Early Childhood Education Past and Present
In order to decide how past philosophies, theories and educational models have influenced present ideas and practices related to early childhood education, we must first decide where we would like to begin. I will start with the ideas of Aristotle, because I believe his ideas on “mimesis” or imitations are evident in the evolution of early education, and will always be an integral part of effective learning. Once we understand that children learn and practice what they see in others, we begin to realize the need for dedication and devotion from parents and teachers. Aristotle was a student of Plato who argued for the early removal of children from their parents so that they could be cared for in a school like setting. (Schwartz 1997)
As we look back at history itself, we can see that the role of childhood education has been dependent upon the immediate needs and beliefs of a particular society. There have also been many individuals in the past 200 years who are responsible for creating theories and philosophies based on their observations of children and what is vital to them as they develop into adults. However, it is important that we recognize how new ideas are not formed independently, but built upon old ones.
As educators, we must utilize what we notice to be effective, as well as the things that impacted us most as children in an educational setting. The strategies and philosophies that I’ve implemented in particular are borrowed from several individuals including Erikson, Vygotsky and Gardiner. Erikson’s psychosocial theory covers eight stages, each one built upon, and reliant on its predecessor. The first four are of greatest relevance, but the remaining four are worthy of a close look because it is important to know where you’re going when deciding upon the best way to get there. These stages also remind me of the importance of satisfying basic need, and of considering children as little people who need...
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