There was a time when school was restricted to only those children who has received some form of training on how to read and write at home. This was a discriminative practice because it was impossible for factory workers children and orphans to receive any pre-school teaching, which meant that they had to forgo school altogether.
It wasn’t until the year 1779 when a school meant to care for pre-school kids for working class citizens was established by Louise Scheppler and Friedrich Oberlin. A year later, a similar school was set up in Bayern. 20 years later, another school was set up in Detmold by Pauline Zur Lippe.
Globally, changes were happening to the world of education. Scotland made a great leap in the right direction when they set up a school for infants in 1816. The location of the school was New Lanark, and the founder was Robert Owen. He was very successful in training the little children literacy, numeracy, and good morals.
It was the likes of Samuel Wilderspin who really expanded the idea of creating schools. His first school was in London, 3 years after Owen’s school was set up. After he set up the first school, he went ahead and added many others in different parts of the country and beyond. One of the things that Wilderspin is famous for is inventing the playground. He published a book about the benefits of education to the poor infants. He worked for the infant society and wrote another book, “The Infant System, for developing the physical, intellectual, and moral powers off all children from 1 to seven years of age”.
Another great contributor to the world of infant education was Countess Theresa Brunszvik. She lived between 1775 and 1861 and based most of her research about children on the early scholar, Johann Pestalozzi. She founded a total of 11 care centers for little children. She also came up with the idea of a foundation center for preschools. This idea became so popular that it was copied throughout Hungary.
The First German Kindergarten
In 1837, Friedrich Frobel started an activity and play school in Bad Blakenburg in Thuringia Germany. 3 years later, he changed the name of the institute and called it a Kindergarten.
Many women who had been trained by this German visionary started their own kindergartens all over Europe. In the USA, the very first kindergarten was set up in Wisconsin in 1856. The instruction at this school was in German. In 1860, the first English language based kindergarten was founded by Elizabeth Peabody. In 1870 came the first ever free kindergarten in the country. In 187, a German known industrialist and philanthropist, Conrad Poppenhusen established a kindergarten that was supported by public funds.
In Canada, the very first private kindergarten was established in Charlottetown in 1870. It was set up by the Wesleyan Methodist Church. By 1880, they were in almost every large city in the country. Five years later, the Toronto Normal school established a department for the training of kindergarten teacher training.
Another great visionary and pioneer in the world of early childhood education was Elizabeth Harrison. She wrote many books and other papers on theory of ECD. She also worked hard to improve the standard of education offered to kindergarten teachers by helping set up the National Education college in 1886. These are some of the major steps that have shaped the history of early childhood education around the world. Presently, ECD is a well established and very important part of student education.
Created in 1965 by President Johnson, Head Start was the ever first publicly funded preschool program in United States of American. It was created for low-income families. During that time, only about 10 percent of children were enrolled in preschool. Following the results of having a publicly funded preschool program, there was increased demand, which compelled various states to subsidize preschool for the low-earning families in the period around the 1980s.
What Are The Developmental Areas?
It is at birth that the most important years of learning start. In the early years after birth, humans are able to absorb more information than when they get old. During the early years, brains tend to grow rapidly.
Having high-quality teachers and supporting preschools can have a long-term effect in improving outcomes particularly in disadvantaged students. While the areas of development covered in preschool education may vary, there are some common themes, which are offered, and they include:
- Physical health
- Mathematical awareness
- Scientific thinking
- Social skills
- Self-help skills
- Physical development
- Communication such as listening, singing language, and talking
- Social, personal, emotional, and economic development
- Creative and aesthetic development
- World knowledge and understanding
There are structural standards observed by preschool systems including class size, administration, services, and student-teacher ratio. The systems also observe the process, which include quality of classroom environments and things like teacher-child interaction. There is also alignment component that deals with things like standards, assessment, and curriculum.
Depending on the age of students, different curricula are developed. For instance, counting to 10 is something designed to be taught to students after the age of four. There are some studies that have disputed the benefits of having a preschool education. The findings indicate that preschool could be damaging to social and cognitive development.
In a study that involved 14,000 preschools, it revealed that, although there may be a short-term cognitive boost in math and pre-reading, preschools present detrimental effects on things like cooperation and social development. This study was conducted by UC Berkeley and Stanford University.
Preschools have implemented different methods of teaching including Head Start, Waldorf, Montessori, Reggio Emilia approach, HighScope, Bank Street, Forest kindergartens, and Bank Street.
Funding Of Preschool Programs
Most of the American preschool programs were tuition based, but the support for having public funding within the early childhood education has been growing in the past years. The District of Columbia and 38 States, as of 2008, invested in some preschool programs. Also, many school districts began to provide preschool services using local and federal funds.
It is estimated that the U.S. spends about 0.04 percent of its GDP, equating to about $63 billion, on preschool education. The available funding is a reflection of challenges and benefits of public preschool. The funding may range from parental fees, private sources, local public allocations, state, and federal funds.
The issue of funding public preschools occurs due to limited resources and the cost of catering for a single child. It was estimated that, as of 2007, the average cost in the lower 48 states would be something like $6,582 for each child. There are about four categories used to determine the cost of public schools, and they include personnel qualifications, personnel ratios, health, and nutrition, as well as facilities and transportation. All these costs will largely depend on what kind of services are provided.
Often, the main personnel factor that is related to cost is usually the teacher qualifications. The length of the school day may be another factor that determines the cost of the program. Having longer sessions would mean more funds are required.
In several districts, collaboration has been helping to fund programs. In one district, a collaboration between the area Head Start and some other private preschools assisted in funding a public preschool. And from this kind of partnership and collaboration, the National Head Start Bureau was quick to point out that it was very much pleased with such kind of interaction. It showed a different dimension to their program, and that was something very positive.
The National Head Start Bureau has really been seeking for more opportunities to collaborate with public schools. In support of that collaboration, Torn Schultz of the Bureau stated that they were turning to partnership were possible whether in form of providing funds or facilities to ensure children have everything they need to be ready for school.
Advocacy In Preschool Programs
The Universal Preschool movement advocates having preschool programs available to families just like the primary education. It is an international effort championing for families get preschool support. There have been different priorities from jurisdictions and advocates when it comes to access, availability as well as funding sources.
In the US, a majority of preschool advocates rally behind the National Association that deals with Developmentally Appropriate Practices meant for Young Children’s education. On the other hand, the National Association of Child Care Professionals (NACCP) and (NAEYC) for children’s education try to publicize and promote a different idea of developmentally appropriate practice. This, however, has not been taken by many institutions.
NAEYC claims that, while 80 percent of kindergarten classrooms say that they are developmentally appropriate, in the actual sense, it is only about 20 percent that are.
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