SCHOOLING (2002)PAGE 187CHAPTER 6–EARLY CHILDHOOD SCHOOLING IN AMERICAA. OVERVIEWThis chapter presents information regarding educational activities for childrenyounger than traditional school-age children. Also discussed is the history of thedevelopment of early childhood education and current services.B. KEY TERMS–DEFINITIONSADVOCACY - professionals in education who are politically active in effortsto change public policy that affects young children and their families.CHILD CARE CENTER OR DAY CARE CENTER - centers that providecare for young children. Most child care center goals are one or more of thefollowing:a. to provide for the education and care of young children;b. to provide child care for working parents;c. to enhance the intellectual, social, physical, and emotional developmentof the children;d. to provide education and support services for parents.COMPENSATORY - programs for early childhood education that focus onplanned intervention in the younger years and have shown positive benefitslater in life.DISABLED CHILDREN - children who are handicapped, physically ormentally, and are at risk or show a developmental delay.EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION - the education of children from birthto age 8.EMPLOYER SPONSORED SCHOOLS - according to some researchers, thisis the fastest growing type of child care. Employers have learned that providingday-care services to employees results in many advantages to the company’sproductivity, image, and employee morale.FAMILY DAY CARE - an alternative to center care and serve a small group ofchildren in a home setting.FEDERAL INVOLVEMENT - the creation of the Children’s Bureau in 1912marks the first federal involvement in promoting the health, education, andwelfare of young children. During WWII, the Lanhan Act established childcare centers in war industry areas. In 1959, the Department of HealthEducation and Welfare was established. In 1972, a comprehensive child careservices bill was passed.
CHAPTER 6–EARLY CHILDHOOD SCHOOLING IN AMERICAPAGE 188FROEBEL - Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel was a German-born educatorwho was called the “Father of Kindergarten.” He believed that activity was thebasis for knowing and that play was an essential component for learning. Hisconcept of how children learned was based on the idea of natural unfolding andthat the educator’s roll was to observe this unfolding process and provideactivities that helped the child learn what he was ready to learn.HEAD START - this program started in 1965 as an eight-week summerprogram but soon grew into a full-year program. Through Head Start, earlychildhood education was viewed as a vehicle for school improvement andsocial change. This program is primarily directed to low socio-economic levelchildren.J. OBERLIN - Johann Freidrick Oberlin, a Protestant minister, developed theearliest reported school for young children in 1767.KINDERGARTEN - a curriculum and methodology developed by Froebel foryoung children.NURSERY SCHOOL - first established by Margaret McMillan in London in1911. The nursery school stressed health and nutrition, perceptual motor skills,the development of the imagination, and outdoor play and work. The role ofthe teacher was to nurture opportunities for creativity and play.PESTALOZZI - Johan Heinrich Pestalozzi was a Swiss educator who wasgreatly influenced by the romantic philosopher, Rousseau. Pestalozzi believedthe best way to learn many concepts was through manipulative experiences.PIAGET - Jean Piaget contributed his theory of cognitive development thatuses four stages of cognitive development:a. Sensorimotor - birth to 18 months or 2 years;b. Preoperational - 2 to 7 years;c. Concrete operations - 7 to 12 years;d. Formal operations - 12 to 15 years.Piaget also found that children use three processes to organize theirexperiences into a framework for thinking:a. assimilation;b. accommodation;c. equilibrium.Jean Piaget was a Swiss scientist who studied the developmental psychology ofchildren. He was also a recognized zoologist and genetic epistemologist. He
SCHOOLING (2002)PAGE 189made contributions to philosophy, religion, sociology, logic, mathematics, andpsychology.P.L. 99-457 - 1986 - the Education of the Handicapped Act Amendment waslegislation affecting the needs of special-needs youngsters. This law recognizesthe importance of family services in meeting the needs of the pre-school child.The law allows for greater family participation in the education process. It alsoestablished new federal initiative to assist states in developing andimplementing comprehensive programs for young children with special needs.PRE-KINDERGARTEN - most of these programs are part-day and target at-risk four-year-olds. They generally are administered by the state departmentsof education and provided by the local school districts.PRESCHOOL - sometimes called nursery schools, preschools havehistorically been half-day programs. They traditionally focus on the social andemotional needs of the children. Today they focus on the intellectualdevelopment of the child and sponsorship is often assumed by colleges,universities, and other educational institutions that provide a laboratory settingin which to train students.C. SOME PRECEDING THOUGHTS1. What are the purposes of early childhood education programs?The education of children from birth to age eight is the purpose of earlychildhood education. The purpose and focus of these programs has variedgreatly among sponsors. Programs have been sponsored by institutions,agencies, government, and other groups. Federal, state, and localgovernments, parent groups, churches, private entrepreneurs, businesses,and industries have provided programs for young children.2. How did the field of early childhood education emerge?Early childhood education dates back to the 19thcentury. Early childhoodeducation as a field could not emerge until the concept of childhood as adevelopmental period was accepted. Prior to the 16thand 17thcenturies,children were regarded as little adults and were given no specialconsideration or treatment.3. What leading thinkers influenced programs for young children?Plato - development of a ruling class of people with strong values.Aristotle - a person’s merits should determine his status.
CHAPTER 6–EARLY CHILDHOOD SCHOOLING IN AMERICAPAGE 190Martin Luther - believed all people were equal before God; believededucation should follow the course of nature; recommended that teachersmake learning easy and pleasant.Jean-Jacques Rousseau - believed a child can become autonomous andself-directed based on his philosophy. Some historians of education pointto his work as the dividing line between historical and modern periods ofeducation.Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi - best way to learn many concepts wasthrough manipulative experiences.Johann Friedrich Oberlin - developed earliest reported school, especiallyfor young children known as the “knitting school.”Robert Owen - established the Infant School in 1816. Some of thepractices originating in Owen’s schools still can be found in today’sprograms for young children. These include child-chosen activities,learning through play, and a nurturing atmosphere guided by a non-punitive teacher.Friederick Froebel - “Father of Kindergarten” whose curriculum includeda set of “gifts and occupations” designed to enhance development of thesenses and symbolize unity with God. Also established an institute to trainyoung women to teach kindergarten.John Dewey - “child centered curriculum” and “child centered schools”;stressed daily living activities; believed teachers should use the interests ofchildren as a source for subject matter and as a catalyst for learning skills.Maria Montessori - concluded that intelligence was not fixed and couldbe shaped by the child’s experiences. Her ideas of creating a child-sizedenvironment and her focus on using sensory materials were adopted inearly childhood education programs throughout the world.Jean Piaget - devoted many years to studying the way children think;found that children construct knowledge about their world through realexperiences and through manipulating, changing, and adaptinginformation. Framework for thinking:a. assimilation–integration of new information into existing structures;b. accommodation–changing or modifying the scheme or structures toreflect the child’s understanding of the world;c. equilibrium–successful balancing of assimilation and accommodation.
SCHOOLING (2002)PAGE 191The Four Stages of Cognitive Developmenta. Sensorimotor;b. Preoperational;c. Concrete operations;d. Formal operations.4. What influenced federal involvement in early childhood educationprograms?The Children’s Bureau established in 1912 was an investigative andreporting office. Except for some work relief programs under FranklinDelano Roosevelt (FDR), there was no federal involvement until WWIIwhen the Lanhan Act was passed to establish child care centers in industryareas. When the war ended, the government withdrew its involvement.Since then, the focus has been on providing assistance to families unableto adequately care for their children. Then in 1965, Head Start began.5. What were the goals of compensatory early childhood educationprograms?a. improve physical health and abilities;b. help social and emotional development;c. improve mental processes and skills;d. establish patterns and expectations of success;e. increase capacity to relate positively to family members while at thesame time strengthening the family’s stability and capacity to relatepositively to the child;f. develop a positive attitude toward society and foster constructiveopportunities for society to work together with the poor in solving theirproblems;g. increase the sense of dignity and self-worth within child and family.6. What types of current programs are available for young children?Child Care Centers - sponsored by various agencies or individuals eitheras employee benefits or for profit. Serve children from six weeks to afterschool care for older children.Family Day Care Homes - serves a small number of children in groupcare; provides more toddler care than any other group.Preschools or Nursery Schools - historically, half-day programs focusedon the social and emotional needs of the children.
CHAPTER 6–EARLY CHILDHOOD SCHOOLING IN AMERICAPAGE 192Employer-Sponsored Programs - currently the fastest growing type ofchild care. Reasons employers consider providing child care include:a. reduce employee turnover;b. reduce absenteeism;c. increase productivity;d. enhance morale;e. improve recruitment;f. enhance the company’s image.Public School Kindergarten - since 1986, all 50 states now serve five-year-olds in public schools, but there is a tremendous diversity in theprograms.7. What are the current issues in early childhood education programs?a. the education of the whole child; the role of play in learning; the beliefin universal education; individual freedom in learning;b. should kindergarten be compulsory? Full day? And what should weteach?c. recent trends to incorporate developmentally inappropriate teachingstrategies such as workbooks, ditto sheets, and formal reading groups,as well as academic skill oriented curriculum content in kindergartenraise serious concerns;d. developmentally appropriate educational experiences; the need for anational child care bill.D. DISCUSSION QUESTIONS AND EXERCISES1. What are the trends in public school kindergarten and pre-kindergarten programs?A growing body of research has emerged recently affirming that childrenlearn most effectively through a concrete, play-oriented approach to earlychildhood education.During the last decade, funds for early childhood programs have decreasedeven as a greater awareness of the benefits of good quality programs foryoung children has occurred. While the federal government has generallyreduced its support for young children’s programs, the states haverecognized the need to fund programs for pre-kindergartners.
SCHOOLING (2002)PAGE 1932. What is the most accepted practice concerning parent involvement inprograms for young children?Traditionally, parental involvement in the educational process wassomewhat vague and restricted. Professionals are now viewing parents asan untapped resource in working with young children.E. REVIEW ITEMSTrue-False1. Two of the earliest influences on current practice were Plato and Aristotle.2. Child care legislation in the 1980s has taken the form of “comprehensivebills.”3. The purpose and focus of programs has been the same among sponsors.4. Family day care homes serve more school-age children than infants andtoddlers.5. By 1979, 80% of the states in the United States were serving pre-kinder-garten children in public schools.Multiple Choice1. The person who has been called the “Father of Kindergarten” is _______.a. Comenius b. Pestalozzi c. Rousseau d. Froebel2. Jean Piaget is remembered for his theory of _______.a. social and emotional development b. moral developmentc. cognitive development d. physical development3. The objectives of Head Start include all of the following except.a. improving the child’s healthb. facilitating the child’s social and emotional developmentc. teaching children to readd. improving the child’s mental processes4. The enactment of P.L. 99-457 demonstrates _______.a. commitment to parent involvementb. commitment to school-age child carec. commitment to special needs childrend. commitment to the teaching profession