Guest blog

Our collective professional development at Feltonfleet Pre-Prep has been inspired since we were introduced to the modern-day influences of the educator and founder of the first Kindergarten, Friedrich Froebel. 

Our journey began when Sally Cave, Headteacher of Guildford Nursery School, showed me the Froebel principles in action at Guildford Nursery School and Family Centre. Sally explained how the wonderful work that takes place there is guided by Froebelian principles. Sally encouraged and enabled me to learn more through training across six elements on the Froebel Trust Short Course through the Froebel Partnership, with colleagues collaborating online from the UK and New Zealand with Dr Stella Louis and Jane Whinnett. 

Our Feltonfleet Pre-Prep staff have participated in workshops delivered by the Guildford Nursery School team to consider ways to engage children physically, intellectually, creatively, socially and emotionally in meaningful, relevant play-based learning experiences.

Essential learning for life through ‘occupations’ such as gardening, cooking, woodwork, threading, sewing, weaving and the use of clay have been demonstrated and validated as opportunities for children to develop their ‘whole self’ by making connections, engaging with nature and handling real objects for real purposes.

Block play has always been a popular child led mathematical and creative opportunity in our Early Years. Through the Froebelian stages of block play and symbolic representation, by making careful observations and really listening to children, we can start to understand so much about how children think, learn, problem solve and pretend.

We are already noticing how levels of engagement, communication and flexible thinking are developing among children when they are surrounded by an environment, resources and staff that offer ‘freedom with guidance’ to enable them space and time to be the age and stage they are. 

We now have two more staff attending regular training at Guildford Nursery School to complete their own Froebel Trust short courses across six elements during the next two years. 

The Feltonfleet staff team extend our thanks to Guildford Nursery School for making us all so welcome both in the virtual learning context and the visits, tours and training sessions that have taken place within the remarkable Froebelian inspired learning environment in the Nursery itself. We are excited about putting principles into practice, indoors and outdoors in our own Pre-Prep.

Written by 
Amanda Burton Smith 
Head of Pre-Prep, Feltonfleet Prep School