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Childhoods past
School and family life

Introduction | Social events | Political events | Special events | Personal and cultural identity | Hermannsberg and Aurukun school

School and family life | Writing patterns | Fingerpainting | Observations of daily life | 'Reach for the apple' | Frances Derham

 

During the 20th century perceptions of the nature of learning and relationships between children and teachers have changed significantly. For example, before the practice of Friedrich Fröebel, the German educator whose term 'kindergarten', or children's garden, became influential in the late 19th century, young children were often expected to sit for long periods of time in tiers of wooden benches with hands clasped together, listening to a teacher telling them about the world around them.

Fröebel's kindergarten profoundly changed such expectations as children were released both physically and metaphorically into 'gardens' where they experienced the world for themselves and interacted with the teacher whose role was closer to the Latin derivation of education, educare, 'to draw out' from the child. Engaging in the process of observing, Fröebel saw the teacher as an active participant in making meaning, not for the child, rather with the child.

The following images show examples of the imaginative ways in which artist-educators encouraged children to explore their daily lives art. Herr Josef Dworschak, a teacher in a Viennese orphanage in the 1930s, was concerned to develop children's imagination through a wide range of media such as painting, drawing, clay, woodwork, metal and glass. These images are an example of how Dworschak inspired children to explore the use of colour on we paper. This contrasted to the more usual practice in Viennese schools at the time of teaching about theories of colour.

 

Unknown
Vienna

Houses

24.2 x 31.2 cm

 

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Unknown
Vienna

Animal, person, house

29.8 x 29.6 cm

 

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Kauper
Vienna

Figure in light

29.6 x 19.8 cm

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Unknown
Vienna

Baby

15.2 x 22.6 cm

 

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