Pioneers: Robert Owen and Friedrich Froebel

Written by: Estelle Martin
Thursday, November 30, 2017

Among the key pioneers and influencers of early years education, Robert Owen and Friedrich Froebel have left huge legacies.

Key points

  • Robert Owen, a mill owner in Scotland, is credited with opening the first workplace nursery. He believed in social reform, the abolishment of child labour and the welfare of his wokers
  • Owen belived that outdoor experiences were vital for a child’s development and learning
  • Friedrich Froebel believed that children needed to be given the time to be children, and not to be pushed beyond their developmental stage
  • Froebel advocated free-flow play and for early educators to be trained

Note: This article was first published in the October 2007 edition of eye


This the first in a 12-part series examining the work and influence of the great pioneers of early years education. Each month, the series will feature two people who have helped shape our understanding of child development and learning.

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