Welcome to our end of year newsletter!

Welcome to our end of year newsletter

2018 has been another busy year at The Froebel Trust as we have continued to support new Research projects and PhD students, as well as funding a new Practitioner Support Grants programme and expanding our Innovation Grants programme.

We have also been continuing our work to raise awareness of the Trust, and this year we supported delegates to attend the International Froebel Society Conference in Hiroshima, Japan, and hosted our inaugural lecture in London.

The Froebel Trust Inaugural Lecture

In October, the Trust was delighted to welcome Professor Paul Ramchandani, Lego Professor of Play at Cambridge University, to deliver our inaugural lecture ‘Right from the start: play, relationships and learning’.

 The Lecture was an opportunity for our guests to learn more about the Trust and our work to promote the relevance of Froebelian principles to the education and learning of children in the 21st century. 

We had a wide range of guests attending from various organisations and some wonderful feedback from the evening.

We were also pleased to be able to take the opportunity to invite Professor Tina Bruce to launch her latest book, ‘The Routledge International Handbook of Froebel and Early Childhood Practice’, which was published earlier this year.

We would like to thank all those involved in helping us with the success of our first lecture, and in particular Professor Paul Ramchandani, for such an engaging and enjoyable evening.

 You can view a recording of the lecture by clicking here.

Practitioner Support Grants 

This year we introduced a new Practitioner Support Grants programme, which was made available to early years settings in the UK interested in further developing an aspect of Froebelian practice. The criteria for this small grant was that one member of the management team, plus one other practitioner must have  completed one of The Froebel Trust endorsed courses to be eligible to apply. 

The Trust was pleased to award grants to the following settings:  

  • Balgreen Nursery School -Play, Sing, Talk, Read: A Froebelian approach to language development
  • Annan School - Development of the use of Froebelian Gifts and Occupations
  • Cowgate Centre for Under 5’s – Cowgate Community Grows - Our Children’s     Response to our Evolving Outside Space
  • Greengables Nursery & Family Centre - A Collegiate Enquiry Based Approach to Developing Froebelian Principles and the Froebelian Occupations; Sewing and Clay
  • Wester Coates Nursery School - Woodworking at Wester Coates
  • Ludwick Nursery School - Parent Partnership Project

More information about these projects will be posted on our website in the new year. 

Innovation Grants

Innovation Grants were introduced in 2015 with organisations invited to apply for grants to support the application of Froebelian principles in new ways in order to support children to play expressively and creatively.

This year the Trust was pleased to open up the application process to organisations which met the criteria and applicants were able to apply for up to £40,000 spread over 1 or 2 years.

We had an overwhelming response with over 45 applications for a wide variety of initiatives and are pleased to announce that we have awarded funding to the following:

  • £40,000 to Ex Cathedra’s Singing Medicine project at Birmingham Children’s Hospital
  • £28,809 to Scotswood Natural Community Garden’s BREEZE Forest School project

We will update our website with further information about these projects in the next few weeks.

We would like to thank everyone who applied and offer our congratulations to the successful applicants.

Rose Planting Ceremony in memory of eminent Froebelians

In May this year the Froebel Trust planted three rose bushes outside Clarence Lodge at the University of Roehampton campus.

The first rose was for Kay Davies who was an historian and loved gardens. Kay was the Deputy Principal of Froebel Educational Institute (FEI) moving on to Principal of Wall Hall College. In retirement, she was the Chair of National Froebel Foundation and also Chair of the RNIB Worcester School.

The second rose was for Chris Athey. She was Principal lecturer at FEI and Research Fellow of the Froebel Research Nursery Project funded by the Froebel College Governing Body and with major funding from Gulbenkian and the Leverhulme Trust. She later worked with Ragdoll Productions advising on Teletubbies. There is now an archive collection in the Froebel Archive at the University of Roehampton

The third rose was for Lynne Bartholomew who loved gardens. She was a lecturer at what is now the University of Roehampton. Under her outstanding leadership of Redford House, the workplace nursery gained an international reputation with visitors from the British Council coming to see the practice regularly. Her staff moved on to senior positions and higher qualifications due to the way that she empowered them. Her work from Redford House is going to be a collection in the Froebel Archive.

Family, friends and colleagues joined members of the Education Subcommittee and staff from the Executive for the planting followed by tea in Clarence Lodge

Elinor Goldschmied’s Treasure Basket

We are pleased to announce that Elinor Goldschmied’s original Treasure Basket has been offered on long term loan to the Froebel Trust by the Goldschmied family. 

Elinor Goldschmied has had a pioneering impact on early years policy in both the UK and internationally with her work on heuristic play and the role of the Treasure Basket in facilitating infants’ explorations; and the role of the ‘key person’ in group settings for young children. 

The Treasure Basket is a collection of natural, household and recycled objects placed in a sturdy round wicker basket that is made available to babies to explore from the time they are able to sit. The baby removes things from the basket to investigate the properties of the objects using their fingers, hands and mouths.  This play is non-social and while a baby needs to be near to a key attachment figure to feel safe and secure enough to be able to play, the exploration itself is done independently. 

Elinor’s treasure basket is now on display in the Special Collections and Foyle Reading Room in the University of Roehampton Library. 

Anita M. Hughes, a friend and colleague of Elinor has kindly written an article ‘Rediscovered Treasure’ about Elinor and The Treasure Basket, which you can read by clicking here

We would like to express our thanks to Elinor’s family for their generosity in loaning the Treasure Basket to the Trust. 

Froebel Travelling Tutors Programme

Throughout 2018, the Froebel Trust has continued to work in partnership with Early Education to offer its specialist programme of Froebelian professional development for Early Years practitioners and teachers. Bursaries were awarded to support participation in the programme, which has attracted interest from settings in the maintained, voluntary and private sectors. More information about the short courses can be found on our website.

Welcome to Dr Sacha Powell

In September this year, the Froebel Trust was pleased to appoint Dr Sacha Powell as Director of Education, Research and Strategy. Sacha is an Honorary Professor of Early Childhood Education at the Education University of Hong Kong and was Director of the Research Centre for Children, Families and Communities at Canterbury Christ Church University from 2013-2018.

We are delighted to welcome Sacha to the Executive Team and are excited about her contribution to the work of the Trust.




The International Froebel Society Conference, Hiroshima, 6-8 September

In September, 11 delegates supported by the Trust attended the International Froebel Society Conference in Japan. This year’s theme was ‘Education for peace. Froebelian contributions at global and local level’ and was attended by over 100 delegates from all over the world. 

The Trust was pleased to host a drinks reception during the conference, where Trustees talked about the history and work of the Trust, and invited guests to find out more about us. 

Representatives of the Trust and recipients of our funding were also involved in presenting papers and workshops on their research, including three of our PhD students who found the experience invaluable in terms of connecting with other Froebelians and sharing ideas.

We would like to thank all those who represented the Trust and also our delegates who presented papers and workshops during the conference. A summary report can be found by clicking here.

Edinburgh Froebel Network Conference 
Froebel: Gifts for our future 10
Perspectives on play

The Edinburgh Froebel Network’s 10th annual conference, sponsored by the Froebel Trust, was held on 22nd September 2018. 

The conference, held at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh, was the biggest to date with over 600 delegates attending!

Speakers included Professor Tina Bruce, Dr Marjatta Kalliala, Dr Sue Robson and Dr Suzanne Flannery Quinn. 

It was wonderful to see so many people gathered together and the Edinburgh Network team did a wonderful job in organising such a huge event.

Canterbury Froebel Conference: Play in Autism and Beyond – A Froebelian Exploration of the Gifts

On Saturday 8 December, Sacha Powell was delighted to represent the Froebel Trust and to give the welcome speech at this conference organised by Yordanka Valkanova. The programme included presentations from Louie Werth who gave a summary of the Gifts and Occupations using extracts from Froebel’s original texts. Next, Dr Gina Gómez de la Cuesta described her therapeutic group work with children using Lego to facilitate social interactions. After lunch, delegates heard from Dr Ben Robins, who explained how Lego and Kasper the Robot have helped to encourage communication and social interaction skills in children with autism.

Dr Stella Louis concluded the event with a presentation that demonstrated the use and relevance of Froebelian principles and practice for inclusive Early Years education.

PhD Bursaries

The Trust advertised funding for two PhD bursaries in May this year. The Trust’s bursary programme enables students to engage in doctoral study at a UK university, and are awarded to students undertaking research which advances the development and application of Froebelian principles in the early years. Bursaries consist of University tuition fees and an annual maintenance grant.

Seven applications were received this year, including two from universities which were new to the Trust’s PhD bursary programme.

One bursary was awarded to Louie Werth, who will be undertaking his PhD at the University of Cambridge. The subject of his research is: Role model, Authoritarian and Humourist: Male Primary School Teachers’ identity construction. He is using a symbolic interactionist and discourse analysis approach.

More information about Louie’s research will be made available on the Trust’s website. We would like to congratulate Louie and thank all of the applicants for the time and effort that went into their applications.

Grant spotlight: The Impact of Armed Conflict and Displacement on the Childhood and Play of Young Iraqi and Syrian Child Refugees in Lebanon

The Trust awarded a PhD bursary to Sandra El Gemayel in January 2016 to undertake her PhD at the Institute of Education, University College London (UCL). Sandra’s research aims to theorise how the concept of ‘childhood’ is currently being constructed in Lebanon during the global refugee crisis, and to identify possible ways to improve play opportunities for refugee children in Lebanon, who are in a state of ‘in between-ness.’ The study follows a Day in the Life methodology with four young Iraqi and Syrian case study refugee children and their families, supplemented by questionnaire data from 100 Iraqi, Syrian and Lebanese adults, and semi-structured interviews with professionals working with refugee children in Lebanon.
Armed conflict and displacement have immeasurably harmful effects on children and their families. They constrain children’s opportunities to play, to learn through play, and for their unique potential to flourish. Nonetheless, there is a lack of in-depth research conducted into the impact of armed conflict and displacement on young refugee children’s experiences of childhood and on the consequences for children’s play. 

Initial findings from Sandra’s research suggest:

  • There are continuing children's rights infringements in Lebanon, including poverty, limited access to physical, emotional and mental healthcare, poor and insanitary living conditions, child labour, early marriage, poor quality education and/or no school attendance.
  • Limited access to play resources, combined with growing fears and increased parental surveillance - particularly with regard to girls - has resulted in children's play and embodied experiences being restricted.
  • The limited play opportunities that occur    provide children with an effective outlet to escape their current state through imagination and transformation.  
  • Much more work needs to be done to improve the lives and life changes of children and young families living as displaced refugees, and to ensure that their rights to childhood are secured

Froebel Trust Conference – 2nd March 2019
The Froebel Trust: Stories from Research and Practice

The Froebel Trust’s inaugural conference will be held on 2nd March 2019 at the University of Roehampton and will showcase the research and education projects it has been funding in recent years.

To date we have over 20 presenters confirmed, including our keynote speakers Dr Rosie Flewitt from the Institute of Education, UCL and Dr Liz Chesworth from the University of Sheffield. 

The conference is designed to highlight key messages for practitioners or providers of services for young children and their families. 

Tickets will cost £65 and details on how to book will be posted on our website in early January. 

A limited number of tickets will be available for students / unwaged costing £25 on a first come first serve basis. 

We will send an email to our subscribers when tickets go on sale. 

Trustee reappointment

The Council of Trustees voted unanimously to reappoint Dr Peter Elfer (University of Roehampton) for a second 3-year term of office. The Froebel Trust is grateful to Peter for his continued commitment to our work.

Thank you 
Here at the Trust we are fortunate to have many volunteers who offer their time and expertise to help us in our work.  We would like to express our thanks for your continuing support and look forward to working with you in 2019. 

If you would like more information about any of the above projects or about the work that we do, please visit our website: www.froebel.org.uk. 

Finally, the Executive Team would like to wish you all a Merry Christmas and Happy New year.


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