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FURTHER DEVELOPMENT AND ADAPTATION

OF FRÜBELS SYSTEM.

BY M. JULES GUILLAUME.

QUESTIONS BEFORE INTERNATIONAL CONGRESS.* What are the developments and adaptations of which Fröbel's system is susceptible?

Is it suitable to apply Fröbel's principles to Primary School Teaching, and by what means can it be done ?

The questions thus formulated by the International Congress of Education are of the highest importance. It cannot be concealed that there is not only disparity, but antagonism, between the kindergarten and the school : in the one we see regulated liberty; the teacher meets the curiosity of the child, provokes its questions, urges it to incessant activity and motion, and play: in the other, constraint dominates ; silence and perfect quiet are the rule ; the child has not the right to inake itself heard; the monotony of interminable lessons is scarcely allowed to be broken by even automatic exercises (rise, sit down, clap your hands, etc.). The result is that the wide-awake, curious pupils, - the best pupils who are from the kindergartens,-are homeless in the school where they with difficulty escape the detentions, double tasks and other punishments calculated to make them feel that work is a punishment imposed upon men since the remotest antiquity; the obtuse and sleepy scholars, on the contrary, who need to be excited by stimulants, are generally considered the good pupils, made examples for their wisdom and docility, and crowned with green laurels to the sound of trombones. In all the countries where Fröbel's method has been planted, the children who have been subject to it are marked as the most intelligent, but at the same time the most refractory to the discipline of the school. The antagonism duly verified, it remains to examine how far it is in the nature of things, and to investigate whether Fröbel's method, which is still a blind alley, can become a path of communication to conduct the child to its destination. First we must take account of the thought of its inventor and inquire if he did not perceive that there was a solution of continuity between his creation and that of his forerunners, and if he has not done something to effect a transition between the two stages of elementary instruction.

I. THE IDEA OF THE KINDERGARTEN UNIVERSAL. The name of Fröbel is inseparably connected with the organization of kindergartens. The education of early childhood is, in general opinion, the special, unique and exclusive work of Fröbel, the mark of his individuality. Until his time it had been thought that this stage of education belonged to the mother who did the best she could, or to the nurses who had learned by milking cows how to educate children ! Fröbel, starting from the principle recognized by other pedagogues, who came before him, that the education of man begins at the moment of his birth, had the original idea of subjecting him to a rational method, instead of abandoning him to chance. But after the serent! year he occupies himself no longer with the child; he delivers liimi bound hand and fout to the school, leaving to the latter the care of replacing the maternal milk by a more substantial nourishment. Such is nearly the idea of those people who take the kindergartens for nursery schools where children are instructed by mere play.

* Congrés International del' Enseignement, Bruxelles, 1880, Rapports Préliminaires, xlvi301+98 +94+112+112+216=982. Translated by Mrs. Horace Mann.

Fröbel's Education of Man. Is it necessary to say that nothing is more false than this conception ? Before he became the creator of kindergartens, Fröbel was and always remained the author of the E.lucation of Man, his Diductica Magna, unfortunately unfinished, which embraced, like those of Comenius and J. J. Rousseau, the whole period of the growth and development of the human being, from his cradle till after he leaves the university. The first volume, the only one published, leads liim till beyond the first childhood. Far from admitting that there are gaps between the periods designated by the names of nursling and child, boy or girl, young man or girl, man and woman, old man and matron, Fröbel proclaims on every page the necessity of the unification of education in order to arrive at the unification of life: “ All the operations of the mind," he says in the beginning, “having for their condition as phenomena in the end, a chronological series, a consecutiveness, a succession, it is absolutely necessary and inevitable that if man has neglected, at any epoch, however near or distant, to produce his strength, to raise it to the condition of work, or at least to display it in view of a work or an action, he will one day be sensible of some imperfection growing out of this neglect; he will not be what he might have been if he had faithfully wrought out his vocation by utilizing his forces."

The mother-idea of the book is the organization of a vast scheme of education in which all sorts of knowledge, instead of being scattered and parceled out, are presented to the child serially and co-ordinated, then brought back to a higher principle, unity. Long before Fröbel, his precursos Comenius had already traced out the plan of an institution in which each stage of instruction should form a whole which should be reproduced in each of the following stages; he directly offered to the pupils an encyclopedia of what they had to learn, which was to be developed more and more : "Let all knowledge,” he said, “be given first in a broad and coarse sketch, without isolating the different parts. Every language, every art is to be taught first from its own most simple rudiments, then more completely by rules and examples, and at last systematically with the addition of anomalies, etc.”

Fröbel proceeds equally by way of stratification. As he never ceases to repeat, his principles as well as his educational processes apply not only to the kindergartens but to every subsequent stage of the instruction ; not only to youth, but to manhood; and it is with reason that one of his disciples* required as a primary and essential condition of the playthings of the child, that they should be and should remain in their detail and in their totality, his elements of education in all the stages of his development, or, in other words, that the pupil should constantly discover new properties in them, according to his age and his faculties.

If this is true, if the materials of the kindergarten are sufficient for the school also, the questions in the programme of the Congress are very nearly answered; for it is no longer the question to seek, by means of mutual concessions, compromises and half-measures, for the means of reconciling two contrary things; and, in fact, it would be of no use to say, for example, that the school will tolerate a part of the liberty which reigns in the kindergarten, if we did not point out at the same time how that could be put in practice without order having to suffer for it; nor to take the love of work as the sole motive power without also having the means of making the work interesting. It is clear that the adaptation of Fröbel's principles cannot be made except with the views and ineans which he has himself indicated. From the moment that he is no longer looked upon merely as the founder of kindergartens, but as the creator of a system of education of all degrees, the question is only to assure one's self that the expedients proposed by him are as suitable for the school as for the kindergarten ; everything is reduced consequently to a simple verification based upon an exact acquaintance with his plays and occupations.

In the Education of Man, Fröbel, although still glued to the formulas of Pestalozzi, gives us the general plan of his own conception; afterward, and to the very end of his life, it is to the Education of Man that he refers, “althongh,” he says, “ for a quarter of a century and more that it has been written and published, it has been rounded ont and simplified in different ways in its methodology.” It is at this fountain that we must seek for his own exposition of the generation of forms of which the different plays of the kindergarten are only the applications.

II. DEVELOPMENT OF FORCE IN NATURE. Force appears to be the first principle of all things, and of every manifestation in nature; it is force which effects the separation of objects and thus produces their individuality.

Every individuality, all diversity claims, besides force, a second necessary condition of form, which is substance.

Matter and force constitute an undivided unity; one does not exist without the other; properly speaking, one cannot be conceived without the other.

*A. Köhler, Kindergarten und Elementar-Klasse, 1861, no. 4.

The principle of the transformation of matter, even in its least particles, is the originally spherical effort of imminent force, which tends to radiate spontaneously and equally from all parts. When force develops itself freely in all directions, the material manifestation in space, which is the result, is the sphere. It is thus that the spherical form is the first and the last form of nature, that of the cell, and that of the great celestial bodies, that of water and of all liquids, that of air and of all gaseous forms. It appears as the prototype, the unity of all physical forms, diverse and irreconcilable as they may seem. It contains them all, under the relation of their essence, of their conditions and of their law. No point, no line, no surface predominates in it, and yet it contains all the points, lines and surfaces of other bodies.

The action of force in different directions, and the relations of these directions to each other, have for their immediate and necessary consequence, the heterogeneous and the symmetrical division of matter; it is for each particular case the essential principle of every definite form and figure.

Force, starting from a center, and diverging in straight lines, acts necessarily in two opposite directions in the same line. The preponderance of three double directions, which cross at right angles and l'emain in perfect equilibrium, gives birth to the cube, each of whose eight angles shows the equivalence and rectangular direction of three double directions which meet in the interior, while the twelve edges (3 times 4) indicate four times each of the same directions, whose six faces present the six extremities at their center.

In this, the most elementary form of crystallization, the unity of the sphere is replaced by isolated surfaces, definite points or angles, distinct lines or edges. The points, in their turn, seek to develop into lines and surfaces, the lines again seek to condense themselves into points, or to extend themselves into surfaces, the surfaces to transform themselves into lines and points; the three double preponderating directions already imagined in the midst of the six cubic faces endeavor to manifest themselves externally by producing themselves as edges. The result is a solid, the regular octohedron, which counts as many surfaces as the cube has angles, as many angles as the cube has sides, and the same number of edges as the cube, but in intermediate directions.

Each of the three double fundamental directions of force produces itself in the cube by three couples of sides or faces; in the octobedron by three couples of angles or points. There must necessarily exist a solid in which the same directions will be represented externally by three couples of edges or lines ; the regular tetrahedron presents us, indeed, in its edges, the six extremities of its three double directions.

The spherical action of force manifests itself thus in three bodies terminated by straight lines and plane surfaces : The cube, whose three couples of faces represent the three coupThe octohedron, whose three couples of angles { les of equivalent and The tetrahedron, whose three couples of edges | fundamental directions. In each of these three bodies, the axis coincides with one of the three principal directions and is confounded with it. The cube rests in a stable manner on one of its faces; the octohedron is supported upon a summit, the tetrahedron upon an edge, and thereby the two last mentioned bodies tend to fall upon one of their sides. Their equilibriuin upon a larger base brings about a displacement of the axis, which then no longer coincides with one of the three principal directions, but cuts them all three at equal angles. In this new position the elements grouped before by twos or by fours, appear to be grouped three to three, (3 and 3 sides, 3 and 3 edges, 3 and 3 summits). The six faces of the cube no longer are seen as squares, but as lozenges. The principal form of this system is the rhombohedron, whose derivatives, in their turn, constitute several definite series determined by a principal form intimately allied to the primitive form.

The two systems represented by the cube and the rhombohedron offer differences of length between the three fundamental directions ; or rather the direction which coincides with the axis is alone greater or smaller than the two others, or the principal directions are all three unequal among themselves. Such is the origin of the six crystalline types generally admitted by mineralogists.

All these forms, of which the sphere is the creative unity, present this peculiarity, that their members are multiples of two or multiples of three, to the exclusion of the numbers five and seven, that is to Bay, of combinations of the numbers two or four with the number three, and the forms which result from them, which are only produced in the condition of disordered or accidental forms.

It is or herwise in the organic world, in which the spherical form becomes predominant; life there is subordinated to matter (vegetables), or matter is subordinated to vital activity (animals). Vegetables still obey the numerical relations of solids; plants are for the most part in limbs of 2 and 2, or 3 and 3; where the number 5 appears, it is in consequence either of a separation, a division of the fundamental directions of the parts limbed by 4 or by 2 X 2 (2+2+1), or by a contraction of the fundamental directions in the plants limbed by 3 and 3.

The number 5, the combination of the numbers 2 and 3, characterizes the force which has risen to life and movement; it is the essential attribute of the hand, the principal limb of man, his principal instrument in the employment of his creative faculties.

This legality of nature, this manifestation of unity in diversity, ! Fröbel considers not only to be found in forms, he discovers it in sounds, in colors, in language, as well as in forces and substances.

It is upon this vast synthesis that he builds his whole system of education, and he demands that the child shall be accustomed early to contemplate nature as a whole, developing of itself in each point; for without the intuition and cognizance of unity in the action of

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