Schoolyard Gardens | PITH + VIGOR by Rochelle Greayer

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Schoolyard Gardens


Project H Design is a charitable organization that supports, inspires, and delivers life-improving humanitarian product design solutions. Recently they applied their efforts to a Ugandan School to create a landscape for learning math.  (read all about it’s creation here).

Ugandan Landscape for learning by Project H design

Ugandan Landscape for learning by Project H design mathscape

I read about this at BLDGBLOG this morning and was so inspired by this and another picture that was included in the post.

This is the other picture, it is from the archives of the The Institute For Figuring in Los Angeles.

Forebelian schoolyard garden school garden kindergarten classroom

It is a Froebelian garden for kids (specifically kindergarteners).  What is a Froebelian garden I asked…. Friedrich Froebelwas the father of what we now call kindergarten. To quote from their online exhibition:

    Most of us today experienced kindergarten as a loose assortment of playful activities – a kind of preparatory ground for school proper. But in its original incarnation kindergarten was a formalized system that drew its inspiration from the science of crystallography. During its early years in the nineteenth century, kindergarten was based around a system of abstract exercises that aimed to instill in young children an understanding of the mathematically generated logic underlying the ebb and flow of creation. This revolutionary system was developed by the German scientist Friedrich Froebel whose vision of childhood education changed the course of our culture laying the grounds for modernist art, architecture and design. Le Corbusier, Frank Lloyd Wright and Buckminster Fuller are all documented attendees of kindergarten. Other “form-givers” of the modern era – including Piet Mondrian, Wassily Kandinsky and Georges Braque – were educated in an environment permeated with Frobelian influence.

Froebel’s ultimate aim of the kindergarten movement “was to instill in children an understanding of what an earlier generation would have called ‘the music of the spheres’ – the mathematically generated logic underlying the ebb and flow of creation.” Philosophically, kindergarten was grounded in Froebel’s belief in the Unity of all things and in the existence of simple laws and principles underlying nature’s apparent complexity. As Froebel saw it, the crystal was the archetypal form from which we could derive a model for all of nature. The child herself could be seen as a crystal.  Froebel wrote that the role of education was to guide the development of the nascent, crystalline mind from “one-sidedness, individuality and incompleteness” toward “all-sidedness, harmony and completeness.”

Froebel designed his educational experience around a series of physical and mental activities, among them singing, dancing and gardening.  Unfortunately, there is barely a trace of Froebel in modern kindergarten.  As the mom of a kindergartner, I would love to see a bit more, including the incorporation of schoolyard gardens like this one.

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