Paper History of Early Childhood Education Comenius, Froebel, Montessori
1. John Amos Comenius John Amos Comenius (1592-1670) was a Czech theologian, philosopher, teacher and writer who thought education could improve society. He advocated universal textbooks & language and believed children would enjoy learning more if they were methodically taught in early years. Comenius thought instruction should move from general to specific, from easy to difficult and believed to engage children with nature. He taught that education began in the earliest days of childhood, and continued throughout life.1 Comenius believed in four different schools for different ages: -Nursery School – birth to 6 years of age, where hands-on learning, active experiences and sensory learning are of importance. 2 -Elementary (National) – ages 6 to 12 -Latin School (Gymnasium) – ages 13 -18 -Academy – gifted ages 19-24 From his point of view teachers should present lessons at a reasonable pace, use age-appropriate instruction, keep materials constantly before a child’s eyes and use a single method of instruction at all times. Comenius rejected the conventional wisdom that children were inherently bad and that teachers needed to use corporal punishment to discipline them. 3 He was the first to promote continuing education and the first to advocate equal education for all, including women and the poor. Furthermore he wrote the Great Didactic (a textbook for curriculum and education) and was the first to use pictures in text books for teaching children (Orbis Pictus). “His philosophy of Pansophism (meaning 'all knowledge') attempted to incorporate theology, philosophy, and education into one.” He believed that learning, spiritual, and emotional growth were all woven together” - especially in the teaching of children. “What Comenius referred to as the Via Lucis, or 'way of light,' was the pursuit of higher learning and spiritual enlightenment bound together.” 4 In 1641/42 he was asked to completely restructure the school system of Sweden. As the Bishop of the Unitas Fratrum, the Moravian Church, Comenius was asked to be the first President of Harvard College, but declined. He died in Amsterdam in 1670. “Comenius's theory incorporated spiritual love of human beings with emphasis on Nature's goodness.” 5 He was a naturalistic educator who believed children were innately good and learned most effectively and efficiently by examining objects in their immediate natural environment. “Comenius anticipated many practices associated with modern child-centered progressive education.” 6 He believed that teaching should build on children's interests and actively involve their senses. During his lifetime he published 154 books, mostly dealing with educational philosophy and theology. Known today as the 'Father of Modern Education,' he pioneered modern educational methods. 3 1Comenius Foundation, 2013, in: http://comeniusfoundation.org/pages/why-comenius/comenius-biography.php 2Essa & Young (1994), p. 36 3www.wou.edu/~girodm/foundations/pioneers.pdf, p. 106
4Comenius Foundation, 2013, in: http://comeniusfoundation.org/pages/why-comenius/comenius-biography.php 5www.wou.edu/~girodm/foundations/pioneers.pdf, p. 106 6www.wou.edu/~girodm/foundations/pioneers.pdf, p. 107
2. Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel The German educationalist Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel was born in 1782. From 1798 to 1800 he was an apprentice to a forester and surveyor in Neuhaus, and attended the University of Jena from 1800 to 1802. In 1805 Froebel briefly studied architecture in Frankfurt, got hired as a teacher and took a short course with Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi at Yverdon, where he interned from 1808 to 1810. Although he accepted certain aspects of Pestalozzi's method – the emphasis on nature, the permissive school atmosphere and the object lesson – he believed that Pestalozzi's theory lacked an adequate philosophical foundation. Froebel gave Pestalozzi's object lesson a more...
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