History Of Early Childhood Education

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History of Early Childhood Education

Table of Contents



1 - Ancient Greece & Rome Plato & Aristotle3

2 - The Medieval Era, the Renaissance, and the Reformation Constantine4

Martin Luther (1483-1546)4

Comenius (1592-1670)5

3 - The Enlightenment6

John Locke (1632-1704)6

Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712-1778)7

4 - The 19th Century8

Johann Pestalozzi (1746-1827)8

Robert Owen9

5 - Others (Froebel & the kindergarten Progressive Education; John Dewey and Maria Montessori)10

Froebel & the kindergarten Progressive Education10

John Dewey (1859-1952)12

Maria Montessori (1879-1952)12





History of Early Childhood Education


Early childhood educational practices have continued to change and develop during the history. Research in child growth and development influenced both the way teachers viewed the learning process and the types of experiences that were provided during education. Early childhood education has a unique and rich history that reflects changing social, economic, and demographic conditions. Influential people who have contributed to contemporary beliefs and practices in early childhood education include Luther, Comenius, Locke, Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Froebel, Dewey, Montessori, Piaget, and Vygotsky. As the field of early childhood education has evolved over time, many programs and curricula that were originally established to address the needs of certain groups of children have been extended to other groups and applied in different contexts. For example, Froebel's original “children's garden” was established for German children, yet today we find many of his ideas in public and private early childhood programs for children who come from upper and lower income families. It is important to remember that not all children have had equal access to early childhood programs over time. Up until the mid-20th century, ethnic minorities such as African Americans and Native Americans had few opportunities to participate in early childhood programs or they attended segregated programs.


1 - Ancient Greece & Rome Plato & Aristotle

Since ancient times, definition of early childhood differs all over history. At that time children were considered adults by age 7 and the education started at home. Schooling used to be provided to wealthy boys only Girls and working class used to be taught domestic work. Romans used to feel that education needed to be given at home when children started to talk. While education was starting about 6 or 7, Aristotle and Plato thought education needed to be given to youngers as well. Both Aristotle and Plato highlighted the ineffectiveness of corporal punishment and use of rewards. Aristotle thought that instilling virtues in children was vital to creating adult citizens who are an advantage to their society. He also believed that children must be taught virtue by the use of repetitive exercises. In Ancient Romans and Greeks era, Aristotle (384-323B.C.) and Plato (427 B.C.) founded schools using small group tutoring. They taught wealthy boys commerce, governing, thinking skills, and military strategy. (Anning 2004)

2 - The Medieval Era, the Renaissance, and the Reformation Constantine

Martin Luther (1483-1546)

Luther is commonly referred to as the “Father of the Reformation” and is credited with a number of educational reforms. Luther opposed the power and authority of the Catholic Church by advocating that the state should control both the church and the ...
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