Historical Bases of Early Childhood Education

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A brief account of the historical start of the early childhood education

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Historical Bases of Early Childhood Education ERNESTO D. YLASCO M.A. in Early Childhood Education

THE EARLY GREEKS:

THE EARLY GREEKS Infanticide was a universal practice particularly in girls and infants with birth defects. At best, an unwanted infant might be “potted”.

Sparta & Athens:

Sparta & Athens In Sparta, education was only available for boys and that they were meant to be trained as warriors. Girls were meant to live a domestic life and might also be provided with quasi-military training to prepare them to be mothers and wives of warriors. In Athens, education was meant to amuse the mind. Good health, social habits and ideas for the mind were given emphasis.

Plato (427? – 347 B.C.):

Plato (427? – 347 B.C.) Plato argued for informal learning and freedom based on structured guidance. He believed that knowledge which is acquired under compulsion obtains no hold on the mind. So do not use compulsion but let early education be a sort of amusement.

Aristotle (384 – 322 B.C.):

Aristotle (384 – 322 B.C.) Aristotle also believed that early education was important. He argued that children have varying talents and skills, and that these should be enhanced. Thus, he may be the first writer to recognize the educational importance of individual differences .

THE EARLY ROMANS:

THE EARLY ROMANS Roman education was restricted to the basic necessities of life: farming, swimming and riding for example. Quintilian – a Greco-Roman who became known because of his belief. He felt that in order to produce young adults of good character, education must begin at age 1. According to him, what the child learned while young and still at home would have lifelong implications.

THE EARLY CHRISTIANS:

THE EARLY CHRISTIANS With the fall of Roman Empire, Christian churches rose to power. This worked in favor of young children because infanticide was considered murder and a punishable sin. The Christian emperor Constantine made killing a child a crime in 318. Constantine decreed Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire and Christian schools spread throughout.

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1628 John Amos Comenius’ The Great Didactic proclaimed the value of education for all children according to the laws of nature. Comenius believed that learning must be concrete before it can be abstract. 1692 John Locke’s view that infants were born with great potential for learning was made known. He said that their minds might be viewed as white paper or an empty cabinet or a blank tablet. 1762 Jean-Jacques Rousseau wrote Emile , explaining that education should take into account the child’s natural growth and interests. 1780 Robert Raikes initiated the Sunday School movement in England to teach Bible study and religion to children. 1801 Johann Pestalozzi wrote How Gertrude Teaches Her Children , emphasizing home education and learning by discovery.

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1816 Robert Owen set up a nursery school in Great Britain at the New Lanark Cotton Mills, believing that early education could counteract bad influences of the home. 1817 Thomas Gallaudet founded the first residential school for the deaf in Hartford, Connecticut. 1836 William McGuffey began publishing the Eclectic Reader for elementary school children; his writing had a strong impact on moral and literary attitudes in the 19 th century. 1837 Friedrich Froebel, known as the “Father of the Kindergarten”, established the first kindergarten in Blankenburgh , Germany.

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1837 Edouard Seguin, influenced by Jean Itard , started the first school for the feebleminded in France. 1856 Mrs. Carl Schurz established the first kindergarten in the United States in Watertown, Wisconsin; the school was founded for children of German immigrants, and the program was conducted in German. 1860 Elizabeth Peabody opened a private kindergarten in Boston, Massachusetts, for English-speaking children. 1869 The first special education class for the deaf was founded in Boston.

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1871 The first public kindergarten in North America was started in Ontario, Canada. 1873 Susan Blow open the first public school kindergarten in the United States in St. Louis, Missouri, as a cooperative effort with William Harris, superintendent of schools. 1876 A model kindergarten was shown at the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. 1880 First teacher-training program for teachers of kindergarten began in Oshkosh Normal School, Philadelphia. 1884 The American Association of Elementary, Kindergarten, and Nursery School Educators was founded to serve in a consulting capacity for other educators. 1892 The International Kindergarten Union (IKU) was founded.

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1896 John Dewey started the Laboratory School at the University of Chicago, basing his program on child-centered learning with an emphasis on life experiences. 1905 Sigmund Freud wrote Three Essays of the Theory of Sexuality , emphasizing the value of a healthy emotional environment during childhood. 1907 Maria Montessori started her first preschool in Rome called Children’s House; her now-famous teaching method was based on the theory that children learn best by themselves in a properly prepared environment. 1909 The first White House Conference on Children was convened by Theodore Roosevelt. 1911 Margaret and Rachel McMillan founded an open-air nursery school in Great Britain, in which the class met outdoors and emphasis was on healthy living. 1912 Arnold and Beatrice Gesell wrote The Normal Child and Primary Education

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1915 Eva McLin started the first U.S. Montessori nursery school in new York City. 1918 The first public nursery schools were started in Great Britain. 1919 Harriet Johnson started the Nursery School of the Bureau of Educational Experiments, later to become the Bank Street College of Education. 1921 Patty Smith Hill started a progressive, laboratory nursery school at Columbia Teachers College. A.S. Neill founded Summerhill , an experimental school based on the ideas of Rousseau and Dewey.

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1922 Abigail Eliot, influenced by the open-air school in Great Britain snd basing her program on personal hygiene and proper behavior, started the Ruggles Street Nursery School in Boston. 1924 Childhood Education , the first professional journal in early childhood education, was published by the IKU. 1926 The National Committee on Nursery Schools was initiated by Patty Smith Hill at Columbia Teachers College; now called the National Association for the Education of Young Children, it provides guidance and consultant services for educators. 1926 The National Association of Nursery Education (NANE) was founded. 1930 The IKU changed its name to the Association for Childhood Education.

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1933 The work Projects Administration (WPA) provided money to start nursery schools so that unemployed teachers would have jobs. 1940 The Lanham Act provided funds for child care during World War II, mainly for day care centers for children whose mothers worked in the war effort. 1943 Kaiser Child Care Center opened in Portland, Oregon, to provide twenty-four-hour child care for children of mothers working in war-related industries. 1944 The journal Young Children was first published by the NANE. 1946 Dr. Benjamin Spock wrote the Common Sense Book of Baby and Child Care.

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1950 Erik Erikson published his writings on the “eight ages or stages” of personality growth and development and identified “tasks” for each stage of development; the information, known as “Personality in the Making,” formed the basis for the 1950 White House Conference on Children and Youth. 1952 Jean Piaget’s The Origins of Intelligence in Children was published in English translation. 1955 Rudolf Flesch’s Why Johnny Can’t Read criticized the schools for their methodology in teaching reading and other basic skills. 1957 The Soviet Union launched Sputnik , sparking renewed interest in other educational systems and marking the beginning of the “rediscovery” of early childhood education.

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1960 Katharine Whiteside Taylor founded the American Council of Parent Cooperatives for those interested in exchanging ideas in preschool education; it later became the Parent Cooperative Preschools International. 1960 The Day Care and Child Development Council of America was formed to publicize the need for quality services for children. 1964 At its Miami Beach conference, the NANE became the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC). 1964 The Economic Opportunity Act of 1964 was passed as the beginning of the war on poverty and was the foundation for Head Start. 1965 The Elementary and Secondary Education Act was passed to provide federal money for programs for educationally deprived children.

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1965 The Head Start Program began with federal money allocated for preschool education; the early programs were known as child development centers. 1966 The Bureau of Education for the Handicapped was established. 1967 The Follow Through Program was initiated to extend the Head Start Program into the primary grades. 1968 B.F. Skinner wrote The Technology of Teaching , which outlines a programmed approach to learning. 1968 The federal government established the Handicapped Children’s Early Education Program to fund model preschool programs for children with disabilities. 1970 The White House Conference on Children and Youth was held.

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1971 The Stride Rite Corporation in Boston was the first to start a corporate-supported child care program. 1972 The National Home Start Program began for the purpose of involving parents in their children’s education. 1975 Public Law 94-142, the Education for All Handicapped Children Act, was passed mandating a free and appropriate education for all children with disabilities and extending many rights to parents of such children. 1979 The International Year of the Child was sponsored by the United Nations and designated by Executive Order. 1980 The White House Conference on families was held.

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1981 The Head Start Act of 1981 (Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1981, Public Law 97-35) was passed to extend Head Start and provide effective delivery of comprehensive services to economically disadvantaged children and their families. 1981 The Education Consolidation and Improvement Act (ECIA) was passed, consolidating many federal support programs for education. 1982 The Mississippi legislature established mandatory statewide public kindergarten. 1983 An Arkansas commission chaired by Hillary Clinton calls for mandatory kindergarten and lower pupil-teacher ratios in the early grades.

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1984 The High/Scope Educational Foundation released a study that it said documented the value of high-quality preschool programs for poor children. This study will be cited repeatedly in coming years by those favoring expansion of Head Start and other early-years programs. 1985 Head Start celebrated its twentieth anniversary with a Joint Resolution of the Senate House “reaffirming congressional support.” 1986 The U.S. secretary of education proclaimed this the Year of the Elementary School, saying, “Let’s do all we can this year to remind this nation that the time our children spend in elementary school is crucial to everything they will do for the rest of their lives.”

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1986 Public Law 99-457 (the Education of the Handicapped Act Amendments) established a national policy on early intervention that recognizes its benefits, provides assistance to states to build systems of service delivery, and recognizes the unique role of families in the development of their children with disabilities. 1987 Congress created the National Commission to Prevent Infant Mortality. 1989 The United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child was adopted by the UN General Assembly. 1990 The United Nation Convention on the Rights of the Child went into effect following its signing by twenty nations.

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1990 Head Start celebrated its twenty-fifth anniversary. 1991 Education Alternatives, Inc., a for-profit firm, opened South Pointe Elementary School in Miami, Florida, the first public school in the nation to be run by a private company. 1991 The Carnegie Foundation issued “Ready to Learn,” a plan to ensure children’s readiness for school. 1994 The United Nations declared 1994 the Year of the Indigenous Child.

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