The Froebel Archive for Childhood Studies and the National Froebel Foundation Archive together provide a unique and accessible resource for students and researchers in to the history of the Froebel movement in the UK. The archive was established by the Froebel Educational Institute (FEI) (now The Froebel Trust) in 1977. At its core was a collection of books, artefacts and other material donated by Joachim Liebschner relating to Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852) and his educational legacy. This comprised first the Froebel 'Gifts' and the Montessori apparatus, which he used to demonstrate to students the difference in approach of the two systems - Froebel's being creative and play-based, while Montessori's was 'right-or-wrong' and not play based. In addition Joachim Liebschner collected further material from East Berlin, The USA and elsewhere, including other Froebel colleges in England which were closing in the 1970s as a result of government reorganisation of teachers education. Over 30 years or so the 'collection' has expanded through regular purchases and donations, and is now a unique resource for students and scholars interested in the Froebel movement, study of early childhood education and related topics, as well as the history of the Froebel Educational Institute (now The Froebel Trust). The Froebel Archive was located in, and managed by, Froebel College until 2006, when it was moved to the University Library and its management transferred to the University of Roehampton. An Archives and Special Collections area was created shortly after and in January 2008 the National Froebel Foundation (NFF) Archive was transferred to the newly opened facility, and both archives were brought together for the first time.
The National Froebel Foundation Archive comprises a unique historical record of the Froebel movement in the UK. The Archive's primary value is in its complete sets of minute books of various boards and committees relating to the Froebel Society, the NFF and the FEI, and the NFF Teachers Training Certificate registers. The Froebel Society [for the Promotion of the Kindergarten System] was founded in 1874 in order to provide courses of training for kindergarten teachers and a recognition and inspection facility for kindergartens. In 1887 The Society created a separate body, the National Froebel Union in order to validate examinations and set standards for the Froebel Teachers Certificate. In 1983 the two bodies were combined to form the National Froebel Foundation, which continued to perform some of the functions of its parent bodies. In January 2013 the NFF was amalgamated with The Froebel Trust to provide a single Archive.