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The History & Evolution of Early Childhood

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by Darla McDowell on 5 September 2013

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Transcript of The History & Evolution of Early Childhood

The History & Evolution of Early Childhood
Influences from Abroad
Comenius
Locke
Rousseau
Pestalozzi
Froebel
Montessori
Steiner
The McMillan Sisters
American Influences
Colonial Days
Children in Enslavement
John Dewey
Patty Smith Hill
Lucy Sprague Mitchell
Abigail Eliot
The Field & Its Evolution
- gentle place of playing & growing
- by 1920s & 1930s, Early Childhood Education had reached a professional status in the US
- child-centered approach (provide experiences based on ways that kids perceive and learn--organization, schedule, teaching methods--kid's interests are primary)
- upper & middle class, not until 1960s that reached poor families


Programs with a Message
Early Childhood Continues to Evolve
There is more than one right way to educate a child. History documents several philosophies on education and not one is the single, exact way to teach a child. Other disciplines and current issues will always influence early childhood education.
Comenius - early 1600s
- kids should learn at their own pace & learn best by doing
- natural order
- kids should play with other kids
- wrote first picture book
Locke - mid 1600s
- tabula rasa (clean slate)
- individual differences
- studied the mind & learning
- based on scientific method
Rousseau - mid 1700s
- kids are inherently good
- active learning, kids learn from firsthand info
- education should not just be for the pursuit of a job
- kid vs adult view
- phases of development
Pestalozzi - late 1700s
- motto: learning by head, hand, & heart
- development of the sense/whole child
- integrated curriculum
- group teaching better than individual

Froebel - mid 1800s
- kindergarten = children's garden (plant ideas, kids grow)
- teacher training
- play is constructive & formative
- designed educational toys

Montessori - early 1900s
- preschool for 2-5 yrs olds
- studied poor/mentally retarded, believe they lacked proper motivation & environment
- sequential steps in learning

Steiner - early 1900s
- Waldorf school
- will, heart, & head periods
- environment key to protecting & nurturing
- selective choosing of role-models
McMillan Sisters - 1900-1930s
-"nursery school", set up a clinic/nursery to protect kids' health
- nurture by providing fresh air, sleep, baths
- education of young kids vital

Colonial Period - 1600-1800s
- one room schoolhouse
- Bible study for boys
- harsh discipline
- Southern plantations educate boys from the upper class
- free common school system after the Revolutionary War (1775-1783)
- labor was more important than education
Slavery - 1620-1800s
education for African Americans was severely limited
some slaves were provided literary training as part of religious instruction (Sabbath schools)
Southern plantations forbade education of slaves--threatening!
after Civil War (1861-1865), private/public schools open for African Americans
separate & not equal
by end of 1800s, colleges & universities founded, emphasize practical education & intercultural understanding between races


Progressive Movement:
John Dewey - end of 1800s
- children are valuable & childhood is important
- nature of the child
- social skills through modeling
- child-centered
- enriching experiences, projects
- integrated curriculum
- experiential learning

Patty Smith Hill
founded Natl Assn for Nursery Educators (now NAEYC), free choice, relevant curriculum, gross-motor skills & creativity

Lucy Sprague Mitchell
Abigail Eliot
schools are community centers, created lab schools, focus on children's lit, teacher-planned curriculum
worked with McMillan sisters, founded Ruggles Street Nursery School, teacher training
Women in 1900s
Nursery School
Kindergarten History
1837- Froebel's german school
1856 - 1st American K for german kids (M Schurz)
1860 - 1st K class in Boston (E Peabody)
1873 - 1st PUBLIC K in the US (S Blow)
Kindergarten Purpose
1856-1890: "charity kindergartens" - class in morning, social/welfare calls on families during the day
1900s: Place for socialization & developing a social conscience, school as a community
1960s: helping less fortunate (Head Start)
1970s: focus on academic goals
1990s: DAP is HUGE!
Currently: K is a clash between developmental play & academic preparation (due to standards/teacher instruction), programs & length of day vary thru US
Child Care
A place for kids that need care for a greater part of the day than a nursery school provides.
Educational!
Saw a rise in child care needs during WWII, when more parents were working.
Kaiser Child Care Centers, from the mid-1900s are most renowned.
Today child care programs for 0-5 yr olds helps working families.
Equal Rights
High-quality education for poor & minorities was very difficult
Legally challenging segregation (1954) offered a new focus & improved education for African Americans.
Civil Rights Act (1964) fought for equal opportunity and equal education.

Head Start
Soviet space program makes US question our schools
idea: education was major stumbling block toward equality of all people
In 1965, launch the "War on Poverty"--helping disadvantaged preschool children
compensatory education, to fill in gaps in child's environment or experiences
now it is a part-day, year round program that includes special needs kids


To better inform your teaching, link the past to the present...
Get SUPPORT from knowing different philosophies of education. Broaden your viewpoint.
Be INSPIRED by the different methods of teaching.
COMMIT to the mission: enhancing the education, development, and well-being of children!
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