This research aims to examine and demonstrate the relevance of Kurahashi's philosophy to that of Friedrich Froebel and the modern Froebelian approach
Sozo Kurahashi (1882-1955) is one of the pioneers in ECEC (Early Childhood Education and Care) in Japan. In this research, Ryutaro Nishi from Notre Dame Seishin University, aims to examine and demonstrate the relevance of Kurahashi's philosophy to that of Friedrich Froebel and the modern Froebelian approach. Kurahashi started his career as a child psychologist and later worked as the principal of Ochanomizu Kindergarten. Established in 1876, this kindergarten has the longest history in Japan, and it has been playing an important role in developing ECEC in the country. Kurahashi developed his own ECEC philosophy and practice there. His humanistic approach involving deep respect for children continues to have a vast influence on Japanese ECEC research even today. Although Kurahashi was deeply influenced by Froebel and is often called the ‘Japanese Froebel’, his works are virtually unknown outside Japan.
In the present research, Ryutaro Nishi wants to examine the relevance of Kurahashi's thoughts to that of Froebel’s and aims to shed new light on the theoretical understanding and practical application of the Froebelian approach. The specific characteristics of Kurahashi's thought have contemporary relevance, not only in Japan but also in wider global discussions in ECEC. His insight into the mutually trusting relationships between children and parents and practitioners are seen as a forerunner to the concept of transference-countertransference relationships, which are studied through psychoanalytically oriented ECEC research today. Further, ‘the nurturing mind’, a key term in and the title of his most popular book, which reflects his attitude towards children, bears a striking similarity to the concept of ‘professional love’, a term that is gaining currency in today's discussions on ECEC relatedness.
Reviewing the relationship between the thoughts of Kurahashi and Froebel and examining its significance in today's ECEC theory and practice, Ryutaro Nishi aims to deepen the understanding about the Froebelian approach in an unprecedented way, especially outside Japan.