ERIC Number: ED111530
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1974-Jan
Reference Count: N/A
A Ray of Millennial Light: Early Education and Social Reform in the Infant School Movement in Massachusetts, 1826-1840. Final Report.
May, Dean L.; Vinovskis, Maris A.
This study provides a historical setting for the current interest in preschool education by examining the assumptions and efforts of educators and politicians involved in establishing preschool programs in Boston during the 1830's. Parallels are drawn between the early education experiments detailed here and those undertaken recently, in order to provide a basis for evaluating current problems and establishing future directions. The main concern of the study is the dynamics of the interaction of Boston social elites, educational theorists, public school officials, and a larger body of civic-minded supporters of the schools as revealed in diaries, public and infant school records, and the social data of Boston and Concord from the period. The history of the development, impact, and demise of these early experiments is examined by describing the influence of English social reform precedents on the founding of American infant schools in the mid 1820's, the character and objectives of the early infant schools in Boston, and the conflict over educational assumptions which eventually led to the decline and collapse of support for preschool education by the 1840's. These early efforts apparently were forgotten by the time the kindergarten movement began in the 1860's. Some conclusions are drawn concerning the shifts in attitudes toward early childhood education in the nineteenth century. (ED)
Descriptors: Child Development, Diaries, Disadvantaged Youth, Early Childhood Education, Educational Change, Educational History, Educational Policy, Educational Practices, Educational Theories, Family (Sociological Unit), Graphs, Immigrants, Infants, Preschool Children, Private Schools, Public Schools, Social Action, Social Class
Publication Type: Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Sponsor: National Center for Educational Research and Development (DHEW/OE), Washington, DC. Regional Research Program.
Authoring Institution: Brown Univ., Providence, RI.
Identifiers - Location: Massachusetts