Important Theorist of Early Childhood Education

Introduction

By Sharita Greenfield

This Web-quest will enable Undergraduate and Graduate students to gain knowledge about important events, beliefs, theories, and people of early childhood education. Along with, the impacts each has on teaching today.

 

Important Theorist of Early Childhood Education

Early childhood education has been influenced by many great theorists for many years.  It is important for teachers today to learn about past influences so that they can use this information as professionals to develop and implement newer practices of teaching.

Theories also help teachers communicate with others how the process of learning takes place and what to expect from children as they grow an develop.  They also provide guidance to professionals in developing educational programs and supporting their learning. 

 

"The goal of Early Childhood Education should be to activate the child's own natural desire to learn".

                                                                                               ~Marie Montessori~

 

Task
  1. Students will be introduced to past theorists and their beliefs.
  2. Students will be able to understand each theorists’ concepts and ideas.
  3. Students will be able to explain each theory and how it has influenced early childhood education today.
  4. Students can develop their own theories and beliefs and decide how they can influence education in the future.

After students go through the Processes, students will be able to explain history, theories, beliefs, and teachings from past early childhood professionals.

Also, how the NAEYC Standards 4 and 6 correlates with these practices.  

Process

 

 Some Early Childhood Theorist and their Beliefs 

Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852)

Friedrich Froebel is known as the “father of the kindergarten” (Morrison, 2014, p. 78). He believed that the teacher's role is to observe children's natural unfolding.  He believed in providing materials for students to learn what they are ready to learn when they are ready to learn it. (Morrison, 2014, p. 78).  

Maria Montessori (1870-1952)

Maria Montessori was the first woman in Italy to earn a medical degree. She had a huge influence on early childhood education.  Her focus was to provide solutions for students with deafness, paralysis and mental retardation.   She provided learning materials that met specific age group needs to help in development.  

Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934)

Vygotsky developed the Socio-cultural Theory. He believed that children's social development and learning is boosted by social interactions with others.  His theory of development is appropriate when describing children's mental, social and language development.  

Jean Piaget (1896-1980)

Jean Piaget developed ages and stages for cognitive development. He spent his whole life observing children and creating and enhancing his Cognitive Theory. The Cognitive Theory combined with other theorists John Dewey and Lev Vygotsky created Constructivism approaches to learning. The theory is constructed to explain how children use their minds to learn. Jean Piaget Cognitive Development Theory is taught to undergraduates and graduates to help understand the mental and physical capabilities of children and what role teachers play in providing guidance (Morrison, 2014).  mental and physical activities need to be used to help encourage cognitive development 

Abraham Maslow (1908-1970)

Maslow developed the concept of self-actualization.  He believed that children cannot reach a level of self-actualization until specific needs are met first.  He felt that basic human needs such as shelter, food, and safety were met (Morrison, 2014).

Erik Erikson (1902-1994)

Erikson’s theory of psycho-social development is based on the concept that cognitive and social development occur at the same time and cannot be separated.  

 

Let's check what you've learned 

 

1) Friedrich Froebel was known as the father of_________.

               a. kindergarten

               b. education

               c. curriculum

 

2) Maria Montessori had a degree in _______________.

               a. Education

               b. medicine

               c. Human Development

 

3) Maslow developed the theory of actualization which includes what basic needs?

               a. food

               b. shelter

               c. safety

               d. all the above

 

4) Jean Piaget developed ages and stages for ____________.

               a. multiple intelligence

               b. progressive education

               c. cognitive development

 

6) What did Erik Erikson develop?

               a. Theory of self-actualization

               b. Method of educating

               c. Theory of psycho-social development

 

 In today’s world, the field of early childhood education is continuously changing to best support children’s’ developmental needs. History provides details on where, why and how a concept or theory came to exist. The six National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) standards have not always existed and started off as an idea that turned into much more. Due to the rich history of early childhood education, this WebQuest will focus on three major concepts that are supported current at Child Development Centers (CDC) Pre-K as well as other programs and primary school; 1) Curriculum; 2) Environments; 3) Community.

 

The curriculum is described as the subjects taught or experience provided during school. Today’s curriculum has requirements depending on the age and program. The CDC Pre-K requires small-group activities, special activities (science experiences, art projects, etc.,), outdoor activities, group activates, the environment changes for each individual area in the classroom and parent involvement. Under each of these topics, teachers create different activities to fill these requirements each day by observing and interpreting children’s behaviors and determine a best-fit activity. The question then becomes who, where and why this process is being implemented in today’s CDC? To be professional is to be knowledgeable about the concepts used and why. Some of the historical figures being viewed included, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Fredrich Froebel, John Dewey, Jean Piaget, and Lev Vygotsky.

            Jean-Jacques Rousseau - focuses on how children naturally unfold and develop

            Frederic Froebel - involved in observing children as they unfold through play

            John Dewey - determined that children's interests should be the basis of a curriculum

            Jean Piaget - mental and physical activities need to be used to help encourage cognitive development 

            Lev Vygotsky - created 'zone of proximal development' 

 

As an adult, you have feelings and concepts about what is expected in a specific room such as a bathroom must have a toilet, toilet paper, sink, trash can, soap and be well maintained or you feel uncomfortable or disgusted. This is the same way children feel when entering a classroom environment that has furniture to small/big, broken toys, the wrong age-appropriate toys, dirty floors, too many bright colors or not enough colors. Children want to feel welcome, safe, respected, reasonably stimulated, and cared for. The CDC Pre-K program provides classrooms with age-appropriate toys, perfect fit furniture, cleanliness, and teachers eager to provide a safe, fun and loving place to learn and develop through play. Parents then ask, what is my child really learning besides to play with toys all day? Why are all the shelves at their level and chairs their size? Why are there no Disney books or action figures? All these questions can be answered by an educated teacher that understands the history behind providing a specific type of environment for young children.

                        Jean-Jacques Rousseau - a natural approach to education (environment needs to be natural) 

                        Robert Owen - the surrounding learning through play (the right toys, materials, and furniture for independence)

                        Maria Montessori - provided learning materials meet age group needs (age appropriate toys and materials) 

                        Lev Vygotsky - the physiology theory in which children learn through scaffolding by peers.teacher or other more advanced                          individuals (group activities)

Community is a topic thought about very little when thinking about the development of children. The school or program is a community of its own as well as the buildings, stores, and other surrounding buildings. Every day children are learning through experiences both at school and outside school. The CDC Pre-K provides special activates including trips to the grocery store to learn about healthy eating, visits from the police or firefighters to learn about safety, or a short field trip to other local areas. These experiences continue outside of school when their parents take them to the zoo, post office, department store, community pool or park or any other location. Some parents ask, isn’t my child too young to understand 9-1-1? How will looking at fruits and vegetables teach my child about being healthy? Where did my child learn this from? History can explain how this concept becomes noticed and implemented in early childhood education programs as well as why.

                        John Locke - children learn through experiences (what learning experiences occur within the community)

                        Robert Owen - society shapes children's characters (what type of culture or diversity exists in the community) 

                        Lev Vygotsky - main theories based on social learning (the interactions between a child and everyone they meet or           

                        observe)

Evaluation

This is how your work will be evaluated.

 

Beginning
1

Developing
2

Qualified
3

Exemplary
4

Score

Stated Objective or Performance

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting a beginning level of performance.

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting development and movement toward mastery of performance.

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting mastery of performance.

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting the highest level of performance.

 

Stated Objective or Performance

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting a beginning level of performance.

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting development and movement toward mastery of performance.

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting mastery of performance.

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting the highest level of performance.

 

Stated Objective or Performance

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting a beginning level of performance.

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting development and movement toward mastery of performance.

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting mastery of performance.

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting the highest level of performance.

 

Stated Objective or Performance

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting a beginning level of performance.

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting development and movement toward mastery of performance.

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting mastery of performance.

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting the highest level of performance.

 

Stated Objective or Performance

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting a beginning level of performance.

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting development and movement toward mastery of performance.

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting mastery of performance.

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting the highest level of performance.

 

Stated Objective or Performance

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting a beginning level of performance.

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting development and movement toward mastery of performance.

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting mastery of performance.

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting the highest level of performance.

 

Stated Objective or Performance

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting a beginning level of performance.

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting development and movement toward mastery of performance.

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting mastery of performance.

Description of identifiable performance characteristics reflecting the highest level of performance.

 
Conclusion

As with anything, there is always a beginning which is the foundation. It is important for current teachers to have knowledge of where early education all started, so we can continue to build.  How past theorists have impacted education in the past and what can we take from their findings to improve the future of early education is a question teacher should ask themselves regularly.  Past theories have dictated how teachers run their classrooms, develop curriculum and manage children with special needs so children can be supported in the classroom.  

Reflect back on what you have learned. 

Evaluate your teaching profession or your philosophy as an early childhood professional. 

Is there anything new you didn't know and could add it to your lessons or career?

Invest some time in looking up new contributors in early childhood education. 

Example: (Head Start programs) created in 1960. 

Try looking up the program and see what changes made since 1960. Use their dreams and ideas to check on how they are doing today

Credits
Teacher Page

There were many theorists who contributed to the world of early childhood. their theories were the foundation and still are being built upon till this day.

Explain how education today is built off past experiences and theories. Also, explain how we use those as professionals to develop and implement newer practices of teaching.

Explain as a Professional, you will have the knowledge to share early childhood education skills and behaviors with your students.