Gift Four: from ages 4 to 13 years; or children in Kindergarten, Connecting School and Academy.
"From a child's point of view, it is important that the next Gift presented is recognized by him as 'the new in the old' so that he becomes aware of the developmental processes which are to be found in the world and in life." Quoted from: A Child's Work By: Joachim Liebschner pg. 89.
Gift Four has several key considerations that Froebel emphasized when he designed the set of eight oblong wooden blocks in a box. They are:
1. Whatever has occured before in a Gift must be the basis of the new one. This emphasizes the concepts on the child's level of comprehension.
2. Every new Gift that is introduced the child must be a complete whole unto itself and at the same time part of even a larger whole.
3. Education is a matter of expressing what is known, by internalizing what is new and externalizing these thoughts through repeated play.
Gift Four is introduced to the child as their old friend cube, but this cube is different. New shapes, new math concepts, vocabulary, and designs are introduced. When Gifts Three and Four are combined, even more elaborate building can occur.
With the Building Gifts, Froebel introduced his divisions of forms. After free-play has occured, children in the kindergarten phase of 4 to 7 years old, learn different concepts. They begin with what is known and move onto what is unknown. They are: Forms of Life, Forms of Beauty, and Forms of Knowledge.
Forms of Life represent tangible objects in the child's world, such as buildings, furniture etc. It is social studies for young children.
Forms of Beauty lead the child to observe and be aware of their beautiful surroundings. Patterns, running forms, and symmetrical designs are found in the built and natural world and are replicated by the child on this small scale.
Forms of Knowledge introduce the child to the worlds of math and science. Following directions, counting, experimenting with weight and heights are all explored.
Gift Six: from ages 8 to 13; or children in the Connecting School & Academy.
Gift Six is another recapitulation of a previous gift; this time it is of Gift Four. Again the difference is in the amount of pieces and two new shapes. Friedrich Froebel left notes on this Gift, but never saw them come to fruition. The men and women that followed his teachings developed this gift.
As in the previous study of the Gifts, Forms of Life, Forms of Beauty, and Forms of Knowledge are undertaken after free play. Where the Forms of Knowledge were the most important feature of Gift Five, Forms of Life are to Gift Six. The oblong blocks, the columns and the caps introduce the child to architecture's fundamental forms. The idea that architecture is useful, beautiful and math/science based is understood by the child and nourishes their mind while replicating their world. Therefore the history of architecture is studied and coincides with the age of the child when their world is expanding and they are curious about the past.
Forms of Beauty that are developed on a multiple numbered base such as fours & fives are created upon the table. Forms with closed and open centers and ones that resemble weaving expand the child's artistic thoughts.
Forms of Knowledge with Gift Six bring the understanding of measurement in length, breadth, and height to a child's level of comprehension. This is used when building both the Forms of Life and Forms of Beauty. With the older child's hand being more flexible and able to achieve fine motor skills without much frustration, the Occupations that compliment this Gift become more and more prevalent in a Froebel based education.