Froebelian knowledge in Undergraduate University Students

Project summary:

This is a research project that focuses on Undergraduate University Students who study Early Childhood Education and Care. The questions that were asked to the participants where about their awareness of Froebelian principles and how they interpret them and execute them in practice.


Further, the main issue of this project is how knowledgeable are Greek Undergraduate Students of Froebel, but also if they are aware of his principles. Moreover, my purpose in undertaking this Study was to examine how these individuals interpret his theories and how these are occurring in Greek nurseries based on their experience. On that note, it is important to ask this kind of questions because the participants of this age group are going to be the next generation of Educators in nurseries and their opinion will shape the future of Early Childhood Education and Care.


As writer of this paper, I am an undergraduate student of Early Childhood and Care with hands-on experience in the Greek public nurseries, through various internships. Froebel’s ideas were introduced to me in a pedagogical course and then I got a throughout knowledge of him via the “An introduction to Froebelian pedagogy” seminar. This further exposure to his beliefs, motivated me to examine in depth his groundbreaking ideas. As noticed by my practical observation in the Athenian governmental kindergartens, the system showcases many deteriorations. To begin with, there is not a clear academic structure when it comes to the pedagogical methods used in the nurseries, in contrast with other counties that usually follow a specific Pedagogue line. Also, the infrastructure of the kindergartens and the lessened funding in them has created absence of substantive development that is needed. All things considered, although the theoretical educational basis exists and the educators are highly motivated in their work, the standardized approach of teaching is very rigid.

While examining my research question I had to approach it through targeted methods and by implying specific ethics. More specifically, the targeted group was Undergraduate University Students. Adding to that, the primary focus was to find individuals that were willing to participate in this project, but also to be adults with different points of view. On that note, the fact that this project was addressed to students made me select people from my academic year, namely 20-22 years old. Also, these individuals portray unique personalities, origins and religions. The method used was informal interviews and mostly group conversations in a relaxed setting. Furthermore, when it comes to the ethics, all of the participants were informed about the purpose of the research question and had given their written consent to it. Lastly, all of the collected data are kept anonymous, in order to ensure the freedom of personal expression.


To my surprise all of the participants knew one way or another who Froebel was and his most basic principles. In order to be more specific, every participant had heard his name as a great educator. Adding to that, all of them remembered him from different courses, hence their exposure to his theories were slightly different. To be more specific, most of the individuals remembered him from pedagogical and psychology courses that were lectured in the University. Furthermore, Froebel’s theory of the importance of play was highlighted as the most dominant by all of them. Also, one of the participants acknowledged him as the father of kindergarten, or named differently the garden of the children. Moreover, his thesis about the importance of children’s relationships as a pillar of their development was underlined, as well. Lastly, all of the expressed thoughts for Froebel from the different students created holistically the base of his conception.

Once all of Friedrich Frobel’s principles were clearly presented to the participants, an open dialogue was created in order to elucidate them. The students claimed that based on his beliefs, the correct way to behave to children is by firstly and fundamentally recognizing their rights. Secondly, their opinion should be validated and respected. Thirdly, the students expressed that young individuals should be utterly engaging with nature, as an integral part of it. Further, they also indicated the importance of viewing children as autonomous learners based on his theories. On that note, this concept for them is something very abstract and fluid because it can be influenced by many stimuli. Moreover, the value of play was highly emphasized by all of the students as an essential base all throughout their personal development. All in all, Froebel’s views were explicated as an individualized program, that although was expressed many years ago has still contemporaneity.

One of the most important questions is how Froebel’s opinions are adjusted to the Greek standards. Based on the insights that the University students shared, the nurseries are operating in a traditional way. One of the main problems is that they are functioning around a specific and tight academic program, which results to little space for a holistic teaching approach. Adding to that, in the Greek nurseries the analogy of educators to children is disproportioned with the former being less, which results to dysfunctionalities. Also, the problem of implementing Froebel’s ideas comes to the fact that the value of the educators is generally undermined. Another point that influences the enforcement of them is that the exploration as a liberating tool that enables the development of children, as mentioned by Froebel, is not fostered by most of the nurseries. Lastly, the social culture of Greece is very different from Germany’s, Friedrich’s homeland. To share some further details, the respondents addressed that the Greek society has to take big steps of improvement when it comes to Preschool Education. The student’s claimed that in order to implement Froebel’s principles in the Greek Nurseries, some steps should be taken. In order to be more specific, they replied that similar seminars like ‘Froebel and early childhood, an introduction’ should be offered more frequently and become mandatory to the kindergarten undergraduate Students and Educators. In that way, these people will broaden their horizons and they will adopt new and contemporary pedagogies.  In a broader context of this point, The Greek Ministry of Education should actively add to their agenda Froebel’s pedagogies, which are diachronic and contemporary at the same time. Lastly, what would also facilitate the process, would be to reform the already existing spaces of the nurseries based on Froebel’s theories and introduce new means of expression like clay and gifts.


In a nutshell, the overall lesson was that Froebel’s theories are great for young children. Besides that, his cognitive input was known to all of the participants. In contradiction, the reality in the Greek educational system lacks of Froebel’s principles. Students, in addition, admit that even if the environment was eligible, it is not possible for the local communities to engage with his theories because of their mentality and their obsolete way of living. It is important also to note that the fiscal situation and the bad infrastructure that prevails in the nurseries doesn’t make this easily feasible. Overall, the Greek educational system must change the way of operating and approach teaching holistically. As for the future, the young educators have the willingness to change the status quo that governs the Greek preschools, by utilizing Froebel’s pedagogical methods.

Research implications

To be completed

Practitioner enquiry

To be completed

Leadership learning

To be completed

Author and role

To be completed

Comments from other network members

What did you appreciate about this research? What forward-looking questions did it raise for you?

Add a comment