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A pre-literate playground
In 'A pre-literate playground', Stolte reflects on the period before he learned to write. Growing up, his mother always encouraged him to ‘fröbel’. He thought it was just a saying and always considered it an enjoyable, but thoughtless pastime. When researching his pre-school period, Stolte learned that Fröbelen is actually a term used to describe the educational philosophy and methods of Friedrich Fröbel, who was a German educator and proponent of early childhood education. Fröbel believed that education should focus on play and exploration.
Fröbel developped serval ‘gifts’, like the building block set. These materials were intended to provide children with a variety of sensory and intellectual experiences that would stimulate their curiosity, creativity, and critical thinking. Letters are not included in the "gifts" because Fröbel believed that formal education and instruction in reading and writing should not begin until the child was at least six years old. It made Stolte wonder if there is a way to introduce letters in the gifts of Fröbel, easing the transition to literate life.
Building on Fröbel's ideas in an effort to bridge play and academic learning, Stolte exchanges the rules of language that hinder him for his own rules of the letter system. In this series of works, that system has been reduced to its essence: the minimal grid of 3 by 3. At this level of abstraction, letters are barely recognizable and forming and considering letters becomes intuitive. It is a personal process of symbol formation and it invites the viewer to experiment with different arrangements and configurations and to use their imagination and creativity to create unique and interesting letter compositions. 'A pre-literate playground' is an ongoing visual research that results in a series of dialogical typographic objects.