Spirituality in early childhood pedagogy: a Froebelian perspective

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


Spirituality is a multi-layered, contested but also under-researched area in the Froebelian literature. This documentary research aims to explore the role of spirituality in early childhood pedagogy from a Froebelian perspective by attempting to link the historical and contemporary thinking. Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852) highlighted the importance of spirituality focusing on the concept of Unity, the interconnectivity between the child, humanity, nature, divinity and the unknown worlds (Froebel, 1840; Froebel, 1887; Froebel, 1899; Bruce, 1987; Liebschner 1992; Brehony, 2001; Read, 2006; Tovey, 2013; Wasmuth, 2020; Bruce 2021). Contemporary research highlights spirituality as an integral part of human development and as an important way of human connectedness, which transcends religious-secular boundaries (Adams, Bull and Maynes, 2016; Best, 2016). It is acknowledged that nurturing children’s spiritual development is an important but complex matter (Best, 2000; Stockinger, 2019).
The discontinuity between Froebel’s writing and Froebelian interpretation of Froebel’s work including the Revisionist (Brehony 2000; Nawrotzki, 2006) and contemporary Froebelians might have led to difficulty in gaining a comprehensive understanding of spirituality in the Froebelian tradition. However alternative thinking of spirituality clearly resonates with the important role of a Froebelian approach to spirituality in supporting children’s holistic learning and wellbeing. This documentary research cannot emphasise enough the significance of a Froebelian perspective in mitigating pressures from neoliberalism driven by accountability and performativity on childhood experience (Moss and Dahlberg, 2008; Ball, 2021) and enhancing practitioners’ professionalism in working with children, families and communities during and beyond unprecedented times of the Covid-19 pandemic.


SeminarCentre for Learning, Teaching and Human Development webinar, School of Education, University of Roehampton
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  • Froebelian literature, documentary research, unity, spirituality, holistic learning, wellbeing, Froebelian confusion, Froebelian mist/mystery

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