Eight educators from around the world discuss the relevance of the ideas of Friedrich Froebel for today's Early Childhood Education. A Froebel Trust and Mercy College webinar recorded on 4 May 2022.

Watch now. Recorded on 4 May 2022.

This international webinar coincided with the publication of 12 articles about Froebel’s influence in a special issue of the international journal, Global Education Review, edited by Mercy College.

Finding Froebel: National and Cross-National Pedagogical Paths in Froebelian Early Childhood Education (Part 1) Vol. 9 No. 1 (2022) is available on the Global Education Review website (published on 19 March 2022) www.ger.mercy.edu.

About the speakers

  • Teresa K. Aslanian (Chair)

    Teresa K. Aslanian is a trained early childhood educator and Associate Professor of early childhood education in the Department of Educational Sciences at University of South-Eastern Norway. American by birth, she has lived in Norway for 25 years and published on the subjects of care, love and learning with examples and inspiration from Norwegian kindergartens. Her work utilizes and engages with critical and posthuman perspectives in order to reconceptualise taken for granted concepts and themes in ECEC. Teresa is currently researching Norwegian kindergartens as distinctive care and learning environments, including children’s self-initiated outdoor play in ECEC.
  • Maria Cooper

    Maria Cooper is a senior lecturer at the University of Auckland, New Zealand. Before her academic career, she worked as an early childhood teacher and leader in a large urban centre in Auckland. Her research focuses on infant-toddler pedagogies, including applying Froebelian thinking to infant-toddler provision, collective leadership, and early years curriculum. She is co-editor of The First Years: New Zealand Journal of Infant and Toddler Education. In 2018, Maria received the New Zealand Association for Research in Education Judith Duncan Award for high-quality research that promotes equitable early childhood education within the field.
  • Professor Jan-Erik Johansson

    Jan-Erik Johansson, professor emeritus. I was born in 1947 in Stockholm, Sweden. My university studies were at the University of Gothenburg, Sweden. In 1972 I started to teach at the Gothenburg pre-school teacher education. I defended my PhD in Education at the University of Gothenburg in 1992 and was appointed professor of Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) in 1998 at the Oslo Metropolitan University in Norway. I coordinated an Erasmus Mundus Master in ECEC 2008—2016. My two main fields of interest are ECEC and pre-school teacher education, especially history and curriculum theory in both qualitative and quantitative studies.
  • Dr Nicola Kemp

    Dr Nicola Kemp is a senior lecturer at Canterbury Christ Church University where she is academic lead within the Academy for Sustainable Futures and School Director of Graduate Studies. A geographer by background, Nicola’s research interests are focused on the inter-relationship between education and sustainability across ages and educational phases. She is currently working on a Froebel Trust project exploring outdoor provision for babies and toddlers in early childhood settings.
  • Dr Christina MacRae

    I am a Research Fellow at Manchester Metropolitan University. Alongside with my research interests in early childhood, I have taught in inner-city nursery schools in the UK. I am interested in how post-human theories can re-frame linear developmental accounts of childhood, and in how young children make sense of the world through a process of embodied engagement. My research focuses on young children in nursery school contexts, museums, and galleries. Recently, I have used slow-motion video as a method for a co-produced ethnography in a nursery class for 2-year-olds as part of a project funded by the Froebel Trust.
  • Cecilia Maron-Puntarelli

    Cecilia Maron-Puntarelli is a doctoral candidate in Curriculum & Instruction at Indiana University, Bloomington studying Early Childhood Education. Her interests include play-based education, positive discipline techniques, various programming models including forest schools and intergenerational programming, Froebelian practices in the early childhood and university settings, and multicultural classroom practices.

    Cecilia has served in many capacities in the field of early childhood education including: teacher of young children (infant-8), director of a NAEYC-accredited school, university instructor, student teacher supervisor, and as a consultant and speaker working with parents and educators.
  • Dr Lynn McNair

    Dr Lynn McNair is a Lecturer in Early Childhood Practice and Froebel / Research Fellow at the University of Edinburgh. Lynn has 40 years experience working in Early Years Education and was awarded an OBE for services to Early Education in 2009. Lynn is a trained Froebelian, attaining her certificate at the Froebel Institute, Roehampton University, London, UK. She is an award-winning author. An advisory board member of Cattanach. Finally, Lynn would say her passion for egalitarianism, emancipation, democracy and a belief that children are rich, active, resourceful beings came from being a mother to Kurt and Mischa; and what she learned as she observed them playing freely as children. This way of being with children, trusting in them in their abilities and capabilities is where she puts her energy into her work with children today.
  • Dr Helge Wasmuth

    Helge Wasmuth is a Professor in the Department of Childhood Education at Mercy College, US. Among his research interests are early education policy as well as the history of, and postmodern perspectives on, early childhood education. He is a founding member of Cultures of Early Childhood Education (CECEC), an international research network that published Globalization, Transformation, and Cultures in Early Childhood Education and Care­–Reconceptualization and Comparison in 2019. His research on Friedrich Froebel’s kindergarten pedagogy and its transformation has led to the publication of the monography Fröbel’s Pedagogy of Kindergarten and Play: Modifications in Germany and the United States (2020). He is currently working on a new Froebel biography which will be published in 2023 by Bloomsbury.

  • Dr Tansy Watts

    I am an independent researcher currently working on projects with the Froebel Trust and Canterbury Christchurch University. My current research explores influential child, adult and environment relations and contribution of holistic pedagogy to education for sustainability. I have recently completed doctoral research investigating the contribution of Froebelian pedagogy in early education supportive to environmental relations and use of sensory ethnography for exploring holistic relations. This work rest on a background of thirteen years in diverse contemporary ECEC provision including reception class teaching, independent setting management and Steiner Kindergarten holistic education.

What are Froebelian principles?

Froebel’s ideas were considered revolutionary in the 1850s but the principles of his work have since become part of modern, mainstream early years educational practice.

Find out more