ERIC Number: ED436251
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999
Reference Count: N/A
Determining the Early Childhood Curriculum: The Evolution of Goals and Strategies through Consonance and Controversy.
Williams, Leslie R.
Based on the premise that determining the early childhood curriculum hinges to a certain extent on discovering the nature of children, this chapter explores the origins and practices of early childhood curriculum in the United States. The chapter reveals perceptions shifting over time regarding characterizations of young children's most essential natures; valued goals and expected forms of development and learning; projections of the roles teachers, materials, and peers play in development and learning; and understanding of the act of teaching itself. The chapter begins by considering the notion of educating the whole child, discussing the ideas of Rousseau, Pestalozzi, and Froebel. Works are examined challenging the view of the child contained in the Froebelian kindergarten curriculum, including Dewey and progressive education, Montessori and education for social competence, and the child development perspective. The discussion of the period from 1950 through 1980 focuses on Erikson's ideas regarding development, Piaget's theory of intellectual development, implications of these theories for curriculum, the growth of Head Start, and the increasing focus of curriculum research on identifying which programs would produce the greatest IQ gains rather than helping to understanding the essential nature of the child. The chapter further discusses several new curriculum development movements appearing since 1980, including all-day kindergarten, the recognition of diversity, Vygotsky's theory, and the reconceptualization of the field. The chapter concludes by noting that the image of the whole child and arguments for the roles of process and play in promoting development and learning remain vital. (Contains 76 references.) (KB)
Descriptors: Childhood Needs, Early Childhood Education, Educational Change, Educational Philosophy, Educational Practices, Educational Theories, Elementary School Curriculum, Elementary School Teachers, Objectives, Play, Preschool Curriculum, Preschool Teachers, Teacher Student Relationship, Trend Analysis, Young Children
Publication Type: Information Analyses
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A