about Reminiscences of Froebel (Erinnerungen an Fröbel) by Baroness Bertha Marie von Marenholtz-Bülow

From her first meeting with Froebel, Baroness Bertha Marie von Marenholtz-Bülow dedicated herself to understanding and advocating his educational ideas and the kindergarten. In the four years before his death, she had the advantage of seeing with fresh eyes Froebel's lifework, of speaking with him at length about his ideas and experiencing the Kindergarten under his direction. She became one of the leading interpreters of Froebel's ideas and promoter Kindergarten around the world. Her first pamphlet was called, "The First Education of the Mother, According to Froebel's Method"

In her reminiscences, Froebel emerges as a wanderer, a prophet and moral leader living on the fringes of society and regarded as a mystic by those who do not understand the basis of his educational system. Froebel is presented as a divinely inspired vehicle through which Nature and the common man find their voices in his new philosophy of education. Nature is the stage of the Kindergarten on which the human drama is played, the context in which children understand their place in the universe, as creative beings. The Froebel gifts are a symbolic language engaging the awakening consciousness of children in a dialogue with the nature.

This presentation of Froebel strongly appealled to the aesthetic and intellectual sensibilites of ninteenth century Romanticism. It also served to obscure Froebel's ideas from consideration by subsequent generations. Modern scholars would prefer their educational theories presented in a different way; on a foundation which is completely understood and scientifically established.

"When ideas fail, words come in very handy." Goethe

In the Phaedrus, Socrates makes the case that alphabetic literacy is not the great boon that most take it to be; the written word will weaken rather than augment men's memories; it will divorce discourse from its authenticating origin in the spoken voice; it, in fact, stands as a poor family relation or bastard to the true son of consciousness, "the living word engraved in the soul of a listener."

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