Friedrich Froebel invented the term 'kindergarten'.
His legacy continues to inspire new generations of early childhood educators.

The Froebel Trust is a grant making charity (registered Charity No: 1145128). We publish our annual accounts detailing our charity's structure, activities, income and spending and these can be found on the Charity Commission for England and Wales website.

Our aim is to ensure that the Froebelian framework of principled education and care is recognised, understood, valued and practised across the early childhood sector for the benefit of young children in the UK and internationally.

The story of the Froebel Trust


A new Froebel Trust five year strategy is launched - designed to promote and advance Froebelian approaches to education and learning by:

  • Enabling through grants
  • Informing with training, resources and events
  • Connecting through strong networks and collaborations
  • Evidencing characteristics & benefits of Froebelian approaches
  • Championing the strengths of children, families, educators & play


Celebrating 180 years of kindergarten, the Froebel Trust is the only grant making charity in England which specialises in funding early childhood research, promoting early education and developing Froebelian practice. Have a look at our latest Annual Review to find out more about our work.

FT Timeline Image 1 x2
Froebel’s focus on the importance of play, learning through nature, practical hands-on learning and nurturing a child’s connection to their community is more relevant now than ever.


The Froebel Trust is founded as a registered charity in England, emerging from The Incorporated Froebel Educational Institute, the beginnings of which had been established back in 1892. In 2013 The National Froebel Foundation closes and becomes part of the new Froebel Trust.


The Froebel Archive for Childhood Studies (originally called the Early Childhood Collection) is established and offers a unique historical record of the Froebel movement in the UK. The Froebel Archive is now part of the Archives and Special Collections held in the University of Roehampton library.


Froebel College federates with three other local colleges to become Roehampton Institute of Higher Education, and since 2004 has been an integral part of the University of Roehampton, which now holds the Froebel campus on a long lease from the Froebel Trust. The University of Roehampton continues to offer the Froebel Certificate in Early Childhood course and a postgraduate early childhood studies programme.


Child Life, the Froebel Society journal which began in 1891, is re-named the National Froebel Foundation Bulletin. This later became known as the Froebel Journal and the final issue was published in 1974.

FT Timeline Image 2 x2
Boating on the lake, Album Sue Dudley-Smith, nee Hobson, 1936-39 - reproduced with permission from the Froebel Archive for Childhood Studies


The Froebel Society and National Froebel Union join together to form The National Froebel Foundation.

FT Timeline Image 3 x2
Queen Mary’s visit to The Froebel Education Institute 14 February 1923 - reproduced with permission from the Froebel Archive for Childhood Studies


The Froebel Educational Institute, an English teacher training college, opens in Colet Gardens, West Kensington, London. It is later known as Froebel College and moves to Roehampton, London in 1922.


The National Froebel Union is created to set qualifications and standards for a new Froebel Teacher’s Certificate.


The Froebel Society for the Promotion of the Kindergarten System is founded in England.

FT Timeline Image 4 x2
The Froebel Society teacher certificate 1876–1898 - reproduced with permission from the Froebel Archive for Childhood Studies


Pedagogics of the Kindergarten: Ideas Concerning the Play and Playthings of the Child is published in Germany. The book is a collection of fifteen essays by Froebel on the education of young children.


Froebel dies and the word kindergarten is included in the Oxford English Dictionary for the first time.


The first kindergarten is opened by Bertha and Johannes Ronge in London and their influential book A Practical Guide to the English Kinder Garten (Children’s Garden) is published in 1854. Most of the first kindergartens were opened in London. Manchester was also an important centre with the first kindergarten opening in the city in 1857.


Froebel opened the ‘Institute for the fostering of little children’ in Thuringia, Germany which he renamed Kindergarten in 1840. Kindergarten was a new word created by Froebel to express his vision for early childhood education.


Froebel’s book The Education of Man is published. He argues that “the spontaneous play of the child discloses the future inner life of the man” and that “play at this stage is not trivial; it is highly serious and of deep significance”.

FT Timeline Image 5 x2
Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel - Image reproduced with permission from the Froebel Archive for Childhood Studies


Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel is born in Thuringia, now a state in central Germany.

How to access The Froebel Archive

Based in the University of Roehampton’s library, the archive houses a collection of rare books, photographs and artefacts linked to Friedrich Froebel’s educational legacy and early childhood education. The archive welcomes visitors from around the world.



t: 020 8392 3323

Want to know more about the work of the Froebel Trust and our recent grants and training programmes?

Have a look at our latest Froebel Trust Annual Review:

Froebel Trust Annual Review 2020

I wanted to educate people to be free, to think, to take action for themselves.

Friedrich Froebel
in Lilley 1967:41