The diversity of children’s backgrounds in early years settings, the importance of equality of education opportunity, challenging stereotypical views and the inclusive setting. Over the last 300 years the education system has changed a great deal, but we still look back at the theories and theorists and early pioneers from that time today.
With the introduction of statutory schooling for children from the age of five years in England from 1872, Classrooms were arranged in rows of children who could be taught by rote, sitting still in large groups, the aim of this style of teaching was to produce children competent enough to learn to read and write and to have basic numeracy skills. More privileged children were taught at home in home based groups, by their mothers who trained in the Friedrich Froebel approach.
Froebel’s broadly based framework taught children literature and poetry, mathematics and reasoning, education in arts and natural science, studying nature in the gardens. Froebel believed ‘ that teachers should not teach by rote, which was common at the time, but by encouraging self expression through play. He valued play and the outdoor environment highly, believing that both space and light were essential for learning’ Daly(2006) Gradually through pioneers like Froebels, Early Educators such as Margaret McMillan in the 1920’s, who adopted Froebels approach, began to exert it’s influence on mainsteam schools and nurseries.
McMillan herself said ‘ most of the best opportunities for achievement lie in the domain of free play, with access to various materials’ Bruce (2003) Margaret McMillans greatest achievement was the introduction of free school meals and health checks, she believed that children could not learn if they were sick or under nourished, McMillan also thought it was very important for adults working with children to be trained and also for them to be inventive and imaginative in their work. Other pioneers who have had influenced us in how we deliver early years education