influence of Friedrich Froebel
The Architect in the Nursery
after Froebel's System
The blocks are mainly various rectangular shapes, with some cylinders, arches, semicircles, square based pyramids and triangular prisms. A few of the angled bricks are stained blue. There are some small cubes (sides half the length of the main cube) and thin square blocks (two sides the same as the main cube, the short dimension a quarter of it).
An illustration from the instruction booklet of this interesting example of nineteenth century building blocks is included in Jackie's Architectural Pages.
Friedrich Froebel wrote about building blocks in his book, The Education of Man, which was published in 1826.
" Building, aggregation, is first with the child, as it is first in the development of mankind, and in crystallization. The importance of the vertical, the horizontal, and the rectangular is the first experience which the child gathers from building; then follow equilibrium and symmetry. Thus the child ascends from the construction of the simplest wall with or without cement to the more complex and even to the invention of every architectural structure lying within the possibilities of the given material. " -p281
" The material for building in the beginning should consist of a number of wooden blocks whose base is always one inch square and whose length varies from one to twelve inches. If, then, we take twelve pieces of each length, two sets—e.g., the pieces one and eleven, the pieces two and ten inches long, etc.- will always make up a layer an inch thick and covering one foot of square surface; so that all the pieces, together with a few larger pieces, occupy a space of somewhat more than half a cubic foot. It is best to keep these in a box that has exactly these dimensions; such a box may be used in many ways in instruction, as will appear in the progress of a child's development. " -p283
Inventing Kindergarten uses extraordinary visual materials to reconstruct this successful system, to teach young children about art, design, mathematics, and nature.
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