Welcome to our end of year newsletter

Froebel Trust winter newsletter

Welcome to our winter newsletter 2019. As well as news on grant awards, the Froebel Trust Lecture and conferences both national and international, we are pleased to update you on the launch of two new pamphlets, and a very exciting new project working with the V&A Museum of Childhood. We are also delighted to have welcomed four new members to our board of trustees.

Froebel Trust Lecture

On 15th October we were pleased to welcome John Carnochan to deliver our 2nd annual lecture which took place at BMA House in London. John is a former Detective Chief Superintendent with Strathclyde Police, who co-founded the Violence Reduction Unit in Scotland, which contributed to lowering levels of violent crime in Scotland.

Recognising the importance of early experience, John has been actively involved for over 13 years in a range of multi-agency groups, which encourage and support the development of policies and services that will improve young children's environments, relationships and experiences during their early years and as they grow into adolescence.

John is an inspiring speaker and we had a wonderful response from all our guests who attended the evening;

'The event was enjoyable, informing and inspiring'

'The lecture content was fantastic and John was such an inspirational speaker'

'It certainly made me think about the development of Froebelian practices and its continued relevance for society as a whole.'

You can view a recording of the lecture on our website by clicking on the following link: www.froebel.org.uk/froebel-trust-lecture/

Grants rounds

One of the main aims of the Trust is to fund research in early years education, focussing on a Froebelian perspective.

In the last 6 months we have had three grants rounds, with a large number of applications. All applications are subject to a robust scrutiny process undertaken by external scrutineers. The standard was very high and the successful applicants for each grant are listed below:

PhD Bursary Award

Andrea Yankah, University of Roehampton, was awarded a part time PhD bursary starting in September titled, ‘Identifying equitable HE Practices with the view to improve participation for Early Childhood Practitioners in the UK’.

Open Call Research Grants

We received over 40 applications for our open call research grants and the trust has awarded funding to the following six projects:

University of South-eastern Norway - Slow knowledge and the unhurried child: time for slow pedagogies in early childhood education

Dublin City University & Maynooth University Froebelian Principles in the 21st Century: Play environments and play opportunities for young children experiencing stress

University of Roehampton Froebel meets Ofsted: what makes an 'outstanding' nursery?

University of Edinburgh The play-café project: What would Froebelian play cafés look like?

University of Alberta - Froebelian Endeavours, New Education and the 'Researched' Child from the 1900s to the 1960s

Dublin City University - Childhood, Curriculum and Values- A Comparison Between Specific School Ethoi in Ireland and England

Innovation Grants

Innovation grants were introduced to enable the application of Froebelian Principles in new areas and environments in order to support children to play expressively and creatively.

This year the following projects were awarded funding;

‘Forest Skills’ – Inclusion and Wellbeing Service

‘Let’s Play’ – Little Angel Theatre

‘Mini Muddy Fingers (Plant. Create. Play. Educate)’ – NECA.


Practitioner Support Grants

These small grants are available to settings who meet the eligibility criteria and are designed to enhance existing Froebelian Practice. This year we were pleased to award grants to:

Annan School – to develop musicality in a Froebelian setting.

Ferguslie Early Childcare Centre – to develop and expand their outdoor learning space together with families and members from the local community

Hope Cottage “Come let us learn from our children – connecting through play.” The project will further develop a supportive community of families and staff to enable children to flourish.

We would like to thank everyone who applied for funding and congratulate the successful applicants. More details on our funded projects and research can be found on our website.

Grant Spotlight -A life ‘in and with nature?’ An exploration of outdoor provision in baby rooms, Nicola Kemp (Canterbury Christ Church University) & Jo Josephidou (The open University)

This three year project aims to develop understanding about the ways in which formal childcare settings provide opportunities for babies and toddlers to experience outdoor environments. It responds to an identified gap in knowledge and understanding about the nature and extent of outdoor provision for under twos.

The study includes a review of international research literature, an audit of provision in baby rooms in Kent (53 out of 133 have completed an online survey) and five case studies of settings that have identified themselves as having good opportunities in this area. Initial findings from the literature review and the audit suggest:

  • There has been a parting of the way in outdoor practice between Scandinavia and the rest of the western world.
  • Sleeping outside and spending time in nature continue to be prioritised in practice in Scandinavia but has almost disappeared in other western countries.
  • Contemporary priorities in the western world include keeping children safe and promoting physical activity; this often means that babies are absent from the outdoor environment both in research and practice.
  • The audit of settings reveals significant variation in outdoor provision for babies and toddlers although the majority reported that they provided regular access to the outdoors (at least twice a day) all year round.
  • Reported factors influencing access to the outdoors include; the weather, children’s preference, setting routines, staffing and ratios, parental support and type of outdoor environment available.
  • A minority of settings actively promote an outdoor ethos and these will be the focus of the research case studies.

The final project report will be published on our website on completion in 2021.


This year we saw three of our longstanding Trustees step down, Bernadette Duffy, Fran Bayliss and Paul O’Prey. They made enormous contributions to the work of the Trust and will be very much missed.

We are however, delighted to be able to welcome four new trustees who have recently joined us, Jean-Noël Ezingeard, Lucy Parker, Holli Williams, and Lilah Woods.

Professor Jean-Noël Ezingeard is Vice-Chancellor and Chief Executive of the University of Roehampton. He was appointed on 1 May 2019, having held senior leadership and academic positions at Manchester Metropolitan University, Kingston University, Henley Business School and Brunel University London.

Dr Lucy Parker has been Acting Headteacher of Ludwick (Maintained) Nursery School, which is the lead school for the Acorns Teaching School Alliance. She was instrumental in introducing a Froebelian approach, including cookery and clay as core curriculum experiences. Lucy received a BA, PGCE, MA and PhD from the University of Roehampton and has focused on early childhood and primary education.

Holli Williams is the Training Manager and acting Operations Manager at Linden Tree Nursery Schools, a small chain of privately-owned settings in Southwest London. Linden Tree have undertaken three of the five Froebel Short Course elements, which began their transformation to a Froebelian educational approach in all their settings.

Lilah Woods is the Interim Head of Communications and Policy for the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. Lilah is a marketing professional with over 18 years of experience, much of it in the charity sector and for the last four years has been a mentor for the chartered institute of marketing mentoring programme.

Their experience will add greatly to the expertise and knowledge of our existing trustees and we are looking forward to working with them.

Launch of our latest pamphlets

This autumn saw the launch of two more pamphlets in our series, ‘Songs, Rhymes and Finger Plays’ written by Jane Dyke and ‘Cooking with Young Children’ by Lucy Parker and Anna Denton.

The series has been so successful that early next year will see two further pamphlets being published, ‘Froebel’s Principles and Practice Today’ and ‘Block Play’.

All pamphlets in the series can be downloaded free from our website, or printed copies are available to purchase. For further information, please visit: www.froebel.org.uk/pamphlets

Froebel Trust Seminar Series

2020 will see the introduction of our Seminar Series which is an opportunity for our grant recipients based throughout the UK to discuss and disseminate their research or share practice locally. We will be sending out details of upcoming seminars via our mailing list, so if you would like to find out more, please sign up by visiting: www.froebel.org.uk/resources/newsletter

Round up of Conferences, Seminars, Workshops and Exhibitions

In August, the work of The Froebel Trust was promoted, and several research papers were presented at the European Early Childhood Education Research Association (EECERA) 2019 Conference in Greece. Representing Froebelian perspectives, the varied topics included work discussion, pedagogy in baby rooms, family involvement, practitioners’ self-perceptions, laboratory preschools in Soviet Russia, children’s embodied wisdom and perspectives on quality. The EECERA abstracts book is available online: https://1tmmhf3iii4234y2mw3ve2ow-wpengine.netdna-ssl.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/2019-thessaloniki.pdf

In September, members of the Executive team of The Froebel Trust travelled to Edinburgh to attend the Edinburgh Froebel Conference. Delegates were delighted to receive copies of the latest pamphlets published in the Froebelian Approaches Series. The Exec team enjoyed listening to excellent presentations from Froebelians representing many different regions of Scotland and seeing the latest graduates accept their Froebel certificates.

In September, Sacha attended the launch of ‘Getting it Right in the Early Years Foundation Stage: A Review of the Evidence’, which the Froebel Trust had helped to fund. Instigated by a coalition of Early Years organisations, led by Early Education, this important synthesis of evidence builds on the Tickell Review of 2011. In addition to supporting reflective, research-informed practice, the Review provides a handy resource for all those wishing to respond to the current consultation by DfE on proposed changes to the Educational Programmes, Early Learning Goals, Assessment Process, Judgement Criteria and Safeguarding and Welfare requirements of the curricular framework and EYFS Profile. The Review document and a link to the DfE consultation can be found on the Early Education website: www.early-education.org.uk/getting_it_right_in_the_eyfs

In October, Sacha travelled to Kars in N.E. Turkey to give a keynote lecture on ‘Froebel’s Constructions of Childhood’ at the country’s 6th International Early Childhood Education Congress. More than 600 delegates attended this conference and many were interested to hear about the work of The Froebel Trust. The speech will be included as a chapter in a book that is being published by the conference organisers.

In October and November, Professor Tina Bruce collaborated with Barbara Isaacs and Janni Nicol to give a series of workshops for museum educators that highlighted the histories and key features of Froebelian, Montessori and Steiner approaches to early education, as well as the commonalities and differences between them. All of the workshops, commissioned by the V&A Museum of Childhood, were filmed and the recordings will be available on the Froebel Trust’s website very soon.

At the end of October, The Wellcome Collection opened its latest exhibition, which is entitled Play Well. The exhibition features a large display of Froebel’s Gifts and refers to some of the Occupations as well as displaying a beautiful, original Pricker artwork made by Froebel himself. The exhibition is being extended to mid-April 2020 so that families can visit during the Easter holiday and is well worth a visit. https://wellcomecollection.org/exhibitions/XSg-7xEAACcAGVXc

In December, the International Froebel Society published its Call for Papers for the biennial conference, which will be held in Edinburgh from 3-6 June 2020. The conference theme is Froebel 2020: Visions of social justice, equity and integrity. Visit the IFS website for more information: www.ifsfroebel.com/?p=645

The Froebel Trust would like to wish you all a merry Christmas and happy new year and express our thanks to our Trustees, volunteers and friends who contribute so much to our work.

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