Us history frobel of ecce


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Us history frobel of ecce

  1. 1. The Humanistic Tradition Early Education as we know it is typically thought of as having originated in Europe in the early 1800's. That said, many of the values and practices we incorporate into modern-day programs have deep roots in ancient philosophy, such as that of Plato and Aristotle, religious leaders, and a generational tradition that has passed down through families over the centuries. Most of today's educational programs are based on a humanistic approach: 'a system of thought that reflects concern for the values, potential, well-being, and interests of human beings." (Feeny, Moravcik, Nolte, Christensen 2010) This all-encompassing philosophy was slow to take, and its original creators were considered by many to be radical, unorthodox, and conspicuous. Our ideas about children have drastically changed in a relatively short amount of time. Children were once considered 'little adults', and that childhood was a waiting room of sorts, a necessary stage a human was required to work through before reaching adulthood. Physical punishment, repetitive, rote learning, and harsh treatment of children were very common, and education was limited only to the children of the very wealthy. Now, however, we commonly believe and practice that childhood is a worthy, important stage that deserves as much respect as adulthood, and should not be rushed through, and that every child deserves opportunities for learning. Childcare in the United States Prior to the Industrial revolution, most women were able to keep children close to home to help with domestic duties or the family trade or business. Children helped with farm work, or in some occasions were sent to a "dame school", a place where an older woman would gather children to teach them their three R's: Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic. As the Industrial Revolution changed the landscape of America, so too did the needs for childcare, especially for poor working families. Since many women were forced to choose between leaving children home alone or not working and seeking charity from the community, the need for childcare rose, as people in many communities chose not to give money or food any longer. Many women were given no choice but to enter into the work force, working in work-houses, factories, or in some cases, caring for wealthier families children, sending their own children to work as indentured servants for other families, or left their children on the streets or even locked up indoors during the day. Quaker women in Philadelphia offered a solution for some of these women and children, by founding the Society for the Relief and Employment of the Poor. A house was built by the society that would provide religious education for children while their mothers worked in another section of the house. The Boston Infant school is another early example of the convergence and application of ideas related to childcare and education in the US. Modeled after Robert Owen's British Infant Schools, philanthropist women provided care to children of working mothers. In the 1830's, several other schools opened up throughout the US. By 1850, h0wever, the idea that women should stay home with their children had permeated societies beliefs, ignoring the reasons the schools were in place to begin with. Though the schools did not last, the schools offered help to the thousands of new
  2. 2. immigrants arriving in the United States. The New York Nursery for Children of Poor Women's mission was to provide care for the children of women forced to provide for their families. These were privately run programs that allowed new immigrants working in urban families to keep their families together. Most of the workers in these programs were untrained and worked long hours with many children, but were still a better alternative than leaving children at home or worse, on the street. The goals of these programs were focused on the general health of the children and not the intellectual development or education. Inspired by the American Kindergarten movement, Pauline Agassiz Shaw established a day nursery with an educational focus in 1878 Boston. Many other centers followed Shaw's example, providing care for long hours with educational activities, comprehensive services, family education and training, and counseling, although most did not service the very young children. In the 1880's, Frances Willard attempted to meet this need by establishing the Women's Christian Temperance Union. Her day nurseries were offered free of charge to poor mothers, but were not open to all racial and ethnic groups and never to children of unwed mothers. This discrimination left many mothers with no other option than to send their children to orphanages or in unsatisfactory arrangements in strangers homes. The 1890's ushered in the National Association of Colored Women, which established day nurseries serving urban African American families and children. The 1800's saw a number of experiments in childcare, enabling many women to avoid the depths of poverty by working outside of the home. Childcare was generally regarded as a last-resort measure only to be utilized in the most dire of emergencies and circumstances. During the Great Depression, the US government operated federal childcare centers, providing relief work for teachers, custodians, cooks, nurses, and others who had lost their jobs and desperately needed employment. Unfortunately, these programs ended as soon as the Depression lifted. Similar programs re-emerged again during World War II, when many of the nation's women began working in the factories supporting the military stationed overseas. The Lanham Act of 1942-1946 provided federally funded child care centers in 41 states. Similar to the employer-sponsored childcare systems of Europe, programs like the Kaiser centers, which provided childcare for employees of the Kaiser shipyards in Portland, Oregon provided comprehensive, high quality services and care to children aged 18 months to 6 years old. Kaiser made a commitment to providing the best services possible to both children and families. Louis Meek Stolz, an Early Childhood Expert who directed the Child Development Institute and Columbia University was hired as a director, and James L Hymes Jr., a graduate of the Child Development Institute was hired as the manager of the Kaiser programs. Specially trained early-childhood teachers were hired, and the building was even specially designed by an architect to serve young children. The centers were open 24 hours a day, 364 days per year (save for Christmas), and included an infirmary, provided meals for mothers to take home, and offered other services to families who worked in the defense industry. During their short span of service, Kaiser served nearly 4,000 children. Once the war ended and women returned home with their children, the centers closed down, but their example hold strong today. A common post-war belief that women and children belonged at home and that children of working mothers suffered from a lack of maternal care slowly began to change when the landscape of the 'typical' American family began to change around the 1950's and 60's. As families moved further away from their
  3. 3. own extended families, divorce became more and more common, and women began finding meaningful work outside of the home, the face of childcare began to slowly change into what we now have today, a merging of both care and education. Froebel's Kindergarten Friedrich Wilhelm Froebel (1782-1852) Froebel established the very first Kindergarten program in Germany in 1837. Froebel's views on education centered on the importance of play, games, and toys in the intellectual, spiritual, and social development of children, as inspired partly by his study of Comenius. Eventually he developed aa philosophy and program of education for children aged 4-6 that was meant to serve as a transition between home and school, infancy and childhood. Since his philosophy was to nurture and protect children, shielding them from outside influence (such as plants might be nurtured and sheltered in a garden), it was natural to call his school Kinder-Garten...or literally, Children's Garden. To this day, programs for 5 and some 6 year olds are called Kindergarten. Like his predecessors, Froebel believed children were social creatures, and learning was the most natural and efficient through activity and play was an essential part of learning. He believed that teaching methods between a younger and older child ought to be vastly different, and wished for children to have the chance to explore their positive whims. Froebel recognized three forms of learning. !. Knowledge of forms of life, including gardening, caring for animals, and domestic tasks. 2. knowledge of forms of mathematics, such as knowledge of geometric forms and their relationships, and 3. knowledge of forms of beauty, including design, color, shape, harmonies, and movement. Play was teacher- guided, who facilitated sensory and spiritual development by providing special materials, known as 'gifts.' These gifts included balls of yarn, wooden blocks and tablets, geometric shapes, and natural objects. Froebel believed children were born with an inherent goodness, and like Plato, with an inherent knowledge that just need 'reawakening' through Froebel's case, exposure to 'the fundamental principles of Creation." p67(Feeny, Moravcik, Nolte, Christensen 2010). Kindergarten curriculum included handwork called "occupations", including molding, folding, beading, threading, and embroidery. Singing, games, finger-plays, and stories were utilized to encourage learning. Froebel insisted that learning must start with the concrete and move to the more abstract, and that perceptual development preceded abstract thinking skills. Froebel encouraged young women to study to teach kindergarten. Women traveled from the United States to German to study his methods, and brought their new knowledge home where they began their own kindergartens, usually taught in their own homes, often by German women who had studied with Froebel. The first English-speaking kindergarten was established in Boston, MA by a woman named Elizabeth Peabody, and after studying with Froebel in Germany, founded the first Kindergarten teacher education program in the United States. The first public Kindergarten opened in St. Louis, MO, in 1873 and was followed by a rapid growth of kindergartens throughout the country over the following 27 years. Along with the rapid growth of Kindergarten programs came the introduction of related professional associations. The American Froebel Union, or AFU, was founded by Elizabeth Peabody in 1878, and the IKU, or International Kindergarten Union began in 1892. The IKU eventually merged with the NCPE (National Council of Primary Education) in 1930, and them became the Association for Childhood Education International, or ACEI, which is still an active organization today. The NKA or National Kindergarten Association
  4. 4. was founded in 1909 and disbanded in 1976. Issues with the Kindergarten Movement: Although Kindergartens were a radical change from the structured school system prior to the Kindergarten's inception, the program has been criticized for being far more structured than the loose, free-scheduled programs that would come to be advocated years later, and was a far cry from what we could consider a developmentally appropriate program today. "Progressive educators expressed the concern that kindergarten practices were rigid and didn't reflect their ideas about how children develop and learn. They challenged supporters of Froebel's approach. By 1920, the progressive approach had achieved dominance. The reformed kindergarten curriculum reflected many of Froebel's original ideas but added a new emphasis on free play, social interaction, art, music, nature study, and excursions. New unstructured materials, including large blocks and doll houses, encouraged children's imaginative play. Books and songs reflected children's interests, rather than conveying a religious message, and activities were inspired by events in the children's daily lives." p.69 (Feeny, Moravcik, Nolte, Christensen 2010) Patty Smith Hill (1868-1946) founded the Institute of Child Welfare Research at Columbia University Teachers College, and brought innovation to Froebel's Kindergarten when it was attacked and criticized for being too rigid and teacher-dominated. She blended ideas from various approaches and helped push kindergartens into a direction that was more compatible with the more progressive ideas of the time. She went on to found the National Association for Nursery Education (NANE) which is now known as the National Association for the Education of Young Children, or the NAEYC.