Our Mission

The purpose of the Froebel Foundation USA is to preserve the history of the Froebel kindergarten and to promote the educational ideas of Friedrich Froebel to the world at large.

We want to hear from others who are working toward the same goal, so that we communicate the message to the widest audience possible.

Please call, fax or email us at the numbers below.

Froebel USA
O-78 Leonard St NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49534
Toll-free: 888-573-3436

Volume 1 - Issue 1

The New Kindergarten Messenger

In addition to the new foundation, we are reviving the Kindergarten Messenger -- the first US publication about the Froebel kindergarten. The original Kindergarten Messenger was started by Elizabeth Peabody and her sister Mary Mann back in 1873 and was published for a few years off and on. Elizabeth Peabody was the driving force behind the 19th c. Kindergarten Movement in the United States. It is fitting that we have chosen the name of Peabody's magazine since we hope to restart a new kindergarten movement for the next century.
We hope you will continue to receive this newsletter. Plans are under way to expand the content and scope to include all areas that kindergarten impacts beyond just education. If you have comments and opinions to share, please contact us at:

Froebel USA
O-78 Leonard St NW
Grand Rapids, MI 49534
Toll-free: 888-573-3436

Froebel Gifts CD-ROM finally available!

We are pleased to announce that our new Froebel CD-ROM will finally be available December 18th, barring any delays at the pressing plant.
Originally intended as a lecture tool for education professors, the CD-ROM is useful to anyone who wants to learn more about Froebel Gifts. The CD-ROM contains, a 10 minute multimedia presentation, all of the text from our booklets, new graphics and animations, plus three interactive "virtual" materials for Gifts 7, 8 & 9 (for PC users only). Also on the CD are two books, The Kindergarten Guide by Maria Kraus-Boelte and The Kindergarten Building Gifts by Elizabeth Harrison. Both books are available from us in paperback, but are included on the CD-ROM in Adobe PDF format.
The CD sells for $40 and is compatible with Pentium PC and Power Mac systems.

New Froebel Biography available in US

We are pleased to bring to North America the wonderful book, Friedrich Froebel: His Life & Times by Peter Weston, principal of Froebel College in London, England (where the British Froebel archive is housed). The book is based on Joachim Liebschner's firsthand research in Germany in the 70's and 80's.
Now that Liebschner's books are out-of-print, this is the single best book on Froebel's life. This 24 page book contains never before seen photos and offers new insight into Froebel's place in the modern world.

How to Pronounce Froebel

Over the years, I have heard the name Froebel pronounced many different ways: "Froy-bull," "Frobull," "Fro-a-bull," and "Fray-bell." However, the technically correct way to pronounce this name is "Frur-bull," from the German root "vrba." This is not to say that I always use the correct version. Old habits die hard and I often use the more common pronunciation "Froy-bull."

Scott Bultman, Kindergarten Messenger

New Froebel Books

The response to our Froebel Gifts from educators and artists has been tremendous. We have begun reprinting many of the original 19th century manuals and books on Froebel kindergarten. You can learn more about the Froebel Gifts at www.froebelgifts.com or request a fax of our book list.

Here is a list of books we currently stock:

The Froebel Gifts 2-6 (the booklet from Gifts 2-6)
Kindergarten Guide vol. 1 by Maria Kraus-Boelte
Kindergarten Guide vol. 2 by Maria Kraus-Boelte
The Kindergarten Building Gifts by Elizabeth Harrison
The Education of Man by Friedrich Froebel
Inventing Kindergarten by Norman Brosterman [Abrams]
The ABCs of the Bauhaus by Lupton [Princeton Arch. Press]
Learning from the Past by Jennifer Wolfe [Pinery Press]
Kindergarten & Cultures by Roberta Wollons [Yale]

available online

Curvilinear Gifts: A Logical Extension of the Gifts

Our new Curvilinear Gift and Divided Cylinder were originally developed in the 19th century at the Chicago Kindergarten Training College by Belle Woodson. These materials are discussed in the book by Elizabeth Harrison (The Kindergarten Building Gifts, 1904), and were available from the Milton Bradley Co. for many years. After looking at various other curvilinear extensions of Froebelıs Gifts, we were convinced that these materials were the closest to what Froebel intended. Froebel used similar materials in his schools but did not specifically discuss their design in his manuscripts since he wanted to encourage teacher creativity.
We are pleased that our new Gifts are being used at the Froebel school in Toronto. The Curvilinear Gift has also been well-received by construction toy afficionados.
These Gifts are now available from FroebelUSA.com in the traditional wood boxes.

Gift 2 Hanging Apparatus

Uncle Goose Toys began manufacturing the Froebel Gifts 2-6 in 1997, and the first few hundred sets did not contain a hanging apparatus for our Gift 2.

The reason for the omission was that we did not like any of the previous versions of the apparatus and set about finding a better solution for this import aspect of Gift 2.

Our apparatus uses a quick pin so that the holes do not require a metal clip. In this way, the solids can still be spun by hand using the sticks. Order your upgrade kit, which includes the apparatus and a newly revised booklet for $15, by calling Uncle Goose Toys at 888-573-3436 or email.

Gifts 7, 8 & 9

Many of the reply cards we have received have asked for more information on the other Gifts. Our numbering scheme is slightly different than the historical sets from Milton Bradley, or even the Kraus-Boelte Kindergarten Guide. Like the Froebel School in Toronto, we combine the sticks and rings into one Gift, Gift 8. We also ignore variations on a Gift. The lines belong to one Gift whether they are straight, curved or connected. See the circle diagram below.
We are now producing Gifts 7, 8 and 9, and these are available in both the paperbox and traditional wood boxes. The Curvilinear series are extensions of the traditional Gifts, so the Divided Cylinder corresponds to Gift 3 and the Curvilinear Gift to Gift 5. We plan to continue to provide new wood solids and other materials that help children explore the beauty of geometry.
We have received many compliments on our Gifts, especially Gift 8 (metal sticks & rings). The children at the Toronto Froebel school have given them an enthusiastic thumbs up.
A good version of the last Gift (10) still eludes us. Several companies make toys that are useful for older children (8+ years). Toys like Zometool, Ikoso Kits, and Geofix (GeoShapes) work well. See the website for more information on these products.
The best materials for younger children are the Peaswork Occupation, which cannot be easily undone and so is called an Occupation instead of a Gift. We have posted the recipe/supply list for peaswork on our website.

philosophy | history | community | projects | bookstore | contact | events | forum | deutsch