The (adult) argument that this kind of freedom doesn’t prepare children for “the real world” didn’t hold true for Froebel. He believed freedom was the only way that children could truly come to know themselves fully (with adult support) and in turn meet and respond empathetically to the needs and gifts of others. Moreover, it is how the richest learning occurs, through intrinsic motivation, trial, error and discovery.

It is of course easier for [children] to have an answer given by someone else but it is far more valuable and stimulating for them to find it out for themselves… [so] we should rather put them in the way of finding answers…” Froebel in Lilley, 1967, p.126


Tovey echoes this:

The instinct for adults to step in and solve problems for children is strong, but listening to children’s ideas and helping them solve their own problems empowers children to see themselves as competent problem solvers.” Tovey, 2016:119

Children’s Participation, A Toolkit – Table of Contents

1. What is participation     2. Limits of participation    3. Children’s resistances    4. Children’s right to shape the world    5. New worlds     6. A co-learning community     7. A new kind of citizenship     8. Resources