2020 marks 180 years since Friedrich Froebel invented the term 'kindergarten'. His legacy continues to inspire a new generation of early childhood educators.

The story of the Froebel Trust


2020

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.

2011

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.

1977

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.

1975

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.

1940

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

1938

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

1892

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.

1887

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

1874

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

1861

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.

1852

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

1851

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.

1837

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.

1826

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

1782

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.

w: roehampton.ac.uk/colleges/froebel-college/froebel-archive

e: archives@roehampton.ac.uk

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
Download

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

Friedrich Froebel
in Lilley 1967:41

How we work

The Froebel Trust works with many partners, individuals and organisations to make a difference for young children.

Learn more