely recognized by
the conscious subject, or not recognized at all.”

Froebel writes:

    “In all activity, in every deed of man, even as a child,
    yes the very smallest, an aim is expressed, a reference to
    something, to the furthering or representing of something; …
    thus the child strives, even if unconsciously, to make his
    inner life objective, and through that perceptible, that so he
    may become conscious of it.”--_P., pp. 237-240._

The same idea, that conscious process is directed to an end, though there
may be no consciousness of that end, is given in another passage, where
Froebel is speaking of the need for satisfying a child’s normal desire
for playthings.

    “Very often the child seeks for something, nevertheless he
    himself does not know at all what he seeks; at another time he
    puts something away from him and again knows not why.”--_P., p.

Of the earliest mental activity Professor Stout writes:

“In its earliest and simplest form, mental activity consists in those
simple reactions which without being determined by any definite idea of
an end to be realized, tend on the whole to the maintenance of immediate
pleasure and the avoidance of immediate pain.”

The movements of the organism at this earliest stage “seem primarily
adapted to the conservation and furtherance of vital process in

Froebel speaks of the child’s efforts:

    “to put far from him that which is opposed to the needs of his
    life and yet would break in upon it.”--_P., p. 167._

He tells the mother that, in the first stages at least, the restlessness
and tears of the infant will warn her of the presence of anything in his
surroundings hurtful to his development, while his laughter and movements
of pleasure will show “what according to the feeling of the child is
suited to the undisturbed development of his life as an immature human

Mr. Stout goes on to say that such simple reactions are adapted
“secondarily and by way of necessary corollary to the conservation and
furtherance of conscious life.” He tells us that: “The primary craving
with which the education of the senses begins, so far as it does not
involve such practical needs as that of food, may be described as a
general craving for stimulation or excitement … this conation being in
the first instance in the highest degree indeterminate.”

Froebel, who speaks of the nurse “soothing the restless child _vaguely
striving_ for definite and satisfactory outward activity,” tells us that:

    “if his bodily needs are satisfied and he feels himself well
    and strong, the first spontaneous employment of the child is
    spontaneous taking in (selbstthätiges Aufnehmen) of the outer
    world.”--_P., p. 29._

He writes to Madame Schmidt, the cousin for whose assistance he has
begged in observing children:

    “This spontaneous activity of limb and vividness of sensation
    natural to infancy, and I may say inseparable from it, must
    also be carefully studied.”--_L., p. 110._

And, in the Mother Songs, he says:

    “You can see how his bodily activity, the movement and use of
    his limbs, like the activity of his senses, all turn towards
    one point: Life must be grasped, experienced and perceived …
    he wants to appropriate the outer and to re-embody it … his
    susceptibility for all that gives and takes up life will strike
    you as something that elevates his life in every way; even
    as young plants and animals are susceptible to the faintest
    workings of light and warmth, or the impressions of their
    environment, however delicate. Moreover, this receptivity
    is most closely related to great general excitability and
    sensibility (Erregbarkeit, Reizbarkeit).”--_M., pp. 119-121._

Froebel’s views as to the nature both of early and of later mental
activity then bear a strong resemblance to the modern view as stated by
Professor Stout.[14]

In searching Froebel’s writings to find what he has to say about the
stages lying between early mental activity and fully developed will,
between what he calls “natural activity of the will, and true genuine
firmness of will,” it soon becomes clear that it is impossible to
separate what is said about will development, from what is said about
intellectual development.[15] This is a natural consequence of Froebel’s
constant insistence on the unity of consciousness, and it is the position
of modern psychology, whether written from the analytic or the genetic
point of view. Mr. Irving King writes: “The functional point of view
emphasizes first of all the intimate inter-relation of all forms of
mental activity and the impossibility of describing any one aspect
of consciousness except with reference to consciousness as a whole.”
Professor Stout, in his “Analytic Psychology,” has a section entitled
“Conation and Cognition developed co-incidentally,”[16] while Froebel

    “Thought must form itself in action, and action resolve and
    clear itself in thought.”--_P., p. 42._

Froebel speaks of his projected institution at Helba as “fundamental,”

    “inasmuch as in training and instruction it will rest on the
    foundation from which proceed all genuine knowledge and all
    genuine practical attainments; it will rest on life itself
    and on creative efforts, _on the union and interdependence of
    doing and thinking_, representation and knowledge, art and
    science. The institution will base its work on the pupil’s
    personal efforts in work and expression, making these, again,
    the foundation of all genuine knowledge and culture. Joined
    with thoughtfulness, these efforts become a direct medium of
    culture.”--_E., p. 38._

Professor Stout’s account of how the unconscious mental activity of early
childhood becomes transformed into the definite and conscious activity of
fully developed will is, stated briefly, something to this effect. It is
of the essence of conation to seek its own satisfaction, and this is only
possible as the conation becomes definite. “Blind craving gives place to
open-eyed desire,” as the original conation tends to define itself. So
“the gradual acquisition of knowledge through experience is but another
expression for the process whereby the originally blind craving becomes
more distinct and more differentiated.” The grouping of cognitions is not
produced by the conscious needs: “It is the way in which the conation
itself grows and develops.”

For this account we can find a wonderfully exact parallel in one of
Froebel’s less well-known papers, that on “Movement Plays.”

    “All outer activity of the child has its ultimate and
    distinctive foundation in his inmost nature and life.
    The deepest craving of this inner activity is to behold
    itself mirrored in some outward object. In and through such
    representation, the child himself grasps and perceives the
    nature, direction and aim of his own activity, and learns
    also further to regulate and determine his life, that is his
    activity, according to these outward phenomena.”--_P., p. 238._

This craving for outward representation, by satisfaction of which the
child gains knowledge of the ends of his activity, is an exact equivalent
of Stout’s blind craving which gives place to open-eyed desire as
it tends to define itself. Froebel’s conclusion, that only as this
unconscious or blind craving for action is satisfied does the child
become “conscious of the nature, direction and ends of his own activity,”
is but another way of stating Professor Stout’s conclusion, that the
grouping of cognitions, which is the gradual acquirement of knowledge
through experience, is “the way in which the conation itself grows and
develops.” So, cognition and conation are developed simultaneously, or,
to repeat Froebel’s own phrase, “Thought forms itself in action, and
action resolves and clears itself in thought.”

Professor Stout goes on to say that in this defining process one conation
springs out of another, whereby as one conation is satisfied and so comes
to an end, another becomes in its turn the end of activity. He takes as
illustration the child learning to walk, saying, “The mental attitude of
the child learning to walk is one of conscious endeavour. When he has
become habituated to the act, he performs it without attending to his
movements, his mind being fixed on the attainment of other ends.” Froebel
proceeds in the same way, using the very same example. He has already
said that at first the child:

    “cares for the use of his body, his senses and limbs, merely
    for the sake of their use and practice, but not for the sake of
    the results of this use. He is wholly indifferent to this; _or,
    rather, he has as yet no idea whatever of this_.”--_P., p. 48._

Now, in the paper on movement, he goes on:

    “Each sure and independent movement gives the child pleasure,
    because of the feeling of power which it arouses in him.
    Even simple walking produces this effect, for it gives the
    child a threefold feeling, a threefold consciousness: First,
    the consciousness that he _moves_ himself; secondly, that he
    moves himself from one place to another; third, that through
    this movement he attains or reaches something.… It is a
    well-established fact that his first walking gives the child
    pleasure as an expression of his power. _To this pleasure,
    however, are soon added the two joy-bringing perceptions of
    coming to something, and of being able to attain something._
    These several perceptions should all be fostered at the same
    time … he should get his limbs, and indeed his whole body,
    into his own power. He should learn to use his bodily strength
    and the activity of his limbs for definite purposes.… _The
    effort to reach a particular object may have its source in the
    child’s desire to hold himself firm and upright by it, but we
    also observe that it gives him pleasure to be actually near
    the object, to touch it, to feel it, to grasp it, and perhaps
    also--which is a new phase of activity--to be able to move it._
    Hence we see that the child when he has reached the desired
    object, hops up and down before it, and beats on it with his
    little arms and hands, in order, as it were, to assure himself
    of the reality of the object and to notice its qualities. It is
    well, _while the child is making these experiments_, to name
    the object and its parts. _The object of giving these names is
    not primarily the development of the child’s power of speech,
    but to assist his comprehension of the object_, its parts and
    its properties, _by defining his sense-impressions_.”--_P., p.

Another passage runs:

    “The present effort of mankind is an endeavour after freer
    self-development.… Therefore the more or less clear aim of the
    individual is to attain to clearness about himself and about
    life, to comprehension and right use of life, to both insight
    and accomplishment.… Therefore the educator must understand the
    earliest activity and encourage the impulse to self-culture,
    through independent doing, observing and experimenting.”--_P.,
    p. 16._

To say that a conation tends to define itself is only to say that
unconscious ends tend to be replaced by conscious ends, and we have
seen that both Froebel and Professor Stout give unconsciousness or
consciousness of the end, as the difference between earlier and later
forms of mental activity. Professor Stout’s conclusion is that “apart
from the perpetual germination of one conation out of another, the
characteristic features of the mental life of human beings would be

Now, to be conscious of one’s ends or aims is, in a certain sense, to be
self-conscious, so the transition from earlier to later forms of mental
activity is practically the development of self-consciousness. It is
interesting, therefore, to see that just as Professor Stout gives as his
explanation of human life, the perpetual germination of one conation out
of another, so Froebel gives as his explanation, his meaning of life, the
gradual development of self-consciousness.

Self-consciousness, involving true volition, or self-determination, is to
Froebel “the end of man, for which he first was planned.” It is, as he
constantly put it, man’s “destination.”

    “To become clearly conscious of all the conditions and
    relations in which and by means of which man exists makes man
    first become man in consciousness and in action.”--_P., p. 12._

    “For man is destined for consciousness, for freedom, for
    self-determination.”--_E., p. 136._

    “Self-consciousness belongs to the nature of man, is one with
    it; to become conscious of itself is the first task in the life
    of the child as a human being, as it is the task of his whole
    life.”--_P., p. 40._

“Who amongst us,” exclaims Professor Royce, “conceives himself in his
uniqueness except as the remote goal of some ideal process of coming
to himself and of awakening to the truth about his own life? Only an
infinite process can show me who I am.”[17]

Froebel never loses sight of this. In his Autobiography he tells how
he began “unwillingly” to write something in the album of a friend who
was the owner of a beautiful farm, and he concludes: “Then my thoughts
grew clear and I continued, ‘Thou givest man bread; let my aim be to
give man himself.’” That he verily believed that the gradual development
of self-consciousness is the first task in the life of the child is
abundantly evident. In the very beginning of his Mother Songs he tells
the mother to give her child something to push against, “to bring the
child to self-knowledge as soon as possible,” and at the end he says,
“When a child or human being has found himself and has firm hold over
himself, he is ready to walk joyfully through life.”

In “The First Action of a Child,” Froebel writes:

    “The nature of man, as man, is that he is self-conscious, and
    this is stamped with distinctness enough to be observed in
    the quite peculiar character of childish activity,[18] in
    his impulse to busy himself self-actively, spontaneously: an
    impulse which awakens simultaneously with mind, and which is
    in harmony with feeling and perception. If this tendency to
    spontaneous activity is fostered, man’s triune nature--energy,
    emotion and intellect--is satisfied.”--_P., p. 21._

A realization of what Sir Oliver Lodge calls “the universal struggle for
self-manifestation and corporeal realization, which plays so large a part
in all activity,” underlies all that Froebel has to say of the progress
from unconscious activity to self-conscious volition. His view of the
Universe is exactly that tentatively suggested by Professor Lodge, viz.
that something akin to this universal struggle “is exhibited in a region
beyond and above what is ordinarily conceived of as ‘Nature.’ The process
of evolution can be regarded as the gradual unfolding of the Divine
Thought or Logos, throughout the universe, by the action of Spirit upon

This takes us out of the region of psychology, but Froebel’s subject was
not psychology, _per se_, but child development, as a part of the whole
plan of evolution, man being the most highly developed of creatures.

The whole universe is an expression of the Divine, but man alone can
become conscious of his origin.

    “All things are destined to reveal God in their external and
    transient being.… It is the special destiny of man, as an
    intelligent and rational being to become conscious of his
    divine essence and to render this active, to reveal it in his
    life, with self-determination and freedom.”--_E., p. 2._

“Made in the image of God,” meant to Froebel self-conscious and
self-determined. The relation of man to God is expressed by Froebel as
the relation of the thought to the thinker “_could the thought but become
conscious of itself_.” In a letter of 1843, he says:

    “At the basis of the Kindergarten lies an idea which serves
    alike for all the interstellar spaces, for all systems of the
    sun; the fulfilment of the divine will and the manifestation
    of the same. _In order to become such a manifestation
    of the divine, man has first to attain the basis of
    self-consciousness_; to which end serves the early culture of
    the spirit of humanity in the world of childhood.”--_L., p.

In a paper entitled “A Second Review of the Plays,” which really deals
chiefly with evolution, we read:

    “We must see clearly the conditions of development in Nature
    and then employ them in life. Thus only can we raise man upon
    his own plane, that is, the spiritual plane, at least to such a
    degree of perfection as is shown on their plane by the types of

    “Man--the all-surveying--must develop himself by gradual growth
    of consciousness, must raise himself eventually to clear
    consciousness of the foundation, conditions and goal of his
    life.”--_P., p. 198._

It was as clear to Froebel as to Professor Lloyd Morgan that the lower
animals are kept from reaching self-consciousness by the definiteness
of their instincts,[19] but to Froebel as to Browning “in completed Man
begins anew a tendency to God.” Like Browning again, Froebel finds that
man has “somewhat to cast off, somewhat to become,” he, too, “finds
Progress man’s distinctive mark alone, not God’s, and not the beasts’;
God is, they are, man partly is, and wholly hopes to be.”

    “Man in his first period of life on earth is to be regarded
    while a child in three separate relations, which are united in

    “(_a_) As a child of Nature, that is according to his
    earthly and natural conditions and connections, and in this
    relation bound, chained, unconscious, subject to impulses
    (als ein gebundenes, gefesseltes, unbewusstes, den Trieben

    “(_b_) As a child of God, and in this relation as a free being,
    destined to self-consciousness.

    “(_c_) As a child of Humanity, and in this relation, as
    a being struggling from bondage toward freedom, toward
    consciousness.”--_P., p. 11._

And the beginning of all he finds in “The First Action of the Child.” In
the paper to which he gives this title Froebel writes:

    “Helplessness and personal will, a mind of one’s own, soon
    become therefore the turning-points of child-life, the fulcrum
    of which is free spontaneous activity, self-employment.”--_P.,
    p. 27._

It is because Froebel believes this, that we hear so much of creative
activity. Consciousness, which Meredith calls “the great result of mortal
suffering,” is the outcome of all the unconscious striving.

    “The child, although unconsciously, strives to make his life
    outwardly objective, and thus perceptible and so to become
    conscious of it.”--_P., p. 240._

    “Man only comes to the power of self-examination and
    self-knowledge in any relation whatever with the greatest
    difficulty, and must first learn to study himself … in the
    mirror of Nature and of all creation.”--_L., p. 57._

    “The child must perceive and grasp his own life in an objective
    manifestation before he can perceive and grasp it in himself.
    Such mirroring of the inner life, such making of the inner life
    objective, is essential, for through it, the child comes to
    self-consciousness and learns to order, determine and master
    himself.”--_P., p. 238._

Froebel realizes then, that true volition is the outcome of unconscious
striving, that it can only come through action, and, what is most
important, through action which is the outcome of feeling, “worthy his
effort.” So, while stating that the formation of “a pure, strong and
enduring will” is the main object of education, he takes care to point
out that unless the boy is allowed to carry out in action “that which is
within,” ideas which have appealed to him, and which he has already made
his own, that main object will not be easily attainable.

    “To raise activity of will to firmness of will, and so to
    arouse, and form a pure, strong and enduring will, for the
    representation of a characteristic humanity, is the chief aim,
    the main object of the school.… The starting-point of all
    mental activity in the boy should be energetic and healthy,
    the direction should be simple and definite, the aim certain
    and conscious, and worthy of his effort. Therefore to raise
    the natural activity of the will to true genuine firmness of
    will, all the boy’s activities should have reference to the
    development and accomplishment of what is within him. Activity
    of will proceeds from activity of the feelings, and firmness
    of will from firmness of the feelings, and where the first is
    lacking, the second will be difficult of attainment.”--_E., p.



It is in the emphasis he lays upon the mental activity of the child from
the very first, that Froebel approaches so closely to the position of the
modern psychologist, and in his account of the earliest consciousness he
distinctly resembles Professors Ward and Stout.

Only to “some of our most distinguished modern psychologists” does
Professor Stout attribute a strong disposition to recognize in the
elementary processes of perception and association, the rudimentary
presence of these mental operations which in their higher form we call
reasoning and constructive imagination.

Now Froebel writes:

    “One can recognize and watch, even in the first stages of
    childhood, though only in their slightest traces and tenderest
    germs, all the mental activities which certainly do not stand
    out prominently till later life. Say not, ye parents, How can
    such tendencies lie already in the life of the child still so
    unconscious and so helpless? If they did not lie in it they
    could never be developed from it … for where there is not
    the germ of something, this something will never be called
    forth and appear.… As man is a being intended for increasing
    self-consciousness, so shall he also become an inferring and
    judging being (schliessendes und urtheilendes). Man has also a
    quite characteristic power of imagination, and--what must never
    be forgotten, but continually kept before the eyes as important
    and guiding--the new-born child not only will become man, but
    the man with all his qualities, and with the unity of his
    being, already appears and indeed is in the child.”--_P., pp.

Psychologists in general, says Professor Stout, show a tendency, which he
regards as erroneous, “to ignore the constructive aspect of early mental
process, to recognize mental productiveness only in complete and advanced
stages of mental development.”

But Froebel, in speaking of the mother’s play with a mere infant, when
the coloured ball may present “the perception of an object as such,” most
distinctly states that the child’s “first impressions, as it were the
first cognitions,” come to him in these early plays by _means of his own
activity_, an activity of body emphatically, as we shall see presently,
but an activity also of mind, of perception, “durch Wahrnehmen … durch
dunkles Auffassen … durch Selbst-thätigkeit.”[20]

Froebel uses such expressions as “the spontaneous reception” and even
“the critical reception of the outer world,” just as Dr. Ward, in
refusing to recognize an internal sense, says “the new facts … are due to
our mental activity, and not to a special mode of what has been called
our sensitivity.”

The active, rather than the passive attitude, strikes Froebel so forcibly
that he calls the two modes of consciousness, the receiving of, and
reacting upon impressions, a “double expression.”

    “The first voluntary needs of the child, if its bodily needs
    are satisfied and it feels well and strong, are observation
    of its surroundings, spontaneous reception of the outer world
    (selbstthätiges Aufnehmen der Aussenwelt) and play, which is
    spontaneous expression, or acting out of what is within. This
    double expression (Diese Doppeläusserung) of taking in and
    expressing outwardly is necessarily grounded in its nature, as
    in human nature in general; since the child’s first earthly
    destiny is to attain by critical reception (durch prüfende
    Aufnahme) of the outer world into itself, by manifold inward
    impressions and outward expressions of its inner world, and
    by critical comparison of both, to the recognition of their
    unity.…”--_P., p. 29._

Professor Stout attributes this ignoring by certain psychologists of
the constructive aspect of early mental process to a false view of the
nature both of association and of construction, the fundamental fallacy
of the associationists lying in their disposition to explain the nature
and existence of a whole by reference to the nature and existence of the
parts which are contained in it, so that “the parts must be supposed
to pre-exist before they are combined, and to pre-exist in such a way
that they need only to be in some manner externally brought together or
associated in order to constitute the whole which contains them.”

In like manner Dr. Ward accuses psychologists of having “usually
represented mental advance as consisting fundamentally in the combination
and recombination of various elementary units, the so-called sensations
and primitive movements, or, in other words, in a species of mental

That Froebel seems to have avoided the error thus pointed out by those
two psychologists, is surprising enough, but it is even more surprising
to find that this is probably due to the fact that his conception of the
earliest possible consciousness is very much like theirs.

In rejecting “the atomistic view,” Professor Ward maintains that “the
further we go back, the nearer we approach to a total presentation,
having the character of one general continuum in which differences are

Froebel’s account, as given in “The Education of Man,” is very similar:

    “Although in itself made up of the same objects and of the same
    organization, the external world comes to the child at first,
    out of its void, as it were, in misty, formless indistinctness,
    in chaotic confusion, even the child and the outer world merge
    into one another.”--_E., p. 40._

This description reminds us of Professor James’ picturesque expression,
“big, blooming, buzzing confusion,” which is so often quoted, but which
does not really convey so true a picture as Dr. Ward’s account, for where
there is no distinction there can surely be no confusion. But a few pages
further on we find Froebel describing the infant consciousness before
speech begins, as “_still an unorganized, undifferentiated unity_” (noch
eine ungegliederte mannigfaltigkeitslose Einheit). This is identical with
the expression used by Professor Stout, who, in speaking of the stage to
which he gives the name “implicit apprehension,” the apprehension of an
unanalysed whole, uses the phrase “distinctionless unity.” Froebel talks
of the child feeling himself a whole and “so also, though unconsciously,
seeking to grasp a whole, never merely a part as such.” And just as Dr.
Ward claims for psychology as well as for biology “what may be called a
principle of progressive differentiation or specialization,” so Froebel

    “The child mind develops according to the law which governs
    world development, viz.: that of progression from the unlimited
    to the limited, from the general to the special, from the whole
    to the part.”--_P., p. 170._

In this, of course, lies the reason for Froebel’s correct apprehension
of the infant mind, he was biologist first, and his mind was full of the
idea of development.

    “At the same time there begins in the child, as in the
    seed-corn, a development towards complexity.”--_P., p. 172._

    “Whether we are looking at a seed or an egg, whether we
    are watching feeling or thought, what is definite proceeds
    everywhere from what is indefinite and this is the way in which
    your child’s life is sure to show itself.”--_M., p. 121._

Professor Ward goes on to discuss what is implied in this process of
differentiation or mental growth, saying that if analogies are to be
taken from the physical world at all, the growth of a seed or embryo,
will furnish far better illustrations of the unfolding of the contents of
consciousness than the building up of molecules.

It was the endeavour, and quaint enough it seems to us, to translate this
psychological truth into educational practice, that led Froebel to lay so
much stress on the fact that the earliest of his so-called “Gifts” are
indivisible wholes:

    “Let us place ourselves at the nursery table, and try to
    perceive what the child is impelled to do in the beginning
    of his self-employment. Let us sit ourselves as unnoticed as
    possible considering how the child, after he has examined the
    self-contained tangible object in its form and colour, has
    moved it here and there and proved its solidity, how he then
    tries to divide it, at least to change its form.… Thus _after
    perception of the whole, the child desires to see it separated_
    into parts.… Let us stop at this significant phenomenon and
    try to discern through it what plaything following on the
    self-contained ball, hard and soft, and the solid hard cube, we
    should for inner reason and without arbitrariness give to the
    child.”--_P., p. 117._

Then come directions as to the manner in which the toy is to be presented:

    “in order to give the child _the impression of the whole_ (den
    Eindrück des Ganzen). _From this as the first fundamental
    perception_ (der ersten Grundanschauung) _everything proceeds
    and must proceed_.”[21]

Starting from the conception of an undifferentiated totality or objective
continuum, Dr. Ward says, “Of the very beginnings of this continuum we
can say nothing, absolute beginnings are beyond the pale of science.
Actual presentation consists in this continuum being differentiated;
every differentiation constitutes a new presentation. Hence the
common-place of psychologists: ‘We are only conscious as we are conscious
of change.’” …

As to absolute beginnings, Froebel too writes that these are past
finding out, but he does so in order to call the mother’s attention to
the importance of the very earliest steps:

    “Do not say, It is much too early.… Too early? Do you know
    when, where and how your child’s intellectual development
    begins? Can you tell when and where is the boundary of
    existence that has not yet begun, and of its actual beginning,
    and how this boundary manifests itself?”--_M., p. 154._

Coming now to what Froebel has to say as to how his “unorganized unity”
becomes differentiated, we shall not find that his brief account differs
in any really fundamental way from that of Professor Ward. Some of his
expressions have a very modern sound, such as: “how the outer world
begins to divide and analyse itself”; how “out of the indefinite outside
and around the child comes the definite”; or again how the child gains
“the three great perceptions of object, space and time, which at first
were one collective perception.” (“Die drei grossen Wahrnehmungen von
Gegenstand, Raum und Zeit; welche anfangs in einer Gesammtwahrnehmung in
dem Kinde ruhten.”)--_P., p. 37._

Commenting upon the phrase “We are only conscious as we are conscious
of change,” Dr. Ward remarks that the word change does not sufficiently
explain what happens in differentiation, for this implies that the
increased complexity is due to the persistence of former changes;
such persistence being essential to the very idea of growth or
development.… At the same time he is careful to point out that neither
in “retentiveness” nor in assimilation is there “any confronting of the
old with the new,” any “active comparison.” Without change of impression
consciousness would be a blank, but “a difference between presentations
is not at all the same as the presentation of that difference. The former
must precede the latter; the latter, which requires active comparison,
need not follow … we must recognize objects before we can compare them.”

Froebel says that:

    “All the development of the child has its foundation in
    almost imperceptible attainments and perceptions … the first
    perceptions, in the beginning almost imperceptible and
    evanescent, are fixed, increased and clarified by innumerable
    repetitions, and _by change_.”--_P., p. 38._

Froebel, too, goes back to this very earliest stage, the stage when a
baby “begins to notice.” He says that this indication of an intellect
(Seelenaeusserung) begins when the child is a few weeks old, and is
occasioned at first by the movement, that is change in position, of a
bright object, “in and by means of the motion the child first perceives
the object.”--_P., p. 64._

In another passage Froebel speaks of change as “a dim conception of
sequence, and thus of dim comparison.”

    “These first impressions come to the child by means of
    perception and seeing, and by means of coming, staying and
    vanishing (of the ball); _by means of change_, thus also, in
    a certain point of view by means of early dim conceptions of
    sequence, of foundation and result, of cause and effect, and
    thus of dim comparison.”--_P., p. 65._

A change or difference which does not imply active comparison, and a
change or sequence which does imply dim comparison are not very far
apart, and Froebel makes his meaning clearer still by using the words
“unconsciously comparing” (unbewusst vergleichend).

    “By this play his attention is called to the precise shape
    of the cube; and he will look at it sharply, unconsciously
    comparing it with the hand, to which his eyes were first
    attracted.”--_P., p. 84._

Nor does Froebel omit to notice the necessary close connection of the new
with the old, which Dr. Ward emphasizes.

    “The child very often seeks for something without at all
    knowing what he seeks; in like manner he repels something
    without at all knowing why. Yet the child does not for this
    reason turn away accidentally, neither does he seek the
    accidental. Generally it is the new for which the child
    seeks, but not a novelty which has no connection with what
    has hitherto been, for that, should it appear, would obstruct
    development. He seeks the new which has developed from the
    old, like a bud from a branch. He seeks a new unexpected turn,
    a new unexpected use of a thing, new unexpected properties,
    new and yet unconsciously anticipated development, a new
    unexpected connection with his life.… The child indeed seeks
    for the new that is outside of himself, but not on account
    of its externality. Really he is seeking the new of which he
    feels premonitions in himself, in his own development. Since,
    however, he does not yet know this, and so cannot give an
    account of it, _the child seeks especially for change_, in
    order to gain a means of growing up within himself, and of
    growing forth outwardly from himself.

    “Above all, therefore, it is the old within the child which
    clarifies, unfolds and transmutes itself, thus developing that
    which is new. The whole process takes place according to a
    definite law resting in the child himself, in his life, in life
    as such.”--_P., p. 168._

We have seen that Froebel draws no hard and fast line between sensation
and thought. On more than one occasion, he does refer to something less
definite than a perception, in one passage using the word “Eindrück,”
and in another the term “Vorentwickelung,” translated by Miss Jarvis as
“preliminary impression,” of which he says it is “to be raised later, at
the right time, by look and by word, to a clear perception.”--_P., p. 86._

In “The Education of Man,” Froebel’s earlier work, he deals with the
function of language, “the word,” in differentiating “the misty formless
darkness,” the nothing, the mist.

    “At an early period there come, too, on the part of the
    parents, corresponding words which at first separate the child
    from the outer world, but afterwards re-unite them. With the
    help of these words, these objects present themselves, at first
    singly and rarely, but later in various combinations and more
    frequently in their self-contained definite individuality. At
    last man--the child--beholds himself as a definite individual
    object, wholly distinct from all others.”--_E., p. 40._

The function of the name, as calling attention to the thing, seemed to
Froebel of so much consequence, that he says, “the name creates the thing
for the child.” It is in connection with the development of speech in
the stage just following on infancy that he says: “Up to this stage, the
inner being of man is still an unorganized undifferentiated unity. With
language, organization sets in.”

    “This period is pre-eminently the period of the development
    of the faculty of speech. Therefore it was indispensable
    that whatever the child did should be clearly and definitely
    designated by the word. Every object, every thing, became
    such, as it were only through the word; before it had been
    named, although the child might have seemed to see it with the
    outer eyes, it had no existence for him. The name, as it were,
    created the thing for the child.--_E., p. 90._

    “The object of giving names is not primarily the development of
    the child’s power of speech, but to assist his comprehension
    of the object, its parts and properties, by defining his
    sense-impressions.”--_P., p. 242._

Professor Stout also speaks of the casual naming of the object, by those
around the child as “a means of fixing the attention of the child on the
object when it would otherwise pass unnoticed,” and he guards against the
misconception that the name at the outset is a name for the child. He
calls it “merely a special sound associated with a special percept in a
quite casual and indefinite way.”

Froebel, too, is careful when he says:

    “A definite tone is to be connected with a definite perception,
    and the tone when heard again may recall the perception.”

Though Froebel has little to say about the separate senses, and what
little he has is worthless, yet on the other hand he has a great deal to
say, especially in his later writings, about the child’s bodily activity,
and the experiences and perceptions (Erfahrung-Wahrnehmen) he gains from
it. Indeed he makes so much of this, and it is so essentially a modern
way of thinking that it has been given a chapter to itself.



Once objects have begun to emerge, differentiated out of the formless
indistinctness, comes what Froebel calls the “sucking-in stage,” where
the child “makes the external internal.”

Here, more than anywhere perhaps, Froebel shows his genius, his
originality as a student of child psychology, in that he perceived that
this mental sucking-in is not merely a matter of sense organs, but that
it is also a muscular performance.

Who, before Froebel, understood the importance of motor activity from the
very earliest days, as a means of gaining ideas, or realized as we now
begin to do, that this is the true explanation of the “endless imitation
which is the child’s vocation”?

In speaking of the “new-born child,” it is activity or action which
is again and again repeated and emphasized as the outstanding
characteristic, “an activity and action devoted to working with and
prevailing over the outer.”

    “As rest appears to be the earliest requirement of the bodily
    life, so movement soon appears as the demand of the soul
    life.”--_P., p. 63._

The baby’s “feeble strength” is to be drawn into the game, where
possible, “particularly that he may experience and perceive, directly
through and in his own activity” (durch und in Eigenthätigkeit
unmittelbar selbst erfahre und wahrnehme).--_P., p. 78._

It is “through spontaneous activity, as well as through the mother’s
instinctive knowledge of his needs” that the child gains “the first
impressions of the soul, as it were, the first cognitions.”

Out of forty-nine Mother Songs, two only deal specifically with the
senses, though all deal with action, and Froebel takes care to point out
the close connection of sense and movement.

    “Limbs and senses seem to have very different provinces of
    activity, and so they have; yet so deep-seated is their linked
    interchange that neither of them fails to react on the other.
    And no Games for the limbs have presented themselves to us, not
    even the ‘Kicking Song’ which have not also made demands upon
    the sense of sight.”--_M., p. 168._

    “The use of the body and of the limbs is developed
    simultaneously and in the same proportion as the use of the
    senses, the order being determined by their own nature and the
    properties of the material world. Outer objects are near, or
    moving away, or fixed at a distance, and either invite rest,
    seizure and holding fast, or invite him who would bring them
    nearer to move towards them.”--_E., p. 47._

Froebel’s account of the significance of the ceaseless activity of
the young child anticipates to a certain extent that of Mr. Irving
King, who, in his most interesting “Psychology of Child Development,”
deals expressly with “the functional relation of consciousness to
activity.” But the views of Professor Stout as expressed in his “Analytic
Psychology,” and with which Froebel’s writing has already been compared,
and those of Mr. Irving King do not appear to clash in any way.

Mr. King begins by discussing the “sort of consciousness” a young child
must have, and concludes that it must from the very first be a unified
consciousness, however vague, any discreteness being on the part of the
object. He also states that the consciousness of a human being must
differ from that of the animal entering life with many “ready-made
complexes of adjustment,” because “Consciousness is related not to
activity, but to the growth of activity.” We have just seen that Froebel
too insists on a unified consciousness, that he too says that “the
external world,” though composed always of the same variety of objects,
“comes to the child as ‘an undifferentiated unity.’” Froebel is also
quite sound as to the difference between the mental possibilities of the
animal “whose instincts, as they are called, are at birth so definite
and strong,” and that of the child “born in the extreme condition of
helplessness,” by whom “everything external is to be overcome.”[22]

Reflex and instinctive acts which the child brings into the world
with him, says Mr. King, are unconscious, as are reflex and habitual
activities to the adult, but “the checking of a movement must make the
child more definitely conscious of it … it is no longer mere movement,
but movement-stopped-by-something. As soon as movement stands out, as
soon as the consciousness of it is interwoven with something that is not
movement, we have the basis for indefinite advance.”

Froebel says the same thing in the first of the Mother Songs, where
he takes as the point of departure for all future training this
movement-stopped-by-something, to which Mr. King refers as the earliest
beginning of consciousness. The mother is told that when her baby
“strikes out with his small arms, as he kicks with his feet,” it is a
challenge, to which she instinctively responds by giving him her hand or
her chest, “against which he tramples with alternate feet and so measures
and increases his strength.” So, he reaches “that first consciousness of
self, which is born of physical opposition to and connection with the
external world.”--_P., p. 171._

Every one knows that Froebel laid much stress on the necessity for what
is usually called “expression,” which he called _Darstellung_--often
translated “representation.” One of his reasons for this emphasis is,
however, by no means always understood, viz. that it “induces clear

It is in discussing and criticizing Professor Baldwin’s description of
imitation as a circular process, that Mr. Irving King brings out two
points of view from which we may regard imitation, that of the observer
and that of the so-called imitator. Imitation, he says, is a term for
the observer only, and not a term for psychology at all. Baldwin says
that “real or persistent imitation is the reaction that will reproduce
the stimulating impression and so tend to perpetuate itself.” But as Mr.
King shows in the case of the child who imitates his mother’s poking of
the fire, “the response of the child to the copy does not reinstate the
original stimulus.… What the child gets is not a reproduced stimulus, but
a new experience.”

In “The Education of Man,” written years before his whole attention
was given to the young child, Froebel had emphasized the necessity for
“representation” which “induces and implies clear perception.”

    “For what man tries to represent or do, that he begins to
    understand.”--_E., p. 76._

As we have seen that Froebel sets before himself the self-same task which
Mr. King states as the business of the genetic psychologist, so it should
be no surprise that he gives virtually the same answer to the question:
What do the imitative activities mean to the child?

Mr. King’s answer is that the child’s emphasis is not on the copying of
a certain act, but on the attainment of a certain experience that comes
through the copying or imitating. “The child,” he says, “is seldom or
never imitating from his own point of view, but is always trying to sort
out some of his own ill-organized experiences.”

Froebel’s words are:

    “The child, though unconsciously, strives to make his inner
    life outwardly objective and thus perceptible, and so to become
    conscious of it, to see it mirrored in the outward phenomena.
    It is for this reason that the child tries to do himself
    whatever he sees done.”--_P., p. 240._

    “If your child is to understand any action, you must let him
    carry it out himself, deeply rooted in this fact is his prompt
    and delighted imitation of whatever he finds around him.”--_M.,
    p. 16._

    “Thought must form itself in action, and action resolve and
    clear itself in thought.”--_P., p. 42._

Every stimulus, says Mr. King, is a suggestion to activity, and it is
interesting to notice how two minds working on the same lines, though
separated not only by years but by difference of language, can fall into
almost the same phrases. Mr. King unconsciously uses almost Froebel’s
very words when he writes: “_The sight of the object tends to set the
activity free_.”

Froebel writes:

    “As the ball stirs, moves, goes, runs and rolls, the child who
    is playing with it begins to feel the desire to do likewise.…
    The smallest child moves joyfully, springs gaily, hops up and
    down or beats with his arms when he sees a moving object. This
    is not merely delight in the movement of the object before him,
    but it is the working of the inner activity wakened in him by
    the sight of outer activity. _Through such vision the inner
    life has been freed._”--_P., p. 239._

We have seen that according to Froebel the earliest consciousness is a
kind of self-consciousness. Mr. Irving King says that the very beginning
of consciousness is “movement-stopped-by-something,” and Froebel says
that when the baby kicks out or tramples with his feet and the mother
responds by giving him her hand or chest to push against, the child
reaches that “first consciousness of self which is born of physical
opposition to and connection with the external world.” Here again we
come to a point in which Froebel’s insight shows well in comparison
with a typical modern genetic psychologist. “Many writers,” says Mr.
Irving King, “have tried to select out certain kinds of activity as
peculiarly connected with the development of the infant’s sense of
self.” Preyer, for instance, connects this development specially with
painful sensations; Baldwin, with experience associated with people, as
contrasted with experience of things. His own conclusion is that “it
seems more correct to say that all the child’s activities are factors
of very nearly equal importance for developing the sense of self, as
distinct from things and other people,” and it is this view that we find
in Froebel’s writings. Even in “The Education of Man” we find:

    “If man, in accordance with his destiny, is truly and
    thoroughly to know each thing of the surrounding world; if
    _with the aid of each thing he is truly and thoroughly to know
    himself_.…”--_E., p. 92._

And among his later writings, in connection with the child’s play with
bricks Froebel says:

    “True and early knowledge of Nature and of the outer world
    and _especially clear self-knowledge_ come to the child by
    this early dismembering and reconstruction and perception
    of real things, though not as yet, by any means, through
    verbal designation of the various productions of childish
    activity.”--_P., p. 123._

“Self-consciousness,” says Mr. King, “is essentially a relative and
variable term for all of us. It stands for a process of definition, that,
strictly speaking, proceeds till maturity, or even later.” And Froebel,
writing about how, through the mother’s play with a ball, a child may
gain his earliest perceptions of object, space and time, says that by the
coming and going of the ball, etc.,

    “there goes forth to the child the object, recognized as such
    by the mind and so held fast, the consciousness of the object,
    and so consciousness itself awakens in the child.”

And without a pause he goes on:

    “Self-consciousness belongs to the nature of man, and is one
    with it. To become conscious of itself is the first task in
    the life of the child, as it is the task of the whole life of
    man. That this task may be accomplished the child is, even
    from his first appearance, surrounded by a definite place and
    by objects: by the air blowing around all living creatures, as
    well as by the arousing, human, spiritual language of words.…
    Thus it is with the attainment of man to consciousness and
    the speech required and conditioned by that attainment to
    consciousness.”--_P., p. 39._

It is rather interesting to notice that in her translation of this
passage in which Froebel declares that self-consciousness comes to
a child as a result of all his surroundings, Miss Jarvis omits the
word “self.” She begins her paragraph with “Bewusstsein,” instead of
“Selbstbewusstsein” as it stands in the original. To quote Mr. King,
“It is generally held that these are two distinct attitudes, that
consciousness may exist without an accompanying consciousness of the
self as separate from the objects, activities and persons of the rest of
the world.” Probably this was Miss Jarvis’s own view, and she left out
the word “self” as having no place or meaning in the context. It was,
however, not meaningless to Froebel himself.

Mr. King continues: “The really important point is not to be able
to put the finger down on some one thing that proves a developed
self-consciousness, but to be able to show at every point that the
process of definition is a function of the growing complexity of the
child’s activities.” And, in “The First Action of a Child” Froebel writes:

    “The nature of man as a being intended for self-consciousness,
    shows itself in the quite distinctive nature of the child’s
    activity, even at the end of the so-called three months’
    slumber, in the totality of the first childish action. This
    cannot be better comprehended than by the expression ‘to busy
    himself’ (sich beschäftigen) in the impulse of the child--an
    impulse awakening simultaneously with his inner life--an
    impulse in close union with feeling and perception, to be
    active for the increasing development of his life: in this
    lies the nature of man as a being intended to grow towards and
    ultimately to become self-conscious.”--_P., p. 22._

Speaking of his second plaything, intended for a child six months old, he

    “And so his play, and through his play, his
    surroundings--finally Nature and Universe--may become a mirror
    of himself and of his life. But this cannot be too early
    facilitated, that the child at once, from the first beginning
    of his self-developing feeling of life, may grow up in exchange
    and comparison with Nature and life, and as he impresses his
    life in form, and as form on things outside, so he may again
    perceive his life therein.”--_P., p. 95._

Froebel was bound to watch for early developments of self-consciousness,
because his whole philosophy and pedagogy are based on his firm belief
that while everything in the universe is an expression of the Divine, man
alone is “destined” to express the God within “with self-determination.”
So, of the little child, he writes:

    “Because the child himself begins to represent his inner being
    outwardly, he imputes the same activity to all about him, to
    the pebble and chip of wood, to the plant, the flower, and
    the animal. And thus there is developed in the child at this
    stage his own life, his life with parents and family, and
    particularly his life in and with Nature, as if this held life
    _like that which he feels within himself_.”--_E., p. 54._

As the child grows older, the mother, Froebel continues, tries to teach
him to feel the complexity of his own body, “Give me your arm,” “Where is
your hand?” she says, and she “playfully leads him to a knowledge of the
members which he cannot see,” and the passage ends:

    “The aim of all this is to lead the child to
    self-consciousness, to reflection about himself in the
    approaching period of boyhood. Thus, a boy ten years old,
    similarly guided by instinct, believing himself unobserved,
    soliloquized: ‘I am not my arm, nor my ear; all my limbs
    and organs I can separate from myself, and I still remain
    myself; I wonder what I am; who and what is this which I call
    myself?’”--_E., p. 56._

Nor does Froebel forget the idea of the self as the boy grows older.

Once the activities of running, jumping, etc., are familiar, the boy’s
play takes on a new complexion. His games are now “trials of strength,”
or “displays of strength.”

    “The boy tries to see himself in his companions, to feel
    himself in them, to weigh and measure himself by them, to know
    and find himself by their aid.”--_E., p. 114._

    “The life of the boy has, indeed, no other purpose but that
    of the outer representation of his self: his life is in truth
    but an external representation of his inner being, of his
    power, particularly through plastic material. In the forms he
    fashions, he does not see outer forms which he is to take in
    and understand; he sees in them the expression of his spirit,
    of the activities of his own mind.”--_E., p. 279._

Surely it is another touch of genius that makes Froebel spring to the
nascent idea of self as _the_ reason for the child’s craving for tales of
all kinds.

    “Knowledge of a thing can never be attained by comparing it
    with itself. Therefore the boy cannot attain any knowledge of
    the nature and meaning of his own life, by comparing it with
    itself … everybody knows that comparisons with somewhat remote
    objects are more effective than those with very near objects.
    Only the study of the life of others can furnish such points
    of comparison with the life he has himself experienced.… It is
    the innermost desire and need of a vigorous boy to understand
    his own life.… This is the chief reason why boys are so fond
    of stories, legends and tales.… The story concerns other men,
    other circumstances, other times and places, yet the hearer
    seeks his own image, he beholds it, and no one knows that he
    sees it.”--_E., p. 305._

As Froebel shows so much insight into the paramount importance of action
in the development of self-consciousness, it is not surprising to find
that he recognizes also its special importance in the development of

It is probably to the late Professor James and his sparkling paradoxes
that the educational world owes its grasp of the importance of expression
in connection with feeling; we feel because we act, we are told, we do
not run away because we are afraid, but we are afraid because we have run
away. But all Froebelians had already learnt the truth at the bottom of
this from Froebel’s Mother Songs.

When he wrote his earliest and greatest book, “The Education of Man,”
Froebel was already far enough advanced to point out the necessity for at
least verbal expression of feeling. He then advocated giving to young
boys simple prayers or words by which they can express childish gratitude
for care and protection, so that these feelings may be retained and

    “It is natural that religious feelings and thoughts should
    spring up.… In the beginning these sentiments and feelings will
    only manifest themselves as an effect, a fullness without word
    or form, without any adequate expression of what they are,
    merely as something that uplifts our being and fills the soul.
    At this juncture, it is most beneficial, strengthening, and
    uplifting for the boy to receive words--a language for these
    sentiments and feelings--_so that they may not be stifled in
    themselves, vanish for lack of expression_.”--_E., p. 246._

The same remark is made in connection with the teaching of poems and
songs. When feeling is aroused by the contemplation of Nature, it must be
expressed. When Spring brings “gladness,” and Autumn “longing and hope,”
and when Winter awakens “courage and vigour,” then:

    “Man, too, would express the thoughts and feelings that are
    awakened in him and for which he cannot find words, and these
    should be given him.… the thoughtful teacher can easily
    interpret the thoughts and feelings of the boys, as well as
    the phases of Nature, in living fitting words.… In general,
    all that was said concerning the appropriation of religious
    expressions is true here.”--_E., p. 267._

Froebel had also noted even thus early how “the natural mother” from the
very beginning cultivates feeling through expression, through gesture or

    “Mother love seeks to awaken and to interpret the feeling of
    community between the child and the father, brother and sister,
    when she says, ‘Dear Daddy!’ as she caressingly passes the
    child’s hand over the father’s cheek. ‘Love daddy, love little
    sister,’ etc.”--_E., p. 69._

In the Mother’s Songs, written much later and after Froebel had made
careful observation of young children, he is more emphatic, and his ideas
of expression are both wider and more definite. In “The Education of Man”
he had said that literature exercises and tests judgment and feelings,
and he had added that this should be followed up by some constructive
action. But now he knows that feeling when stirred ought to express
itself in actual service, just as James suggests “speaking genially to
one’s grandmother, or giving up one’s seat in a horse car, if nothing
more heroic offers.”

The mother is told that at first she should help her little one
to understand her care of him and his dependence on her by “the
looking-glass of outer life,” by letting him, for instance, watch the hen
caring for her chickens, and the parent birds feeding and brooding over
their young in the nest. In the rhymed motto of “The Nest” she is told:

    “Already the baby likes to see pictures showing the loving care
    of a mother. Let him do so often, that his life experience may
    become clear to him.”

But the longer explanation has an important addition:

    “The way lies through our imaginative, tender and emotional
    observation of Nature and of man’s life, and through the
    child’s affectionately taking their most intimate meaning into
    the life of his own heart, _and expressing by representation
    what he thus takes in_.”--_M., p. 149._

So, as the child begins to realize what he owes, comes the next little
play, “The Flower Basket,” the key-note of which is given in its motto:

    “Try to let the child give outward form to what stirs his
    feelings, for the love even of a child dies away if not
    carefully fostered.”--_M., p. 38._

And the baby makes of his tiny hands a basket for flowers wherewith to
celebrate the father’s birthday in orthodox German fashion. In Froebel’s
own phrase, the “inner meaning” of the little finger play with its
picture, is “to cherish thoughtfully the bond, which is invisible, yet
which can be felt, whereby the life of humanity is bound together, the
first opportunity for which is afforded by the life of the child and the
family.” What is important here is that Froebel has pointed out the way
in which this bond can be strengthened, that is by expression, by giving
“outward form to what stirs feeling.”

This idea of service as expression of feeling comes into Froebel’s
description of the ideal child, “merry, happy, strong and busy,” when the

    “Kissed upon his brow her blessing,
    Then, his love for her expressing,
    Off he starts his mother serving
    All he can do, she’s deserving.”--_M., p. 191._

Again, in connection with childish productions, the little baskets,
napkin rings, etc., that they have made, Froebel wrote:

    “The use made of these little productions is very important to
    the civilizing and nourishing of the child’s being and mind,
    for I consider the fact that many children receive so much
    and can give hardly anything to be one of the most essential
    causes of the frequent retrogression of childish love and

Froebel always emphasizes the essential importance of family bonds in the
development of feeling, and he not only instructs the mother to see to
it that the child recognizes the family circle, but he tells her that he
will realize his “kinship” by service done for the family.

    “Family, family, you are more than School or Church … without
    you what are Altar and Church.…”--_M., p. 159._

    “That many things are in a whole
    Soon dawns upon a childish soul.
    Then let the mother teach him carefully
    To know the circle of the family.”--_M., p. 46._

    “Duties are not burdens, duty fulfilled leads to light, this is
    why every healthy child likes and enjoys doing duties, provided
    they speak to him clearly and simply, above all inexorably.…
    See how happy a child is feeling he has done his small duties.
    He already feels his kinship with you thereby. Cherish this
    feeling, and it will be salvation and blessing to him.”--_M.,
    p. 174._

As the feeling of the adult is called out by the helplessness of a child,
so, too:

    “the child’s sympathy is roused by the young creatures’
    necessities more than by anything else, and among these
    chiefly by their nakedness and softness: ‘… Mother, the poor
    little birds are so lonely, I am so sorry for the poor little
    things.’”--_M., p. 150._

And in this connection too comes the warning that feeling must not be
allowed to evaporate without action:

    “If your child’s to love and cherish
      Life that needs him day by day,
    Give him things to tend that perish
      If he ever stops away.”--_M., p. 84._

The child is “to feel within himself Nature’s close interdependence”:

    “Whenever opportunity occurs, make this inner dependence of
    life clear, visible, impressive, tangible and perceptible to
    your child, even though it be in only a few of the essential
    links of this great chain, until you come to the last ring that
    holds all the rest, God’s Father-love for all. The baker cannot
    bake if the miller brings him no flour, the miller can grind no
    flour if the farmer brings him no corn, the field can yield no
    crop if Nature does not work towards it in harmony, and Nature
    could not work in harmony if God had not placed in her power
    and material, and if His love did not guide everything to its
    fulfilment.”--_M., p. 148._

And again, as always, follows the need for expression of some kind. The
children are not to be disturbed while they “say grace” over their doll’s

    “It is no drawing down of the sacred into outer life; no, this
    is the germ which gives the outside actions of life the inner
    meaning and higher consecration, which life so much needs. For
    how is your child to cultivate innocently in himself a lively
    feeling for what is holy, if you will not grant that it takes
    form for him even in his innocent games.”--_M., p. 148._

It may be as well before leaving the subject to notice here one or two
other points in connection with feeling that are touched upon by Froebel.

Though, as we have seen[23], the feeling side is always kept in closest
connection with those of knowledge and action, yet the fundamental
importance of the emotional side is stated quite distinctly. The child
is “living, loving and perceiving,” or “creating, feeling and thinking,”

    “The cultivation of boyhood rests wholly on that of childhood;
    therefore activity and firmness of the will rest upon activity
    and firmness of the feelings and of the heart. Where the latter
    are lacking, the former will scarcely be attainable.”--_E., p.

This is put more strongly in connection with the child’s imitation of the
music of the bell note, the “bim-baum” or “ding-dong” sung by the mother,
while she swings the ball to and fro, which according to Froebel “serves
the emotional side.”

    “The children thus early and definitely point out that the
    centre, the real foundation, the starting-point of human
    development is the heart and the emotions, but the training
    to action and thought, the corporeal and mental, goes on
    constantly and inseparably by the side of it; and thought
    must form itself into action, and action resolve and clear
    itself in thought; but both have their roots in the emotional
    nature.”--_P., p. 42._

Another point Froebel makes in this connection, is that feeling alone can
awaken feeling, and that those who complain of want of feeling in their
children have probably themselves to blame. Want of good feeling and the
prevalence among boys of egotism, unfriendliness, etc., is explained as:

    “clearly due not merely to the failure of arousing at an early
    period, and of subsequently cultivating in the child a feeling
    of common sympathy, but also to the early annihilation of this
    feeling between parents and children.”--_E., p. 122._

The elders must show sympathy with the child’s thoughts and feelings,
they must not rest content with caring for his bodily welfare. If the
child fails to find sympathy, for example in connection with his interest
in Nature, if he “fails to find the same feelings among adults who
suppress his germinating inner life” then, says Froebel:

    “a double effect follows, loss of respect for the elder and a
    recoil of the original anticipation.”--_E., p. 164._

    “Mothers and Fathers, is it not almost incredible how early
    the child appears to distinguish inner intellectual and loving
    gifts from outer bodily ones, or, rather, to be conscious of
    the heart and mind of the giver to feel the giving spirit?
    Who does not see this in the effect of a friendly glance, of
    a sympathizingly spoken word, of a tender care which often
    affords little more than sympathy and companionship?… It is a
    remarkable fact that the mere love for the outward person, the
    mere bodily care, does not satisfy him; indeed, the nobler the
    child is in his nature the less does he cling to the giving
    person. Through this consideration we have found and recognized
    what we sought, namely, that the respect and love--yea, the
    reverence--of children and youth are gained and secured to
    parents in proportion to what the latter are doing for the
    education of the mental life of the children.… If the lively
    appreciation of what has been done to cultivate his inner world
    fill the soul of a child, then will true love and gratitude
    towards parents, respect and veneration for age, germinate in
    the mind of a child.”--_P., p. 111._

We have spoken in this chapter of what is popularly called the instinct
of imitation, and we have seen that Froebel makes much of what he calls
the instinct or impulse of activity (Thätigkeitstrieb), or the instinct
for employment (Beschäftigungstrieb).

It may be well now to consider what, considering the ideas of his day and
generation, Froebel could find to say on a subject so important as the
instinctive activities of human beings and of other animals, concerning
which so much has now been written and which, according to Professor
Dewey, Froebel regarded and rightly regarded as the foundation-stones of
educational method.



“The older writings on Instinct are ineffectual wastes of words,”
writes Professor James, “because their authors never came down to this
simple and definite idea (that the nervous system is to a great extent
a pre-organized bundle of reactions), but smothered everything in vague
wonder at the clairvoyant and prophetic power of animals--so superior to
anything in Man.”[24]

Froebel was certainly not in a position to know much of the nervous
system, but what he wrote about instinct cannot be classed with these
older writings. For even without modern knowledge, he waxes indignant
over the opinions of those who created James’ “ineffectual wastes
of words.” Far from allowing that instinct in the lower animals is
superior to anything in man, Froebel maintains that the very weakness,
indefiniteness of man’s instincts or impulses (Triebe) is a sign of his

    “Notwithstanding the early manifestation in the human infant
    of the impulse to employment (Beschäftigungstriebe), much
    has been said from an entirely wrong point of view about
    man’s helplessness at birth, and his slow development to
    independence, which necessitates for so long a period the
    care and help of the mother. It has even been said, that,
    in this respect, man’s position is behind and below that of
    other animals. But that very point, which has been cited as
    evidence of man’s imperfection, is a proof of his worth. For we
    recognize through this helplessness, that man is called to ever
    higher self-consciousness.”--_P., p. 24._

At the same time it should be pointed out that Froebel does not make
the opposite mistake of supposing that man has no instincts. Since he
approached psychology from the biological side, so far as it could be
known to him, Froebel was bound to have faith in instinct, in race-habit,
in tendencies which, because they have been of use to the race, are
bedded in the nature of each individual. It is to Froebel’s later
writings and especially to the little paper, on “The First Action of a
Child,” that we must turn to see how wonderfully correct are his views on
the whole question of instinct.

It may be better to give first the position of modern writers on the
subject by quoting from the last chapter of Professor Lloyd Morgan’s
“Habit and Instinct,” a clear and concise passage showing that the
contrary schools of thought represented on the one hand by the Darwin and
Romanes and on the other by Professors James and Wundt, can after all be
resolved into a matter of definition.

“If, then, the question be asked, whether man has a large or a small
endowment of instinct, the answer will depend upon the precise definition
of ‘instinct.’ If we take congenital definiteness as characteristic
of instinct, we shall agree with Darwin, that ‘the fewness and the
comparative simplicity of the instincts of the higher animals are
remarkable as compared with those of lower animals;’ and with Romanes
that ‘instinct plays a larger part in the psychology of many animals
than it does in the psychology of man.’ If, on the other hand, a broader
definition of instinct be accepted, so as to include what is innate,
in the sense before defined, we shall agree with Professor Wundt that
human life is ‘permeated through and through with instinctive action,
determined in part, however, by intelligence and volition;’ and shall not
profoundly disagree with Professor Wm. James, who says that man possesses
all the impulses that they (the lower animals) have and a great many more

In Mr. McDougall’s important contribution to the discussion of human
instinct, he says that the view which is rapidly gaining ground is that
the gradual evolution of intelligence “did not supplant and lead to the
atrophy of the instincts, but controlled and modified their operation.”
As Mr. McDougall goes on to state his belief “that the recognition of the
full scope and function of the human instincts will appear to those that
come after us as the most important advance made by psychology in our
time,” it is important to the purpose of this book, to make clear to what
extent Froebel’s views on the subject approach those of modern writers.

Mr. McDougall makes a very clear distinction between specific tendencies
to which he limits the word instinct, and non-specific or general
tendencies. Naturally Froebel did not reach this standpoint, but he
does seem to have thought out his terminology. He felt strongly as
to the use of words of foreign origin, and generally uses “_Trieb_,”
“_Lebenstrieb_,” “_Drang_” or “_Lebensdrang_,” where we might use
instinct. But he does occasionally use “instinct,” notably in a passage
quoted below “whose impulses, powers and abilities, whose instincts
as they are called” (dessen Lebenstriebe Kräfte und Anlagen, dessen
Instincte wie man es nennt), where he seems to be feeling about for
the right expression. Other words in constant use are “_Neigung_,”
“_Streben_” and “_Richtung_,” probably best translated by “tendency.” It
can be argued, however, that to the word Trieb Froebel does seem to have
attached a more definite meaning, and his use of this word is certainly

Professor James’ account of instinct begins with the statement that
“Every instinct is an impulse,” a driving to action, but the use of the
words “_Trieb_” and “_Drang_” makes such a pronouncement unnecessary to
a German writer, and if this root idea is not implied by the noun, it
generally, in Froebel’s writings, makes its appearance in the verb. Thus
we frequently read of “a longing which drives the child to,” etc. (die
Sehnsucht die das Kind treibt).

The merest glance through Froebel’s writings is enough to show his belief
in the existence of instinct in the human being. His references to it are
constant. It is an impulse (Trieb) “which the child did not give himself,
which came without his will, in later life even against his will,” but
which “urges to action” (drängt ihn dazu). It is a force so strong, that
it “holds captive mind and body.” The child is described as “driven by
impulse” (des von Lebensdrang getriebenen Kindes). The boy again is “held
captive by harmless, even praiseworthy, impulses” (sogar lobenswerten
Triebe), or “gives himself up entirely to the impulses of his inner life”
(dem Treibenden innern Leben).

In his earlier work, “The Education of Man,” Froebel is first concerned
with urging that the young human being, “a product of Nature,” has
instincts quite as trustworthy as those of any other young animal, and
the following eloquent passage is very well known:

    “The undisturbed working of the Divine Unity is necessarily
    good, and this implies that the young human being, still as it
    were in the process of creation, would seek as a product of
    Nature, though still unconsciously, yet decidedly and surely
    that which is in itself best: and, moreover, in a form wholly
    adapted to his condition, disposition, powers and means. Thus
    the duckling hastens to the pond, while the young chicken
    scratches the ground, and the young swallow catches his food
    upon the wing and scarcely ever touches the ground. We grant
    space and time to young plants and animals because we know that
    in accordance with the laws that live in them they will develop
    properly and grow well. Arbitrary interference with their
    growth is avoided because it is known that this would disturb
    their development; but the young human being is looked upon as
    a piece of wax, a lump of clay, which man can mould into what
    he pleases.… Thus, O parents, could your children, on whom you
    force in tender years forms and aims against their nature,
    thus could your children too unfold in beauty and develop in
    harmony.”--_E., p. 7._

It is true that to Froebel evolution is “the working of Divine Unity.”
But there seems to be no special reason why this should invalidate
what Froebel has to say, any more than Sir Oliver Lodge should be
disqualified as a scientist, because he has produced a book in which he
writes: “Development means unfolding latent possibilities … growth and
development are in accordance with the law of the universe … the law
of the universe and the will of God are here regarded as in some sort
synonymous terms.”

This is exactly Froebel’s position; he writes that

    “Nature and man have their origin in one and the same eternal
    Being, and their development takes place in accordance with the
    same laws, only at different stages.”--_E., p. 161._

That Froebel not only recognized the presence of instinct in human
beings, but that he also saw, as Professor Wundt puts it, that this
is “determined in parts by intelligence and volition,” he states very

    “Natural instinct and good example will do much, but here,
    as in all human concerns, one must proceed by extension of
    knowledge, and by careful scrutiny, or both the one and the
    other may mislead or be misdirected. Experience cries aloud
    to us, to warn us of this danger. _Assuredly man ought not to
    neglect his natural instincts, still less abandon them, but he
    must ennoble them through his intelligence, purify them through
    his reason._”--_L., p. 222._

    “In the progress of development three stages differentiate
    themselves and fall apart; and these stages are seen both in
    individual men, and in the race as a whole. They are:

    (1) _Unconsciousness, the merely instinctive stage_;

    (2) _Vague Feeling, the tendency upwards towards
    consciousness_; and

    (3) _Relatively clear Conscious Intelligence_.

    Everything that is acquired by a great unity, say by a family,
    a community, a nation, must in its beginnings be acquired by
    the single members of that unity; and further it will take
    them in one of the three grades of development, either that of
    mere unconsciousness, or of vague feeling, or in the third and
    highest grade, that of conscious intelligence, so far as it has
    been maintained by mankind up to the present time.”--(Letter to
    Madame D. Lutkens, dated March, 1851.)

It is in “The First Action of a Child” that we find Froebel contrasting
the instincts of the lower animals with those of man. Here curiously
enough, Froebel, according to Professor Stout, is almost more correct
than Professor Lloyd Morgan himself, whose statement “that animals do not
perceive relations” Professor Stout regards as misleading. His correction
is, “unless an artificial restriction is put on the meaning of the term
_relation_, this statement would imply that animals cannot perceive the
position of objects in space or their motion.… Hence we should say,
not that the perception of relation is deficient in animals, but only
that definite perception of relations is deficient which depends on

Now it is this very point of comparison which Froebel takes as the
essential intellectual difference between the animal independent from
birth thanks to fully developed instinct, and the child helpless and
apparently inferior at first, yet destined for progress “self-active and
free.” He writes:

    “The animal whose life impulses, powers and abilities, whose
    instincts as they are called (dessen Lebenstriebe, Kräfte
    und Anlagen, dessen Instincte wie man es nennt) are at once
    so definite and strong, that in natural conditions it never
    fails, indeed cannot fail to overcome every hindrance within
    its life’s reach, the animal just on this account can never
    arrive at a knowledge of its powers, its qualities, its nature
    … _for it lacks all points of comparison. It lacks all points
    of comparison, which, in the case of man proceed from the fact
    that the weakest output of strength meets with obstacles_ which
    increase as the strength increases, and which will only with
    difficulty be conquered or overcome and annihilated.

    “It is quite different in the life of man, in the beginning
    of which practically nothing can be accomplished without help
    from without. Nothing especially can be accomplished through
    a preponderance of inner power such, for example, as the
    newly hatched duckling shows on the water. Thus everything
    external must, by Man, with his preponderance of helplessness,
    be overcome as an obstacle solely through inner advancing,
    and outer strengthening and increasing of power through free
    activity of the will.”--_P., p. 25._

With this passage from “The First Action of a Child” we can compare the
following from Stout’s “Analytic Psychology”:

“The peculiar feature in the life of animals which prevents progressive
development is the existence of instincts which do for them what the
human being must do for himself. Their inherited organization is such,
that they perform the movements adapted to supply their needs on the
mere occurrence of an appropriate external stimulus.… In man, a blind
craving has to grope its way from darkness into light in order to become
effective; in the animal the means of satisfaction are provided ready
made by Nature at the outset.”

After having stated that “Every instinct is an impulse,” Professor James
goes on to say that instinct depends upon the biological fact that the
nervous system is “a pre-organized bundle of re-actions,” and that when
impulses block one another, an animal with many impulses, and whose mind
is elevated enough to discriminate, “loses the instinctive demeanour and
appears to live a life of hesitation and choice, an intellectual life.”

Notwithstanding the very obvious fact that Froebel could know but little
of the nervous system and its re-actions, it is still quite evident
that his observation had led him to a clear recognition of the earlier
stage, when “hesitation and choice” are impossible. The child, he says,
“acts in obedience to an instinct which holds captive mind and body,”
he is “incredibly short-sighted in his obedience to instinct.” That he
also recognized the beginning of hesitation and choice is shown in his
defence of the child who “in spite of abandonment to momentary impulse,”
may have “an intense inner desire for goodness,” which, “if it could
be appreciated in time,” would make of him a good man (_E., p. 125_);
and also in his plea for the early awakening and training “of judgment
and of that reflection which avoids so many blunders and which, _in a
natural way_ (i.e. without training), does not come to man sufficiently
early.”--_E., p. 79._

    “Another source of boyish faults is in the precipitation,
    want of caution, indiscretion, in a word the thoughtlessness,
    the acting according to an impulse quite blameless, even
    praiseworthy, which holds captive all activity of mind and
    body, but whose consequences have not as yet entered into his
    experience, indeed it has not yet entered into his mind to
    define the consequences.”--_E., p. 122._

Froebel gives from real life a few well-chosen examples of what the
boy so “incredibly short-sighted in his obedience to impulse” may do;
telling how one deliberately aims a stone at a window “with earnest
effort to hit it, yet without even saying to himself that if it does
so, the window must be broken,” and how he “stands rooted to the spot”
when this happens. Another, a “very good-hearted boy, who dearly loved
and took care of pigeons, aimed at his neighbour’s pigeon on the roof,
without considering that if the bullet hit it the dove must fall.” No
wonder that he urges the early awakening of that reflection (Nachdenken)
which would avoid so much, and in this connection it must be remembered
too that Froebel emphasized the indefiniteness of human instinct which
makes comparison possible. It is also worth remarking that Froebel knew
that it is only by noting consequences of actual deeds that reflection
comes, and this he shows in one of his quaint parallels between “the
history of creation and the development of all things.”

    “Similarly in each child there is repeated the deed which marks
    the beginning of moral and human emancipation, of the dawn
    of reason--essentially the same deed that marked the dawn of
    reason in the race as a whole.”--_E., p. 41._

It must have been a somewhat unorthodox view in 1826, but some pages
further on Froebel speaks even more boldly of “the fall or--since the
result is the same--the ascent of the mind of man from simple emotional
development into the development of externally analytic and critical
reason.”--_E., p. 193._

Professor James goes on to state two other principles which make for
non-uniformity of instinct. The first of these is that instincts are
inhibited by habits, and the second that instincts are transitory.

The physiological fact of “plasticity” in which these principles are
grounded, was of course quite out of Froebel’s ken. Nevertheless, the
principles themselves do not escape his shrewd observation. Mr. McDougall
points out that even acquired habits of thought and action, so important
as springs of action in the developed human mind, are in a sense
derived from and secondary to instincts. He goes on to say that “in the
absence of instincts no habits could be formed,” so it is interesting
to find Froebel arguing that the phenomena of habit is a proof of the
existence of what in the infant he calls the impulse to activity or to

    “The helplessness of the new-born human being in regard to
    all outer things is the opposite of his future ability--since
    life is a whole--to help himself through the enhancing of
    his will-power.… Helplessness and personal will, therefore,
    become the two points between which the child’s life turns, and
    the fulcrum is free activity. Herein lies for the educator a
    key to phenomena of child-life which seem to contradict each
    other. For out of the impulse to activity (Thätigkeitstriebe)
    and to free self-employment, or rather out of the united
    three--helplessness, personal will, and self-employment--soon
    proceed custom and habit, often indolence and too facile

    “Consideration of custom, and of the spontaneous acquiring
    of habit in the child, especially in regard to what causes
    it, and to its effect upon the child, is just as important
    for the educator, as is the consideration and guidance of his
    instinct of activity. This very phenomenon that the child so
    early accustoms and inures himself to something, this early
    phenomenon of child life, the growing together and becoming
    one, as it were, with his surroundings, is a proof of the
    existence and inner working, even thus early, of the impulse
    for activity or employment, even where the child appears
    outwardly inactive and passive: in that the child accommodates
    himself to outer surroundings, relations and requirements in
    order to provide more scope for his inner activity.”--_P., p.

This proof may not be quite so clear to others as it was to Froebel,
but at least the passage shows the close connection in his mind between
instinct--the impulse towards activity and employment--and habit, and
that he had noted the interaction between the two.

There are many references to the transitory nature of at least childish

    “What delight a child takes in noticing what is smooth, woolly,
    hairy, sparkling, round, etc.… But if you do not cherish this
    and do not set it going in the right way, it becomes a lost
    thing; it grows rusty, and loses its power as a magnet loses
    its power when it is not sufficiently used. Power that is not
    at once used, effort that does not at once meet the right
    object--perishes.”--_M., p. 181._

    “Now, at last, we would fain give another direction to the
    energies, desires and instincts (Kräfte, Neigungen und Triebe)
    of the child growing into boyhood; but it is too late. For the
    deep meaning of child-life passing into boyhood we not only
    failed to appreciate, but we misjudged it; we not only failed
    to nurse it, but we misdirected and crushed it.”--_E., p. 75._

    “See parents, the first impulse to activity, the first
    constructive impulse (Bildungstrieb) comes from man according
    to the nature of the working of his mind, unconsciously,
    unrecognized, without his will, as man can indeed perceive
    in himself in later life. If, however, this inner summons to
    activity (diese innere Aufforderung zur Thätigkeit) meets
    with outer hindrance, especially such a one as the will of
    the parents, which cannot be set aside, the power is at
    once weakened in itself, and with many repetitions of this
    weakening, falls into inaction.”--_E., p. 100._

    “The neglect of inner power causes the inner power itself to
    vanish.”--_E., p. 133._

    “It is true there are few such children; but there would be
    more, were we not ignorantly blunting so many tendencies in our
    children, or starving them into inanition.”--_E., p. 220._

Writing of the origin of boyish faults Froebel says:

    “When we look for the sources of these shortcomings … we find
    a double reason, first, complete neglect of the development
    of certain sides of human life, secondly early misdirection,
    early unnatural stages in development, and distortion, through
    arbitrary interference with human powers, qualities and
    tendencies good in their source.… Therefore at the bottom of
    every shortcoming in man, lies a crushed, frustrated quality or
    tendency, suppressed, misunderstood or misguided.”--_E., pp.

When we come to the enumeration of the various human instincts we find
that Froebel can hardly be said to have omitted any that are important
from an educational point of view, except perhaps the instinct of fear,
and to this he would be loth to appeal.[25] Moreover, it can be shown
that his explanation of certain tendencies suggests a better basis of
classification than is supplied by certain recent writers, who might be
expected to surpass him with ease.

Before the publication of Mr. McDougall’s “Social Psychology,” there were
but few attempts at any classification of instincts within at least the
reach of English readers. In July, 1900, there appeared an article in
“The Pedagogical Seminary” in which Mr. Eby proposed to reconstruct the
Kindergarten on the basis of natural instinct. The writer had apparently
no dawning idea that this was the original basis[26] of the institution
he proposes to reform, but Froebel’s account of Instinct shows in certain
ways a clearer understanding of the subject than does his own.

Mr. Eby’s tabulation was:

       I. Language--with gesture and expression.

      II. Curiosity, or Instinct for Knowledge.

     III. Play Instinct.

            (_a_) Motor Plays.
            (_b_) Hunting and Wandering.
            (_c_) Imitative.
            (_d_) Constructive.
            (_e_) Agricultural.
            (_f_) Improvised.

      IV. Artistic and Aesthetic Instincts.

       V. Social Instinct.

      VI. Instinct of Acquisition and Ownership.

     VII. Number Instinct.

    VIII. Interest in Stories.

Another classification, well known at least to teachers, is that given by
Mr. Kirkpatrick in his “Fundamentals of Child Study.”[27]

His list comprises:

      I. Individual or Self-preserving Instincts.
            (Feeding, Fear and Fighting.)

     II. Parental Instincts.

    III. Social or Group Instincts.
            (Gregariousness, Sympathy, Love of Approbation, Altruism.)

     IV. Adaptive Instincts.
            (Imitation, Play, Curiosity.)

      V. Regulative.
            (Moral, Religious.)

     VI. Resultant and Miscellaneous.
            (Including such tendencies as those of
                 collecting and constructing, and the
                 tendency to adornment, with the
                 æsthetic pleasure of contemplating
                 beautiful objects.)

Interesting, helpful and suggestive as these lists are, they both serve
as examples of the difficulty, if not impossibility, of any hard-and-fast
lines of classification. For example, regulative instincts, which Mr.
Kirkpatrick divides into moral and religious, must be derived from social
instincts; gregarious instincts cannot be satisfactorily separated from
instincts of self-preservation, and surely all instincts must be adaptive.

Froebel’s account of the instincts of a child in some ways resembles that
of Mr. McDougall, and it is certainly in some points more enlightening
than either of the others.

Under the heading of Investigation, Froebel brings both the Number
Instinct, and the Interest in Stories, to which Mr. Eby gives a position
as fundamental as that of the Social Instinct. The constructive instinct
which Mr. Kirkpatrick brings under “Resultant and Miscellaneous,” has a
very special place in Froebel’s account, as being one way of imitating,
that is another mode of investigating the surroundings, and also what is
equally important, a way by which the child gains a knowledge of his own
power, reaches Self-Consciousness.

It is because of the emphasis Froebel continually lays upon the
developing self-consciousness that his views somewhat tend to resemble
those of Mr. McDougall, though it would be absurd to attempt to draw
any parallel. For Froebel, though he in no way minimizes the importance
of Imitation, and although it is as the apostle of Play that he is
most widely known, yet, like Mr. McDougall, he never speaks either of
an Instinct of Play nor of Imitation, that is, he never uses for these
his special word Trieb; nor has he any Instinct for Religion. Curiously
enough, too, Froebel, with his constant insistence on the threefold
aspect of mind, partly forestalls Mr. McDougall’s view that “instinctive
action is the outcome of a distinctly mental process, one which is
incapable of being described in purely mechanical terms, … and one which,
like every other mental process, has and can only be fully described in
terms of the three aspects of all mental process, the cognitive, the
affective, and the conative aspects.”

It is in connection with the very earliest activity that Froebel writes:

    “The first phenomenon of awakening child-life is activity.
    It is an inner activity, showing itself by consideration of
    and working with what is outer, by overcoming hindrances and
    subduing the outer. The nature of man as growing towards, and
    destined to reach self-consciousness, is shown in the quite
    peculiar character of childish activity even as early as when
    the infant awakes from its so-called three months’ slumber. It
    is shown in the child’s impulse to busy himself (in dem Triebe
    sich zu beschäftigen) in the instinct, _one with feeling and
    perception_, to be active for the progressive development of
    his own life.

    “We are repeatedly impressed with the conviction that
    everything that is to be done for the specifically human
    development of the child must be connected with the fostering
    of this instinct to employ himself. For _this instinct
    corresponds to man’s triune activity of doing, feeling and
    thinking. It corresponds to the essential nature of humanity,
    which is to have power and understanding, to become ever more
    and more self-conscious and self-determining._”--_P., p. 24._

In the last sentence of this passage, which refers to the merest infant,
and which immediately precedes Froebel’s comparison of human instincts
with those of the lower animals, are indicated the lines on which we
may say Froebel classified though he never did so formally. He deals
only with the “purely” or “specifically” human, as he never tires of
reiterating, so that fundamental animal instincts, self-preserving and
race-preserving, such as feeding and the sexual impulse, are little
noticed, and only in connection with the necessity for self-control.

But, as with Mr. McDougall much is made to depend on self-feeling,
so with Froebel still more does everything centre round that
self-consciousness which to him is of the very nature of man, and which
is made possible by the undefined or undeveloped character of human

The instincts and impulses noted by Froebel, all, be it clearly
understood, in the service of the growing self-consciousness, and
self-determination are: the instinct to independent activity (der
Trieb zur Frei- und Selbst-thätigkeit), the instinct to investigation
(Forschungstrieb), with which Froebel deals very thoroughly and by which
he explains a great deal, the impulse of acquisition, the instinct of
construction or formation (Bildungstrieb Gestaltungstrieb), the social
instinct and the maternal instinct.

Froebel himself never tabulates, yet his apparently careful use of the
word Trieb, taken along with his convincing explanations of various
tendencies (Richtungen, Neigungen, Streben) seems to show that in
relation to instinct there were in his mind two pairs of ideas, so
closely related as to be inseparable, viz.:

(_a_) Investigation and Control of Surroundings, and (_b_) Consciousness
of Self and Self-Determination.

It is impossible to become conscious of one’s self except by becoming
conscious of a world of objects.[28] It is equally impossible to
become self-determining without gaining control over these objects,
over the surroundings. In order to control the surroundings, one
must first investigate them, and this investigation brings with it
self-consciousness, knowledge of one’s own powers and consequent
self-determination. All this seems fully in accordance with what has
been already stated as to the close connection between volitional and
intellectual development.

The two main lines on which instinctive action must run, if it is to be,
as it must be, adaptive, are given in Froebel’s words, “to have power
and understanding.” To adapt ourselves to our surroundings we must first
know them, and secondly, have power over them. Even this separation
into firstly and secondly is more a matter of words than of reality.
No one knew more clearly or emphasized more strongly than Froebel that
action, by which alone we gain power, is also the child’s royal road to
knowledge. This he states very plainly in the “Plan” which he drew up for
the school at Helba, which unfortunately never came into existence.

    “The institution will be fundamental inasmuch as in training
    and instruction it will rest on the foundation from which
    proceed all genuine knowledge and all genuine practical
    attainments; it will rest on life itself and on creative
    effort, on the union and interdependence of doing and thinking,
    representation and knowledge, art and science. The institution
    will base its work on the pupil’s personal efforts in work and
    expression, making these, again, the foundation of all genuine
    knowledge and culture. Joined with thoughtfulness these efforts
    become a direct medium of culture; joined with reasoning, they
    become a direct means of instruction and thus make of work a
    true subject of instruction.”--_E., p. 38._

Knowledge of his surroundings is however not the only knowledge that the
child gains through action; this is his only way of gaining knowledge of
himself, of his power and of his weakness. It is through outward activity
that, as Froebel says, he “comes to self-consciousness and learns to
order, determine and master himself,” and it is in connection with the
earliest Impulse to Activity that Froebel writes:

    “The present effort of mankind is an effort after freer
    self-development, freer self-formation, freer determining of
    one’s own destiny.… Therefore the more or less clear aim of
    the individual is Consciousness, the attaining of clearness
    about himself and about life in its unity as well as in its
    thousand ramifications, to attain to _comprehension and right
    use_ of life.… That this highest aim may be accomplished,
    the present time lays upon the educator the indispensable
    obligation--to understand the earliest activity, the first
    action of the child, the impulse (Trieb) to spontaneous
    activity, which appears so early; to foster the impulse (Trieb)
    for self-culture and self-instruction, through independent
    doing, observing and experimenting.”--_P., p. 15._

    “The first spontaneous employments of the child are noticing
    his environment, and play, that is, independent outward action,
    living outside himself.… The deepest foundation of all the
    phenomena, of the earliest activity of the child is this; that
    he must exercise the dim anticipation of conscious life, and
    consequently must exercise power, test and thus compare power,
    exercise independence, test and thus compare the degree of
    independence.”--_P., pp. 29-31._

    “All outer activity of the child has its distinctive and
    ultimate ground in his inmost nature and life. The deepest
    craving of this inner life, this inner activity, is to behold
    itself mirrored in some external object. In and through
    such reflection the child learns to know his own activity,
    its essence, direction and aim, and learns also to order
    and determine his activity in correspondence with the outer
    phenomena. Such mirroring of the inner life, such making of the
    inner life objective is essential, for through it the child
    comes to self-consciousness, and learns to order, determine and
    master himself. The child must perceive and grasp his own life
    in an objective manifestation before he can perceive and grasp
    it in himself.”--_P., p. 238._

It may seem very presumptuous to venture to discuss here the
classification of instincts adopted by Mr. McDougall, yet there are in
it a few points which would not have appealed to Froebel, and it is
conceivable that Mr. McDougall might make alterations in a future edition
and attach even more importance to positive self-feeling as Froebel
would undoubtedly have done. It is impossible to imagine Froebel having
any dealings with an Instinct of Self-Abasement, though the Instinct of
Self-Assertion is in full accordance with his ideas. And while it is hard
to see the biological utility of an Instinct of Self-Abasement, it does
seem as if the frustration of the Instinct of Self-Assertion might be
made to cover all that is brought under its opposite.

It is difficult, too, to imagine Froebel allowing an Instinct of
Pugnacity, and Mr. McDougall allows that this presupposes the other
instincts, and that it cannot strictly be brought under his own
definition of instinct. He allows, too, that this instinct is “lacking in
the constitution of the females of some species,” and it seems impossible
not to notice the difference between little boys and girls in this
respect. Surely it puts too much to the credit of mere pugnacity to say:
“A man devoid of the pugnacious instinct would not only be incapable
of anger, but would lack this great source of reserve energy, which
is called into play in most of us by any difficulty in our path.”[29]
The Instinct of Self-Assertion, if it is worth anything, ought to be
sufficient not only to produce anger,[30] but also to call up reserve
energy to deal with difficulties. Certainly Froebel would have said so.
No doubt it is because of her weaker physique that the woman has not
the pugnacity of the man, but Froebel too wrote mainly of the boy, and
he puts boyish tussling and fighting down to the instinctive desire to
measure and to increase power and this can easily be matched on the
female side, though the power measured may not be that of muscle.

    “At this age the healthy boy brought up simply and naturally
    never evades an obstacle, a difficulty; nay he seeks it and
    overcomes it. ‘Let it lie,’ the vigorous youngster exclaims to
    his father, who is about to roll a piece of wood out of the
    boy’s way--‘let it lie, I can get over it.’ With difficulty,
    indeed, the boy gets over it the first time; but he has
    accomplished the feat by his own strength. Strength and courage
    have grown in him. He returns, gets over the obstacle a
    second time, and soon he learns to clear it easily.… The most
    difficult thing seems easy, the most daring thing seems without
    danger to him, for his prompting comes from the innermost, from
    his heart and will.”--_E., p. 102._

    “Many of the plays and occupations of boys at this age are
    predominantly mere practice and trials of strength, and many
    aim simply at display of strength.… _The boy tries to see
    himself in his companions, to feel himself in them, to weigh
    and measure himself by them, to know and find himself with
    their help._”--_E., pp. 112-114._

In passing, it may be suggested that it hardly seems worth while to
postulate an Instinct of Repulsion with the impulses or actions of
rejecting evil-tasting substances from the mouth and of shrinking from
objects which are slimy or slippery. Surely the rejection of unsuitable
food might be a compound reflex action tending to the preservation of
health; while shrinking from slimy objects, and even from the touch of
fur, might have had their uses in the case of children left in caves, and
might be drawn under the instinct of fear.

There does not seem to be anything to which Mr. McDougall would take
exception in what Froebel has to say about Play or about Imitation.

As to play, Froebel must be regarded as a pioneer in the attempt to
explain a subject all important to educators, and by his explanation
certain kinds, and notably imitative play find an appropriate place under
his instinct of investigation (Forschungstrieb).

    “The means of shadowing forth to the child his own nature and
    that of the cosmos are his play and playthings.”--_P., p. 201._

As the word Investigation certainly implies activity, it may be
permissible to wonder why Mr. McDougall has not made use of the terms
“The Instinct of Investigation and the Emotion of Curiosity,” the more
so that he himself has clearly a strong inclination to use the word
curiosity to express emotion.[31]

Imitation, as we have seen,[32] is, according to Froebel, action which
renders a child conscious of what is around him, conscious of his inner
life of perceptions, ideas and feelings, conscious of his own power.
Froebel also points out that imitation, as well as habit, is the outcome
of a more fundamental impulse to activity.

    “It is just as important to notice the habits of a child,
    especially with regard to cause and effect, as it is to notice
    and to foster its impulse to activity.… As now habit springs
    from free and spontaneous activity, so too does imitation, and
    it is no less important for the fostering of child-life to keep
    in view this origin of imitation, than it is to keep in view
    the phenomena of habit, custom and independent activity. For
    we see the whole inner life of the child manifest itself as a
    tri-unity in the threefold phenomenon of spontaneous activity,
    habit and imitation. These three phenomena are closely united
    in early childhood, and give us most important discoveries
    concerning child-life, as to foundation and result and surest
    guides for the early correct treatment of the child.”--_P., p.

Mr. McDougall notes “at least three distinct classes” of imitative
actions. The first class consists of expressive actions, secondary to
the sympathetic induction of the emotions they express, as when a child
responds to a smile with a smile, and here we remember how Froebel notes
the child’s first smile to his mother as the earliest sign of what he
calls “the feeling of community.” The third class is the deliberate and
voluntary imitation of an admired person, which does not concern us here.
The second class are “simple ideo-motor actions evoked by the visual
presentation of a movement,” and as a parallel to this we have Froebel’s
“working of the inner activity wakened by the sight of outer activity.”

    “The smallest child moves joyfully, springs gaily, hops up and
    down, or beats with his arms when he sees a moving object. This
    is certainly not merely delight in the movement of the object
    before him, but _it is the working of inner activity wakened in
    him by the sight of outer activity_. Through such vision the
    inner life has been freed.…”--_P., pp. 239-40._

A point to which exception may well be taken is that in the infant
Froebel notes what he seems to regard as a fundamental tendency, the
impulse or instinct of activity, or as he frequently puts it, the impulse
to busy oneself, which, however, soon differentiates into two more
specific tendencies, viz. the impulse to investigate and the constructive

    “What formerly the child did only for the sake of activity,
    the boy now does for the sake of the result or product of his
    activity. The child’s impulse to activity (Thätigkeitstrieb)
    has in the boy become a constructive, a formative impulse
    (Bildungs-Gestaltungstriebe), in which the whole outer life of
    the boy finds at this stage its outlet.”--_E., p. 99._

It may be worth mentioning that Groos would like to assume a “universal
impulse to activity,” and though he “can only hold fast to the primal
need for activity,” yet according to him Ribot approaches this
assumption.--(“The Play of Man,” _p. 3_).

Even in the infant, however, this instinct or impulse to activity is
devoted to “penetrating what is outer,” and the Kindergarten, meant for
children from three to six, is intended to foster the three instincts,
activity, investigation and construction, as well as to cultivate the
social instinct by placing a little child among his equals. Froebel
describes it in his plan as:

    “An Institution for fostering of family life and for shaping
    the life of the nation and human life generally, through
    cultivating the human instincts of activity, of investigation
    (Forschungstrieb), and of construction in the child, as a
    member of the family, of the nation, and of humanity.…”--_P.,
    p. 6._

As regards the child, the word Trieb, which is exactly equal to impulse,
seems to be applied only in one other direction, to what we would call
the social instinct, and here again Froebel shows his recognition of the
vagueness and indefiniteness of early consciousness. As he attributes to
the infant the one impulse to activity which differentiates later into
Investigation and Construction, so in the infant he recognizes a “feeling
of community” (Gesammtgefühl), but says that it differentiates later into
something more definite.[33]

    “The development of man constitutes an unbroken whole, steadily
    and continuously progressing, gradually ascending. The feeling
    of community (Gemeingefühl) awakened in the infant, develops
    in the child into impulse, inclination (entwickelt sich in dem
    Kinde der Trieb, die Neigung).”--_E., p. 95._

Under the important Instinct of Investigation, or the Instinct for
Self-Instruction, Froebel includes a great deal. Many different
activities until recently somewhat carelessly talked of collectively
as “play,” Froebel has separated and explained as the child’s way of
investigating his surroundings. Even “the earliest activity and first
action of the child,” Froebel says, shows “the instinct to self-teaching
and self-instruction.”

Imitative action or imitative play is always referred to as action which
helps towards understanding of the surroundings. In the “Mother Songs” we

    “Your child will certainly understand all the better if you
    make him take a part--though it be only by imitation--in
    what grown-up people are doing in their anxiety to maintain
    life.…”--_M., p. 141._

    “I have already said that this little game arose because people
    felt that a child’s love of activity, and his striving to get
    the use of his limbs, ought to be carried on in such a way
    as to lift him at once into the complexity of the life which
    surrounds him.… Pray do not disturb them in their ingenious
    charming play (saying grace over the dolls’ feast), but rather
    avoid noticing it if you cannot identify yourself with its
    charm.… For how is your child to cultivate in himself the
    feeling of what is holy, if you will not grant that it takes
    form for him in all its purity in his innocent games.”--_M., p.

    “What man tries to represent he begins to understand.”--_E., p.

Representation, however, may be carried out in many ways, by the use of
material, as well as by bodily action so that the constructive instinct
also subserves that of investigation.

    “To grasp a thing through life and action is much more
    developing, cultivating and strengthening than merely to
    receive it through the verbal communication of ideas.
    Similarly, representation of a thing by material means, in life
    and action, united with thought and speech, is more developing
    than merely verbal representation of ideas.”--_E., p. 279._

    “The child must perceive and grasp his own life in an objective
    manifestation before he can perceive and grasp it in himself.
    This law of development, prescribed by Nature and by the
    essential character of the child, must always be respected and
    obeyed by the true educator. Its recognition is the aim of my
    gifts and games apprehended relatively to the educator.”--_P.,
    p. 38._

Here Froebel has plainly stated the main object of his specially selected
play-material. The ordinary parent not being “the man advanced in
insight,” who “makes clear to himself the purpose of playthings,” Froebel
often saw children supplied with expensive but unsuitable toys, toys
which would not bring the child any nearer his destination, “to have
power and understanding, to become ever more and more self-conscious and

    “Here, then, we meet as a great imperfection in ordinary
    playthings, a disturbing element which slumbers like a viper
    under roses, viz. that it is too complex, too much finished.
    The child can begin no new thing with it, cannot produce enough
    variety by it; his power of creative imagination, his power of
    giving outward form to his own idea is thus actually deadened.
    When we provide children with too finished playthings, we
    deprive them of the incentive to perceive the particular in
    the general (_P., p. 122_).… What presents are most prized
    by the child? Those which afford him a means of unfolding
    his inner life most freely and of shaping it in various
    directions.”--_P., p. 142._

    “The man, advanced in insight, should be as clear as possible
    in his own mind about all this before he introduces his
    child into the outer world. Even when he gives the child a
    plaything, he must make clear to himself its purpose, and the
    purpose of playthings and occupation material in general. This
    purpose is, to aid the child freely to express what is in
    him and to bring the phenomena of the outer world nearer to
    him.”--_P., p. 171._

    “To realize his aims, man, and more particularly the child,
    requires material, if it be only a bit of wood or a pebble with
    which he makes something or which he makes into something. In
    order to lead the child to the handling of material, we gave
    him the soft ball, the wooden sphere and cube, etc., discussed
    in the chapters on the Kindergarten Gifts. Each of these gifts
    incites the child to free spontaneous activity, to independent
    movement.”[34]--_P., p. 237._

As the child grows older his constructions advance, but still they
connect themselves with investigating:

    “Here he makes a little garden under the hedge; there he
    represents the course of the river in his furrow and in his
    ditch; there he studies the effects of the fall or pressure of
    water upon his little water-wheel.”--_E., p. 105._

Investigating naturally leads to exploring, “external objects invite him
who would bring them nearer to move toward them,” and so the child once
he is able to stand begins to travel:

    “When the child makes his first attempts at walking he
    frequently tries to go to some particular object. This effort
    may have its source in the child’s desire to hold himself
    firm and upright by it, but we also observe that it gives him
    pleasure to be near the object, to touch it, to feel it, and
    perhaps also--a new phase of activity--to be able to move it.
    Hence we see the child hops up and down before it and beats
    on it with his little hands, in order to assure himself of
    the reality of the object, and to notice its qualities.… Each
    new phenomenon is a discovery in the child’s small and yet
    rich world--e.g. one can go round the chair, one can stand
    before, behind, beside it, but one cannot go behind the bench
    or the wall. He likes to change his relationship to different
    objects, and through these changes he seeks self-recognition
    and self-comprehension, as well as recognition of the different
    objects which surround him, and recognition of his environment
    as a whole. Each little walk is a tour of discovery; each
    object is an America--a new world, which he either goes around
    to see if it be an island, or whose coast he follows to
    discover if it be a continent.”--_P., p. 243._

The boy has lost none of this tendency to explore, but he goes further
afield, and it is worth noting that because the boy has a distinct
purpose in view his exploring is distinctly called work.

    “If activity brought joy to the child, work now gives delight
    to the boy. Hence the daring and venturesome feats of boyhood;
    the explorations of caves and ravines; the climbing of trees
    and mountains; the searching of heights and depths; the roaming
    through fields and forests.… To climb a new tree means to
    the boy the discovery of a new world.… Not less significant
    of development is the boy’s inclination (Neigung) to descend
    into caves and ravines, to ramble in the shady grove and dark
    forest.”--_E., pp. 102-5._

Even the baby shows trace of the collecting or acquiring instinct, but to
Froebel this still falls under the head of investigation. The child who
has just learned to walk is:

    “attracted by the bright round smooth pebble, by the quaint
    brilliant leaf, by the smooth piece of wood, and he tries to
    get hold of these with the help of the newly acquired use of
    his limbs. Look at the child that can scarcely keep himself
    erect and that can walk only with the greatest care--he sees
    a twig, a bit of straw; painfully he secures it.… See the
    child laboriously stooping and slowly going forward under the
    eaves. The force of the rain has washed out of the sand small,
    smooth, bright pebbles, and the ever-observing child gathers
    them.”--_E., p. 72._

The boy, still only from six to eight years old, keeps up the collecting
habit with more method and with a wider range, and he demands assistance.

    “Not less full of significance, nor less developing, is the
    boy’s inclination to descend into caves and ravines, to ramble
    in the shady grove and in the dark forest. It is _the effort_
    (_Streben_) to seek and find the new, to see and discover the
    hidden, the desire to bring to light and _to appropriate_ that
    which lies concealed in darkness and shadow.

    “From these rambles the boy returns with rich treasures of
    unknown stones and plants, of animals--worms, beetles, spiders
    and lizards, that dwell in darkness and concealment. ‘What
    is this? What is its name?’ etc., are the questions to be
    answered; and every new word enriches his world and throws
    light upon his surroundings. Beware of greeting him with the
    exclamation, ‘Fie, throw that down, that is horrid!’ or ‘Drop
    that, it will bite you!’ If the child obeys, he drops and
    throws away a considerable portion of his power.”--_E., p. 104._

This quotation brings us to another mode of investigation, that of asking
questions, which Froebel was not likely to miss.

    “The child, your child, ye fathers, follows you wherever you
    go. Do not harshly repel him. Show no impatience about his
    ever-recurring questions. Every harshly repelling word crushes
    a bud of his tree of life.… Question upon question comes from
    the lips of the boy thirsting for knowledge--How? Why? When?
    What for? and every satisfactory answer opens to him a new
    world.”--_E., p. 86._

Professor O’Shea has an interesting section on what he calls “The
Sense of Location,” which he says is “at the bottom of one of the most
interesting and important phenomena of adjustment--the questioning
activity.” So it may be worth while to notice that Froebel, whom the
Professor has dismissed with one slighting reference, has been beforehand
with him here, and has dealt with this same early beginning in one of his
earliest Mother Songs, viz. “It’s all Gone,” where he says to the mother:

    “How can the child understand that anything is “all gone,” yet
    he must see sense in it or he will not be satisfied. What he
    saw just now is there no longer, what was above is below, what
    was there has vanished.”--_M., p. 18._

Questioning implies language, but Froebel has no language instinct. He
does, however, call speech immediate (unmittelbar), usually translated
“innate,” and he does say that because others talk to him, the child’s
capacity for speech will develop of necessity and will break forth

It is in connection with the child’s earliest investigations that Froebel
brings in the learning to speak. In “The Education of Man,” he notes
how the young child brings all his discoveries, “his treasures,” to the
mother’s lap, and she is warned to give the right kind of help and at the
right time.

    “It is the longing for interpretation that urges the child to
    appeal to us, it is the intense desire for this that urges him
    to bring his treasures to us and to lay them in our laps. The
    child loves all things that enter his small horizon and extend
    his little world. To him the least thing is a new discovery;
    but it must not come dead into the little world, nor lie dead
    therein lest it obscure the small horizon and crush the little
    world.”--_E., p. 73._

All the help the mother need give at first is to supply names, since as
Froebel says, “the name, as it were, creates the thing for the child.”
Later she must help him to compare and classify.

    “How little is needed from those around the child to aid him
    in this tendency (to seek for knowledge). It is only necessary
    to name, to put into words what the child does, sees and
    finds.”--_E., p. 75._

    “It is as well while the child is making these first
    experiments (at walking about the room) to name the
    objects--e.g. There is the chair, the table, etc.… The object
    of giving these names is not primarily the development of
    the child’s power of speech, but to assist his comprehension
    of the object, its parts and its properties by defining his
    sense-impressions. By a rich store of such experiences
    the capacity for speech develops of necessity, and speech
    breaks forth of itself, as it were, through heightened mental
    self-activity in accordance with the nature of mind.”--_P., p.

Expression, of course, of which speech is but one form, is to Froebel
all-important. “Speech,” he says, is “required and conditioned by
the attainment to consciousness,” and as self-consciousness is the
characteristic of humanity, so speech is “the first manifestation of
mankind.” In his “Autobiography” Froebel writes:

    “Mankind as a whole, as one great unity, had now become my
    quickening thought. I kept this conception continually before
    my mind. I sought after proofs of it in my little world within
    and in the great world without me; I desired by many a struggle
    to win it, and then to set it worthily forth. And thus I was
    led back to the first appearance of man upon our earth, and to
    the first manifestation of mankind, his speech.”--_A., p. 84._

In talking of the mother’s play with an infant he says that she
accompanies every action with words, “even if obliged to confess that
there can be no understanding of the spoken word,” as “the general sense
of hearing is not yet developed, still less the special sense of hearing
words.” Froebel says she is right:

    “for that which will one day develop and which must originate,
    begins and must begin when there is as yet only the conditions,
    the possibility thereof. Thus it is with the attainment of
    the human being to consciousness, and the speech required and
    conditioned by consciousness.”--_P., p. 40._

Words, says Froebel, first separate the child from the world outside him.

    “Up to this stage (the beginning of speech), the inner being
    of man is still an unmembered, undifferentiated unity. With
    language, the expression and representation of the internal
    begin; with language, organization, or a differentiation with
    reference to ends and means sets in.”--_E., p. 50._

Both in the earlier “Education of Man,” and in his later writings Froebel
uses the strong expression that “the word creates the thing” for the
child, and in one passage he adds that by language the idea is defined
and retained.

    “This period is pre-eminently the period of the development of
    speech. Therefore in all the child did, it was indispensable
    that what he did should be clearly designated by words. Every
    object, every thing became such, as it were, only through the
    word; before it had been named although the child might have
    seemed to see it with the outer eyes, it had no existence for
    the child. The name, as it were, created the thing for the
    child; hence the name and the thing seemed to be one.”--_E., p.

    “Through her little rhymes the mother will make clear to the
    little one what he has done, and so his accidental productions
    will become a point of departure for his self-development. Word
    and form are opposite and yet related. Hence the word should
    accompany the form as its shadow. In a certain sense, giving
    a form a name really creates the form itself. Through the
    name, moreover, the form is retained in memory and defined in
    thought.”--_P., p. 192._

Of very early speech Froebel says that it shows:

    “the peculiarity and requirement of the human mind to render
    itself intelligible to clarify itself by communication with
    others.”--_P., p. 56._

Having investigated his surroundings, near or far, and collected
what seems to him attractive, the child, whether older or younger,
arranges his treasures in some way, and this arrangement implies some
comparison. “Like things must be ranged together and things unlike must
be separated,” says Froebel of the child “scarce able to walk,” who has
collected “the small, smooth, pebbles washed out of the sand by the
rain.” This “arranging objects of each kind singly in a row” is at first
no doubt only a recognition of the like and unlike, but Froebel notes
that it is also one way in which the child may arrive at “the capacity
for counting” by which his sphere of knowledge is again extended.

    “The knowledge of the relations of quantity adds much to a
    child’s life.… At first he places together similar objects.…
    Who has not had frequent opportunity to observe how the child
    arranges the objects of each kind singly in a row. Let the
    mother supply the quickening word, saying Apple, apple, apple,
    etc. All apples. Pear, pear, pear, etc. All pears.… One pear,
    another apple, another apple.… Instead of the indefinite word
    “another” the mother subsequently uses the numerals, counting
    together with the child, thus: One apple, two apples, three
    apples, etc.”--_E., p. 80._

To many children, however, counting may come through efforts to draw. I
have seen a child of four-and-a-half, in drawing a man, make a line for
the arm, then lay down her pencil to count her own fingers and then draw
five lines for the man’s hand. Froebel says:

    “The representation of objects by drawing, and the exact
    perception conditioned and required by the representation, soon
    leads the child quickly to recognize the constantly repeated
    association of certain numbers of different objects--e.g. two
    eyes and two arms, five fingers, etc. Thus the drawing of the
    object leads to the discovery of number.… By the development of
    the capacity for counting, the child’s sphere of knowledge, his
    world, is again extended.… He was unable to determine relative
    quantities, but now he knows that he has two large and three
    small pebbles, four white and five yellow flowers,” etc.--_E.,
    p. 80._

Yet another mode of Investigation is that of Experimenting; every normal
child is what Froebel calls “a self-teaching scientist.”

    “The material must be known not only by its name, but by its
    qualities and uses.… For this reason the child examines the
    object on all sides; for this reason he tears and breaks it;
    for this reason he puts it in his mouth and bites it. We
    reprove the child for his naughtiness and foolishness; and
    yet he is wiser than we who reprove him. An instinct which
    the child did not give himself, the instinct which rightly
    understood and rightly guided would lead him to know God in his
    works, drives him to this.”--_E., p. 73._

It may well be through his ceaseless experimenting that the little child
begins to draw, gains what the late Mr. Ebenezer Cooke called “a language
of line,” or as Froebel puts it, notices “linear phenomena, which direct
his attention to the linear properties of surrounding objects.”

    “A child has found a pebble, a fragment of lime or chalk. In
    order to determine by experiment its properties, he has rubbed
    it on a board near by, and has discovered its property of
    imparting colour. See how he delights in the newly discovered
    property, how busily he makes use of it! … but soon he begins
    to find pleasure in the winding, straight, curved, and other
    forms that appear. These linear phenomena direct his attention
    to the linear properties of surrounding objects. Now the
    head becomes a circle, and now the circular line represents
    the head, the elliptical curve connected with it represents
    the body; arms and legs appear as straight or broken lines,
    and these again represent arms and legs; the fingers he sees
    as straight lines meeting in a common point, and lines so
    connected are, for the busy child, again hands and fingers; the
    eyes he sees as dots, and these again represent eyes; and thus
    a new world opens within and without. For what man tries to
    represent, that he begins to understand.”--_E., p. 75._

I have watched a child go through the process of discovering “linear
phenomena,” just as Froebel describes it, no doubt from his own
observation. A boy of three, having folded a piece of paper for the roof
of a house, was colouring it, by rubbing on red chalk, when he called
out, “Oh! I’m making lines.” The other children went on rubbing, but Phil
made “lines” till the roof was finished.

But Froebel does not leave unnoticed the fact that the very earliest
“drawing” is an outgrowth of the muscular action to which his instinct
of activity is urged by the stimulus of contact.

    “Would you know how to lead the child in this matter? Watch
    him, he will teach you what to do. See! he is tracing the table
    by passing his fingers along its edges and outlines as far as
    he can reach, he is sketching the object on itself. This is
    the first and the safest step by which he becomes aware of the
    outlines and forms of objects. In this way he sketches and so
    studies the chair, the bench, the window. But soon he advances.
    He draws lines across the four-cornered bit of board, across
    the leaf of the table, or the seat of the chair, in the dim
    anticipation that so he can retain the forms and relations of
    the surfaces. Now, already he draws the form diminished.

    “See! there the child has drawn table, chair and bench on a
    leaf of the table. Do you not see how he spontaneously trained
    himself for this? Objects which he could move, which were in
    sight, he laid on the board, and drew their form on the plane
    surface, following the boundaries of the objects with his
    hands. Soon scissors and boxes, and later leaves and twigs,
    even his own hand and the shadows of objects will thus be

    “Much is developed in the child by this action, more than
    it is possible to express--a clear comprehension of form,
    the possibility of representing the form separate from the
    object, the possibility of retaining the form as such, and
    the strengthening and fitting of hand and arm for the free
    representation of form.”--_E., p. 77._

Here, perhaps, is the right place to introduce what Froebel had to say
about the artistic tendencies of children, since Art, to him, is always

    “Absolutely nothing can appear, nothing visible and sensible
    can come forth, that does not hold within itself the living
    spirit; that does not bear upon its surface the imprint of the
    living spirit of the being by whom it has been produced, and
    to whom it owes its existence. And this is true of the work
    of every human being--from the highest artist to the meanest
    labourer--as well as of the works of God, which are Nature, the
    creation, and all created things.”--_E., p. 153._

So, when Froebel comes to speak of art as a subject of the school
curriculum he says: “Here, art will be considered only as the pure
representation of the inner … differentiated according to the material
it uses, whether motion, as such, audible in sound, or visible in lines,
surfaces and colours, or massive”; and he adds:

    “We noticed that even at an earlier stage children have the
    desire to draw, but the desire also to express ideas by
    modelling and colouring is frequently found at this earlier
    stage of childhood, certainly at the very beginning of the
    stage of boyhood (from six years old). _This proves that art
    and appreciation of art constitute a general capacity or talent
    of man_, and should be cared for early, at latest in boyhood.

    “This does not imply that the boy is to devote himself chiefly
    to art, and is to become an artist; but that he should be
    enabled to understand and appreciate true works of art. At
    the same time, a true education will guard him from the error
    of claiming to be an artist unless there is in him the true
    artistic calling.”--_E., p. 227._

In connection with the mother’s instinctive rhythmic crooning and
dandling of the infant, Froebel says:

    “Thus the genuine natural mother cautiously follows in all
    directions the slowly developing all-sided life of the
    child. Others suppose him to be empty.… Thus those means
    of cultivation that lead so simply and naturally to the
    development of rhythm are lost.… Nevertheless an early
    development of rhythmic movement would prove most wholesome.…
    Even very small children, in moments of quiet, and particularly
    when going to sleep, will hum little strains of songs they have
    heard; and this should be heeded and developed as the first
    germ of future growth in melody and song. Undoubtedly this
    would soon lead in children to a spontaneity such as is shown
    by children in the use of speech.”--_E., p. 71._

In the “Mother Songs,” too, Froebel writes:

    “Hence it is so very important to rouse at least the germs
    of all this (the perceiving of harmony in sound and form and
    colour) early in a human being. If they do not develop and take
    shape as independent formations in life, they at least teach
    how to understand and recognize those of other people. This is
    life-gain enough. It makes a person’s life richer--richer by
    the lives of others. And how could our earthly life be long
    enough to form our being with equal perfection on all sides.
    We can only do it by knowing and respectfully recognizing in
    the mirror of the lives of others what we should like to carry
    out ourselves. And this is as it should be, for it is by means
    of knowledge, regard for and respectful recognition of others,
    that the whole of humanity ought to represent the whole of a
    God-like harmonious human being.”--_M., p. 162._

In what he says of the Interest in Stories, Froebel again seems to
show deeper insight than either Mr. Eby or Professor Kirkpatrick. Mr.
McDougall does not touch upon the subject. It is still the outcome of the
child’s instinctive desire to understand himself and his surroundings.
Froebel says very truly that he can only understand others in proportion
as he understands himself, and can only learn to understand himself,
his own life, by comparing it with that of others. The desire for
stories is “a striving, a longing, a demand of the mind” (ein Streben,
eine Sehnsucht, eine Forderung des Gemüthes). For the little one, the
simplest story of the mother bird feeding her young ones is a help to the
understanding of his own life, makes his own life objective; the mother’s
“effective story will hold up a looking-glass to the child, especially
if it be told at the right time.” For the boy the story does the same
and also answers to his instinctive demand not only to understand the
present, but the past:

    “It is the innermost desire and need of a vigorous, genuine boy
    to understand his own life, to get a knowledge of its nature,
    its origin and outcome. Only the study of the life of others
    can furnish such points of comparison with the life he himself
    has experienced. In these the boy, endowed with an active life
    of his own, can view the latter as in a mirror and learn to
    appreciate its value. This is the chief reason why boys are
    so fond of stories, legends and tales; the more so when these
    are told as having actually occurred at some time, or as lying
    within the reach of probability, for which, however, there are
    scarcely any limits for a boy.”--_E., p. 305._

    “The existence of the present teaches him the existence of the
    past. That, which was before he was, he would know; he would
    know the reason, the past cause of what now is. Who fails to
    remember the keen desire that filled his heart when he beheld
    old walls, and towers, ruins, monuments and columns on hill and
    the roadside--to hear others give accounts of these things,
    their times and causes … thus is developed the desire and
    craving for tales, legends, for all kinds of stories, and later
    for historical accounts.”--_E., p. 115._

Even the fairy story seems to have found its legitimate place under
the same heading, the instinct for investigation. Froebel sees that it
covers for the little child the ground occupied by myth in the primitive
consciousness. It explains the otherwise inexplicable.

    “Even the present in which the boy lives still contains much
    that at this period of development he cannot interpret, and yet
    would like to interpret; much that seems to him dumb, and which
    he would fain have speak; … and thus there is developed in him
    the intense desire for fables and fairy tales which impart
    language and reason to speechless things--the one within, the
    other beyond the limits of human relations. Surely all must
    have noticed this if they have given more than superficial
    attention to the life of boys at this age. Similarly, they must
    have noticed that if the boy’s desire is not gratified by those
    around him, he will spontaneously hit upon the invention and
    presentation of fairy tales, and either work them out in his
    own mind or entertain his companions with them. These fairy
    tales and stories will then very clearly reveal to the observer
    what is going on in the innermost mind of the boy, though
    doubtless the latter may not himself be conscious of it.”--_E.,
    p. 116._

    “The child, like the man, would like to learn the significance
    of what happens around him. This is the foundation of the Greek
    choruses, especially in tragedy. This, too, is the foundation
    of very many productions in the realms of legends and fairy
    tales, and is indeed the cause of many phenomena in actual
    history. This is the result of the deeply-rooted consciousness,
    the deeply slumbering premonition of being surrounded by that
    which is higher and more conscious than ourselves.”--_P., p.

The outcome of the instinct of construction, which is also so closely
connected with the instinct of investigation, is that “sense of
power” which _is_ self-consciousness. Without this there can be no
self-determination, but, says Froebel, “the sense of power must precede
its cultivation.” With this growing personality, too, Froebel connects
what is called the instinct of Acquisition, which begins when the little
child “painfully secures his bit of straw,” and the boy of six to eight
shows “the tendency to appropriate what he finds in the darkness of cave
and forest.”

    “The same tendency that urges the boy to seek knowledge on
    the mountain and in the valley, attracts and holds him to
    the plain. Here he makes a garden, there he represents the
    course of the river, and studies the effect of the presence of
    water … here he has dammed up the water to form a pool.… He
    is particularly fond of busying himself with clear running
    water and with plastic materials. In these the boy who
    seeks self-knowledge beholds his soul as in a mirror. These
    employments are to him an element of his life, for now, because
    of a previously acquired sense of power he seeks to control and
    master new material. Everything must submit to his constructive
    instinct; there in that heap of earth he digs a cellar and on
    it he places a garden and a bench. Boards, branches and poles
    must be made into a hut, the deep, fresh snow must be rolled up
    to form the walls and ramparts of a fort, and the rough stones
    on the hill are heaped together to form a castle.… And thus
    each one soon forms for himself his own world; for the feeling
    of his own power requires and conditions also the possession
    of his own space and his own material belonging exclusively to
    him. Whether his kingdom, his province, his estate, as it were,
    be a corner of the yard, or of the house, or whether it be the
    space of a box, the human being must have at this stage an
    external point to which he refers all his activities, and this
    is best chosen and provided by himself.”--_E., p. 106._

And here, just when he is emphasizing the fast developing consciousness
of self, with its demand for its own space and its own material, Froebel
brings out the strength of the social instinct in boyhood. It is here
that he points out that this effort to construct has a uniting, not a
separating, tendency. Continuous with the last quotation comes:

    “When the space to be filled is extensive, when the province
    to be ruled is large, when the whole to be represented is
    composed of many parts, then brotherly union of those who are
    of one mind is displayed. And when those who are of one mind
    meet and put their hearts into the same effort, then either
    the work already begun is extended or begun again as a joint
    production.”--_E., p. 107._

Froebel describes such joint work first in the Keilhau schoolroom--his
own phrase is “education room”--where the younger boys are using building
blocks, sand, sawdust, and moss, which they have brought in from the
forest around and then among the older boys.

    “Down yonder by the brook, how busy are the older boys with
    their work! They have made canals with locks, bridges and
    seaports, dams and mills, each undisturbed by the others. But
    now the water is to be used to carry ships from one level to
    another, and now, at every stage, each boy asserts his own
    rights while recognizing the rights of others. How can they
    settle their difficulties? Only by making agreements, and so,
    like States, they bind themselves by strict treaties.”--_E., p.

Of games of physical movement, running, wrestling, etc., Froebel writes:

    “It is the sense of power, the sense of its increase, both as
    an individual and as a member of a group, that fills the boy
    with joy, in these games.… The boy tries to see himself in his
    companions, to weigh and measure himself by them, to find and
    know himself by their help. Thus the games directly influence
    and educate the boy for life, they awake and cultivate many
    civic and moral virtues. Every town should have its common
    playground for the boys. Glorious would be the results from
    this for the entire community. For at this stage of development
    games whenever possible are held in common, thus developing
    the sense of community and the laws and requirements of a
    community.”--_E., p. 113._

Froebel had studied boys to some purpose, and he tells us not, however,
to expect too much in the way of social virtues. Justice, self-control,
honesty, courage and “severe criticism of pleasant indolence” may be
expected, but mutual forbearance and consideration for those who are
weaker or less familiar with the game, though not entirely lacking, are
referred to as “the more delicate blossoms” of the playground. It is here
that he says with wise moderation, “The feeling of power must precede its

The social instinct does not suddenly spring into existence in boyhood.
It has its roots in what Froebel calls the Feeling of Community which
unites the child first with the mother, then with father, brothers and

    “We cannot deny that there is at present among children and
    boys little gentleness, mutual forbearance … indeed, there is
    much egotism, unfriendliness and roughness. This is clearly due
    not only to the absence of early cultivation of the feeling of
    community, but this sympathy between parents and children is
    too often disturbed, yes even annihilated.”--_E., p. 119._

The sympathy of the little child ought to be trained and is trained by
the wise mother always through action.

    “Mother love seeks to awaken and to interpret the feeling
    of community, which is so important, between the child and
    the father, brother and sister, saying while she draws the
    child’s little hand caressingly across the face of the father
    or of the little sister, ‘Love the dear father--the little
    sister.’”--_E., p. 69._

In the Finger Play called “The Nest,” Froebel tells the mother:

    “The way lies through our imaginative, tender and emotional
    observation of Nature and of man’s life, through the child’s
    taking their meaning into his own heart and expressing by
    representation what he thus takes in.… The child’s sympathy
    is roused by the young creatures’ necessities more than by
    anything, and chiefly by their nakedness and softness.”--_M.,
    p. 149._

And the action which fosters the growth of sympathy is not to be merely
representative; The Garden Song has this motto:

    “If your child’s to love and cherish Life that needs him
    day-by-day, Give him things to tend that perish If he ever
    stays away.”--_M., p. 84._

It is because “the desire for unity is the basis of all true human
development” that the child is to be encouraged to help in the work he
sees going on around him.

    “Family, family--let us say it openly and plainly--you are more
    than School and Church, and therefore more than all else that
    necessity may have called into being for the protection of
    right and property … without you, what are Altar and Church?…
    Therefore, Mother, in the little finger game, teach your
    child some notion of the nature of a whole, especially of a
    family-whole.”--_M., p. 159._

    “We have not yet touched nor even considered an important side
    of child-life, the side of association with father and mother
    in their domestic duties, in the duties of their calling.…
    (_E., p. 84_). Do not let the urgency of your business tempt
    you to say, ‘Go away, you only hinder me.’ … After a third
    rebuff of this kind scarcely any child will again propose to
    help and share the work.”--_E., p. 99._

It is an essential part of the Kindergarten to consider the child as a
member of the human family. It is described in one place as:

    “An establishment for training quite young children, in their
    first stage of intellectual development, where their training
    and instruction shall be based upon their own free action
    or spontaneity, acting under proper rules … such rules as
    are in fact discovered by the actual observation of children
    when associated in companies. (_L., p. 251_).… Practice in
    combined games for many children, which will train the child,
    by his very nature eager for companionship, in the habit of
    association with comrades, that is, in good fellowship and all
    that this implies.”--_L., p. 252._

Among his Group Instincts Mr. Kirkpatrick mentions the Love of
Approbation, and this receives special attention from Froebel at a
surprisingly early stage. It is in the “Mother Songs,” in connection with
his adaptation of an old German nursery rhyme about knights who come to
visit “a good child,” that Froebel tells the mother that:

    “A new life stage has begun, and you, dear Mother, must use
    your best and most watchful care, when first the child listens
    to a stranger.”

In the same connection he writes:

    “The child must be roused to good by inclination, love and
    respect, _through the opinion of others around him_, and all
    this must be strengthened and developed.… When, therefore,
    Mother, observation as to the judgment of others awakes in your
    child--when, separating himself and on the watch _he brings
    himself before the judgment of others_, then you really have a
    double task to perform.…”--_M., p. 190._

The Love of Approbation cannot be separated from what Mr. Kirkpatrick
calls the Regulative, i.e. the Moral and Religious Instincts, for it is
both social and regulative, and in the social instincts Froebel sees the
foundation of the religious instincts or tendencies, to which we shall
come presently. But he also notes a “sense of order,” as Mr. Sully does
in his delightful “Studies of Childhood,” and this he traces back to very
early beginnings, connecting it with the tendency towards rhythm.

    “That disorder and rough wilfulness may never enter the games,
    it is a good plan wherever it is possible to accompany each
    change in the play by rhyme and song; so that the latent sense
    of rhythm and song, _and above all the sense of order in the
    human being and child_, may be aroused and strengthened to an
    impulse for social cooperation.”--_P., p. 267._

One of the earliest Mother Plays, “Tic-tac,” deals with rhythmic
movement, and in “The Education of Man” Froebel takes the beginning
of “conscious control” still further back. His ideal mother fosters
“all-sided life,” that is, she fosters the cognitive, emotional and
conative, the first by calling the child’s attention to his own body and
his immediate surroundings, and the second by “seeking to awaken and to
interpret the feeling of community between the child and the father,
brother and sister,” and Froebel goes on:

    “In addition to the sense of community as such, the germ of
    so much glorious development, the mother’s love seeks also
    through movements to lead the child to feel his own inner
    life. By regular rhythmic movements--and this is of special
    importance--she brings this life within the child’s conscious
    control when she dandles him up and down on her hand or arm in
    rhythmic movements and to rhythmic sounds. Thus the genuine
    natural mother cautiously follows in all directions the slowly
    developing all-sided life in the child, strengthening and
    arousing to ever greater activity, and developing the all-sided
    life within. Others suppose the child to be empty and wish to
    inoculate him with life, and thus make him as empty as they
    think him to be.”--_E., p. 69._

It is surprising to find that Froebel, writing so early, has nothing
at all resembling any special “moral faculty.” His references to
“Conscience” are decidedly interesting, though given in quaint connection
with games and rhymes for mere babes. He asks why the “Where’s Baby?”
game gives such delight, and shows his psychological insight in the
answer he finds, viz. that it is the feeling or recognition of self, of
personality, which gives such joy.

    “Why, now, is my child so happy over the hiding game? It is the
    feeling of Personality which already so delights the child, it
    is the feeling of recognition of his own self.”[35]

The game which follows this repeats the hiding experience, but this time
with the cry of “cuckoo,” from some one unseen, and this is likened to
the conscience call, which is described as “consciousness of union in
separation and of separateness, that is personality, in union.”--_M., p.

    “In ‘Where’s Baby Been?’ parting and union seem more separate,
    as though in order that each may become more and more clearly
    conscious of itself; in ‘Cuckoo,’ parting and union are, as
    it were, joined. It is parting in union and union in parting
    that makes ‘Cuckoo’ such a peculiar game and so delightful
    to a child. But consciousness of union in separation, and
    of separateness--that is personality--in union, is also the
    essence, the deep foundation of conscience.”--_M., p. 197._

Mr. Kirkpatrick’s second Regulative instinct or tendency is that of
Religion, but Froebel again, like Mr. McDougall, finds that Religion has
its roots in an instinct “not specifically religious,”[36] viz. in the
Social Instinct. He says this in “The Education of Man” in the plainest
of terms.

    “This feeling of Community first uniting the child with
    father, mother, brothers and sisters, and resting on a higher
    spiritual unity, to which later on is added the discovery that
    father, mother, brothers and sisters, human beings in general,
    feel and know themselves to be in community and unity with a
    higher principle--with humanity, with God--this is the very
    first germ, the very first beginning of all true religious
    spirit, of all genuine yearning for unhindered unification with
    the Eternal, with God.”--_E., p. 25._

It seems quite in accordance with this that Froebel should write that he
likes better the German word _Gott-einigkeit_--union with God--than the
foreign word religion; and also that he should speak of “developing the
sense of kinship with man in every child, and the sense of kinship with
God in every man.” So, in his “Mother Songs,” he tells the mother to give
her child duties to perform, that so he may “feel his kinship” with her:

    “Every age, even the age of childhood, has something to cherish
    that is plain, and from doing so no exemption can be procured;
    it has therefore its duties. Happy is it for a child if he
    be led to deal with them adequately, and for the present
    unconsciously. Duties are not burdens.… Fulfilment of duty
    strengthens body and mind, and the consciousness of duty done
    gives independence; even a child feels this. See, Mother, how
    happy your child is in feeling he has done his small duties. He
    already feels his kinship with you thereby.”--_M., p. 174._

There is never a separation between Morality and Religion:

    “Religion without industry, without work, is liable to be lost
    in empty dreams, worthless visions, idle fancies. Similarly,
    work or industry without religion degrades man into a beast
    of burden, a machine. Work and religion must be simultaneous;
    for God, the Eternal has been creating from all eternity.…
    Where religion, industry and self-control, the truly undivided
    trinity rule, there indeed is heaven upon earth.”--_E., p. 35._

There is only one other instinct mentioned by Froebel, and that is the
parental, or, rather, the maternal instinct. He is eager that this
should be recognized as an instinct, but he is equally eager that, like
other human instincts, its action should be determined by intelligence.
In describing the “Plan” for his Kindergarten, Froebel pleads for more
careful observation of the child and his relationships, and says that

    “Deeper insight will be gained into the meaning and importance
    of the child’s actions and outward manifestations and
    also into the way of dealing with children which has been
    evolved naturally by the mother led by her pure maternal
    instinct.”--_L., p. 248._

As to the early beginnings of the instinct in the little girl we can find
just a few references, sufficient to show that it did not pass unnoticed,
and it seems here legitimate to say that “the girl anticipates her
destiny,” as Froebel does in speaking of doll-play, though certainly this
does not cover all such play:

    “The joy of the child in its doll has a far deeper human
    foundation than is generally supposed--a foundation by no
    means resting merely in the external resemblance … the girl
    anticipates her destiny--to foster Nature and life.”--_P., p.

The boy’s destiny is “to penetrate and rule Nature,” so in the “Mother
Songs” Froebel describes how the boy is “cowering that no sign of life
in the chicken family may escape him, while the girl starts up, _all her
care of things stirred_, in order to beckon or call the hen or cock not
to forget their chickens.”--_M., p. 143._

In all his writings, Froebel refers to how much he has learned from
mothers: “It was in watching your clever mother-doings that I learnt.”
But, as he says of himself, it was “a necessary part of me to be
irresistibly driven to search out the ultimate or primary cause of every
fact of life,” and so he writes:

    “The natural mother does all this instinctively without
    instruction or direction; but this is not enough: it is needful
    that she should do it consciously, as a conscious being
    acting upon another which is growing into consciousness, and
    consciously tending toward the continuous development of the
    human being.”--_E., p. 64._

    “Motherly and womanly instinct does much of its own accord; but
    it often makes mistakes.”--_L., p. 63._

    “Women’s work in education must be based not upon natural
    instinct, so often perverted or misunderstood, but upon
    intelligent knowledge.… Some mothers level the taunt at me that
    I, a man, understanding nothing of a mother’s instinct, should
    dare to presume to instruct mothers in their dealings with
    their own children.… How could such a thought enter my head
    as to attempt anything against the course of Nature? My whole
    strength is exerted on the contrary, to the work of getting the
    natural instinct and its tendencies more rightly understood,
    and more acknowledged; so that women may follow its leadings
    as truly as possible aided by the higher light of intelligent
    comprehension, and yet at the same time in all freedom, and
    with complete individuality.”--_L., p. 259._

So, in what he says of this last instinct, Froebel is faithful to what he
has said of all human instincts.

    “Man shall assuredly not neglect his natural instincts, still
    less abandon them, but he must ennoble them through his
    intelligence and purify them through his reason.”



To write even a small book on Froebel without directly touching on the
subject of play would be impossible, though in dealing with instincts and
the carrying out of natural activities we have necessarily considered
much that comes under this heading.

On the educative value of play, Froebel is recognizedly original, and
his views have influenced and are influencing schools for young children
in most civilized countries. Indeed, it would be difficult to show that
modern writers on play, in spite of the scientific thoroughness of their
investigations, classifications and terminology, have made much advance
upon Froebel’s theories. Rather do they tend to show how remarkable was
his insight, and how surprisingly well grounded his theories.

Nothing, however, has yet been said as to the relation of play to work,
no direct definition has yet been given, nor has any reference been made
to the now familiar theories of play.

In Froebel’s day, these, as clearly formulated theories, were
non-existent. His work was that of a pioneer, and his theory might
have been called that of “Preparation through Recapitulation.” He
would, however, have allowed that play is sometimes, though not always,
recreative, and he makes clear the necessity for what he calls “healthy
vital energy” (gesunden Lebensmuthe), but he would never have called
this mere “surplus energy,” because he thought it was not more than was

    “The genuine schoolboy should be full of life and spirit,
    strong in body and mind.… Would that, in judging the power of
    children and boys, we might never forget the words of one of
    our greatest German writers: that there is a greater advance
    from the infant to the speaking child than there is from the
    schoolboy to a Newton! Now, if the advance is greater, the
    power, too, must be greater; this we should consider.”--_E., p.

Ebers, the Egyptologist, tells us that when he was a boy at Keilhau full
provision was made for this abounding energy. We read of walks long and
short, of botanizing and geologizing rambles, of climbing trees and
cliffs for birds’ eggs, of which only one might be taken from a nest.
We hear of Indian games out of Fenimore Cooper’s Leatherstocking Tales,
of classic and other dramas on winter evenings, and of Homeric battles,
which Froebel, he says, would have called “signs of creative imagination
and individual life.” There was swimming and skating and coasting and
“the spacious wrestling ground with the shooting stand and the gymnasium
for every spare moment of the winter”; and a piece of ground “assigned
to each pupil, where he could wield spade and pickaxe, roll stones, sow
and reap.” But the great game was the Bergwacht, where the boys, divided
into four parties that all might be active, actually constructed, and
then attacked and defended stone fortresses. “How quickly,” says Ebers,
“we learned to use the plummet, to take levels, hew the stone and wield
the axe.” The weapons were blunted stakes. It was forbidden to touch the
head, but it was a point of honour among the boys to yield as prisoner if
touched by the pole, “and what self-denial it required!” These combats
were held on fine Saturday evenings, and when all was over “the women,”
probably the girls of the school community, had lighted fires and made
supper ready, and the lads slept in their fortresses while two sentinels
marched up and down, relieved every half-hour. On the Sunday following
the boys were not required to go to church, “where we should merely have
gone to sleep.”

It has frequently been brought as an accusation against Froebel that
he makes no clear cut distinction between work and play, and that is
true, but who nowadays does? Common sense would probably join hands
with the philosopher in saying that the feeling of freedom is the chief
distinction of play as opposed to work, and this is the definition quite
distinctly given by Froebel. The definition is given in his detailed
enumeration of “the various directions of an active life of instruction
and education,” and after mentioning religious training, cultivation of
the body as the means of expressing mind, the study of Nature, etc.,
etc., he comes to:

    “Play, that is, spontaneous representation and exercise of
    every kind.”--_E., p. 236._

Another definition given in “The First Action of a Child” is:

    “Play, which is independent outward expression of what is
    within.”--_P., p. 29._

It is because it is spontaneous that Froebel calls play, during the
period of earliest childhood, when the child is gaining control of
language, “the highest phase of human development at this stage.”

    “Play and speaking form the element in which the child lives
    at this time.… Play is the highest stage of child-development,
    of human development at this stage, because it is spontaneous
    (freithätige) representation of the inner, representation of
    the inner out of the need and desire of the inner itself. This
    is implied in the very word Play.”--_E., p. 34._

For modern views on play we turn to the exhaustive study made by Karl
Groos in his two volumes, “The Play of Animals,” and “The Play of Man.”
Here we find the writer taking “the conception of impulse life as a
starting-point,” and reaching the conclusion “that among higher animals
certain instincts are present which, especially in youth, but also in
maturity, produce activity that is without serious intent, and so give
rise to the various phenomena which we include in the word ‘play.’” In
this play, Groos goes on, “opportunity is given to the animal through
the exercise of inborn dispositions, to strengthen and increase his
inheritance in the acquisition of adaptations to his complicated
environment, an achievement which would be unattainable by mere
mechanical instinct alone.” In the treatment of human play he considers
“an analogous position is tenable,” but, for the word instinct, with its
particular reactions, he must substitute “natural or hereditary impulse.”

We have already seen that though Froebel recognized the existence
and importance of human instinct, still he distinguished between it
and the “definite and strong instincts” which belong to the animals
lower than man. We have seen that he regarded the play of childhood as
“spontaneous self-instruction” based on the instincts of investigation
and of construction or representation, action being regarded as the
principal means of investigating, as well as of gaining control over
the surroundings and over the self. We have noticed, too, that Groos
feels inclined to assume a universal “impulse to activity,” and points
out that Ribot approaches such an assumption, though for himself he can
only venture to “hold fast to the fact of the primal need for activity.”
Froebel does, as we have seen, attribute to the infant the one instinct
of activity, which in one place he calls “the natural longing for some
mode of activity inherent in all children,” and this he says becomes
differentiated at a later period.

The special place given by Groos to imitation as “the link between
instinctive and intelligent conduct” is also noteworthy. For we have
seen that Froebel regards imitation in precisely the same light, never
calling it an instinct, but saying that it is the outcome of spontaneous
activity, and that it leads on to understanding.

    “For what man tries to represent or do he begins to
    understand.”--_E., p. 76._

    “As now, habit in the child proceeds from spontaneous and
    independent activity, so also does imitation; … the whole
    inner life of the child shows itself as a tri-unity in the
    three-#fold phenomenon of spontaneous activity, habit and
    imitation.”--_P., p. 28._

It is impossible to make plain how Froebel regarded play, until it is
known how he regarded work, work, too, not only for a child but for a
human being. What he desired for all was work which produces joy; he
calls it “a debasing illusion that man works, produces, creates, only in
order to preserve his body, only to secure food, clothing and shelter.”
Man, he says, works “primarily and in truth that his real essence may
assume outward form,” and one of his sayings is that “the true spirit of
life is the genuine spirit of play.” In an ideal state of affairs, no
human being would be condemned to entirely mechanical work. Work “worthy
of the nature of man” is to Froebel work which in some way expresses
the man; mechanical work is dismissed as “degrading man into a beast of
burden or a machine.” It is because man is of God that he must work, must
produce. “Nearer we hold of God who gives, than of his tribes who take, I
must believe,” is Froebel’s thought in Browning’s words:

    “Each thought of God is a work, an act, a result.… God created
    man in His own image. Therefore man must create and work
    like God. Man’s spirit must hover over the unformed and move
    it that figure and form may come forth. This is the higher
    meaning, the deep significance, the great purpose of work and
    industry, of working, and, as it is truly significantly called,
    of creating. We become like God by diligence and industry, by
    work and action, which are accompanied by the clear perception
    or even the least anticipation that thereby we represent the
    inner by the outer; that we give body to spirit and form to
    thought, make visible the invisible, give an outward transient
    existence to the eternal that lives in the spirit.… Early work,
    guided in accordance with its inner meaning, confirms and
    elevates religion. Religion without work is apt to become empty
    dreaming.”--_E., p. 30._

    “The boy is to take up his future work which now has become his
    calling, not indolently in sullen gloom, but cheerfully and
    joyously, trusting God, himself and Nature, rejoicing in the
    manifold prosperity of his work.… Nor will the father say that
    his son must take up his own business … he will see that every
    business may be ennobled and made worthy of man.”--_E., p. 233._

It is too cheap a jibe to throw at Froebel and his educational theories
that he makes little distinction between work and play. It ought never
to come from any one who has made even a slight study of psychology.
The sting is meant to lie in the suggestion that play is trifling and
easy and that it requires no exertion, while work is serious and demands
concentrated effort, but this view will not bear any consideration. Every
one knows that the play even of an adult, where the differentiation
between work and play ought to be more possible, is often most
exhausting, either to body or to mind. As to the play of childhood, one
of the best known passages in “The Education of Man” is the one in which
Froebel protests that:

    “Play at this time is not trivial, it is highly serious and of
    deep significance.”--_E., p. 55._

It is in this passage, too, that he speaks of the child “wholly absorbed
in play,” who after “playing enduringly even to the point of fatigue” has
fallen asleep “while so absorbed,” and calls this “the most beautiful
expression of child-life at this stage.”

It is Froebel’s glory that as early as 1826 he had applied the theory of
development to education and, rightly or wrongly, he believed that if we
could but supply to our school children material suited to their needs
according to their stage of development, they would respond with the same
eagerness that the younger child shows in what we call his play, but what
Froebel called his “self-culture and self-education.” He states this
view quite distinctly:

    “We have considered the object and aim of human life in
    general.… It now remains to show in what sequence and
    connection the life impulses of the boy develop at this stage,
    how and in what order and form, the school should work in order
    to satisfy human instincts in general, and especially the
    instincts of the boy at this stage of school-life.

    “From a consideration of _the means of instruction and manner
    of teaching thereby conditioned, which necessarily coincide
    with the striving of man toward development_, what is necessary
    for the knowledge of number, of space, of form, of exercises
    in speech, of writing and of reading comes out clearly and
    definitely.”--_E., p. 229._

The view that “the material of instruction and the manner of teaching”
are necessarily conditioned by the child’s stage of development is a
view that has rapidly gained ground. Froebel did his best to apply it,
and it had a partial application in the “culture epochs” theory of the
Herbartians. It has received a stronger impetus into what seems at
present a much truer direction, from the experimental work carried out at
Chicago, under the auspices of Professor Dewey. Froebel maintained that
it was a condition of satisfactory work in every subject. For example, in
connection with the teaching of writing he says:

    “Here, as in all instruction, we should start from a definite
    need of the boy, a need, which must, to a certain extent,
    have been previously developed, if he is to be taught with
    profit and success. This is the source of a multitude of
    imperfections in our schools, that we teach without having
    awakened any need for it, nay even after having repressed what
    need was already there! How can instruction and the school
    prosper?”--_E., p. 223._

Froebel speaks in the same way of work in colours, saying “children feel
the need of a knowledge of colours.” Of poetry in general, including
religious verses and prayers, he says “these must be given according to
the requirements of the development of the child’s mind, and must give
expression to what is already there.”

Returning now to the subject of play as such, we find that Groos retains
as “general psychological criteria of play,” but two “of the elements
popularly regarded as essential--namely, its pleasurableness, and the
actual severance from life’s serious aims.” Of these he says: “Both are
included in activity performed for its own sake.”

It is in connection with very young children that Froebel speaks of
activity for its own sake, and here he does not differentiate between
work and play. He is true to his theory that in all things capable
of development, “what is definite proceeds everywhere from what is
indefinite.” So he says that:

    “Play is at first just natural life.”--_E., p. 54._

He maintains that:

    “The activity of the senses and limbs is the first germ or bud,
    and play, building and shaping (Gestalten) the first tender
    blossoms of the formative instinct, and that this is the point
    of time, at which man is to be prepared for future industry,
    diligence, and productive activity.”--_E., p. 34._

But, in the case of the boy a little older, though still only seven or
eight, Froebel does distinctly differentiate, giving the definition of
play already quoted, “spontaneous expression and practice of every kind,”
and saying of work, that:

    “Boys of this age should have definite domestic occupations,
    indeed they could be actually instructed by mechanics and
    farmers as has already been done by many a father with active
    natural insight. Boys of a somewhat advanced age should be
    often placed in a position to accomplish something with their
    own hands and their own judgment … should devote daily at
    least one or two hours to an occupation with outward results
    … after such a refreshing _work bath_, I cannot better
    designate it, the mind goes with new life to its intellectual
    employments.”--_E., p. 236._

Of the infant, Froebel writes:

    “At this stage of development the man-to-be (dem erschienenen
    werdenden Menschen) _uses his body, his senses, his limbs,
    entirely for that use, practice and exercise, not at all for
    its results_, to which he is quite indifferent, or, to speak
    more correctly, of which he has as yet no idea. Out of this
    comes what begins at this stage, the child’s play with his
    limbs; with his hands, fingers, lips, tongue and feet, and also
    with the movements of his eyes and of his face.”--_E., p. 48._

Of the older child Froebel very distinctly insists that he wants more
than the activity, that he wants outward result. But the result of which
he speaks is one which Groos himself would not disallow. It is only the
outward product of the impulse which has been gratified, a result which
is present to the mind of the older child, while to the infant no such
consciousness is possible.

    “What at an earlier stage of childhood was action for the
    sake of the activity, is now, in the boy, activity for the
    sake of the visible result; the child’s instinct of activity
    has developed into an instinct for shaping or giving form,
    and herein lies the solution of the whole outer life or outer
    manifestation of boy life at this stage.”--_E., p. 99._

Inquiring into the kind of pleasure derived from play, Groos finds that
it rests primarily on the satisfaction of inborn impulses, which press
for discharge, and he gives three special “inborn necessities which
ground our pleasure in play--namely, the exercise of attention, the
demand to be an efficient cause, and imagination.”

As to attention, he suggests that it lends a meaning to the vague idea
of a general need for activity, speaking of “the pitiable condition of
boredom” if opportunity is withheld.

Froebel, of course, has much to say about the instinct of activity,
or, as he usually calls it in “The First Action of a Child,” the
instinct of employment (Beschäftigungstrieb), which is noticeable “even
when the so-called three months’ slumber has just ended.” He, too,
frequently refers to “the ennui and pernicious lack of occupation,”
to the “mischievous idleness which results from our not satisfying or
misdirecting the natural longing for activity inherent in all children.”
It is because Froebel’s thoughts always run on conscious revelation of
the self within as the explanation of human life, that he makes so much
of “the child’s instinct to employ itself” (Triebe des Kindes, sich zu
beschäftigen). This also explains how so much that he says corresponds
with what Groos brings forward with regard to “the joy in being a cause,”
and its modifications. These modifications are (_a_) pleasure in the mere
possession of power, (_b_) emulation, when a model is copied, and (_c_)
in the case of imitative competition there is pleasure in surpassing
others as well as the enjoyment of success resulting from that pleasure
of overcoming difficulties which comes under the combative instinct.

Froebel is warning parents that they must provide for their children
opportunity for the exercise of the impulse to formative activity by
letting them help, even if their help is really a hindrance, and he says:

    “If his earlier activity was only imitation of what he saw
    around him, now it is sharing in the business of the house,
    lifting, pulling, carrying, digging, and wood-splitting. In
    everything the boy will exercise, measure and compare his
    strength that his body may grow stronger, _that his power may
    increase, and that he may know its measure_.… At this age the
    healthy boy, brought up simply and naturally, never avoids a
    difficulty, never goes round a hindrance: no, he seeks it out
    and overcomes it. ‘Let it lie,’ calls the vigorous youngster
    to the father, who offers to remove an obstacle; ‘Let it lie:
    I can get over it.’ … As activity gave pleasure to the child,
    so work gives pleasure to the boy. Hence the daring feats of
    boyhood.… Easy is the most difficult, without peril the most
    adventurous, for the impulse comes from the innermost nature,
    from his heart and will.”--_E., p. 101._

    “But it is not only the impulse to use and to measure his
    power that urges the boy to roam and to climb--it is the need
    to widen his mental horizon.… The same desire holds him to
    the plain … he occupies himself with water and with plastic
    materials. For he seeks now _because of the feeling of power
    over material already gained_ to master these. Everything
    must serve his impulse towards construction.… And so each
    forms for himself his own world, _for the feeling of his own
    power demands his own space and his own material_.…”--_E., pp.

    “But all the plays and occupations of boys do not by any means
    aim at representing objects and things. On the contrary, _in
    many pure exercise of strength and measuring of strength
    predominate_, and many have no further aim than the display
    of strength. Yet the play of this age has always its peculiar
    characteristic, namely, as during the period of childhood,
    the aim of play consisted simply in activity as such, so
    now its aim is always a definite conscious purpose, which
    characteristic develops more and more as the boys increase in
    age. This is observable even with all games of bodily movement,
    of running, boxing, wrestling, with ball-games, goal, hunting,
    and war games, etc.”

    “_It is the sense of sure and reliable power, the sense of its
    increase_ both as an individual and as a member of the group
    _that fills the boy with all-pervading jubilant joy_ during
    these games.”--_E., p. 113._

It is evidently difficult even for practised thinkers to grasp the
importance of what we so glibly call play in the case of the young child.
Mr. Kirkpatrick, for instance, fully recognizes its importance in regard
to children somewhat older, and he makes a suggestive distinction between
play and amusement, calling play active, while amusement is passive.
Others, he says, work for our amusement. But when he speaks of the
infant, he slips into the mistake of saying that the infant, even though
active, “amuses” itself. To the ordinary observer the whole life of a
young child is play, but it would be as correct to say that it is all

Professor Stout, true to what he calls the tendency of the moderns to
see in the little child what is writ large in the adult, allows “purely
intellectual curiosity” on the part of the infant. We have no right to
call an infant passive and therefore amused even when the mother shakes
the rattle for his edification. He may be striving hard to accommodate
his organs of sight, he may be recalling previous sounds similar and
dissimilar, he may be watching and comparing different movements and
different positions. He has so much to learn “with the world so new and
all,” and, to judge from his seriousness, it is at times a most momentous
inquiry. The baby to whom the activity of throwing is new, and who
spends full twenty minutes in throwing a tram ticket on the floor of the
car--which the patient mother restores each time--throwing, too, with
such force and evident purpose, cannot properly be said to be playing.
Nor can the infant who stares with such concentration at the lighted lamp
and who, when the mother moves out of the direct range of the light,
strives with all its feeble strength to readjust its position to that
entrancing brightness.

Of the very young child, Froebel writes:

    “The first voluntary employments of the child are observation
    of its surroundings, spontaneous taking in of the outer world,
    and play, which is independent outward expression … it is
    evident therefore how important is the training … and also
    the kind of voluntary playful occupation of the child.… For as
    the life of man is continuous one can recognize even in the
    first baby life, though only in the slightest traces and most
    delicate germs, all the mental activities which in later life
    become predominant.”--_P., p. 29._

When Groos reaches the pedagogical standpoint, he says:

“We have repeatedly found in the course of this inquiry that even the
most serious work may include a certain playfulness, especially when
enjoyment of being a cause and of conquest are prominent. Between
flippant trifling, and conscientious study there is a wide chasm which
nothing can bridge, but not all play is such trifling. Who would forbid
the teacher’s making the effort to induce in his pupils a psychological
condition like that of the adult worker, who is not oppressed by the
_shall_ and _must_ in the pursuit of his calling, because the very
exertion of his physical and mental powers in work, involving all his
capabilities, fills his soul with joy? Since play thus approaches work,
when pleasure in the activity as such, as well as its practical aim,
becomes a motive power (as in the gymnastic games of adults), so may work
become like play, when its real aim is superseded by enjoyment of the
activity itself. And it can hardly be doubted that this is the highest
and noblest form of work.”[37]

It is beyond dispute that this is the kind of work that Froebel desired
for all humanity, so it is not surprising if he drew no hard and fast
line between work and the “_play_” which he insists “_is not trivial_,”
and which he urges parents to protect and guide. Of play at the stage of
boyhood he writes:

    “Joy is the soul of every activity at this period.”--_E., p.

And in reference to the right kind of instruction he says:

    “The union of school and life is the first and indispensable
    requirement … if men are ever to free themselves from the
    oppressive burden and emptiness of merely extraneously
    communicated knowledge, heaped up in memory, if they would ever
    rise to the joy and vigour of a knowledge of the real nature
    of things, to a living knowledge of things.… Mankind is meant
    to enjoy a degree of knowledge and insight, of energy and
    efficiency, of which at present we have no conception; for who
    has measured the limits of God-born mankind! The boy is to take
    up his work which has now become his calling, not indolently in
    sullen gloom, but cheerfully and joyously.”--_E., pp. 230-233._

One distinct line of division is that drawn by Groos when he says that
with young animals and probably with children “their first manifestation
of what is afterwards experimentation, fighting and imitative play, etc.,
is rarely conscious, and therefore we cannot assert with assurance that
it is pleasurable.”[38] In this case he says the biological but not the
psychological germ of play is present. Froebel never lost sight of the
psychological point of view in so far as his desire always was to see
what the action meant to the actor, what the child’s play meant to the
child, and also in that he desired all the activity to be joyous, to be
performed for its own sake. But it was really the biological view that
he endeavoured to reach and to set forth.

Coming now to the Theories of Play, it seems clear that, if he had
ever heard of them, Froebel would have endeavoured to combine those of
Recapitulation and Preparation. He states quite plainly that these are
not incompatible, recognizing that in any work or play, by which the
child retraces past stages of human development, he gains what is most
necessary for his own future life, control over his surroundings as well
as over himself, something after the manner in which these have been
gained by the race.

    “The observation of the development of individual man and its
    comparison with the general development of the human race
    show plainly that, in the development of the inner life of
    the individual man, the history of the mental development of
    the race is repeated, and that the race in its totality may
    be viewed as one human being, in whom there will be found the
    necessary steps in the development of individual man.”--_E., p.

    “Indeed each successive generation and each successive
    individual human being, inasmuch as he would understand the
    past and present, must pass through all preceding phases of
    human development and culture, and this should not be done in
    the way of dead imitation, or mere copying, but in the way of
    spontaneous self-activity.”--_E., p. 18._

    “Man should, at least mentally, repeat the achievements of
    mankind, that they may not be to him empty dead masses, that
    his judgment of them may not be external and spiritless; he
    should mentally go over the ways of mankind, that he may learn
    to understand them. However it may be said of this growing
    activity of boyhood, which by spirit and law are destined for
    a conscious aim, ‘My son does not require this.’ Perhaps you
    are right, I do not know, but you do know that your sons need
    energy, judgment, perseverance, prudence, etc., and that these
    things are indispensable to them; and all these things they are
    sure to get in the course indicated.…”--_E., p. 282._

It is often said that traditional games are mere survivals, degenerate
imitations of ancient customs, and therefore not worth encouraging. But
children are not bound by tradition, and Froebel is probably right when
he says:

    “It is my firm conviction that whenever you find anything that
    gives children lastingly and ever freshly a joy belonging
    to a true pure life--anything where innocence and mirth
    predominate--you have found something which has at the bottom
    of it a higher and more important meaning for a child’s
    life.”--_M., p. 172._

We cannot always tell why children enjoy the game, or what they gain
from it. Such games are at least the earliest and simplest introduction
to “the rules of the game,” and they contain the elements of choosing
sides and of whispered secrets. These things may seem small to the
ordinary onlooker, but not to the real observer, who sees the amount
of self-control required by a child of four or five, that he may not
proclaim the secret aloud, the difficulty he has in whispering, and the
importance to him of the choice between oranges and lemons or whatever it
may be. There are certainly some which most thinking persons, Froebelian
or otherwise, would wish to discourage. As Froebel himself said of some
that he found in use:

    “I thought some were too empty and silly and some said a great
    deal that I would not willingly have said to children. Yet the
    counting games themselves seemed to me important in many ways,
    as I hope will appear from comparing the way I have dealt with
    them, and above all, as the mottoes are meant to point out. I
    even wished to keep the sound of the well-known popular words,
    at least in the opening words.…”--_M., p. 157._

Certainly, Froebel would have had no dealings with either work or
play which would interfere with progressive development, he wanted
recapitulation because he regarded that “great necessary highway” as the
road to sure progress.

    “Only if in each particular we tread again the great necessary
    highway of humanity as a whole, does the great and vigorous
    early life of humanity come back to us in and through the
    children.”--_E., p. 222._

    “Education must be much more tolerating[39] and following than
    predetermining and prescribing, for by the full application of
    the latter method of instruction we should entirely lose the
    characteristic, the sure and steady progressive development of
    mankind.”--_E., p. 10._

Some educators who have made much of the “culture epochs” might have
avoided mistakes and exaggerations if they had taken to heart Froebel’s
repeated warning that the child has “living relations” not only with the
past, but with the future, besides being at the same time the child of
the present generation.

    “Parents should view their child in his necessary connection,
    in his obvious and living relations to the past, present,
    and future development of humanity, in order to bring the
    education of the child into harmony with the past, present and
    future requirements of the development of humanity and of the
    race.… Man, humanity in man, as an external manifestation,
    should therefore be looked upon not as perfectly developed,
    not as fixed and stationary, but as steadily and progressively
    growing, in a state of ever-living development, ever ascending
    from one stage of culture to another toward its aim, which
    partakes of the infinite and eternal.

    “It is unspeakably pernicious to look upon the development of
    humanity as stationary and completed and to see in its present
    phases only repetitions and greater generalizations of itself.
    For the child, as well as every successive generation, becomes
    thereby exclusively imitative, an external dead copy--a cast,
    as it were, of the preceding, and not a living ideal of the
    stage which it has attained in human development considered
    as a whole, to serve future generations in all time to
    come.”--_E., p. 17._

Underlying all that Froebel has to say of play, is the idea that it is
a preparation for future life activities. This is implied even in the
definition given of the play of the child of three years old, viz. that
it is “spontaneous self-instruction”; it is most evident in the passage:

    “Play, building and modelling are the first tender blossoms,
    and this is the period when man is to be prepared for future
    industry, diligence and productive activity.”--_E., p. 34._

    “The whole later life of man has its source in the period of
    childhood, be this later life bright or gloomy, gentle or
    violent, industrious or lazy, rich or poor in action, passed
    in dull stupor or in keen creativeness, in stupid wonder or in
    intelligent insight, productive or destructive.”--_E., p. 55._

Of his later institution, the Kindergarten, Froebel says:

    “The great end and aim of the whole undertaking is the
    Education of Man from its earliest beginning, by means of
    action, feeling, and thought, in accordance with his own
    inward being and outward relations, … _this to be attained by_
    the right care of child-life, _the encouragement of childish
    activities_.”--_L., p. 164._

    “For the object is twofold: Firstly the realization in as
    clear and perfect a manner as possible, of _the fundamental
    conception of a mode of education_ based upon the early and
    complete training of human life, and _satisfying the needs
    of children by a genuine encouragement of their spontaneous
    activity_ through the medium of a normal institution which we
    have symbolically named a Kindergarten.”--_L., p. 166._

About the play of boyhood Froebel says:

    “Play to the boy is a mirror of the combat of life awaiting him
    in the future: therefore, in order to strengthen himself for
    the combat, the human being both in early and later boyhood
    seeks out obstacles, difficulty and combat in his play.… Many
    of his actions have an inner significance.… How wholesome it
    would be if parents and child, for their present and future,
    if parents believed in this, if they would observe the life of
    their children in this respect, what a new living bond would
    unite parents and child, what a new thread of life would be
    drawn between their present and their future life!”--_E., p.

Of his own Keilhau boys he writes:

    “One thing is certain, these plays are the outcome of the
    spirit of boyhood. And the boys who played thus were good
    scholars, intelligent, and willing to learn, seeing and
    expressing clearly, diligent and full of zeal. Some are now
    capable young men with well trained heads and hearts, quick
    in expedients and dexterous in action; some are capable,
    clear-sighted men, and others will become so.”--_E., p. 111._

In America at least the authorities are beginning to realize the truth
of Froebel’s words as to the importance of playgrounds, and actual
experiment has shown that he was right in saying that “even the plays
should be under right guidance,” not for purposes of repression, but for
the encouragement of real play which “must necessarily break forth in joy
from within.”

    “Justice, moderation, self-control, truthfulness, loyalty,
    brotherly feeling and again, strict impartiality--who, when
    he approaches a group of boys engaged in such games, could
    fail to catch the fragrance of these delicious blossomings
    of the heart and mind and of a firm will; not to mention the
    beautiful, though perhaps less fragrant, blossoms of courage,
    perseverance, resolution, prudence, together with the severe
    elimination of indolent indulgence? Flowers of still more
    delicate fragrance bloom … forbearance, consideration, sympathy
    and encouragement for the weaker, younger and more delicate;
    fairness to those who are as yet unfamiliar with the game.

    “Would that all who, in the education of boys, barely tolerate
    playgrounds might consider these things! There are, indeed,
    many harsh words and many rude deeds, but the sense of power
    must needs precede its cultivation. Keen, clear and penetrating
    are the boy’s eyes; keen and decided therefore, even harsh and
    severe is his judgment of those who are his equals, or who
    claim equality with him in judgment and power.

    “Every place should have its own common playground for the
    boys. Glorious results would come from this for the entire
    community. For at this period, games, whenever it is feasible,
    are common, and thus develop the feeling and desire for
    community and the laws and requirements of community.

    “The boy tries to see himself in his companions, to feel
    himself in them, to weigh and measure himself by them, to know
    and find himself with their help. Thus the games directly
    influence and educate the boy for life, awaken and cultivate
    many civil and moral virtues.”--_E., p. 113._

It was in watching boys one day--“boys,” he says, “of the right age for
these plays, but whose life is not awakened, or has been dulled, and who
now idly lounge around, getting in their own way, as it were”--that a
friend said to him, “I do not understand how these boys cannot play, how
many plays we had at their age!” And it is here that Froebel gives his
version of the “surplus energy” theory when he writes:

    “In every case the plays of this age are or should be pure
    manifestations of strength and vitality, they are the product
    of fullness of life, and of pleasure in life. They presuppose
    actual vigour of life, both inner and outer. Where these are
    lacking, there cannot be true play, which, bearing life in
    itself, awakens, nourishes and heightens life.… This shows
    clearly that even the plays at this age should be under
    guidance[40], and the boy made ready for them, i.e. his life,
    his experience both in school and out of it, must be made so
    rich that it must necessarily break forth in joy from within,
    like the blossom from the swelling bud. Joy is the soul of
    every activity of boyhood at this period.”--_E., p. 303._

It is here, too, in the section entitled, “Play or Spontaneous Expression
and Practice of Every Kind” that Froebel begins a general classification
of boy’s play:

    “The plays, or spontaneous occupations, of this age are of
    three kinds, they are either (_a_) imitations of life, or (_b_)
    spontaneous applications of what has been learned, or they
    are (_c_) perfectly spontaneous expression with all kinds of
    material. These last are either governed by the material, or by
    the thought and feeling of the human being.… They may be and
    are either Physical plays, exercising strength and dexterity,
    or else mere buoyancy of life; or Sense plays exercising the
    hearing, e.g. in hiding games, etc., or the sight, as in
    shooting plays or colour plays, etc.; or Intellectual plays,
    games of reflection and judgment, e.g. draughts, etc. As such
    they are already arranged, but the true aim and spirit of the
    play is rarely understood and the games are seldom managed
    according to the needs of the boy.”--_E., p. 304._

This general classification is very much the same as that of Groos, who
divides Play first into two main classes, viz. Playful Experimentation
and Playful Exercise of the Second or Socionomic Order. Under the first
heading come I. Playful Activity of the Sensory Apparatus; II. Playful
Use of the Motor Apparatus; and III. Playful Exercise of the Higher
Mental Powers. The first two correspond to Froebel’s Sense Plays and
Physical Plays, and the third to his Intellectual Plays. Under the second
heading, Groos brings Fighting Plays, which as we have seen Froebel
attributes to the unconscious desire to measure and increase strength;
Imitative Play, which to Froebel is the child’s way of learning by
action; Love Plays of which Froebel takes no notice at all, and Social
Play. Under this comes what has been given as to the importance of
Playgrounds, and much of what Froebel wrote as to the Kindergarten Games.
For instance, as part of the work of the students in his Training Course

    “The acquisition of little games arranged to exercise the
    limbs and senses of the child.… The acquisition of other games
    arranged to suit special ends and suited to varied grades of
    development.… Practice in combined games for many children, and
    particularly action games, which will, from the first, train
    the child (by his very nature eager for companionship) in the
    habit of association with comrades, that is, in good fellowship
    and all that this implies.… To games for individual children
    succeed games for the whole Kindergarten together. The child in
    these associated games alternately appears first as taking some
    individual or separate part, and then as merely one of several
    closely knit and equally important members of a greater whole,
    so that he becomes familiar with both the strongly opposed
    elements of his life; namely the individual determining and
    directing side, and the general ordered and subordinated
    side.”--_L., p. 253._

Games of this kind have been much misused, especially by being given a
rigidity of form which, Froebel wrote:

    “Would quite destroy that fresh merry life which should animate
    the games … the games would cease to be games and lose their
    full educational power. The main thought must be held fast; but
    the precise form and style in which the games are played must
    be the outcome of the moment. The freer and more spontaneous
    the arrangement, the more excellent is the effect of the
    game.”--_L., p. 85._

The number and variety of plays and games noted by Froebel is quite
surprising. Of the long list given by Groos there are few indeed which
he does not mention.[41] The plays for older children are given in “The
Education of Man,” but other games encouraged at Keilhau are to be found
in the accounts given by Ebers. Even in his earlier work Froebel shows
how closely he had been observing the play of little children, but this
he worked out later in his Mother Songs, in the papers on his various
“Gifts,” and in that on Movement Play. These later books were written and
the play material was planned because Froebel saw that the children who
do not play are those “in whom life has not awakened or has been dulled,”
just because “the true aim and the spirit of play is rarely understood
and the games are seldom managed according to the needs of the boy.”



To one who believed, as Froebel did, that “the means by which the child
gains his first ideas of his own nature and life and the nature and life
of the cosmos, are his play and playthings,” these playthings could not
be indifferent.

    “It has been stated as a fundamental truth that the plays
    and occupations of children should by no means be treated as
    offering merely means for passing, we might say for consuming,
    time, hence as mere outer activity, but rather that by means of
    such plays and employments the child’s innermost nature must be
    satisfied.”--_P., p. 108._

Froebel was speaking of his own Play-material--known by the name of
“Froebel’s Gifts” because he thought them the most suitable gifts for
little children--when he wrote:

    “To realize his aims, man, and more particularly the child,
    requires material, though it be only a bit of wood or a
    pebble with which he makes something or which he makes into
    something.”--_P., p. 235._

And although his opinion of the importance of that particular series of
playthings, which he chose from among those he saw in general use, may
have been exaggerated, still there is a good deal of sound psychology
in what he says about them. In speaking of imitative action and
construction, we have already touched upon what were perhaps the most
important ideas underlying this series.[42]

    “What presents are most prized by the child? Those which afford
    him a means of unfolding his inner life most freely and of
    shaping it in various directions.”--_P., p. 142._

But Froebel also writes of his Gifts that “they will cover the whole
ground of training in sense perception,” and he has managed to think
out a very fair number of the points which Dr. Ward, in his Analysis of
Perception, notes as important.

One of Froebel’s frequent Reviews of his play-material begins:

    “How has the child developed up to this point? How has the
    world, the objects and things around him developed? How has
    the child developed himself _especially through the toys_--the
    means of play and employment--which have thus far been given
    him? The brightening light in the child’s mind illuminates the
    objects around him. In proportion as the inner light increases,
    the nature of external objects grows clear to him … the law
    of development is that of progress from the unlimited to the
    limited, from the whole to the part, from an undifferentiated
    to a membered totality … the outer world comes to meet the
    inner world, it does not hinder, but helps the inner world.

    “The man advanced in insight should be clear about all this
    before he introduces his child to the outer world. Even when he
    gives his child a plaything he must make clear to himself its
    purpose, and the purpose of playthings and occupation material
    in general. This purpose is to aid the child freely to express
    what lies within him--to bring the phenomena of the outer world
    nearer to him, and thus to serve as mediator between the mind
    and the world.”--_P., pp. 169-171._

Then Froebel explains in so many words the really psychological aim or
meaning of his sequence of “Gifts,” so well known by name--and even
better known in most _un_-psychological practice--but little understood
in their real and original significance, as a means of perception, the
earlier ones at least, for children much below even Kindergarten age.

    “Recognizing the mediatorial character of play and playthings,
    we shall no longer be indifferent either to the choice, the
    succession, or the organic connection of the toys we give
    children. In these I offer them, I shall consider as carefully
    as possible, how the child may in using them develop his nature
    freely and yet in accordance with law (laws of mind), and
    how through such use he may also learn to apprehend external
    things correctly and to employ them justly. As the child’s
    first consciousness of self was born of physical opposition to
    and connection with the external world, so through play with
    the ball, the external world itself began to rise out of chaos
    and to assume definiteness. In recognizing the ball the child
    moved from the indefinite to the definite, from the universal
    to the particular, from mere externality (compare Prof.
    Ward’s ‘mere thing stuff’) to a self-included space-filling
    object. In the ball, especially through movement, through
    the opposition of rest and motion, through departing and
    returning, the object came forth out of general space as a
    special space-filling object, as a body: just as the child by
    means of his life (activity) also perceives himself, his bodily
    frame, as a space-filling object, as a body. The child has
    thus obtained two important terms of comparison for his first
    intellectual development; body and body, object and object.… At
    the same time there begins in the child, as in a seed-corn, a
    development advancing towards manifoldness. For this reason he
    should receive a corresponding seed-corn in the object which he
    first detaches as object from the external chaos. Such object
    should, like himself, include an indefinite manifoldness, and
    be susceptible of a progressive development. Such an object is
    the ball (Gift I).”--_P., p. 171._

The very first “intimation of an intellect,” Froebel writes, is when the
child is seen to “keep his gaze fixed upon the motion of a bright object.
This begins a few weeks after birth.” The ball is to be given to the baby
“when the starting-point of recognition and knowledge (Erkennens und
Erkenntniss), viz. perceiving, noticing, thinking (das Gewahrwerden, das
Bemerken und Beachten) becomes perceptible”: when the child “can freely
move its little arms and hands, when it can perceive and distinguish
tones, and can turn its attention and gaze in the direction from which
these tones come.”

In his analysis of Perception, Dr. Ward distinguishes (i) Assimilation or
Recognition, (ii) Localization or Spatial Fixation, and (iii) Objective
Reference, or Intuition of Things. Of these, the first, Assimilation, has
already been taken up in Chapter IV, and we have seen that, according to
Dr. Ward, it involves Retention and Differentiation, though in itself
there is no active comparison, and we have seen that Froebel also
spoke of the earliest impressions as “almost imperceptible, but _fixed_
by repetition and by change,”[43] and of a “perception of sequence”
involving “dim” or “unconscious comparison.”

Of the second process Dr. Ward writes: “To treat of the localization
of impressions is really to give an account of the steps by which the
psychological individual comes to a knowledge of space,” and he goes
on to say that psychologists may have been too apt to examine “the
conception of space and not our concrete space perceptions.” Now Froebel
did consider concrete space perception, and with a certain amount
of care. That he saw its importance is clear from the fact that in
discussing his “means of employment” he says:

    “They will cover the whole ground of training in sense
    perception but _will begin with the observation of space and
    the knowledge that comes from that, since the child first
    feels and finds himself in space and finds others occupying
    space around him_. They are to go on by development of limbs
    and senses and by means of language to understand Nature in
    all directions, so that finally man _who at first could find
    himself only in space and by means of space_, may learn to
    know himself as an existent, feeling, thinking, intelligent,
    rational being, and as such to try to live.”--_P., p. 19._

And although Froebel may not fully have realized that, as Dr. Ward puts
it: “The infant’s earliest lessons in spatial perception are in exploring
his limbs,” still we do find him writing from Blankenburg, in a letter
accompanying the first sketch of his Nursery Songs:

    “I soon felt that some important connecting link was
    imperatively required to prepare the newly awakening life of a
    child for its later activity with the ball. It was through the
    ball itself that I discovered this link: in general terms it
    may be described as _the first development of muscular movement
    and sensation_ specially distinguishing infancy. The link
    between the infant, still an undivided self-sufficient whole
    of peaceful life, and the ball, which is something external
    given to him to play with, lies in the child’s own limbs, the
    child’s own senses; and _the first toys and occupations of the
    child come from himself; he plays with his own limbs_, and
    uses them as the material for representing his ideas. This
    spontaneous activity of limb and vividness of sensation natural
    to infancy must also be studied; for a considerable degree of
    cultivation of these powers is already necessary in the use
    of the ball, etc.… To help the child to use his own body, his
    limbs and sensations, and to assist mothers to a consciousness
    of their duties … I have carefully preserved several little
    songs and games and send this collection to you for your severe
    criticism.”[44]--_L., p. 108._

Having said that “the child first perceives himself, his corporeal
frame, as a space-filling object, as a body, by means of his life,”
or his activity, the first two of this collection naturally deal with
large body movements. In the one the mother alternately lowers and
raises the infant, “letting him really feel a slight shock,” and in the
other the baby tramples with his feet, and she is told to supply the
object of resistance. This resistance, as we have seen, gives him “the
dim consciousness of self, which comes out of physical opposition to,
and connection with, the outer world,” which Dr. Ward speaks of under
the head of Localization of Impressions. Dr. Ward writes that “the
distinction between his own and foreign bodies begins when the child
feels the difference between a series of movements accompanied by passive
touches, and one without passive touches,” but Froebel goes no further
than noting what comes through “resistance.” The ball, however, as we
have just seen, is to be used so as to assist the child’s comprehension
of “a self-included space-filling object,” and through play with the ball
he is to gain the “three great perceptions of object, space and time.”

In the Intuition of things, Dr. Ward distinguishes five points
“concerning which psychology may be expected to give an account: (_a_)
the reality; (_b_) solidity or occupation of space; (_c_) permanence,
or, rather, continuity in time; (_d_) unity and complexity; and (_e_)
substantiality and the connection of its attributes and powers.”

(_a_) _Reality_ he disposes of as “not strictly an item by itself, but
a characteristic of all the items that follow.” Of (_b_), _Solidity
or Impenetrability_, he writes that “here our feelings of effort come
specially into play. They are not entirely absent in those movements of
exploration by which we attain a knowledge of space; but it is when these
movements are definitely realized, or are only possible by increased
effort, that we reach the full meaning of body as that which occupies
space.” Dr. Ward goes on to add as “in the highest degree essential,”
that muscular effort should meet with something which seems to be “making
an effort the counterpart of our own.”

Besides telling the mother to give the required definite resistance, by
opposing her hand or chest to the little trampling feet, Froebel gives a
“new play, a new perception of the object,” when he tells the mother that
“as soon as the child is sufficiently developed to perceive the ball as
a thing separate from himself,” she should tie a string to it and pull

    “The child will hold the ball fast, the arm will rise as you
    lift the ball, and as you loosen the string the hand and arm
    will sink back from their own weight; the feeling of the
    utterance of force, as well as the alternation of the movement,
    will delight the child. From this, however, soon springs a
    quite new play, that is also something new to the child, when,
    through a suitable drawing and lifting, the ball escapes from
    the child’s hand and then quietly moves freely before him as an
    individual object. Through this play is developed in the child
    a new feeling, the new perception of the object as a something
    now clasped, grasped and handled, and now as a freely active
    opposite something.”--_P., p. 36._

_Unity and Complexity_, “the remaining factors in the psychological
constitution of things,” says Dr. Ward, “might be described in general
terms as the time-relations of their opponents.…”

And Froebel, going straight on from “the opposite something,” comes in
like manner to time-relations.

    “One may say with deep conviction that even this simple
    activity is inexpressibly important for the child, for which
    reason it is to be repeated as a play with the child as often
    as possible. What the little one has up to this time directly
    felt so often by the touch of the mother’s breast--union and
    separation--it now perceives outwardly in an object which
    can be grasped and clasped. Thus the repetition of this play
    confirms, strengthens, and clears in the mind of the child a
    feeling and perception deeply grounded in, and important to the
    whole life of man--the feeling and perception of oneness and
    individuality, and of disjunction and separateness; also of
    present and past possession.… The idea of return or recurrence
    soon develops to the child’s perception, from the presence and
    absence; that of reunion from the singleness and separateness;
    of future repossession from present and past possession, and so
    the idea of being, having and becoming, are the dim perceptions
    which first dawn on the child.

    “From these perceptions there at once develop in the child’s
    mind the three great perceptions of object, space and time,
    which were at first one collective perception. From the
    perceptions of being, having and becoming in respect to space
    and object, and in connection with them, there soon develop
    also the new perceptions of present, past and future in respect
    to time. Indeed, these ninefold perceptions which open to the
    child the portals of a new objective life, unfold themselves
    most clearly by means of his constant play with the one single
    ball.”--_P., p. 36._

Dr. Ward gives as the first step “in the psychological constitution of
distinct things”--as opposed to what he calls “mere thingstuff”--“the
simultaneous projection into the same occupied space of the several
impressions, which we thus come to regard as the qualities of the body
filling it.”

Froebel writes:

    “We gave, therefore, to the mother the brightly coloured soft
    ball to make a unity of touch and perception through sight,
    for through the brightness it makes itself known to sight, and
    through warmth (softness?) to touch, as an objective phenomena,
    a thing in itself.”--_P., p. 65._

To reach unity and complexity, says Ward, “it is essential that objects
should recur, and recur as they have previously recurred, if knowledge
is ever to begin.” The constituent impressions must also “be again and
again repeated in like order to prompt anew the same grouping,” and
the constancy of one group must present itself “along with changes in
other groups, and in the general field.… It is only where a group, as a
whole, has been found to change its position relatively to other groups,
and--apart from causal changes--to be independent of changes of position
among them, that such complexes can become distinct unities and yield a
world of things.”

Froebel writes of one of his early plays:

    “It is really important for the human being, especially as
    a child, that the essential perceptions of things should be
    _repeated frequently_ under different forms, and _if possible
    in a particular order_, so that the child may easily learn to
    distinguish the essential from the unessential and accidental,
    and the abiding from the changing. Unnoticed and unrecognized
    though the phenomena are to the child, yet the impression of
    them will be certain and firm, and this so much the more when
    the repetition has been precise and clear.”--_P., p. 88._

Later, speaking of a child’s earliest attempts at walking, he says:

    “The smallest child who begins to exercise the power of
    walking, loves to go from place to place--i.e. _he likes to
    turn about and to change the relationships in which he stands
    to different objects, and in which they stand to him. Through
    these changes he seeks self-recognition and self-comprehension,
    as well as recognition of the different objects which surround
    him, and recognition of his environment as a whole_.”--_P., p.

Dr. Ward requires still more and says that “the unity of a thing” carries
us over to temporal continuity, and this he attributes to “the continuous
presentation of such a group as the bodily self, which makes us infer
continuity of existence, for presentations which have been presented,
removed and re-presented.”

We have seen already that Froebel says the child perceives the ball
“through departing and returning, as a space-filling object, as a body,
just as he perceives himself, his corporeal frame, as a space-filling
object, as a body.” And there is also a quaint, but interesting reference
to something of this kind in one of the earliest Nursery Songs called
“All Gone,” where the mother is distinctly told that she must help her
child to realize continuity through change.

    “How can the child understand what you mean when you say ‘It’s
    all gone, Baby’? He will not be contented unless you put
    meaning into it. What he saw just now he sees no longer, what
    was above is below, what was there is just now vanished. Where,
    then, has it gone?”

And the baby is supposed to be quieted by the mother’s playful tale of
the present whereabouts of his bread and milk, a German version of the
homely “Down red lane.”

Professor Ward’s last point in the intuition of things is
“substantiality.” “What is it,” he says, “that has thus a beginning and
continues indefinitely?” The answer is that “of all the constituents
of things only one is universally present, that of physical solidity,
which presents itself according to circumstances, as impenetrability,
resistance or weight.… In other words, that which occupies space is
the substantial; the other real constituents are but its properties or
attributes, the marks or manifestations which lead us to expect its

Froebel, again, sums up the ideas he intends the child to gain from play
with the ball:

    “The ball shows contents, mass, matter, space, form, size
    and figure; it bears within itself an independent power
    (elasticity) and hence it has rest and movement, and
    consequently stability and spontaneity; it offers even colour,
    and at least calls forth sound; it is indeed heavy--that is,
    it is attracted--and thus shares in the general property of
    all bodies.… Therefore, it places man, on his entrance into
    the world, furnished with activity of limbs and senses, in
    the midst of all phenomena and perceptions of Nature and of
    all life … to place man through a skilful education in the
    understanding of Nature and life, and to maintain him in it
    with consciousness and circumspection cannot be done too
    early.”--_P., p. 53._

The soft ball of the first gift is supposed to be given to the child when
he is three or even two months old, but when he reaches six or eight
months, he is supposed to be ready for something which “makes itself
known especially through noise, sound, tone, as it were through speech.”
The second gift therefore consists of a wooden sphere and a cube, which
are intended not only to please the child by the noise they make, but
to serve as material for comparison. The mother is told to roll the
sphere and then, in order to make this oppositeness between sphere and
cube perceptible to the child, to place the cube steadily before him and
presently to take one of his little hands, pushing gently at first, but

    “finally overcoming the gravity of the cube and pushing it
    away with the child’s hand and fingers … drawing the child’s
    strength, although yet so feeble, into the play, that his
    limbs may be trained, his strength increased, and that he may
    experience and perceive much through his own activity.”--_P.,
    p. 77._

By even these few representations the mother can present to her child:

    “The quiet, firm sure-standing on a relatively larger surface;
    the filling of space by each object; heaviness which is
    expressed by pressure; the final overcoming of heaviness
    (gravity); and the possibility of moving away the body by the
    use of a proportionately greater strength. The perception of
    all these and many other facts, showing themselves merely as
    changing phenomena in oft-recurring repetition, will give
    pleasure even to the child who is scarcely half a year, or at
    least not a whole year old, especially when the play is placed
    in intimate connection with the child’s life, and with his
    impulse to activity.”--_P., p. 78._

Many plays are suggested, all to be accompanied by song or rhyme, only,
says Froebel, “one must not go on in opposition to the wish of the child,
but always follow his requirements and needs and his own expressions of
life and activity.”

It is in this connection that Froebel notices how early a child begins to
note cause.

    “Even the child whose capacity for speech is as yet undeveloped
    will remark the cause of the fall of the cube, at least
    experience has shown us that children of this age drew away the
    holding support, and, as the cube then fell over, turned toward
    their mother with face and body as in joyous triumph.”--_P., p.

The sphere and cube are also to be compared as to shape:

    “Through all that has been done hitherto, the child’s attention
    has been predominantly called to the object, as filling space,
    and acting, but only incidentally to the object as being the
    identical one; nor yet to the figure and shape, nor to the
    members and parts. But attention to the form and figure of the
    object can also be utilized for the child in play.”--_P., p.

So the mother is directed to hide the cube in her hand and show it
again--so that the child will watch for its reappearance.

    “By this play the child is not only again made to notice that
    the cube fills space, but his attention is also called to its
    precise form; and he will look at it sharply, _unconsciously
    comparing_ it with the hand to which his eyes were first
    attracted.”--_P., p. 84._

    “Each object speaks constantly to man by its qualities and
    attributes, and still more to the child, though in mute
    speech.… It is essential for the intellectual development
    of man that the surroundings should speak to him by their
    qualities and attributes.”--_P., p. 95._

Froebel’s “Gift III” is a little box containing eight-inch cubes for
building purposes, and after the child has clearly gained the idea of
“outer object” Froebel says:

    “Let us first of all hasten to place ourselves together in
    the children’s play corner, and there seek to discover what
    attracts the child, or, rather, in what direction he himself
    turns his attention, what he would like to do and what he needs
    for the purpose. Let us take our place there as quietly and as
    unnoticed as possible, observing how the child, between the
    ages of one and three years, after he has clearly gained the
    idea of “outer object,” has contemplated the form and colour of
    the self-contained body which he can handle, has moved it here
    and there in his hands, and experimented upon its solidity,
    now tries to pull it apart, or at least to alter its form in
    order to discover new properties in it, and to find out new
    ways of using it. If the little one succeeds in his attempt
    to separate the object, we see that he then tries to put the
    parts together, to form the whole which he had at first, or to
    arrange them in a new whole. We see that he will unweariedly
    and quietly repeat this for a long time.

    “Let us linger over this significant phenomenon and seek to
    recognize through it what we have to furnish to the child from
    inner grounds and without arbitrariness. This is: something
    firm which can be easily pulled apart by the child’s strength,
    and just as easily put together.”--_P., p. 117._

The time when the child wants this something to arrange is given as
any time “between the ages of one and three.” It is the time when “his
greatest delight consists in the quick alternation of building up and
tearing down.”--_P., p. 106._

At first the little one will be satisfied with arranging and rearranging
the cubes, piling them one upon another, “placing one before, behind,
beside another.” Soon, however, he will try to make something definite,
and “the intelligent nurse interprets the dim idea and sees whether
a something, a table, a chair, etc., can be perceived in what is
represented.” Then the something must have a purpose, so the chair is
grannie’s chair, the table is ready for the soup, and so on.

There is nothing here which is not quite a usual proceeding. Froebel’s
peculiarity of treatment comes from his desire to give the blocks to
the child as a whole which he can take to pieces. This is the reason
of the traditional proceeding, perhaps still kept up in old-fashioned
kindergartens, when the children first slip the lid out a little way,
then reverse the boxes, pull out the lid and lift it off the box. The
directions are Froebel’s own, and are given:

    “in order to furnish to the child at once clearly and
    definitely, the impression of the whole, of the self-contained;
    from this perception, as the first fundamental perception
    (Grundanschauung) all proceeds and must proceed.”--_P., p. 123._

It is clear that this meaning is quite lost when the same proceeding is
forced on older children, who are quite accustomed to pull down and build

Froebel emphasizes the fact that the pieces are of the same cubical form
as the whole thus presented, and adds:

    “Thus fundamental perceptions, whole and part, form, and size,
    are made clear by comparison and contrast, as well as deeply
    impressed by repetition.”--_P., p. 119._

It is in speaking of this simplest of toys that Froebel enters a strong
protest against the complex and useless toys which afford no scope for
childish activity.

    “Here, then, we meet a very great imperfection and
    inadequateness--indeed in reference to the inner development
    of the child an obstructing element in that which is now so
    frequently provided as a plaything for children; an element
    which slumbers like a viper under roses--it is, in a word, the
    already too complex and ornate, too-finished plaything. 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 form to his own idea, are thus actually
    deadened. For when we provide children with too finished
    playthings we at the same time deprive them of the incentive to
    perceive the particular in the general, and of taking the means
    to find it.… What presents are the most prized by the child as
    well as by mankind in general? Those which afford him a means
    of unfolding his inner life most purely and of shaping it in
    a varied manner, giving it freest activity and presenting it
    clearly.”--_P., p. 122._

This quotation sets forth quite plainly the main idea underlying all the
varied toys or play-material known as the “Gifts and Occupations” of the

According to Mr. Hailmann and other writers, the gifts are material by
which the child can gain ideas, and the occupations furnish material for
gaining skill. But Mr. Hailmann allows that this distinction, which to
him seems important, was never formulated by Froebel.

Froebel’s psychological knowledge, in fact, was in advance of that of his
interpreters. He knew that it was by action, by manipulation of material,
that the child gains his ideas and that the clear distinction between
gift and occupation which to Mr. Hailmann is “very important” is on the
contrary actually non-existent.

Gifts III to VI are boxes of building blocks, intended to present
sequence in difficulty of manipulation, and also increasing variety of
form. Because of the stress he laid on self-expression, Froebel thought
very highly of the educational possibilities of a box of bricks. In “The
Education of Man” he writes:

    “Look into this education room of eight boys, seven to ten
    years old. On the large table stands a chest of building
    blocks, in the form of bricks, each side about one-sixth of the
    size of actual bricks, the finest and most variable material
    that can be offered a boy for purposes of representation. Sand
    or sawdust, too, have found their way into the room, and fine
    green moss has been brought in abundantly from the last walk in
    the beautiful pine forest. It is free time, and each one has
    begun his own work. There in a corner stands a chapel … there a
    building which represents a castle.…”--_E., p. 108._

After the bricks come the coloured tablets of Gift VII, which children
from four and upwards, _if left free_, often highly appreciated as
material for making patterns; and the Sticks or splints of various
lengths of Gift VIII, with which they used to lay outlines of familiar
objects. English children often use burnt matches for this, sometimes
they do the same thing with “mother’s pin-box,” and a child quite
innocent of Kindergarten ideas has been seen to appropriate the various
nails of a tool-box to the same purpose. Along with the sticks Froebel
supplied rings of metal or paper; the little English child who used the
nails took small curtain rings for the petals of her flower and screw
nails for its stalk. In Gift IX the child is presented with very small
articles for stringing or arranging--beads, coloured beans, pebbles,
etc. A child’s pleasure in this material and in the sticks and rings
probably shows that he is ready to practise movements of the thumbs and
forefingers. Froebel said that the use of these sticks called the child’s
attention to “linear phenomena,” and I have already mentioned that many
years ago, when we were still using Froebel’s play-material, I heard a
child call out, “Oh, I’m making lines!” just after he had been using the
sticks. The other children contentedly went on rubbing with the crayons;
but this young discoverer continued to make laborious lines, always from
left to right, till the work was completed to his satisfaction.

The remaining “Gifts” include coloured paper to fold and cut either to
produce such objects as boats, boxes, purses, chairs, etc., or to form
patterns, or to weave together for the well-known paper mat; drawing and
paper materials; modelling clay and sand, and so on.

The weakness of the series is the semi-psychological semi-mathematical
arrangement, which has been dealt with in the following chapter. What
Froebel meant to do was to pick out from among the material he saw given
to children, or appropriated by them, those things which seemed to him
best adapted to call out the activities of children at various ages or
stages, in accordance with his idea that “the man advanced in insight
should make clear to himself the purpose of playthings, viz. to help the
child to express himself, and to bring the phenomena of the outer world
nearer to him.”

Surprise has often been expressed that Froebel did not include such toys
as dolls in his series.

One reason is that he did not live long enough, for he does speak of
doll-play and says that later the time will come “when we shall speak of
the doll and the hobby-horse as the plays of the awakening life of the
girl and of the boy.” In his brief reference he does speak of the child’s
own nature becoming objective through the doll-play, and he adds that by
such play she “anticipates and feels her destiny.” He notes, too, with
interest that:

    “Little girls make their favourite dolls of the heavy bootjack
    or like piece of wood. I was informed by a mother that a heavy
    sandbag which she accidentally found became her most cherished
    doll, because it had in it the weight of an actual child, and
    so she gave herself up to the illusion and imagined herself to
    be carrying a real child.”

Undoubtedly Froebel was right in demanding simple toys and in
characterizing the “too complex toy” as a “viper under the roses,” and
also in demanding that toys should be carefully considered and chosen so
as to meet the needs of the child’s developing mind. But the plays and
the toys of a developing child cannot be definitely prescribed, and every
similar attempt is likely to fail, as Froebel’s has done. In his choice,
Froebel was biased by the great idea which obsessed him, the idea of
development. Like all human beings, he had the defects of his virtues,
and it is to these defects that we must now turn our attention.



An honest attempt to show what credit is due to Froebel, for the
remarkable anticipations of modern theories on which he based his
pedagogy, seems to involve the opposite process of inquiring whether or
not any of his practices can be shown to have an unsound basis.

The modern boys’ school, with a few, and a very few exceptions, does not
even approach the school at Keilhau as a place of real education, as any
one may see who reads the account given of it by Georg Ebers. On the
other hand, the modern Kindergarten is probably in many ways an advance
upon the original attempts. Many practices of which Froebel approved
are now discarded, some no doubt because of progress in physiological
discovery; we know now that a child is not fitted as regards nervous
development and muscular control to deal with fine pricking or drawing in

But a better knowledge of physiology does not account for all the
changes that have taken place. Important as they undoubtedly were in
Froebel’s eyes, the modern Kindergartener is inclined to smile over
her predecessors’ “worship of the ‘Gifts’”; and, though we are agreed
as to the importance of games, the modern teacher chooses from a wide,
perhaps too wide a range, and no longer reposes blind faith in certain
circle-games with their supposed “symbolic” virtue.

To some, the word symbolic will at once suggest Froebel’s weakest point,
others will resent any such idea, for symbolism appeals strongly to one
and repels another. For Froebel himself, undoubtedly the whole world was
symbolic, in so far as he regarded the universe as one expression of the
Divine. To him, as to Browning:

    “The earth has speech of God’s writ down, no matter if
    In cursive script or hieroglyph.”

But this has not affected his educational practice to the extent
generally supposed.

At the same time it does seem as if one, if not two, psychological errors
lie at the root of certain practices which the modern Froebelian has

It would be most unfair to Froebel not to emphasize what is often
overlooked, viz. that the “Gifts” were important in his eyes
solely because he believed that in them he was presenting toys, or
“play-material,” exactly suited to the succeeding stages of the child’s
development, bodily and mental. “The new gift,” he says, “corresponds
both to the child’s increasing constructive ability, and to his growing
capacity to comprehend the external world.” And he writes:

    “But such a course of training and occupations for children
    answering to the laws of development and the laws of life,
    demanded a thoroughly expressive medium in the shape of
    materials for these occupations and games for the child:
    therefore to meet this point I have arranged a series of play
    materials under the title of: ‘A complete series of gifts for
    play.’”--_P., p. 250._

It should also be noted that Froebel did not commit the mistake of
inventing new toys. What he attempted to do was what we are all
attempting now, viz. to use what natural instinct has already selected,
as a basis for conscious educational work. Balls and building blocks,
coloured tablets and papers, sand and clay, are all spontaneously
appropriated by normal children. Even these materials which seem to us
unchildlike are not so in different surroundings. For instance, in the
Black Forest, one may watch children playing with long slivers of wood
exactly like Froebel’s laths, and these they take from the cut logs which
are being hauled up for winter storage.

Again, it is only fair to point out that Froebel’s followers have
appropriated material which he suggested as suited to children aged from
three months to five or six years, and have used them with children from
four or five to six or seven and even older.[45] Teachers have also found
it convenient to disregard Froebel’s frequent warnings not to interfere,
to let the child “bang and pound” when he wants to, to let him “play
quietly and thoughtfully by himself as long as he will,” to give him
“the greatest possible freedom of expression.” In some, at least, of the
original text-books on Kindergarten practice, written by Froebel’s early
disciples, this advice is totally disregarded, and we find prescribed the
most formal of object lessons, dealing with the properties of the ball in
set questions and answers; only at the end comes “If there is time, the
children may be allowed to roll the ball.”

Still, when all due allowance is made, there remains the fact that
Froebel attributed far too much importance to the series of toys he
arranged, and in addition to this he must be held in large measure
responsible for the extraordinary amount of mathematical perceptions of
which young children have been considered capable, and beneath which many
gleams of intelligence may have been extinguished.

The psychological error which seems to underlie both these mistakes in
pedagogy seems to have been that of making too much of the outer factor
in the process of perception. Froebel was quite right and quite modern
in refusing to draw any hard and fast line between sense perception and
thinking, in saying that the child moves “from perception of a thing,
joined with thought about it, up to pure thought.” But he must have
failed somehow, sufficiently to grasp the fact that all that is present
to sense is not necessarily perceived, that perception depends not
merely upon what is presented, but upon previous mind content. The word
“apperception,” though apparently somewhat fallen into disfavour of late,
has certainly been of service in emphasizing this point.

What seems strange is that in the very book, in which we find the theory
disregarded in practice, we find Froebel stating the theory itself in the
plainest of terms:

    “The properties and nature of the outer world unfold themselves
    in exact proportion to the capacities of the child.”--_P., p.

    “The child creates his own world for himself; it is at once
    the expression of his inward realization of the external world
    and its surroundings, and also the outward representation
    of his internal mental world, the world of his own
    subjectivity.”--_L., p. 141._

    “Above all, it is the old within the new, which clarifies,
    unfolds and transmutes itself, thus developing what is new.… We
    must not require of the child anything not conditioned by his
    previous achievements.”--_P., p. 169._

No one, surely, can maintain that these words are carried into effect in

    “Could forms of knowledge (mathematical forms) be, for a
    child of one to three, play forms, and thus forms produced
    by spontaneous activity? Well, why not? Arrange the eight
    part-cubes together, and say, ‘One whole.’ But divide it
    immediately and say, ‘Two halves.’… Or, comparing and
    connecting and describing by song at the same time that the
    objects are manipulated:

    ‘Look here and see! One whole two halves.
    One half two fourths, two halves four fourths.
    One whole four fourths.
    Four fourths eight eighths.
    Eight eighths one whole.’”--_P., p. 138._

There is certainly no “old within the child” of one to three, which can
condition this achievement, nor is there any spontaneity. For the child a
little older we have:

    “The hints that are here given suffice to show that the
    knowledge forms are adapted to children of three and four years
    of age, and that they incite plays which are both spontaneous
    and nourishing to heart and intellect.… These few indications
    for the use of these forms must suffice; they already show
    sufficiently clearly that the observation and comprehension
    of them are perfectly suited to the active, intellectual and
    emotional sides of children three and four years of age,
    and to actual free play which strengthens intellect and
    feeling.”--_P., p. 185._

Now the “hints” refer to making clear to the child, always in justice, be
it remembered, in the concrete, “as perceptible facts only,” such points
as “similarity of size with dissimilarity of shape and position, in such
words as:

    “Twice as long and half as wide,
    Half as long and twice as wide,
    The same size are we two.”

Certainly children differ very much, and some have a special aptitude for
mathematical relations, but to most children under five these words would
convey nothing. _Half_ may have a meaning, though at that age and for
some time after we hear of “a fair half” and “quarter” is generally used
as a name for any fraction recognized as not a half, even if it should
be greater. Such words as _fourth_ and _eighth_ can have no meaning for
a child who shows no consciousness of difference when shown six, seven
or eight objects. At the age of three, an average child recognizes three
objects, but when a fourth is added, he proceeds to count one by one, he
does not recognize three plus one.

Again, we must repeat that Froebel never intended any mathematical ideas
to be forced upon unwilling children. He constantly tells the mother not
to force, and he frequently speaks of the child’s “accidental productions
which will become a point of departure for his self-development,” through
the explanatory rhymes, to be sung by the mother in order to call the
child’s attention to the results of his own action. It is true, too, that
it is in connection with this kind of work, or play, that Froebel writes
of “the knowledge-acquiring side of the game, which is the quickly tiring

But the fact remains that either Froebel made a miscalculation as to
what mathematical ideas are within the grasp of children of tender age,
or else he attributed too much consequence to what is outside. It is
indeed quite possible to present to a child of any age, by means of the
cubes of his Fifth Gift, several particular instances of the Theorem of
Pythagoras, as Froebel suggests. But though the construction is present
to the sense of both child and adult, the career of the child of five
or six, who perceives or apperceives the relationship of the squares so
presented, may be watched with interest. He is likely to distinguish
himself in mathematical research, should he live long enough. Froebel
ought to have known, indeed he did know, for he taught it to others,
that the child does not “quickly tire” of acquiring knowledge suited to
his stage of development by methods equally suitable. From the houses
and railway trains, of which at this stage they seem never to tire,
children probably gain as much knowledge as Nature means them to absorb
by such means. In Froebel’s own hands, with his real and sympathetic
understanding of the need for freedom of action, probably no harm was
done, but it is easy to see how the ordinary teacher would grasp at the
possibility of producing mathematical prodigies through what was supposed
to be play.

The same error seems to show itself in various ways, e.g., in some of
the reasons Froebel gives for choosing his First Gift, though there is
no fault to be found with the choice. He was right in saying that the
child first takes in a whole, not a variety of elements, to be combined
later. Because of this fact, the ordinary coral and bells, with all its
complexity, is just as much a whole to the infant as the woollen ball.
But Froebel does seem to have thought that he must make the “outer
objects,” or toys from which the child is to gain his earliest ideas,
as simple as these ideas, and this certainly implies a wrong view of
perception. The same objection might be taken to Froebel’s directions as
to how the Third Gift--an 8-inch cube, cut once in each direction--is
to be presented; how in order “to furnish to the child clearly and
definitely the impression of the whole, of the self-contained, from
which fundamental perception everything must proceed,” the box is to be
reversed, the lid slipped out and the box is to be lifted “that the play
thing may appear as a cube closely united.” But in this case Froebel is
“presenting” the first divided unit, “something which may be taken to
pieces, arranged and re-arranged and finally re-constructed,” for it is
“by this dismembering and re-constructing, and perception of real objects
that true knowledge and especially self-knowledge comes to the child.”

A second psychological error, or at least an inconsistency, seems to lie
at the root of certain practical directions Froebel gives with regard
to the use of his toys. In spite of his iteration and re-iteration that
the child’s mind is a unity, that though separation is “permitted for
the thinking mind,” there is none in reality, yet in his anxiety for the
due fostering of the whole, of the “doing, feeling and thinking” his
harmonious development, in actual practice he has an attempted separation
which has had bad results. A Kindergarten practice, now discontinued,
was to make the children build, either on different occasions, or during
different parts of one lesson, what Froebel called (_a_) Life-forms or
Objects (Lebens oder Sachformen), i.e. houses, churches, etc.; (_b_)
Beauty or Picture forms (Schönheits oder Bildformen), i.e. symmetrical
designs; and (_c_) Knowledge or Instruction forms (Erkenntniss oder
Lernformen), i.e. squares, triangles, etc. Though this classification is
based on the familiar and important “knowing, willing and feeling,” yet
it is plain that a child may experience quite as much emotion, probably
more, in building a house as in making a star pattern, and that the
active side is involved in every kind of construction. Froebel draws
a parallel, legitimate to a certain extent, between intellect, feeling
and will on the one hand, and truth, beauty and usefulness on the other.
Here, however, we can quote him against himself; “Separation is only
permitted for the thinking mind.” The useful ought to be beautiful, there
is beauty in all truth, and the æsthetic revelation of the world is the
world in order. Beauty degenerates into mere ornament and artificiality,
when separated from life and use. “Mathematics,” as Froebel wrote
himself, “is neither foreign to life, nor deduced from life; it is the
expression of life as such: its nature may be studied in life, and
life may be studied with its help.… Mathematics should be studied more
physically and dynamically as the outcome of nature and energy.”--_E., p.

The result of this suggested separation has in past times been
disastrous. Failing to recognize that a young child is of necessity
exercising his intellectual power in constructing his castle or bridge
of blocks, and failing still more to realize that ornament is far from
synonymous with beauty, teachers have wearied and stupefied children
with mathematical forms for which they were not ready, and have forced
upon them symmetrical designs when their souls hungered for “puffer

It is easy to show that what Froebel wanted was only due attention
to what we now call the affective and conative as well as to the
intellectual. From the very first he insists on this, and justly, though
his way of doing it may seem to us quaint. About the child’s imitation
of the clock he writes:

    “As soon as the child’s first capacity for speech is somewhat
    developed, we notice how he tries, in and by the movement,
    to listen to the tone and to imitate it with the tone of his
    own voice. _Tic tac_, we hear him say, imitating the movement
    of the pendulum; _pim paum_ (ding dong?) he says when the
    sound is more noticed.… So we must observe that even when
    he first begins to speak the child expresses and retains
    the physical part of the movement by _tic tac_, but by _pim
    paum_ he perceives the movement more, if one may say so,
    from the feeling in the mind, and if I may be allowed so to
    express myself, by the ‘here and there’ which comes later,
    the child catches hold (festhalten) of the movement more as
    a thing of comparison, of recognition, and in his dawning
    thought, more intellectually.… It is most important that the
    mother should observe the first and slightest traces of the
    articulation (Gliederung) of the child as an active, emotional
    and intellectual being, and watch it in his development from
    existence to experience and thought, so that in his development
    no side of his nature should be cultivated at the cost of
    the others, nor should any be repressed or neglected for the
    sake of the others. It seems important, and we believe that
    all who quietly observe the child have remarked, or will yet
    remark, that from the first the child expresses the swinging
    movement in a singing tone, in a tone which approaches song and
    so serves the emotional nature. Thus early is it shown that
    the real foundation, the starting-point for the education of
    humanity and so of the child, is the heart and the emotions
    (das Gemüth u. die Gemüthliche), but that training to
    action and thought (zur That u. zum Denken), the physical
    and the intellectual goes with it side by side constantly
    and inseparably. Thought forms itself in action, and action
    clears itself in thought, but both must have their roots in the
    emotions.”--_P., p. 41._

Two further reasons may be given for Froebel’s belief in his selected
series of toys: (_a_) his delight in the theory of development, and
(_b_) his eagerness to bring the child as soon as possible to that
consciousness of self which differentiates man from the lower animals.

Every sign of unity of plan within the universe gave Froebel real joy,
and he traces development from the simple to the complex, from the
undifferentiated to the differentiated, not only in plant and animal
life, but also in the inorganic. Much of what he says on crystals may be
fanciful, but much is beautiful and suggestive. “Chemical combination” is
to him “the life of the inorganic world,” and he writes:

    “We have in this a new confirmation of the law of development
    in crystals, the passing from special-sidedness to
    all-sidedness, from imperfection to perfection as the law of
    all development in nature. Man, then, appears as the most
    perfect earthly being, in whom all that is corporeal appears
    in highest equilibrium and in whom the primordial force is
    fully spiritualized, so that man feels, understands, and knows
    his own power. But while man externally and corporeally has
    attained equilibrium and symmetry of form, there heave and
    surge in him, viewed as a spiritual being, appetites, desires
    and passions.

    “As in the world of crystals we noticed the heaving and surging
    of simple energy, and in the vegetable and animal worlds, the
    heaving and surging of living forces, so here the heaving and
    surging of spiritual forces. Therefore man with reference to
    spiritual development has returned to a first stage as crystals
    are in a first stage with reference to the development of
    life.… For this reason the boy should at an early period be
    taught to see Nature in all her diversity as a unit, as a great
    living whole, as a thought of God. The integrity of Nature, as
    a continually self-developing whole must be shown him at an
    early period.”--_E., p. 198._

Although this particular passage was written in connection with Nature
Study for older boys, yet it is from thoughts such as these that Froebel
seems to have taken an idea that man-in-infancy ought to meet, if it may
be so expressed, matter-in-infancy. Though everything in the surroundings
was to help to bring about self-consciousness, “the air blowing about all
living creatures, as well as the arousing spiritual language of words,”
yet that definite thing-in-itself, which is to help the child to an early
dim consciousness of self is to be “the counterpart of himself,” a simple
undifferentiated whole “susceptible of a progressive development.”

And now we must come to the question of Froebel’s “Symbolism,” a thorny
subject, because one into which the personal equation enters largely.
Some writers, notably Miss Susan Blow, author of “Symbolic Education,”
regard this symbolism as all-important, Froebel’s glory rather than his
weakness. Others consider that it appeals to adults alone and that where
it is supposed to affect children it tends towards artificiality and
sentimentality. In so far as this is true, it must be regarded as a weak

It is, however, not an easy task to settle what ideas are covered by
the term “Froebel’s symbolism.” The dictionary meaning for symbol is
“a visible sign or representation of an idea; anything which suggests
an idea, as by resemblance or convention; an emblem; a representation;
a type; a figure; as the lion is the symbol of courage and the lamb of
meekness or patience.”

It certainly passes my comprehension how anything can symbolize an
idea not yet acquired, however much it may help in calling up ideas
already more or less clearly gained. The crown may symbolize power to
an adult, but not to the child, who when told that Stephen and Matilda
fought for the crown, innocently inquired: “Couldn’t they have had
another one made?” The Union Jack may symbolize British nationality or
British freedom, or even British Jingoism to adults who already possess
these ideas, but not to a little child. On the other hand, any kind of
celebration appeals to children, as to more primitive people, and to
be allowed to march round the playground on Empire Day carrying a flag
arouses a joyous emotion, which will later be interwoven with patriotic
ideas of various kinds. It is decidedly open to question whether as
regards the child Froebel himself intended much more than this, whatever
his followers may have done.

Professor Thorndyke gives us to understand that Froebel says a
child plays with a ball because it symbolizes “infinite development
and absolute limitation.” Now it is true that Froebel wrote in his
“Aphorisms”--quoted in a footnote to Hailmann’s “Education of Man”--“The
spherical is the symbol of diversity in unity and of unity in diversity.…
It is infinite development and absolute limitation.” But the “Aphorisms”
were not written for children, and Hailmann quotes the passage in
speaking of Froebel’s philosophical doctrines as to the ultimate nature
of force and matter!

To Froebel, Spirit is everywhere striving for utterance. The
Universe--the Manifold--is the revelation of one great mind, and
everything in Nature, “though soundless it be to the ear, a message can
give emblematic (sinnbildlich) but clear.” Certainly, he would have the
boy study Nature, “the writing and book of God,” but it is not to the boy
that he says:

    “The works speak, by the form the Spirit manifests itself. By
    that which has been produced and created, the nature and spirit
    of the producer and creator make themselves known. The world
    must therefore necessarily manifest the nature of its original
    cause--the spirit of its Creator.”

For Froebel as for Goethe, the Time Spirit “weaves for God the garment
we see Him by.” He calls “the temporal an expression of the eternal,
the material a manifestation of the spiritual.” He speaks of “the Power
which reveals itself by uniting all things, in Nature in the Universe
as weight, in human life as Love,” and it pleases him to put into the
hand of the boy--in that picture of a family group by which he typifies
Humanity--a ball hanging by a string, and this he calls an emblem or
symbol (Sinnbild).

There is nothing in all this with which any one need quarrel. Froebel
was assuredly an idealist, but in these days that is no longer a term of
reproach. No one, to whom it does not appeal, need use the suggestion,
but to those of us who believe that right guidance of a child’s delight
in fairy tales is one way of developing his sense of reverence, there is
nothing so very far fetched even in Froebel’s way of trying to bring to
the child’s consciousness, the spirit striving for utterance not only
in every beautiful form, but in everything beautiful as he does in “The
Smell Song.”

Of fairy tales Froebel says:

    “The child, like the man, would like to know the meaning of
    what happens around him. This is the foundation of the Greek
    choruses, especially in tragedies. This, too, is the foundation
    of many legends and fairy tales, and it is the result of the
    deeply-rooted consciousness of being surrounded by that which
    is higher and more conscious than ourselves.”--_P., p. 147._

So, when the child delights in the scent of the flower, Froebel says to
the mother: “Let your child find in all things a mind, a struggle for
being. Colour form and spicy smell all forthtell the One ruling hand
which called all into existence.” But all she is told to pass on to the
child is only the thought that an angel has put the scent there and is
saying: “The little one does not see me, but without me there would be no

Although in one sense the educator of young children need have no
dealings at all with “symbolism,” yet in another, a walking-stick does,
for the boy who bestrides it, symbolize, a horse, as a piece of wood
may symbolize for his little sister the infant whom she may nurse and
caress, with what Froebel calls “the dim and transferred perception of
inner life.” Here Froebel seems quite right, as when in speaking of a
child’s visit to a toyshop he says, “a true child is content with very
little of the outer, he is satisfied by a doll or cart, a whistle or a
sheep, provided only that in or through it he can find his own world and
represent it in actual deeds.”--_M., p. 199._

It may be said, too, that there is symbolism in children’s drawings, the
animal or object is symbolized by that which to the child is the most
outstanding characteristic. One small boy drew a camel with a rider so
small that some one protested he could not see over the hump, so the
artist promptly drew a second rider in front. Being asked if he could
draw an elephant, he assented cheerfully and added a trunk to his camel.
By the addition of claws the elephant became a cat, but at that point he
paused, remarking, “It’s not very like a cat, it’s more like a bird,” and
a pair of wings completed the transformations. In like manner by help of
a walking stick a child becomes his own father, and a pair of spectacles
transforms him into his grandmother. But in all such cases the child is
dealing with ideas he has already grasped.

To say that circle or ring games help a child to gain an idea of
unity--Ring a Ring of Roses may give the first dim idea of corporate
unity--is a very different thing from saying that a circle is to the
child a symbol of unity. This is the kind of thing, however, that
Froebel is supposed to have said, but after careful investigation one
is surprised to find how little there is, and to what extent Froebel’s
disciples and translators seem to have read in their own interpretations.

For instance, in searching for passages about symbolism, we find in
the English translation of the paper on Movement Plays, a passage
stating that the “Snail Game” forms a frequent conclusion to a “games”
period, because it yields the form of the circle, “which is symbolic of
wholeness.” On comparing this with the original, however, we find that
this phrase is an addition of the translator’s. No doubt she considered
it explanatory, but all that Froebel himself says is that the game
is suitable “because it finally unites all the players in a lively
and completely finished whole.” To practical teachers, who know the
difficulty of getting a number of children to settle down after a game,
this may bear a very different meaning.

It seems to me that Froebel’s translators have been altogether too fond
of the word “symbolic.” The German words usually translated “symbol”
and “symbolic” are “Sinnbild” and “Vorbild,” with their respective
adjectives. After considering innumerable passages in which these words
occur it seems plain that Froebel’s meaning would often have been
better expressed by “typical,” or by “significant,” and sometimes by

For instance, it is quite legitimate to say of such perceptions as
Froebel intended a child to gain from his second “Gift”--resistance,
weight, hardness and softness, noise, etc.--that the ball and cube
give, and are only intended to give, “normal, fundamental and _typical_
perceptions” (nur die normalen, begründenden und vorbildlichen
Anschauungen), and Froebel goes on to say that the same perceptions must
come from many other objects. There is nothing _symbolic_ here, and there
is no reason for using this word.

That in many passages _significant_ would be a much more correct
translation than symbolic is abundantly evident. Froebel was convinced,
and most people will now agree with him, that there is real meaning or
significance in those activities, which are common to children of all
countries, and this meaning he endeavours to discover. Small blame to him
if, though wonderfully correct on the whole, he sometimes hits upon a
wrong meaning, in which case we are apt to fall back upon that convenient
scapegoat, his symbolism.

In one of his letters he thanks his cousin for describing to him how she
had watched a tiny child “who quietly let his eye travel from the ball
hanging at the end of its cord, up to the hand which held it,” and he

    “I am convinced, and I wish that all teachers, and especially
    all mothers, shared in the conviction, that the very earliest
    phenomena of child-life are _full of symbolic meaning_, that
    is to say, they indicate the higher, the intellectual life in
    the child and his individual peculiarities at the same time.
    Our duty is to search in everything for its ultimate basis,
    its point of origin, its well-spring; and to make clear the
    connection between the outward manifestation and its inward
    cause.”--_L., p. 101._

What Froebel deduced from the incident was that the child looks not only
at the appearance of the swinging ball, but for the cause of the swinging
phenomenon, the supporting, moving hand. So it is plain that for “full
of symbolism” we should here read “full of significance.” Or, again, in
his excellent sketch of early boyhood, with its desire to share the work
of the father, its desire to explore, to collect, to construct, etc.,
Froebel concludes:

    “Thus it is certain that very many of the boy’s actions have
    an inner, an intellectual importance, that they indicate his
    mental tendencies and are therefore _symbolical_.”--_E., p.

Here, again, _significant_ would be a better English translation than

Again, in accordance with his belief in instinct, Froebel declares that
it is his “firm conviction that wherever we find anything that gives
children ever freshly a joy belonging to real life there is at the bottom
of it something important for a child’s life.” When he sees that children
often enjoy going to church and joining in the singing at an age when
the words can have no meaning, he says: “All the spontaneous activity of
child-life is _symbolical_ (Sinnbildlich).” But there is not a word of
anything that is ordinarily called “symbolical” in what follows, so far
as the child is concerned. The little one is supposed to have “reached
a new life-stage,” viz. “the dim anticipation that he is not alone in
life, but one amid mankind.” Consequently he is attracted by “assembly
life.” The most ardent believer in symbolism can make little of the very
practical answers the mother is told to give to the child’s questions.
He is to be answered “out of the range of his own experience, feelings
and ideas, his own intellectual development and necessities.” He is to be
told that when he is old enough to go to church, he will not only like to
hear the organ, but will find out “why flowers bloom and birdies sing and
why we still remember Christmas Day.”

There is another child in the Mother Songs, who wants to visit the
moon, and drags his mother towards the ladder that he may climb up.
According to the translator Froebel says he wants to point out “the
higher symbolical meaning.” But what he says is that one remark presses
itself upon him, how “we ought to cultivate intelligently the child’s
observation of and pleasure in the moon, and in the night sky, and not
let this sink into the formlessness and emptiness of mere wonder.” For
example, it is, he says, quite as easy to tell a child that the moon is a
beautiful bright swimming ball, as to say it is a man; or that the stars
are sparkling suns which look small because they are far away, as to call
them “golden pins,” and he adds “Truth never injures, but error always

There are certainly some instances in which Froebel found for the
tendencies and actions of children, a meaning that does not commend
itself to common sense, but as a rule he only “ventures to suggest”
rather than insists, and his practical application is generally
unobjectionable. We assent willingly, when Froebel tells us that
rhythmic movement, passive as well as active, is the earliest beginning
of all ordered activity. But we smile when, in accounting for the
childish interest in clocks, after allowing for the mystery, he goes on:

    “Let me hold the opinion that a deeply slumbering notion of the
    importance of time lies at the bottom of the pleasure children
    take in playing with a clock.”--_M., p. 139._

As he truly and naïvely remarks, “this opinion of mine hurts, as an
opinion, neither the child nor any one else,” and the application may,
even in this instance, be useful as he says it is, viz. that we should
use this pleasure to instil the beginnings of punctuality or law and
order. As an opinion it is not worthy of Froebel’s insight, and we can
only say that instances of this kind are really negligible, though some
have been unnecessarily emphasized by certain Froebelians to whom they

There are, it is true, a few instances which deserve the strictures which
have been heaped up somewhat rashly. It is only put as a question, but
Froebel does say of children’s pleasure in circle games, “May not their
delight spring from the longing and efforts to get an all-round, or
all-sided, grasp of an object?”

As to metaphor, Froebel delights in this; his bent of mind is to take
pleasure in all analogies, and he suggests that the mother should make
more use of the metaphors implied in ordinary language. For example, he
speaks of “the transferred moral meaning of such words and phrases as
‘_straight_ and _straightforward_,’ and of ‘_walking in crooked paths_.’”
In using little finger plays to give a child control over his hands,
the mother is told to think how important for later life is “the right
handling of things, in the actual as well as in the figurative sense.”
The wise mother is represented as cherishing the child’s love of light
and brightness, saying, “Never shrink away from light”; and while she
shows the picture she says, “Here is a boy who has broken the window and
now he must go a long way to fetch the glazier unless he can content
himself with a dark board that will keep out the dear bright light. You
must not heedlessly stop Light’s entering your heart and mind, for if you
do, you will have to buy it back by trouble and loss of time lest heart
and mind become dark. Open your door and little window to the light.”
Thus she makes the child “see inner things through the outer,” and uses
his pleasure in light to make him hate deeds of darkness. But there is no
harm in all this, the words are used as a clergyman uses the half-dozen
words of his text, as a germ of thought which he cultivates, as a
finger-post pointing the way in which our minds may travel. And Froebel,
like the clergyman, sometimes travels far from the branching of the roads.

Froebel’s curious attempts at etymology ought perhaps to be mentioned
as a weak point, though they really do not affect his theories,
psychological or educational, one way or another. The ball, as the
child’s first object through which he gains his first perceptions of
solidity, weight, mass, etc., is described as on that account “an image
of the universe” (der B--all ist der Bild des Alles). The thought is
worth having, the pseudo-etymology does not much matter.

To sum up, then, there is mysticism in Froebel’s writings as addressed
to the adult, and with this no one has any right to quarrel even if it
should not appeal to him or her personally. But an undue preponderance
has been given to this side of Froebel by those to whom it appeals, or
so it seems to me. It does not appeal to me, nor can I perceive that it
affects to any appreciable extent the educational theories based on the
psychological grounds so carefully considered by Froebel. To writers
like Miss Blow, the author of “Symbolic Education,” such a statement
would no doubt seem outrageous. With intellectual people possessed of
Miss Blow’s philosophic insight, children may be safe from artificiality
and sentimentality. But the average teacher is incapable of philosophy,
and when the uncultured mind is supplied with food it cannot digest,
that mind is starved. The teacher who glibly uses phrases which she
does not understand has reached a state of mind immeasurably below
plain ignorance, for it is destructive of honest thought and common
sense.[47] The main business of the Froebelian is to forward the cause
to which Froebel devoted his life “to bring about a more general use of
progressive development in the culture and education of children. We must
throw overboard everything that hampers action and set before ourselves,
as in his day Froebel tells us he attempted to do, the definite task of
“founding anew the practical methods of actual teaching so as to bring
them into satisfactory relation with the needs of our life of to-day.”



Professor Adams ends the first chapter of his delightfully witty
“Herbartian Psychology” with a challenge to all educational thinkers to
come out of their caves and defend their idols. Throughout the book,
there is many a side-thrust at Froebel, all of a more or less disparaging
nature, in spite of the humorous twinkle which has a fairly permanent
abode in the eye of the writer.

Some of the accusations are tolerably sweeping, for example, that
Froebelianism “as a psychology is simply non-existent”; that Froebel
has failed to correlate theory and practice; that although in “The
Education of Man” “we have beautiful, if obscurely expressed, truths
about education,” yet the Kindergarten cannot be evolved from it, in fact
“between the two there is a great gulf fixed, a gulf that Froebel has not

But the main contention is that Froebel disapproves in theory of any
interference with the natural course of development. The Froebelian
teacher is thus, according to Professor Adams, reduced to the position
of a “humble under-gardener” who merely watches with interest and
admiration, and education becomes “a general paralysis.”

Mr. Graham Wallas, whose objections to Froebel, or at least to
Froebelianism[48], as he understands it, are well known, bases these on
the ground that because he was a pre-Darwinian evolutionist, Froebel
was bound to overrate the importance of the innate as a factor in
development, and to undervalue the other factor of environment.

Professor O’Shea disposes of Froebel in one sentence and in much the same
way, as an advocate of what he calls “the doctrine of Unfoldment,” where
“everything is inner and self-relating,” as opposed to the conception
gained from Biology, which “implies that the business of a human being is
to get properly related to the world--religious, social and physical--of
which he is an integral part.”

If Froebel really believed that development is entirely from within, as
stated by Professor O’Shea, or if he failed to realize the importance of
the surroundings, as Mr. Graham Wallas expresses it, he would naturally
disapprove of any interference, as Professor Adams says he does. The
Froebelian, being thus reduced to passive watching, the mere provision
of a Kindergarten would be an interference with the surroundings and
a contradiction in practice of the theory of non-interference. If
non-interference is really the theory propounded in “The Education of
Man,” there certainly is a gulf between it and the Kindergarten, a gulf
it would be difficult to bridge.

But Froebelians are not prepared to admit the premises of any of these
critics. It seems to many of us that these and all similar criticisms
are due to misunderstanding. This is sometimes clearly due to careless
reading, and consequent want of attention to the context, but even
where this is not the case, misunderstandings occur. Few, of late
years, have made any real study of Froebel’s writings as a whole, such
as is necessary to get at his real meaning, which is often obscured
by prolixities and repetitions, and sometimes hidden among apparent

Professor O’Shea, for example, does not seem to be aware to what extent
Froebel, like himself, derived his educational aim and principles
from biology. He has probably never realized the deep interest taken
by Froebel in the then all-absorbing question of natural development.
Clearly he has no idea that Froebel has given expression to a conception
of education, practically identical with that given above which he
himself draws from biology,[49] and sets in contrast with the one he
unjustly attributes to Froebel.

There is no doubt whatever that Froebel laid much stress on what is
innate. In his generation, he tells us the child was looked upon “as a
piece of wax, or lump of clay, which man can mould into what he pleases.”
Because Froebel was a student of biology he knew better. He knew, as
we have seen, that human beings have instincts, innate tendencies or
dispositions differing from those of the lower animals chiefly in their
indefiniteness. We are not so afraid of the word “innate” nowadays,
when both innate ideas and innate faculties are safely buried, and that
Froebel had no dealings with these has been amply shown.

But that this stress on innate tendencies implies that the child is to
unfold from within, the educator standing by passive[50], or that Froebel
imagined that the developing process could go on with little or no
reference to the environment, is quite another matter.

Few of Froebel’s critics have taken the trouble to look up the original
German before pronouncing condemnation, and this explains part of the
injustice that has been done to him. The passage upon which much, perhaps
most, of the adverse criticism is based is the one in which Froebel
applies to education the term “leidend,” translated “passive” in both the
English, or, rather, American editions of “The Education of Man.” The
translation of “leidend” as “passive” is not a happy one. Moreover, the
translators have endeavoured to help the reader by dividing the text into
numbered sections, a proceeding which though often helpful, sometimes
tends to break the continuity of Froebel’s thought. This effect is
heightened in Hailmann’s translation by the interpolated notes, however
valuable as some of these are in themselves. This passage, however, opens
with “_therefore_,” and those who take exception to it ought to have
considered the preceding argument. Fair criticism looks back to see why
and under what circumstances education is to be “passive or following,”
as opposed to “dictating and limiting.”

In the first place, absolutely passive education is a contradiction in
terms. Froebel begins by stating that:

    “Education consists in leading man as a thinking, intelligent
    being, growing into self-consciousness, to a pure, conscious
    and free representation of the law of his being, and in
    teaching him ways and means thereto.”

He defines the _Theory of Education_ as “the system of directions derived
from the knowledge and study of that law to guide human beings in the
apprehension of their life-work”; and the _Practice of Education_ as
“the self-active application of this knowledge in the direct development
and cultivation of rational beings towards the attainment of their

To go on from this to say, on the next page but one, that the educator is
to do nothing, to stand aside and be truly passive, would be absurd.

That our word “passive” is not the equivalent of Froebel’s word
“leidend,” is easily proved, for in another passage where Froebel does
mean “passive” he couples “leidend” with “inactive,” and puts passive
in a bracket beside it. The passage runs: “wo das Kind äusserlich als
unthätig, leidend (passiv) erscheint.” In the passage under discussion
“passiv” does not appear at all, and “leidend” is coupled, not with
“inactive,” but with “following,” and is contrasted with “dictating,
limiting and interfering.”[51]

A few lines further we read how the gardener may even destroy the vine
“if he fail _in his work_ passively and attentively to follow the nature
of the plant.” He cannot surely “work” and be inactively passive at the
same time.

A more correct translation of “leidend” here would perhaps be “tolerant”
or “suffering” in its old sense of “permitting,” “bearing with,” or
having patience with.

As to immediate context, Froebel has just stated that education ought “to
lift man to a knowledge of himself and mankind, to a knowledge of God
and Nature, and to the pure and consecrated life conditioned thereby.”
“But,” he goes on, “education must be founded on what is essential or
innermost, and though the real nature of things can only be known by
outer manifestations, yet it behoves the educator to be very careful
how he judges, for the child that appears good outwardly, is often not
really good, i.e. does not will the good from his own determination, or
from love, respect for or recognition of it,” while “the outwardly rough
self-willed child often has within him a vigorous struggle to do what
seems to him right.” Judging from outer manifestations furnishes constant
occasion for false judgments concerning the motives of children, for
endless misunderstanding between parent and child, and for unreasonable
demands made upon children.

And here comes the force of the conjunction: “_Therefore_,” says Froebel,
“education, instruction and training in their fundamental principles
must necessarily be tolerant, following, not dictating, not limiting or
defining, not interfering.”

What is it, then, that Froebel is telling us to follow almost passively,
interfering, in our ignorance, as little as possible? Simply the natural
order of development, the natural instincts of childhood, which in this
very passage he is arguing are as trustworthy as those of other young
animals. Here, as everywhere, man can only control Nature _by following_,
by obeying her laws.

    “As the duckling hastens to the pond and the chicken scratches
    the ground, so will the human being, still young, still, as it
    were, in the process of creation, though as unconsciously as
    any Nature product, yet definitely and surely desire what is
    best for him. We give plants and animals time and space and
    freedom to develop, but the young human being is to man a piece
    of wax, a lump of clay, from which he can mould what he will. O
    man, who roamest through garden and field, through meadow and
    grove, why dost thou close thy mind to the silent teaching of
    Nature?”--_E., p. 8._

Surely we have here a plea to “suffer (leiden) little children,” to
bear with the little one, still, as Froebel describes him, “still, as
it were, in the process of creation,” nay, more, a plea for the actual
recognition and fostering of these instinctive tendencies which Professor
Dewey calls “the foundation-stones of educational method,” rather than
a recommendation to “gratify every youthful impulse,” or to stand aside
altogether. For the context, the whole, is not yet complete.

Froebel goes on to say that if we are certain of any tendency to
unhealthy development we are to interfere with full severity (so tritt
geradezubestimmende, fordernde Erziehungsweise in ihrer ganzen Strenge

And now comes a sentence apparently quite overlooked by Mr. Graham
Wallas, who blames Froebel for underestimating the environment. In the
mean-time, until we are sure that our interference is justifiable,
“nothing is left for us to do but to bring the child into relations and
surroundings in all respects adapted to him.”[52]--_E., p. 11._

In many other passages Froebel shows plainly that he had no thought of
the “gratifying of every youthful impulse” in the sense of individual

In his plea for monetary help to establish Kindergartens and training
establishments connected with them, he complains that in existing
institutions children are either “repressed and their energies crippled,
_or else we are confronted with the wild and uncontrollable character
which results when children are uncared for and are left altogether to
their own impulses_.”--_L., p. 159._

“Life has no room for wilfulness and whims,” he says in his Mother Songs;
“Boyhood is the age of Discipline” he states in “The Education of Man.”
But, as he himself sums up this discussion:

    “All true education is double-sided, prescribing and following,
    active and passive, positive yet giving scope, firm and
    yielding.… Between educator and pupil should rule invisibly a
    third something to which both are equally subject. The third
    something is the right, the best … the child, the pupil has a
    very keen apprehension whether what father or teacher requests
    is personal and arbitrary or the expression of general law and
    necessity.”--_E., p. 14._

The proof of whether or not the educator has succeeded in rightly
adjusting the claims of freedom and authority, Froebel expresses in words
recalling Kant’s, “When the ‘Thou Shalt’ of the Law becomes the ‘I will’
of the doer, then we are free.”

    “In good education, in genuine instruction, in true teaching,
    necessity must and will call forth freedom, law will call forth
    self-determination, and outer compulsion inner free-will.

    “Where necessity produces bondage, where law brings fraud
    and crime, and outer compulsion causes slavery, there every
    effect of education is destroyed. There oppression destroys and
    debases, severity and harshness bring obstinacy and deceit, and
    the burden is more than can be borne.”--_E., p. 14._

To emphasize the fact that Froebel did realize the importance of
environment, and to anticipate the criticism that this shortened
rendering is an interpretation in the light of modern educational
theories, of Froebel’s somewhat cumbrous phrases, we can turn to a
passage in his later writing, part of which has been quoted elsewhere:

    “Through the child’s efforts to repel that which is contrary to
    the needs of his life, indignation and discontent are awakened;
    and on the other hand, from the fact that his normal desires
    are ungratified, they become inordinate and mischievous. How
    may parents avoid these evil results? Most satisfactorily
    through a threefold yet single glance at life. Let them look
    into themselves, and their own course of development and its
    requirements, let them recall their own earliest years, then
    later stages of development, and look deeply into their present
    life. Next, let them look equally deeply into the life of
    the child and what he must require for his present stage of
    development. Having scrutinized what the child needs, _let them
    scrutinize his environment_, and first observe what it offers
    and does not offer for the fulfilment of such requirements.
    Let them utilize all offered possibilities of meeting normal
    needs; and when such needs cannot be met, let them recognize
    this fact, and show the child plainly the impossibility of
    their fulfilment. Finally, let them clearly recognize whatever
    _in the child’s environment_ tends to awaken antagonism and
    discontent, remove it if it be removable, and admit its defect
    if it be not removable.”[53]--_P., p. 167._

It is, of course, true that Froebel was pre-Darwinian in time, but it is
equally true that he was post-Darwinian in many of his beliefs.

To find out whether or not his educational doctrines are really based
on false or exploded theories of development, as the Criticism of Mr.
Graham Wallas implies, we must gather together from Froebel’s various
writings, his most important references to the subject.

The key-note to his interest in it lies probably in the yearning for
unity and union in all relations, which was a part of his individuality.
This may have dated back to the time when, a puzzled little mortal of
eight or nine years old, he was most unwisely allowed to hear his father
exhorting and rebuking his parishioners. It seemed to the boy that most
of the trouble arose from the fact that human beings, and human beings
alone, so far as he knew, were divided into two sexes, and he felt that
he would have arranged matters differently. Comfort came to him when his
older brother, by showing him the male and female flower of the hazel,
gave him some idea of a great law of Nature. Strange comfort, too, it
seems, for a boy not yet ten years old!

The late Mr. Ebenezer Cooke pointed out long ago[54] that Mr. Graham
Wallas had not only overshot the mark in saying that “Darwin transferred
the cause of development from within to without,” but that he had himself
failed to draw any distinction between the facts of development, as
seen in the individual, and the theory of the origin or development
of species, which we associate with the names of Darwin and Wallace.
Mr. Cooke pointed to Froebel’s connection with Batch, the founder of a
Natural History Society, of which Goethe was a member, as showing that
he was in direct touch with those who were working out the theory of
development of the individual.

Froebel himself refers to this Natural History Society in his
Autobiography, saying that “students,” of whom he was one, “who had
shown living interest and done active work in Natural Science,” were
invited to become members, and that this awoke within him “a yearning
towards higher scientific knowledge.” At this time Froebel was but a
youth of seventeen, with no idea that education was to be his life work.
Three years later, he meets a private tutor, “a young man quite out of
the common, with actively inquiring mind,” who was “especially fond of
making comprehensive schemes of education.” The year after this we find
him reading what he can of anthropology and history, and saying of his
reading: “It taught me of man in his broad historical relations and set
before me the general life of my kind as one great whole.”

One year more, and while he is looking for a situation with an
architect--in spite of uneasy communing with himself as to how
architecture was to be used “for the culture and ennoblement of
mankind”--Grüner claps him on the shoulder with “Give up architecture, it
is not your vocation at all! Become a teacher.”

It is perhaps because Froebel passed thus from interest in biology to
interest in education that at this time he gives to his own question,
What is the purpose of education?--almost the identical answer that
Professor O’Shea puts into the mouth of his biologist[55], and which he
sets in opposition to Froebel’s supposed opinions:

    “In answering the question, What is the purpose of education?
    I relied at that time on the following observations: Man lives
    in a world of objects, which influence him and which he desires
    to influence; therefore he ought to know these objects in
    their nature, in their conditions and in their relations with
    each other and with mankind.… I sought, to the extent of such
    powers as I consciously possessed at that time, to make clear
    to myself the meaning of all things through man, his relations
    with himself, and with the external world … it seemed to me
    that everything which should or could be required for human
    education must be necessarily conditioned and given, by virtue
    of the very nature of the necessary course of his development,
    in man’s own being and in the relations amidst which he is set.
    A man, it seemed to me, would be well educated when he had been
    trained to care for these relationships and to acknowledge
    them, to master them and to survey them.”--_A., p. 69._

In the very beginning, then, of his educational career, Froebel
emphasized rather than overlooked “the relationships amidst which man is
set,” but he was to learn more yet about development.

Six years later he is back at a university, and “just at this time,” he
says, “those great discoveries of the French and English philosophers
became generally known through which the great manifold external world
was seen to form a comprehensive outer world.”

The English writer may have been Erasmus Darwin. The French writer was
no doubt Lamarck, to whom belongs “the immortal glory of having for the
first time worked out the theory of Descent as an independent scientific
theory of the first order and as the philosophical foundation of the
whole science of Biology.”

From some such source, at any rate, Froebel must have gained
“the key-note of development,” viz., that it is always from the
undifferentiated to the differentiated. We have already seen that he
applied this to mental development and so gained his modern conception
of the earliest infant consciousness, “an undifferentiated unorganized

In “The Education of Man” he speaks of

    “the all-pervading law of Nature according to which the general
    gives rise to the particular,”--_E., p. 167._

and in the Mother Songs he says:

    “Whether we are looking at a seed or an egg, whether we
    are watching feeling or thought, what is definite proceeds
    everywhere from what is indefinite.”--_M., p. 121._

Or, again:

    “In the child as in the grain of seed, there begins a
    development proceeding towards complexity.”--_P., p. 172._

Such quotations fully exonerate Froebel from belief in any
“pre-formation” theory, whether physical or mental, as indeed Mr. Cooke
made abundantly plain.

It is in one of his later papers[56] that Froebel generalizes and states
very plainly how everything is developed under the influence of its

    “Taking Nature as our guide, let us endeavour to find the
    essential nature of material objects and the conditions under
    which this develops, for the process of development shows the
    essence of the developing object.

    “_Firstly_, each thing and each object manifesting existence
    and life, develops itself in accordance with the highest and
    simplest, the general laws of life. Thus everything manifests
    these laws and their primeval cause.

    “_Secondly_, each thing and each object in Nature develops
    itself according to its own individuality and the laws of its

    “_Thirdly_, everything in Nature develops itself under the
    collective influence of all things. If any object seems to be
    withdrawn from this collective influence, such withdrawal is
    only mediate.…

    “In Nature, and in everything, all things develop as members
    of the world-whole, the universal life, as members of a whole,
    each perfect in its kind, because each, while standing in
    the centre of the collective influence streaming upwards and
    inwards--nay, in a certain sense, as the receiver, yielding
    itself to this influence--yet also acts (as assimilative and
    formative) and develops itself, faithful to the indwelling
    laws of life universal and particular. We must see clearly the
    conditions of perfect development in Nature, and then employ
    them in human life. Thus only can we help man to attain,
    upon the plane of human development--which means spiritual
    development--a degree of perfection corresponding to that which
    the forms and types of Nature show upon the plane of physical
    development.”--_P., p. 196._

When child development is in question, far from minimising, as he is
supposed to do, the importance of environment, parents and teachers are

    “We must hold fast for consideration in life this fact, that
    in the spontaneous occupation and playing of the child, not
    the germ only, but the growing point of his life also, is
    formed _in union with his surroundings, and under their silent
    unremarked influence_ (im Vereine mit der Umgebung und unter
    deren stillen unbemerkten Einwirkung).”--_P., p. 108._

Or, again:

    “As the new-born child, like a ripe grain of seed dropped from
    the mother plant has life in itself, and as it spontaneously
    develops life _in progressive connection with the common
    life whole_; so activity and action are the first phenomena
    of his awakening life. This activity bears the impress of
    what is innermost, it is an inner activity whose purpose is
    manifestation of the inner through the outer, and, as leading
    up to this, devoted to consideration of and working with the
    outer to penetrating the outer and overcoming hindrances as
    such.”--_P., p. 23._

This account surely makes plain, that whatever Froebel may have believed
with regard to the origin of species, he in no way believed that
development in general was a one-sided process, in which the environment
went for nothing.

In his “Criticism,” Mr. Graham Wallas remarked: “Whoever divorced his
educational system from his philosophy, would have seemed to Froebel to
have taken all force and meaning out of his work.” This is most true, and
it approaches absurdity to attribute so limited a view to a man imbued as
Froebel was with the philosophical doctrine of the reconciliation of the
opposites.[57] That all development was the result of a harmony between
opposites was one of his cardinal doctrines.

“We are living in an age,” he writes, “when we are consciously under a
law of development acting by the reconciliation of opposites.”

Mr. Hailmann gives a long footnote where Froebel is quoted as comparing
his idea of the law of connection or unification with the ideas of Fichte
and Hegel, and saying:

    “It is both of these, and yet has nothing in common with either
    of them; it is the law which the contemplation of Nature has
    taught me.… And where do we find absolute contrasts that have
    not somewhere and somehow a connection? In action and reaction
    the contrasts that we see everywhere give rise to the motions
    in the universe as they do in the smallest organism. This
    implies for all development a struggle which however sooner
    or later will find its adjustment; and this adjustment is the
    connection of contrasts.”--_E., p. 42._

What Froebel knew of Hegel’s philosophy was probably gained from
discussions among his friends, for in the hearing of Madame von
Marenholz, he said, “I do not know how Hegel formulates and applies this
law, for I have had no time for the study of his system,” and he went
on to say of “the philosophical systems of others” that “most of them
belong to a theory of the world that is passing away, whose one-sidedness
becomes more apparent every day” (Reminiscences, 225). Ebers, too, speaks
of Froebel’s ideas as opposed to those of Hegel.

Even Mr. Graham Wallas allows that Froebel’s casual references to the
development of species are “surprisingly modern.” No orthodox views as
to the exact date of the creation of the world keep him from accepting
the newly discovered testimony of the rocks as to “the remains of
perished ages.” Ardent as his religious convictions were, they had a
philosophic width unusual indeed in his day. The Garden of Eden is to
him a parable, repeated “in the experience of every child from the time
of his appearance on earth to the time when he consciously (by the help
of names) beholds himself in beautiful Nature spread out before him.” In
each child he sees “repeated at a later period, the deed which marks the
beginning of moral and human emancipation, of the dawn of reason.”

He refers calmly to

    “the fall, or, since the result is the same, the ascent of
    the mind of man, from simple, uniform, emotional development,
    into the development of externally analytic and critical
    reason.”--_E., p. 194._

Not Stanley Hall himself insists more that the development of the
individual shall follow the development of the race, and this in 1826,
two years before Baer, and four years before Comte, to whom Herbert
Spencer attributed the doctrine. “Humanity,” he says, “lives only in its
continuous development.”

    “Each successive generation and each successive individual
    human being, inasmuch as he would understand the past and
    present, must pass through all preceding phases of human
    development and culture, and this should not be done in the way
    of dead imitation or mere copying, but in the way of living
    spontaneous self-activity.”--_E., p. 18._

There is certainly no ground for assuming that Froebel held any such
pre-Darwinian views as a special creation of each species, for there
is no point on which he insists more emphatically than that in Nature
development is continuously progressive.

    “In God’s world, just because it is God’s world, by Him
    created, one thing constant is expressed to which we give the
    name of unbroken progression of development in all and through
    all.”[58]--_M., p. 154._

    “God neither ingrafts nor inoculates, He develops the most
    trivial and imperfect things in continuously ascending
    series and in accordance with eternal self-grounded and
    self-developing laws.”--_E., p. 328._

Mr. Winch makes merry over Froebel’s sentence:

    “As Man and Nature have one origin, they must be subject to the
    same laws,”

and remarks that “this conception is almost completely given up.… Our
view now rather is one in which God and Nature are at strife, in which
the ethical interest overcomes Nature.…”

But Froebel is far ahead of this. The great law to him is the Law of
Development to which Man and Nature, which includes Man, are subject. The
ethical interest is not, as Mr. Winch intimates, something transcending
Nature, but is itself evolved. Morality, Froebel distinctly tells us, is
“rooted” in Instinct, and “human development means spiritual development.”

Professor O’Shea says of the doctrine of Unfoldment which he attributes
to Froebel that it “regards man on his spiritual side as an entity set
apart from everything in the universe.”[59]

Froebel, however, writes:

    “Difficult, very difficult, would it be to define where the
    purely physical ends and the purely intellectual begins. It
    is precisely on account of this close welding or flowing into
    one another of the Physical and Psychical, the bodily and
    mental, the material and spiritual, the vital (des Vitalen)
    and intellectual, instinct and morality; it is because of
    this rooting of the higher in the lower that the training
    and ennobling of the senses, such as smell and taste, are so
    important.”--_M., p. 183._

“Training and ennobling,” these words bring us back to the educational
doctrines Froebel based upon what he knew of development, physical and
mental, from whatever source he may have gained his information.

“From the beginning of the Darwinian reconstruction of the moral
sciences,” says Mr. Graham Wallas, “it was absurd, while speaking
of ‘environment,’ to ignore the fact that the deliberate care and
contrivance of the parent must form a large part of the environment of
the child.” Undoubtedly.

But it was because Froebel exalted “the deliberate care and contrivance
of the parent” that he wrote “The Education of Man,” to tell his
generation how best to care and contrive. It was because he realized
that this deliberate care and contrivance must begin from the very first
that he wrote his Mother Songs. He tells the mother here that “if she is
wise, in all she does a noble meaning lies”; that she must “do nothing
aimlessly or she’ll create a child she cannot educate.” He tells her that
it is “by watching what makes the child’s eyes bright, that she will know
how best to give delight,” and that she must “seek to strengthen power
and mind in all things.”

In very truth the Kindergarten itself, with all its imperfections, is
nothing more nor less than an attempt to supply that very environment
which its founder is supposed to undervalue--an attempt to foster,
by providing suitable conditions, those innate tendencies or natural
activities, to which Froebel attached infinite importance.

This is why the discovery of the name Kindergarten gave Froebel the
pleasure expressed in his cry, “Eureka, I have it! Kindergarten shall be
its name.” The original designation contained the actual words “through
the culture of the instinct for activity, inquiry and creation, inherent
in man,” but this original title spreads over several lines of print.
“Garden” to Froebel expresses just what he wanted, “As in a garden under
God’s favour, and _by the care of a skilled, intelligent gardener_,
growing plants are cultivated in accordance with Nature’s laws, so here,
in our child-garden, shall the noblest of all growing things, _men_
(that is, children, the germs and shoots of humanity), be cultivated in
accordance with the laws of their own being, of God and of Nature.”--_L.,
p. 161._

This is why he urges on his pupil, Ida Seele, to retain the name in spite
of the prejudices it aroused. It is to her that he writes:

    “Is there really such importance underlying the mere name of
    a system?--some one might ask. Yes, there is: … It is true
    that any one carefully watching your teaching would observe
    a new spirit … you would strike him as personally capable,
    nay, as extremely capable, but you would fail to strike him
    as priestess of the idea, and of the struggle towards the
    realization of the idea--education by development--the destined
    means of raising the whole human race. For, after all, what do
    we mean by ‘Kindergarten’?… No man can acquire fresh knowledge
    beyond the measure which his own mental strength and stage
    of development fits him to receive. But little children have
    no development at all.… Infant schools are nothing but a
    contradiction of child nature. Little children ought not to be
    _schooled_ and taught, they merely need to be developed. It is
    the pressing need of our age, and only the idea of a garden can
    serve to show us symbolically the proper treatment of children.
    This idea lies in the very name of a Kindergarten. … How much
    better had you been able to call your work by its proper name,
    and to make evident by that expression, the real nature of the
    new spirit you have introduced.”--_L., p. 290._

There is no gulf between the Kindergarten, and “The Education of Man,”
with its appeal to educators to follow instead of interfering with
Nature’s methods, to foster instead of repressing the “instincts of
activity and of construction,” to foster play, which though “merely
natural life,” yet holds “the seed leaves of all later life.”

Froebel’s gardener is “skilled and intelligent,” and a skilled gardener
is supposed to have scientific knowledge of his plants, of the conditions
of soil, exposure, etc., best suited to them. Professor Adams says that
“to call a child a plant does not advance matters much, and it certainly
does not account for the use of the cubes, spheres and such like.” This,
however, it does most certainly if these cubes and spheres are the right
food material for the child’s mind, as Froebel at any rate believed.

All the employments of the Kindergarten, all the varied materials,
the sand and clay, the pencil and paint brush, the building blocks,
cardboard, sawdust, moss, nut-shells, etc., for constructive or
“representative” play are definitely mentioned and definitely commended
in “The Education of Man.” They are commended because they are the
employments and the material which children everywhere find for
themselves; because Froebel had sufficient knowledge of biology to know
that instinctive action must somehow benefit the individual and the race;
and also because he had psychological insight enough to see that by such
activities children gain not merely skill, but clear ideas and “firmness
of will.”

Professor Adams writes: “Not Philosophy, but common sense, experience
and loving observation, have led Froebel and his followers to adopt
certain apparatus and certain methods, which are excellent in themselves,
and which in capable hands produce admirable results. For this he
deserves all the honour that has been heaped upon him--but he has not
explained John.”

True enough, Froebel has not explained, at least, he has not entirely
explained that charming John, the Professor’s own creation and type
of all our children. Who has? Still, by his efforts as a pioneer in
genetic psychology--the result of his belief that “only by the study
of development in ourselves and others, can we learn to understand the
child”--and by the two sketches so full of insight into child-life and
into boy life, which he has given us in “The Education of Man,” surely
Froebel has done at least his share even in explaining John.

No doubt he learnt much from “loving observation.” Nor does he undervalue
it, but, in his case, the observation was induced by the Philosophy, as
well as by the love. For, as he tells us, “it is a necessary part of
me to be irresistibly driven to search out the ultimate cause of every
fact in life, to discover its roots.” He learned much from watching both
mothers and children, but he says:

    “What natural mother wit and human common sense left to
    themselves, have been doing by chance and piece-meal, ought now
    to be brought forward by a thoughtful mind, its foundation,
    connections and deeper meaning recognized, that it may be
    improved upon by clever and kindly thought.”--_M., p. 147._

An education which “follows” needs shown by the child, which “follows”
the laws of development, physical and mental, as far as these can be
discovered from history, from introspection, and from observation
of children in general and of “each individual child,” that is the
“patiently following” education which Froebel puts before us as an ideal.
“For,” he says:

    “By the full application of the latter method of education, the
    prescribing and interfering, we should wholly lose the sure,
    steady and progressive development of mankind, which is the
    ultimate aim and object of all education.”--_E., p. 10._

    NOTE.--The foregoing chapter was written some years ago, but in
    1912 there appeared a fresh criticism of Froebel and his work
    in many ways more adequate than certain others. It appeared
    as an Introduction to a new translation of “The Education of
    Man” and of some of Froebel’s lesser writings, by Dr. Fletcher
    and Professor Welton. In this introduction, important points
    are granted, for example, that Froebel had “grasped the vital
    principle that all true development, and consequently all true
    education, is a self-directed process--that purpose is the
    key-note of human culture and advance. It was the emphasis
    which he laid upon this which makes Froebel one of the princes
    of education and gives him an enduring place in the history
    of thought.” Or again, that Froebel’s teaching is “not the
    negation of all human constraint,” but that he sees clearly
    that “constraint is necessary to train the will to resist
    impulse and follow purpose”; that with Froebel “Discipline must
    direct instinctive impulse, not simply oppose and thwart it.”
    Unfortunately, however, the writers of the book do not seem to
    have grasped the idea of the Kindergarten as an Institution
    which had this very end in view, and the second part of the
    book which is called “The Kindergarten,” never mentions its
    essential features. So we have the familiar statement that
    between the Kindergarten and “The Education of Man” a gulf is
    fixed, a statement which has been already discussed. And we are
    also told that Froebel attracts us “by his very vagueness.”
    But Keilhau and Helba and the real Kindergarten are none of
    them vague. That Froebel attributed too much importance to his
    Gifts and occupations most of us will readily allow, but that
    the forms of expression set forth in the Helba plan are to be
    regarded as merely additions to the Gifts is impossible seeing
    that the plan for Helba is dated 1829. Besides, all such work
    had already been very much in evidence at Keilhau (See _p. v_,
    Preface), and the Gifts and Occupations were an attempt to
    provide in a similar manner for children very much younger, and
    as materials are only such as children find for themselves. We
    claim that Froebel himself is the best interpreter of his own
    invention, the Kindergarten, and we are content to abide by his
    own definition of it: _An Institution for the cultivation of
    the life of mankind through fostering the impulse to activity,
    investigation and construction in the child; an institution
    for the self-instruction, for self-education of mankind
    through play, that is creative self-activity and spontaneous



Professor Stout is particularly definite in his use of the word
“activity,” and as he agrees with Mr. Bradley, from whom he quotes “that
the current use of the word activity in the literature of philosophy is
a scandal,” it may be well to inquire here whether Froebel used the word
loosely or with some degree of definiteness.

Professor Stout considers the word “activity” specially appropriate to
cases “in which the return of a causal process upon itself is especially
prominent or important.” He quotes from Mr. Bradley again that “Activity
seems to be self-caused change. A transition that begins with, and comes
out of the thing itself is the process where we feel that it is active.”
“Thus,” Mr. Stout comments, “the life and growth of organisms are
specially appropriate examples of activity; for such processes are in a
large measure immanent or self-determining.”

The first point that suggests itself is that in the majority of cases,
Froebel may perhaps be said to have avoided the difficulty by his
constant reference not only to activity but to “self-activity,” a word
associated with the name of Froebel closely as his very shadow.

In the second place, we do find Froebel very markedly referring to the
self-determining activity of organisms, in a passage where he is trying
to show that all instruction should start from the child’s own desire
and power of will. He says that the mother--grounding her instruction
in her child’s desire to write to the absent father--acts like the
sun, “whose warmth awakens in every grain of seed, life, impulse,
power, self-activity, self-determination” (die Triebe, die Kraft, die
Selbstthätigkeit und Selbstbestimmung).[60]

It is Froebel’s peculiarity that he brings his philosophical conceptions
into the veriest details, and so even in speaking of how the mother may
make a ball represent a springing kitten, etc., and saying that to the
child the ball is “the uniting object,” yet, he says, considering the
plays as proceeding from the child (vom Kinde aus), “all activity, though
mediated (vermittelt) by the ball, proceeds definitely from the child,
and though going through the ball, refers back again to the child, who is
himself a unit.”

There is a particular passage which suggests that there existed a special
definite idea in Froebel’s mind in regard to the word “activity,” and it
is one which presents a difficulty to an ordinary and unphilosophical
mind, though a possible light is thrown upon it by Mr. Bradley’s
definition. In this passage activity (Thätigkeit) is very distinctly
given as something higher than impulse (Triebe).

The working of the primeval Cause, “the uniting,” is called, Froebel
says, “according to the different stages in development, Force, Impulse,
Life, Life-impulse, Activity” (Wirken, Trieb, Leben, Lebenstrieb,

This placing of activity so high in the scale is at least no accident,
and conscious self-determination is constantly attributed to man as “the
most perfect earthly being,” and to man alone.

Mr. Stout proceeds to examine the conception of self-determining process,
with special reference to changes within the sphere of an individual
consciousness, taking as the most convenient point of departure, such
illustrative analogies as come from the physical world, and beginning
with the simplest form of self-determination, the law of inertia.[61]

“Conscious life,” he says, “is always in some degree self-sustaining,
this indeed is an indispensable part of the connotation of all such words
as activity, endeavour, conation, effort, striving, will, attention.
All such terms imply that the process to which they refer, tends by its
intrinsic nature in a certain direction, or toward a certain end.”

Now the word “endeavour” or “effort” (Streben) is a word Froebel
constantly uses in speaking of a child’s activity, and he does more than
merely “imply” that this process “tends in a certain direction, or toward
a certain end” when he affirms that “In every activity, in every deed of
man, and of the smallest child, an aim is expressed.”

Professor Stout goes on to say that in conscious states we can always
distinguish between determination from within and from without, and
“it is a point of vital significance that this distinction coincides
with that between mental activity and mental passivity.”[62] With
mental passivity Froebel has but few dealings, if indeed he has any.
There is one passage in which he uses the word passive (passiv); this,
however, merely states that the child, in accommodating himself to his
surroundings, may outwardly appear inactive or passive, but only in
order to have more scope for his inner activity (wo es äusserlich als
unthätig, leidend [passiv] erscheint … um so seiner innern Thätigkeit
mehr Spielraum zu verschaffen).

From what he does say there is little doubt but that Froebel would
willingly have subscribed to Professor Stout’s dictum, “that to be
mentally active is identical with being mentally alive or awake,[63]
though in degree the activity may shade off gradually from that
“involving a sense of strain, to that of almost passivity.” But just as
Professor Stout rejects the idea of purely passive consciousness, so,
too, does he reject “pure” mental activity. “It is impossible to find
any bit of mental process which is determined purely from within.”[64]…
“At the same time it is equally true that no change within is entirely
determined from without.”[65] Mr. Stout does not say that pure
activity--a purely self-determined process--cannot exist, for “we should,
by parity of reasoning, be bound to reject the second law of motion.”[66]
“But it rests,” he says, “with the advocates of pure activity, if there
are such, to adduce a case of it, and until such a case is brought
forward we must assume that there is none.… No portion of matter can be,
even for a moment, outside the sphere of influence of other portions.”

We have seen that Mr. O’Shea practically accuses Froebel of being an
“advocate of pure activity,”[67] nor is he the only one of Froebel’s
critics who does so. If, however, it be considered an accident that
Froebel should in one passage put “conscious self-determination” at the
highest point of life development, and in another passage give this place
to “activity” which Mr. Bradley and Mr. Stout tell us is to be regarded
as self-determined, is it also an accident that in the very same passage
Froebel should state that “everything in Nature develops and forms itself
under the total collective influence of all other things”?

If these correspondences are not accidental, then it must be allowed in
the first place that Froebel attached a fairly definite meaning to the
word “activity,” including self-determination in its connotation; and in
the second place that the grounds on which he is charged with being a
believer in “pure activity” are very insufficient. When Mr. Stout says
that even if it is allowable “as an illustrative hypothesis” to regard
the physical universe as an internally complete system,[68] it is clear
that “the stream of individual consciousness is no such self-contained
unit,” but “the merest fragment of universal reality, as its correlated
brain process is the merest fragment of the material world[69]”; is
this anything but a statement of that unity, on which Froebel insists
in season and out of season--which appears on almost every page of
his writings, so that the word has become the veriest “cant” of the
half-trained Kindergarten teacher[70].

The philosophic conception of unity, the belief that there is no
separation in either world, physical or psychical, or between either
world, was always present to Froebel’s mind. “In Nature,” he writes,
“every phenomenon has its sufficient foundation and its necessary
consequence.” But as every philosopher would say, so Froebel said,
“Separation is permitted for the observing, thinking and comparing
intellect, and the outwardly representing life, and is indeed required by
it, but must by no means on that account be permitted to appear in the
mind which is intended to grasp and constantly to retain in its original
inner union, that which is outwardly apparently separated by the thinking
intellect, the reason and the life.”[71] So Professor Münsterberg,
writing as a professed scientist, says, “Science is to me, not a mass
of disconnected information, … but the certainty that nothing can exist
outside the gigantic mechanism of causes and effects, but Science is not
and cannot be, and ought never to try to be, an expression of ultimate

It would never have dawned on Froebel, nor would it have appealed to
him, to separate his philosophy from his science, but there is no
more contradiction in Froebel’s “self-activity” which is influenced
from without, than there is in Professor Stout when he speaks of
self-determination as included in the connotation of “activity,” and adds
that until a case of “pure activity” is brought forward, we must assume
that there is none.

Of all his “means of play,” Froebel says:

    “In order, therefore, on the one hand to introduce the child
    to the handling of his play material, we gave him the ball, …
    but each of these means of play summons the child in return
    to self-activity, to free self-activity; to movement, to
    free independent movement” (zur Selbsthätigkeit, zur freien
    Selbsthätigkeit; zur Bewegung, zur freien, inabhängigen



Much that is given in Groos’ more elaborate classification can also be
found in Froebel’s suggestions, particularly where younger children are
concerned. For plays coming under the heading of Playful Activity of the
Sensory Apparatus, Froebel has a parallel for every kind except that of
Temperature, and for this Groos has not himself found anything that can
fairly be called play.

For Sensations of Contact there is the Kicking Play, and Taste and Smell
are also represented in the Mother Play book. For Hearing play we have
the wooden ball, “a plaything for the child liable to produce noise by
its movement,” as well as the Tic-tac and Finger Piano plays, and for
receptive play, the mother is told to speak, rhythmically if possible,
or to sing with every play. For Sensations of Brightness we have “Mother
you want to foster this delight in all things that are sparkling clear
and bright” of the “Fish in the Brook,” as well as “The Lightbird,” which
Froebel has “found over and over again in all grades of the culture that
makes up social life in village and in town.”

Sensations of colour are well provided for. In “The Two Windows” we have:
“See the beautiful coloured circles and rays, just like rainbow and
dew-drops, see how beautifully the colours play through each other.”
Colour is a feature in Gift I, in beadwork, in the tablets, in paper
folding, cutting and plaiting, and besides these there are crayons and
paints, and frequent reference is made to the child’s pleasure in the
colour of flowers.

Froebel also makes much play depend on perception of form: “Attention to
the form and figure of the object can also be utilized for the child in
play,” or, again, “Early in life the child delights in round and varied
pebbles, he seeks and collects them, he takes pleasure in the straight
edged and right angled.” He has found “The Target” play very widely
spread, “plainly because it contains, as I see it, the first trace of an
endeavour to make a child notice position and form.”

For perception of movement, to which Froebel would have added perception
of change of position, there are many plays with the ball as well as
“Tic-tac,” “The Child and the Pigeons,” “The Lightbird,” “The Fish in the
Brook,” etc.

Groos’ next class is Play with the Motor Apparatus and under this comes
first Playful movement of the Bodily Organs. Here we have Froebel saying:
“The first toys and occupations of the child come from himself: he plays
with his own limbs.”--_L., p. 108._ “The child at this stage begins to
play with his limbs--his hands, his fingers, his lips, his tongue, his
feet, as well as with the expression of his eyes and face.”--_E., p. 48._

Under playful locomotion, Groos actually quotes Froebel’s description
of the child learning to walk, and we have also marching, running, and
racing games; “the large majority,” says Froebel, “I have created simply
by watching the children at play.… Thus I have prepared a limping-game
because I see my boys always limping and hopping.”

Next comes Playful Movement of Foreign Bodies, and under this heading
Groos gives “Hustling things about, pushing, pulling, shaking, seizing
and pushing away, dabbling in water, handling sand and clay, kite-flying,
and capture of insects.” Of these Froebel mentions pushing of carriages,
kite-flying, hobby-horse riding; he makes much of play with water, sand
and clay, and he speaks of the catching of insects, etc., desiring that
it should be wisely checked by directing the activity into other channels.

As to Destructive or Analytic Movement Play, Froebel notes that: “The
child wishes to know all the properties of the thing, for this reason he
examines it on all sides; for this reason he tears and breaks it; for
this reason he puts it in his mouth and bites it.”--_E., p. 73._ “The
cruel treatment of insects and other animals originates in the little
boy’s desire to obtain an insight into the life of the animal.”--_E., p.

Of Constructive or Synthetic Movement Play, so much has been said
already, that it is not necessary to dwell on it. Froebel, in fact, gives
a far more inclusive account of this than Groos himself, not omitting
his “simplest form,” viz. moulding new forms with sand, etc., nor the
collecting and arranging in rows which to Groos and to Froebel is a more
primitive form of construction. Of Exercise of Endurance, too, we have
spoken, in quoting passages where Froebel shows the boyish desire to
measure and to increase strength. Throwing and Catching Plays have their
place in the “Apprentice and Master Workman” game.

The important third class, the Playful Use of the Higher Mental Powers,
includes according to Groos a good deal that he has dealt with under
other heads, e.g. Memory Play includes (_a_) Recognition and (_b_)
Reflective Memory. Under the former comes that pleasure in recognition
of form which has already been dealt with, the pleasure given by
pictures, often, says Groos, greater than is given by the reality.
Froebel, too, says that if the father makes a sketch, “this man of lines,
this horse of lines, will give the child more joy than an actual man, an
actual horse will do.”--_E., p. 77._ Froebel, too, notes the pleasure it
will give a child to name flowers through recognition of a form: “Spurred
like a rider, circled like a snail, umbrellas, wheels, he’ll find the
names.”--_M., p. 181._ There is also the recognition of animal and other
noises, as in Froebel’s Yard Gate. Rote learning as a play Froebel hardly

As to the two groups which Groos brings under the heading of Imagination,
viz. “Illusion either playful or serious,” and “the voluntary or
involuntary transformation of our mental content,” these receive full
recognition. Froebel notes how the stick becomes a horse or the knotted
handkerchief the baby, as well as the play of listening to and inventing

Under the head of Attention comes such games as Hide and Seek, because
of the alternate stress and relaxation, and Froebel noted before Darwin
did the pleasure of the baby in Bo-peep. Groos also brings curiosity
under this heading, and we have seen that Froebel deals fully with such
play as the outcome of the instinct of investigation, or the instinct for

Froebel would certainly not draw the line where Groos does, when he says
“the true characteristics of play are in inverse ratio to the intensity
of the desire for knowledge,” and if this rule were strictly adhered to,
a good deal of what Groos does call play might have to come out.

The plays which fall under the head of Reason have two bearings, says
Groos, first causality, and second inherence. There are various
references to the “joy of being a cause” from the child “whose capacity
for speech is as yet undeveloped,” but who draws away the support and
as the cube falls “turns to his mother in joyous triumph,” up to the
pride of Keilhau boys, who “might not have accomplished their fortresses
without the sapper,” but “who believed that if cast on a desert island,
each could build a hut of his own.” Froebel also brings in intellectual
games such as draughts, and he notes how children will invent their own
words and their own alphabets in play. Of the making and solving of
riddles I think Froebel never speaks.

As to what Groos says of Experimentation with the feelings, the parallels
in Froebel are surprise plays such as Hide and Seek, adventure and
hunting games where there may be play with fear, and the legends and

Under the Impulse of the Second or Socionomic order, come the Fighting
Plays, Love Play, Imitative Play, and Social Play. Of Love Play, Froebel
has none, but the hunting and fighting were allowed abundant scope at
Keilhau. Of Imitative Play there is much that can be cited from the
playful imitation of simple movements and sounds in the Mother Songs and
the Kindergarten Games, to the “classic dramas” of the Keilhau boys.
Plastic and constructive play, too, goes from the simplest sand play,
through the Kindergarten handwork, not only up to the fortress making,
but also to the “boxes with locks and hinges, so neatly finished,
veneered, and polished that many a trained cabinet-maker’s apprentice
could have done no better,” which were made at Keilhau.

Of the Social Plays Groos says with feeling that, however advisable, it
is wellnigh impossible to make a distinct class. He starts, however, with
the “need of bodily association or the herding instinct.” He brings in
the child’s eager desire to be with his fellows, and the importance in
adult life of festivals, religious or otherwise. He mentions the child’s
voluntary submission to a leader, and speaks of play as instrumental in
teaching children submission to law. We have noticed Froebel speaking
of the “combined games, which will train the child, by his very nature
eager for companionship, in the habit of association with comrades, in
good fellowship and all that this implies.” He also wants the child to
take alternately some special part in the game and to be merely one of
the crowd: “Each child should have a chance to lead, for it is especially
developing to a child to recognize himself as independent as well as a
member of the whole.” Among the older boys, the Bergwachts for instance
were carefully organized under separate leaders and the captain of
the first band was director of the whole. Froebel, too, made much of
festivals at Keilhau, and this has always been a recognized feature of
the Kindergarten.

Enjoyment of the comic never, I think, makes its appearance at all.
Froebel had many gifts, but the saving sense of humour does not appear to
have been among them.


[1] See Chapter IX.

[2] See Chapter X.

[3] “Froebel’s Educational Principles,” Elementary School Record, Vol. I,
No. 5, or “The Dewey School,” published by the Froebel Society.

[4] See Chapter VI, _p. 79_.

[5] The Philosophy and Psychology of the Kindergarten.--“Teachers’
College Record,” Nov., 1903.

[6] It is true that Froebel was pre-Darwinian, but see _p. 198_.

[7] All this is said in connection with the infant’s play with a woollen
ball, with quaint suggestions that the singing tone accompanying the
swinging like a ball affects the feelings, while the recognition of a
change of position is a thing of “dawning thought,” and that by tic-tac
the movement is expressed. See _p. 176_.

[8] Dies fesselt die Sinnen- und Geistesthätigkeit des Kindes und gibt
_ihm_ mehrseitige Nahrung.

[9] In der Mitte seiner wahrnehmenden (empfindenden) seiner wirkenden und
schaffenden, seiner vergleichenden (denkenden) Thätigkeit.

[10] Die Ausbildung der verschiedenen Richtungen der Geisteskraft des

[11] “Journal of Education.” Reprinted in “Child Life,” January, 1901.

[12] “Analytic Psychology,” Vol. I, _p. 152_ _et seq._

[13] “Analytic Psychology,” Vol. I, _p. 153_.

[14] It is true that Professor Stout complains of the loose way in which
the word “activity” has been used, and that he is careful to define his
own meaning, but Froebel too is careful. See Appendix I.

[15] See also _p. 82_.

[16] “Analytic Psychology,” Vol. II, _p. 82_.

[17] “The Conception of Immortality,” _p. 58_.

[18] Froebel is comparing the child with other young animals, and
somewhat scornfully refers to those who, “notwithstanding the early
manifestation of the instinct to employ himself,” regard the human infant
as inferior to the young of other animals.

[19] See chapter on Instinct.

[20] “In dem ersten Sinnenspiele, kommen also dem Kinde durch Wahrnehmen
u. Schauen, durch Kommen, Bleiben u. Schwinden, durch Wechsel, also auch
in gewisser Hinsicht durch frühes dunkles auffassen … somit von dunkler
Vergleichung, die ersten Eindrücke der Seele, gleichsam die ersten
Erkenntnisse zugleich durch Selbst-thätigkeit, wie durch die sein Leben
und dessen Forderungen in sich tragende Mutterliebe.”--_P., p. 66._

[21] It does not, however, follow that this outer object, or this manner
of presenting it, is so important as Froebel supposed; see Chapter IX.

[22] See _p. 66_.

[23] See Chapter II.

[24] “Principles of Psychology,” Vol. II, _p. 884_.

[25] Froebel is too often ignorantly accused of being “soft,” but it is a
mistake to think that he leaves fear out of count. What he insists on is,
that rightly used authority should produce self-control, not servility.

[26] See _p. 90_.

[27] Macmillan, 1906.

[28] _P. 53._

[29] “Social Psychology,” _p. 61_.

[30] Mr. McDougall allows (_p. 60_) that in the case of an unprovoked
blow, the impulse, the thwarting of which provokes anger, is the impulse
of self-assertion.

[31] For example, on _p. 46_, “Hence language provides special names
for such modes of affective experience, names such as anger, fear,
curiosity”; and on _p. 94_, in connection with the sympathetic induction
of emotion, we have, “Later still, fear, curiosity, and, I think, anger
are communicated readily from one child to another”; and there are other

[32] _P. 51._

[33] This is all that can be said, for the passage seems incomplete;
after “entwickelt … der Trieb die Neigung,” comes only “sie führen zur
Gemüths- und Herzensbildung; und aus ihr geht in dem Knaben Geistes- und
Willensthätigkeit hervor.”

[34] For a fuller account of these “Gifts,” see Chap. VIII., _p. 148_.

[35] In the well-known translation by F. and E. Lord:

    “You wonder why a game at hide-and-seek
    Brings a glad flush of joy to baby’s cheek?
    The sense of his own personality
    Is causing all this joy that you can see
    When people call him, say, ‘Where’s Baby been?’
    He feels that it is he, himself, they mean.”

[36] “Social Psychology,” _p. 89_.

[37] “The Play of Man,” _p. 400_.

[38] “The Play of Man,” _p. 382_.

[39] See _p. 194_.

[40] In another place Froebel does say that, “Only on condition that
the genuine spirit of play--i.e. the true spirit of life--lives in the
teacher, can he call it forth in the child.”

[41] See Appendix II.

[42] See _pp. 93, 94_.

[43] See _p. 43_.

[44] Froebel goes on to say: “I believe, that after progressing through
the vast orbit of almost two generations (he was nearly fifty-nine) I
have been carried round to the point of commencement, to the fountain
head of the education of mankind, but _with the significant addition of a
full consciousness of my task_.”

[45] The material can of course be used at any age provided it conveys
suitable ideas in a suitable manner. Some of it is even now found useful
in helping senior classes to realize problems in area and in volume.

[46] Many years ago, a young teacher came to me for help. She had been
told to give her class number lessons, for a whole term, from Gift III,
which consists of eight little cubes, and the children had long since
grasped 4 + 4, 6 + 2, 5 + 3, and 8 - 4, 8 - 2, etc. I suggested that she
should leave the number out and let the children play with the blocks.
“Oh! I mayn’t do that,” was the answer, “they have building with Gift IV.”

[47] A really pathetic story has been told me of an earnest teacher in
far Australia, whose educational opportunities had been very limited,
but whose desire for knowledge was most sincere. She had been listening
without comprehension to some glib user of phrases, and was bewailing her
ignorance to an enlightened teacher who knew there had been little of
real value, and who said with a laugh “Never mind, Miss ----, it is only
a case of ‘Mind and Matter glide swift into the vortex of immensity.’”
And the listener said, “Oh please, would you say that slowly, and I’ll
write it down.”

[48] These objections were embodied in a paper entitled “A Criticism
of Froebelian Pedagogy,” which Mr. Graham Wallas read at a Conference
of the Froebel Society in January 1901, and which was published in the
Conference Supplement for Child Life, July 1901.

[49] See _p. 200_.

[50] Few critics are likely to go so far as Mr. Winch, who gave as a
Froebelian conception “that the true destiny of man is to be obtained by
gratifying every youthful impulse.” But, Mr. Winch is perhaps not to be
taken seriously, for in the same paper he took _one sentence out of a
passage on the importance of continuity extending over four pages_, and
says of it, “This jerky discontinuity (!) has not the slightest support
in biological science, and never had.” (See Memorandum written for Mr.
Graham Wallas in “Problems of Education.”)

[51] Deshalb sollen Erziehung, Unterricht und Lehre ursprünglich und in
ihren ersten Grundzügen nothwendig leidend, nachgehend (nur behütend
schützend), nicht vorschreibend, bestimmend, eingreifend sein.

[52] Mr. Graham Wallas said: “The educational task for us is not to find
out how completely we can stand aside, but how far we can so influence
the environment of the child, as to cause those tendencies in it which we
think best, to become permanent.”

[53] Mr. Graham Wallas said: “From the beginning of the Darwinian
reconstruction of the moral sciences, it was absurd, while speaking
of ‘environment,’ to ignore the fact that the deliberate care and
contrivance of the parent must form a large part of the environment of
the child.” The passage quoted shows that Froebel was guilty of no such

[54] “Is Development from Within?” “Child Life,” October, 1904, and
January, 1905.

[55] See _p. 192_.

[56] “Second Review of Plays: A Fragment,” but part of this has been
omitted in the English translation.

[57] Those who desire a full and scholarly account of Froebel’s
philosophy are referred to that given by Professor Angus MacVannel,
Ph.D., “Teachers’ College Record,” Vol. IV, No. 5. The Macmillan Co., New

[58] In Gottes Welt, eben weil es die Welt Gottes, durch Gott Gewordenes
ist, spricht sich ein Stetiges, das heisst ungetrennt Fortgehendes der
Entwickelung in Allem und durch Alles aus.

[59] See Appendix, _p. 216_.

[60] “Das Pedagogik des Kindergartens,” _p. 329_.

[61] According to this principle, the mere fact that a particle is moving
with a certain velocity in a certain direction, is in itself a reason why
it should continue to move with the same velocity in the same direction.…
Now, in so far as continuance of change in a certain direction is
traceable to the pre-existence of change in that direction, this whole
process may be regarded as being in a perfectly intelligible sense,
self-determining (“Analytic Psychology,” Vol. I, _p. 146_).

[62] “Analytic Psychology,” Vol. I, _p. 147_.

[63] “Analytic Psychology,” Vol. I, _p. 168_.

[64] “Analytic Psychology,” Vol. I, _p. 155_.

[65] “Analytic Psychology,” Vol. I, _p. 156_.

[66] “Analytic Psychology,” Vol. I, _p. 156_.

[67] _P. 191._

[68] And so to regard “each successive moment of the world-process as
issuing out of the preceding by purely immanent casuality.”

[69] “Analytic Psychology,” Vol. I, _p. 156_.

[70] “Unity and Froebel are synonymous terms,” is one “howler” from a
student’s examination paper.

[71] Ed. by Development, _p. 212_.

[72] “The Eternal Life,” _p. 14_.

[73] “Das Kindergartenwesen,” _p. 330_.



  Acquisition, Instinct of, 96, 109

  Activity, Spontaneous, 132
    Differentiation, 90
    Earliest Activity, 1, 9, 34, 126
    Consciousness and Self-Consciousness, Development of, 48, 81, 84, 85
    Nature of First Voluntary Employments, 135
    Expression, _see_ that title
    Foundation of Education, 6, 84, 142, 210
    Fundamental Tendency, 47, 85, 88, 90
    Meaning of, in Froebel’s Writings, 213 _et seq._
    Self-determination included in connotation, 217
    Universal Impulse, 90, 126

  Adams, Prof., quoted, 190, 210

  Amusement, Distinction from Play, 134

  Analysis of Mind
    Observation and Introspection, 12
    Order of Investigation of Laws of Mental Process, 3, 4
    Sense and Understanding, Inseparability, 17, 20
    Tri-une Character, 13

  Animal Instincts, 72

  Anticipations of Modern Psychology, 2 _et seq._--Summary, 10

  Anthropological Aspect of Psychological Inquiry, 4, 8, 206

  Approbation, Love of, 114, 115

  Arrangement and Comparison, 101, 166

  Artistic Tendencies of Children, 105

  Associationists, Fallacy of, 38

  “Atomistic View,” 38, 39

  Attacks on Froebel, 2, 190-1


  Baer referred to, 206

  Baldwin, Prof., quoted, 50, 52

  Ball-Play--Ideas to be gained, etc., 40, 150, 151, 155, 156, 159

  Batch, Froebel’s connection with, 199

  Biological Studies, Influence on Froebel’s Views, connection with
    stress laid on Development, etc., 13, 40, 67, 138, 192, 199, 210

  Blow, Miss Susan--Froebel’s Symbolism, 179, 189

  Bradley, Mr., quoted, 213


  Cause, Early Notice of, 160

  Change--Use in fixing Impressions, 43, 152

  Collecting or Acquiring Instinct, 96, 109

  Colour, Sense of, 165, 166

  Community, Feeling of, _refer to_ Social Instinct

  Comte referred to, 206

  Conation, _refer to_ Will

  Connection or Unification, Law of, 204

  Conscience, references to, 116, 117

    Development by Action, 48
      --Movement stopped by Something, 49, 52
    Earliest Consciousness
      Absolute Beginnings--Beyond the pale of Science, 41
      Indefiniteness, 39, 49, 91--Undifferentiated, unorganized Unity,
        91, 201
      Process of Differentiation, 40, 42, 47
      Reasoning and Constructive Imagination, 36, 38
    Unity of, 26
    _See also_ title Self-Consciousness

  Construction, Instinct of, 90
    “Sense of Power,” i.e., Self-Consciousness resulting, 109, 133
    Subserving Instinct of Investigation, 92, 94

  Continuous Development, _see_ Development

  Cooke, Mr. Ebenezer, quoted, 102, 199, 202

  Counting, Development of Capacity for, 101, 102

  Criticisms of Froebel, 2, 190

  “Culture Epochs” Theory, 129


  Darwin, references to, 67, 201

  Development--Froebel’s Theory of Continuous Development, 10, 128, 140,
       178, 179, 206, 207, 209
    Biological Studies, Connection with, 13
    Development from within, 136, 192, 195, 196
    “Harmonious Development,” 14-16
    Individual development of, following that of the Race, 206
    Law of--Unlimited to Limited, Whole to Part, Indefinite to Definite,
      40, 130, 150, 151, 155, 201, 202
    Possibilities and Conditions in place of Faculties, 18-20
    Reconciliation of Opposites, Result of, 204
    Self-directed Process, 212 _note_
    Three Stages, 71

  Development of Species, Modernness of Froebel’s View, 205

  Dewey, Prof.
    Experimental Work at Chicago, 129
    Summary of Froebel’s Educational Principles, 6

    Adjusting Claims of Freedom and Authority, 197
    Direction of Impulse, not   Opposition, 212 _note_
    Non-Interference Theory, 190, 191, 192 _note_, 193-5

  Doll-Play, 167

    Counting Capacity, Means of developing, 101
    Origin of Earliest Drawing, 103
    Process of discovering “Linear Phenomena,” 103, 166

  Duties as a means of realizing Kinship, 61, 114, 118


  Ebers--Account of Life at Keilhau, 123, 147, 168

  Eby, Mr., quoted, 7, 79

  Emotion, _see_ Feeling

  Employment, Instinct of, _refer to_ Activity

  Environment, Alleged Neglect by Froebel, 190, 196
    --Reply to Critics, 197, 199, 200-4, 208, 210

  Evolution--Froebel’s Post-Darwinianism, 198, 205

  Experimenting--Mode of Investigation, 102

  Exploring Tendency, 94-5

    Art as, 105
    Feeling, Importance in Development of, 57-62
    Need for, 50, 99, 133
    Play, Definition of, 124, 125
    Understanding, Means of, 92


  Faculty Psychology, Criticism of, 13, 17 _et seq._

  Fairy Tales, 108, 182

  Family Bonds, 61, 113

  Fear, Froebel’s attitude towards, 78 and _note_

  Feeling, Development of, etc., 130
    Action, Importance of, 57-62
    Family Bonds and Service for the Family, 61, 113
    Fundamental Importance, 63
    Starting Point of Education, 117
    Want of Good Feeling in Children, Cause, 63-4, 112

  Fichte, Reference to, 204

  Fletcher, Dr., quoted, 212 _note_

  Following and Tolerating--Character of True Education, 160, 195


  Games, _refer to_ Play

  Genetic Psychology preceded by Analytic, 3

  “Gifts” and “Gift Plays”
    Description of the Series, 159-166
    Excessive Importance attached to, 170
    Hailmann’s, Mr., distinction between “Gifts” and “Occupations,” 164,
    Psychological Aim or Meaning, 40, 149, 150, 164, 169, 178
    Selection following Natural Instinct, 169, 170
    Tri-Unity of Child-Nature, Relation of Gift Plays to, 14
    Weakness of the Series, 166
      Two Mistakes, and the Psychological Errors underlying them, 170-6

  Groos, Karl, quoted, 90, 125, 126, 130, 132, 136, 137, 145, 147, 219

  Grüner, reference to, 200


    Instinct, Proof of existence of, 76
    Outcome of Impulse of Activity, 88

  Hailmann, Mr., quoted, 164, 193

  Hall, Stanley, quoted, 206

  “Harmonious Development,” 14-16

  Hegel, Froebel’s knowledge of, 205

  Helba Plan, 26, 84, 212 _note_

  Herbartians--“Culture Epochs” Theory, 129

  Horne, Prof., quoted, 17


    McDougall’s, Mr., Three Classes of Imitative Actions, 89
    Outcome of Activity and Means of Expression, 47, 88, 126
    Results gained, 50, 51, 91

      Eby, 79, 80
      Froebel, 83 _et seq._
      Kirkpatrick, 79, 80, 81
      McDougall, 79, 81
    Direction and Training needed, 71, 121
    Divergent Views a matter of Definition, 67-8
    Froebel’s belief in Instinct, 67, 69, 70, 74, 125
    Froebel’s Terminology, 68, 69
    Habit and Instinct, Interaction between, 76
    Indefinite in Man--Proof of Superiority and Capacity for Progressive
      Development, 66, 72, 75
    Specific and General Tendencies, Distinction between, 68
    Specifically Human Instincts only dealt with by Froebel, 82
    Transitory Nature, 75, 77, 78
    Two Main Lines of Instinctive Action, 83

  Interdependence of Life, 62

  Intuition of Things--Dr. Ward’s Points, 154-5

  Investigation, Instinct of, 88, 90-2, 94-7, 102, 107


  James, Prof., quoted, 39, 57, 59, 65, 68, 69, 73-5

  Jarvis, Miss--Translation of passage _re_ Self-Consciousness, 54

  Joy in Activity, 136-7, 139, 143, 145


  Keilhau, Life at, 111, 123, 143, 147, 168, 212 _note_, 223, 224

    Associated Games, Social Training, etc., 114, 146, 147
    Defined, 90, 114, 142
    Disregard of Froebel’s instructions by his disciples, 147, 170
    End and Aim of, 90, 142, 208, 210
    Gifts and Occupations, _refer to_ title Gifts
    No gulf between Kindergarten and “The Education of Man,” 210,
     212 _note_

  King, Mr. Irving, quoted, 8, 26, 48, 49, 50-2, 54

  Kirkpatrick, Mr., quoted, 79-80, 114, 115, 117, 134


  Lamarck, reference to, 201

    Development of capacity for Speech, 97-101
    Earliest Training, Use in--Names the beginning of Organization, 21,
      29, 45, 46, 98, 100
    Feeling, Development of, 58

  Location, Sense of, 152, 153
    Source of questioning Activity, 97

  Lodge, Sir Oliver, quoted, 32


  McDougall, Mr., quoted, 68, 76, 86, 89, 117

  MacVannel, Dr. J. A., quoted, 10

  Marenholz, Madame von, 205

  Material of Instruction and Manner of Teaching--Conditioned by stage
    of Development, 129

  Maternal Instinct, 119, 120

  Mathematical Perceptions--Over-estimate of Children’s Capacity, 170-4

  Memory--Froebel’s Description, 19

  Mental Activity, 3, 4, 13, 23-7
    Earlier and later Forms, 30
    Possibilities--Difference between Child and Animal, 49
    Sense and Understanding, Close connection, 17, 20, 207

  Mental Analysis, _see_ Analysis of Mind

  Metaphor, Froebel’s delight in, 187-8

  Moral Faculty, 116, 118, 207

  Morgan, Prof. Lloyd, quoted, 33, 67, 72

  Mother Wit--Need for Thought and Training, 120, 211

  Movement, _see_ Activity

  Münsterberg, Prof., quoted, 218

  Music--Importance of early Training, 106

  Mysticism, _see_ Symbolism


  Naming, _refer to_ Language

  Natural Instincts, _see_ Instincts

  Non-Interference, Froebel’s Theory of, 190-5

  Number, Discovery of, 101, 102


  Observation of Children, 4-6, 8, 9, 29, 74, 87, 92, 94, 96, 103, 104,
    109, 111, 133, 162, 165

  Order, Sense of, and the Instinct of Rhythm, 115, 116

  Organization and Language, 21, 29, 45-6, 100

  Outer Factor in Perception, over-emphasized by Froebel, 171, 173, 174

  O’Shea, Prof., quoted, 97, 191, 200, 207, 216


  Parental Instinct, 119, 120

  Personality, Consciousness of, _see_ Self-Consciousness

  Philosophy, Froebel’s, 10

  Physical and Psychical, Close connection between, 17, 20, 207

    Amusement, Distinction from, 134
    Biological View, 138
    Classifications (Froebel and Groos), 145, 219
    Earliest Childhood, Play in, 124, 125, 128, 130, 147
    Educative Value, Originality of Froebel’s View, 122
    Groos’ Criteria, 130
    Guidance needed, 143, 145 and _note_
    Imitative Play, 88
    Joy in Games, 133, 136, 139
    Recreative Play, 122
    Self-Consciousness, Development of, in Boyhood, 56
    Social Virtues, Development by Games, 111, 144, 146
    Surplus Energy Theory, 123, 144
    Theories of Play--Recapitulation and Preparation, 138, 140, 141, 142
    Work and Play
      Distinction between--Froebel’s definition, 124, 128
      Earliest Activity--No Differentiation, 130, 131
      Early Boyhood, Differentiation in, 131, 132

  Playgrounds, Importance of, 143

    Definite prescription impossible, 167
    First Playthings, 153
    Importance in relation to Development, 148, 149
    Mistake of giving expensive and complex toys, 164
    Number and variety of games noted, 147
    Object of Froebel’s play-material, 93
    _See_ also title Gifts

  Poems and Songs, Use in Development of Feeling, 58, 130

  Preyer quoted, 52

  Psychological Basis for Educational Theories, 2

  Pugnacity, Instinct of, 86

  Purpose of Education, 200
    _Refer also to_ Self-Consciousness


  Quantity, Relations of, 101

  Questioning Activity, 97


  Reflection, Development of, 75

  Religious Instincts
    Foundation in Social Instincts, 115, 117
    Morality and Religion, 118
    Work and Religion, 127

  Religious Convictions of Froebel, 205-6

  Repetition, Impressions fixed by, 43, 152

  Representation (Darstellung), _see_ Expression

  Rhythm--Importance of early development of Instinct, 106, 160, 187
    Order, Sense of, Connection with, 115, 116

  Ribot quoted, 90, 126

  Romanes quoted, 68

  Royce, Prof., quoted, 31


  Seele, Ida, 209

  Self-Abasement and Self-Assertion, Instincts of, 86

  Self-Consciousness, Development of, 52, 53, 56, 84, 109, 116, 117, 153
    Early Developments, 54, 55
    Indefiniteness of Instinct rendering development possible, 82
    Purpose of Education and “End of Man,” 30-5, 53, 178
    Tales, Craving for, due to nascent idea of Self, 57, 107

  Self-Determination, _refer to_ Will

  Self-Employment, _refer to_ Activity

  Self-Instruction, Instinct of, _refer to_ Investigation

  Sense and Movement, Connection of, 48

  Sense and Understanding, Close connection of, 17, 20, 207

  Separation attempted in use of “Gifts”--Psychological error, 175-6

  Service as Expression of Feeling, 59, 60

  Social Instinct
    Development from the “Feeling of Community,” 91, 110-12
    Early Training essential, 63-4, 112
    Games, Education in, 111-12, 144, 146
    Religious Instincts, Foundation of, 115, 117

  Speech, _refer to_ Language

  Spencer, Herbert, quoted, 206

  Sphere and Cube (Gift II)--Material for Comparison, 41, 159, 161

  Spontaneous Activity, _see_ Activity

  Stories, Interest in, 57, 107

  Stout, Prof., quoted, 3, 4, 12, 22, 23, 24, 26, 36, 37, 38, 48, 73,
    135, 213, 215, 216

  Summary of Froebel’s Educational Principles, 6

  “Surplus Energy” Theory, 123, 144

  Symbolism--Froebel’s alleged excessive and far-fetched Symbolism, 169,
    Exaggeration by disciples and translators, 183-6, 188
    Instances--Practical application usually harmless, 186-7


  Tales, Craving for, 57, 107

  Thorndyke, Prof., quoted, 180

  Time-Relations, 155

  Toys, _refer to_ titles Gifts and Play-Material

  Tri-une Nature of Man, 10, 32, 34, 89, 116, 126


  Unfoldment, Doctrine of, _see_ Development

  Unification or Connection, Law of, 204-5

  Unity and Complexity, 155, 157, 158
    Froebel’s yearning for Unity, 199, 217


  Wallas, Mr. Graham--Criticisms of Froebel, 190, 196, 197, 198, 199, 201,

  Ward, Dr., quoted, 17, 20, 36, 37, 38, 149, 151, 152, 154, 155, 157, 158

  Welton, Prof., quoted, 212 _note_

    Definitions (Froebel and Stout), 22
      Action and Feeling, Development through, 35
      Bound up with Intellectual Development, 26, 27
      Parallel Accounts (Froebel and Stout), 27, 28
      Self-Consciousness involving true volition, 30

  Winch, Mr.--Criticism of Froebel, 192 _note_, 207

  Women’s Work in Education--Intelligent knowledge needed in addition to
    natural Instinct, 120, 211

    Condition of best work, 127, 128
    Play, Relation to, _see_ title Play
    Religion and Work, 118, 119

  Wundt, Prof., quoted, 68


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