| Erfurt School of Education, Faculty of Education, Education, School, and Behaviour, Research

New research unit at the University of Erfurt wants to rediscover Friedrich Fröbel

He is considered the "inventor of the Kindergarten" and regarded children as individuals in the whole of life, equipped with competences from the beginning - acquiring their world and reality in a self-effective way, in a designed educational space: the educationalist Friedrich Wilhelm August Fröbel, born in 1782 in Oberweißbach in the Thuringian Forest, not only recognised the importance of early childhood, but also put this knowledge into educational practice by creating a system of songs, activities and "play gifts". At the University of Erfurt, under the direction of Andrea Schmid, Professor of Inclusive Education Research with a Focus on Learning, a research unit has now been established that aims to bring together a wide variety of interest groups and activities, such as the Fröbel Seminar in Kassel, the International Fröbel Society and the Froebel Academy in Thuringia, and to ensure a scientific foundation for their activities.

Only a few days ago, the idea of the "Fröbel Kindergarten" was recognised as an "Intangible Cultural Heritage of Thuringia" in a ceremony at "Haus Dacheröden" in Erfurt. Now it is to be applied for recognition by the federal government or as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. "Friedrich Fröbel is a well-known unknown. His work for pedagogy is known as "background noise" to many (special/ remedial) educators, but his pedagogical achievements have been awaiting modernisation and examination in today's (research) practice for decades. Overall, his very constructive contribution as a reform and inclusion educator needs to be rediscovered and expanded in Germany and internationally," explains Professor Andrea Schmid. "With the research unit, we would like to contribute to university research and teaching and, in particular, to revive the dissemination of Friedrich Fröbel's still innovative concepts for (extra)school education."

Currently, the research centre is financed by the professorship for Inclusive Education Research. "However, we would like to acquire third-party funding as soon as possible in order to be able to implement our research projects. The possibilities for working on and with Fröbel are manifold and require broad (international) scientific participation," says Andrea Schmid. That is why colleagues who are interested in Fröbel pedagogy in practice and theory are cordially invited to participate in our work."

But students are also addressed: For example, qualification theses on Fröbel, his elaborated Philosophy and Pedagogy as well as the action-oriented materials are conceivable. "At the moment we have enquiries about master's theses, a doctorate and habilitation," he says. "In this way, the historical and empirical research can be implemented as a theory-practice transfer in the extracurricular as well as school areas in the sense of lifelong learning," the head of the research unit is pleased to say. "Especially the concept of the educational garden, which is firmly anchored at the University of Erfurt and was considered a fundamental building block by Fröbel, lends itself as a special educational content and implementation idea."

The Fröbel research centre...

... at the University of Erfurt started on 01 May 2022. An official inauguration will take place shortly. The research centre is located in room 114 in staff building 2, where a student assistant is always on site on Tuesdays from 1 to 2 pm. Prof. Dr. Andrea Schmid is also available for further information. A website is being planned to increase the accessibility and visibility of the research centre.

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