International Journal of
Psychology and Counselling

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Psychol. Couns.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2141-2499
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJPC
  • Start Year: 2009
  • Published Articles: 213

Full Length Research Paper

Play, unity and symbols: Parallels in the works of Froebel and Jung

Kelly A. Russell1 and Jerry Aldridge2*
  1Birmingham-Southern College, 900 Arkadelphia Road, Box 549027, Birmingham, Alabama, USA 35254. 2University of Alabama, School of Education Room 113, 1530 3rd Avenue, Southern Birmingham, Alabama, USA 35294.
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 26 January 2009
  •  Published: 31 March 2009



Fredrich Froebel is recognized as the father of kindergarten (Wolfe, 2002), but is it possible that Froebel had a significant influence in the field of analytical psychology? The ideas of Carl Jung, who pioneered the field of analytical psychology, bear striking similarities to Froebel’s ideas about play, unity and the use of symbols. The circumstances of their lives offer possible explanations for these similarities. Froebel and Jung were sons of ministers and both were criticized by traditional religious leaders. While Jung was born in Switzerland, Froebel was born in Thuringia which was a German Principality. Froebel did live in Switzerland for a time before being driven out by religious leaders of the Catholic faith. However, these simple coincidences could not possibly explain the similarities in their work. Froebel died in 1852, and Jung was not born until 1875. There is no possibility that these men could have ever conversed, but it can be argued that Froebel had a very important impact on Jung’s life and beliefs about play, unity and the use of symbols. It is probable that Jung attended a Froebelian kindergarten. By 1872, kindergarten had become mandatory throughout Switzerland, and Froebel’s method was the required curriculum (Stein, 1997). Because Jung was born in Switzerland in 1875, it is reasonable to assume that he would have been educated in the method of Froebel. This early influence could explain the remarkable parallels in their most fundamental ideas. This paper describes the parallels in the works of Froebel and Jung with regard to their ideas about play, unity and the use of symbols.


Key words: Play, kindergarten, unity, symbols.