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ERIC Number: EJ839324
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2005-Apr
Pages: 13
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 32
ISSN: ISSN-1090-1027
Maintaining the Median in Early Childhood Educational Methodology
Hewes, Dorothy W.
Journal of Early Childhood Teacher Education, v26 n2 p157-169 Apr 2005
History shows that educational systems and educational theorists have consciously or unconsciously structured the education of young children toward one end or the other of the continuum between "internals" and "externals". Systems in which teacher-guided learning was based on efforts to satisfy individual needs, systems that encouraged self-reliance and self-determination would be considered "internals", because their stated goal was to produce citizens with a high level of autonomy. Because this nation's early childhood systems are Eurocentric, individuals need to recognize that little distinction was made between adults and children until the 1600s. The basic system of early education today can be traced directly to Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852), the "father of the kindergarten" who was strongly influenced by his time with Pestalozzi at Yverdon. Because Froebel's system had not been perfected by the time of his death, his followers and competitors tried to improve upon it, with some setting down rigid rules for the use of his materials. In the United States, people have examples of both internal and external methods in the teacher education programs that were developed in the last half of the 19th century. The most egregious use of the kindergarten as an external device, however, was probably that of William T. Harris, a Yale dropout who had worked up to the position of St. Louis superintendent of schools by 1867. He endorsed the idea of hiring women teachers because they worked for lower salaries, and opened the first public school kindergarten in 1873. During the 1880s, some of the female academies began to add Froebelian teacher training components. Many of them developed into normal schools and even into the universities where teachers now teach. With the depression of the 1890s and popularization of the Herbartian system, there was a movement into public schools and a subsequent regimentation. Teachers from the normal schools were trained to teach the three Rs and were not aware of Froebel's basic philosophy. His name was largely forgotten, although circle time, the sandbox, building blocks, and free play time were maintained until recent years. In this article, the author reflects on the history of early childhood education.
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Opinion Papers
Education Level: Elementary Education; Kindergarten
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: California