Froebel Web
The leading English language online resource about Friedrich Froebel, creator of Kindergarten and designer of Froebel play gifts

Froebel Archives

On January 28th 2008 two major Froebel archives were for the first time brought together in the remodelled Archives and Special Collections floor of the Roehampton University Library in London. These archives provide a unique and accessible resource for students and researchers into the history of the Froebel movement in the UK.

The National Froebel Foundation Archive

The National Froebel Foundation Archive comprises a unique historical record of the Froebel movement in the UK.

The Froebel Society [for the Promotion of the Kindergarten System] was founded in 1874 in order to provide courses of training for kindergarten teachers and a recognition and inspection facility for kindergartens.

In 1887 The Society created a separate body, the National Froebel Union in order to validate examinations and set standards for the Froebel Teacher's Certificate.

In 1938 the two bodies were combined to form the National Froebel Foundation, which continued to perform some of the functions of its parent bodies.

In 1975 the NFF was formally dissolved, though a board of Trustees continues to ensure allocation of its residual assets in accordance with its charitable objectives.

Little has been added to the Archive since then, as its primary value is in its early handwritten material, comprising mainly Minutes of meetings and ledgers recording students and their certification.

The Froebel Archive for Childhood Studies

The Froebel Archive for Childhood Studies, originally known as the Froebel Early Childhood Collection, was retained by the Froebel Educational Institute in the 1970s when the main library collection of Froebel Institute College was transferred to the ownership of Roehampton University.

At its core was a collection of books, artefacts and other material donated by Joachim Liebschner relating to Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852). This comprised first the Froebel 'Gifts' and the Montessori apparatus, which he used to demonstrate to students the difference in approach of the two systems – Froebel's being creative and play-based, while Montessori's was 'right-or-wrong' and not play-based. In addition Joachim Liebschner collected further material from East Berlin, the USA and elsewhere, including from other Froebel Colleges in England which were closing in the 1970s as a result of government reorganisation of teacher education. Over 40 years or so the 'collection' has expanded through regular purchases and donations, and is now a unique resource not only for students of the Froebel movement but for all scholars interested in the study of early childhood education and related topics.

It was managed by Froebel College until 2007, when its management was transferred to Roehampton University.

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