In this essay, I will be looking athistorical and international perspectives of Early Years.
I will also be looking at some of thetheorists who are early pioneers of education and then linking it to EarlyYears practice in England. I chose the topic for our exhibition nature andnurture. Nature is a child’s inborn reaction, heredity which child is born with,nurture is the enabling environment.
The experience they had from theirenvironment which is learning through play. Both thenurture and nature play an important part in the holistic development of achild. Looking at historical facts the First School in England was establishedin 597 by St Augustine. In 1816, the first nursery infant school was opened by RobertOwen – Owen’s nursery along with Friedrich Froebel nursey in Germany was basedon the idea of Pestalozzi. Elementary Education Act was formed in 1870 toprovide education for children of the age 5 to 13 years.
First education ReformAct 1988, paved the way for the national curriculum for England and Wales. In2008, Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) was introduced. It covered childrenfrom birth to 5 years old. I will also highlight at some different approachesand theorists like Maria Montessori, High Scope and Reggio Emelia. Plato was the first known educationalphilosopher who focused on early childhood and play. He believed that childrenlearn through play and it helps them to understand their thinking. He believedthere are three main sources of knowledge, children learn from senses that isby tasting, feeling touching and seeing things. Knowledge is also gained bysharing each other’s ideas, as everyone’s opinion and view ‘s are different.
Knowledge through mind and wisdom. He further believed, children learn in ahealthy and a safe environment through storytelling, music, poetry, and arts.He laid great importance on the physical play during the first 10 years of achild’s life. I agree to Plato’s beliefs this is what we follow in the nurseryand it also links to Early Years Foundation Stage. Children learn through play,singing nursery rhymes, storytelling, music, and dance. We also carry outlots of physical play on a daily routine. They also learn through sensoryactivities like messy play and also role play.
Friedrich Froebel was the firstpioneer to recognise that children learn best through self-activity, talk andplay. Froebel opened the first kindergarten in 1840 at Blakenburg (Germany),kindergarten means the Garden of small children. ” Froebel’s innovativeideas include kindergarten with outdoor learning as” important as indoor,”.
Thecentral importance of play in learning, women as teachers, home learning, theimportance of early years of life, highly educated and trained practitionerswho engage in principled and reflective practice, he also focused on home basedlearning. He believed the role of mother is very important in a child’s lifeand therefore he emphasized on women teachers. Therefore, believed the wholefamily should be involved in the education of a child. In the first half of the twentieth century,early years practice developed in the UK with an emphasis on the importance ofthe outdoor environment. Pioneers like Margaret McMillan based their Curriculumon the importance of outdoor learning for young children. Therefore, the firstnursery school was set up especially for the children who could be at a socialdisadvantage.
In the 1970s, the concept of early education shifted to focusingon cognitive development. The more valued learning is now believed to behappening indoors and not outdoors. The task of early years provision in UK isto make sure children are prepared for school whereas in many European Early Yearssystems, children are prepared for Life in Society, not exclusively to fit therole of a school pupil.
Margaret McMillan observed children andwhile they were playing outdoors, similarly in the Earlyyears setting as a practitioner we also observed children and then planaccording to their needs and interests. In my opinion, Montessori work is very muchsimilar to our schools, as it is well planned and structured. The EYFSexpresses these principles in terms which support practitioners a guide to EYFS.”Education, of little ones is important, especially from 3 to 6 years of age,because this is the embryonic period for the formation of character and ofsociety. (just as the period from birth to three is that for forming the mind,and the prenatal period for forming the body)” Maria Montessori, the Absorbent mind, Pg.
221-222. During 1990s, an Italian educator LorisMalaguzzi came up with Reggio Emilia approach influenced by Dewey’s work. Themain focus of Reggio Emilia is that children should be seen as individuals andshould also be respected for their differences and abilities. He mainly focusedand encouraged the use of space, and resources rather than adults- led, pre-plannedactivities. Reggio Emilia experience is based on children as rich, strong and powerful.
It also emphasises on the views of children and the role of adults. Working in partnershipwith children, parents and other educators involved. The environment being thethird teacher with both indoor and outdoor environment, children learningthrough experiences. It links to EYFS where it is stated in self-confidence and self-awareness. ” expresses own preferences andinterests” as an individual.
It also states in the EYFS in people andcommunities knows some of the things that make them unique, and can talk aboutsome of similarities and differences in relation to friends and families. Similarly,it links to EYFS curriculum when we work with the children, parents and otherprofessionals to meet the needs of the children. Thus, children learn fromtheir own experiences of playing and exploring and enabling environment plays avital part in children’s learning and experiences. Similarly, we aspractitioners give children the freedom to choose their activities and recordtheir achievements like the Reggio Emilia approach and put their displays inthe classroom. I would conclude my essay on a notethat I have looked at different approaches and similarities in the Early Yearson a historical aspect as well as, looking at international perspectives aswell. I have also learnt how different theorists have played an important rolein Early Years. ReferencesBroadhead, P.
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