The Legacy of Margaret Lowenfeld

Dr Margaret Lowenfeld understood children – how they think and feel, and how they communicate these thoughts and feelings (see Play in Childhood). From these insights she pioneered ways in which therapists could access the child’s thoughts and feelings.

First and foremost was the World Technique, now more widely known as Sandplay (see Understanding Children’s Sandplay) pioneered by Lowenfeld in the early 1930s. Lowenfeld understood that children “think with their hands” through action.

Her next invention was the Lowenfeld Mosaics (see Expressing the Shape and Colour of Personality: Using Lowenfeld Mosaics in Psychotherapy and Cross-cultural Research by Thérèse Mei-Yau Woodcock). The Mosaic Test is a projective tool which allows the child to paint a self-portrait of themselves in action. With colleagues working world-wide, the Mosaics have also been found useful in teasing out cultural differences (see above).

Lowenfeld’s long experience of watching children and adults use these non-verbal techniques of communication resulted in the development of her own original theories, in particular the Theory of Protosystem Thinking (see Selected Papers, also in Therese Mei-Yau Woodcock above).

Her experience with and observation of children also enabled her to design an educational tool (Poleidoblocs) to help young children discover the basic principles of mathematics.

The Dr Margaret Lowenfeld Trust was set up to maintain and develop her legacy.