Ownership and autonomy in early learning

A brief review of the Froebel Research Fellowship Project 2002–2015

Authored by: David Hargreaves , Sue Robson , Sue Greenfield , Hiroko Fumoto

The Routledge International Handbook of Froebel and Early Childhood Practice

Print publication date:  August  2018
Online publication date:  August  2018

Print ISBN: 9781138672628
eBook ISBN: 9781315562421
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter provides a brief review of the main phases and findings of the Froebel Research Fellowship (FRF) project, which has been funded by the Froebel Trust (previously the Incorporated Froebel Educational Institute) since 2002. The project is investigating the extent to which Froebelian ideals might be met within the demands of contemporary early childhood education and care. We have completed five main phases of the project, and a sixth is currently under way. In Phases 1–3 (2002–5) we investigated practitioners’ attitudes to the development of children’s personal, social and cognitive skills in the Foundation Stage curriculum using interviews, observations and questionnaires. In Phases 4a-c (2005–8), our focus narrowed to the study of children’s creative thinking, and to the effects of social relationships upon it: children’s, parents’ and practitioners’ views were investigated in Phases 4a, 4b and 4c respectively. Phase 5 (2009–11) focussed primarily on the distinction between play and learning at home and at school. Our shift in attention to the cognitive aspects of creativity in Phases 1–3 to its social dimension in Phases 4 and 5 has now moved towards emotional and motivational issues in Phase 6 (2012–15), in which we are investigating children’s well-being.

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