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Compare and Contrast the Work and Ideas of three early years educators/curricular approaches.

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Introduction

Compare and Contrast the Work and Ideas of three early years educators/curricular approaches. Prior to the 18th century children were largely regarded as mini adults, and no special provision was made for them. Since then however, attitudes towards children have slowly changed and we now recognise the importance of play in a child's development. Friedrich Froebel, Maria Montessori and Rudolf Steiner are three of the main educational pioneers who have influenced the early childhood reform over the last century. Freidrich Froebel (1782-1852) Freidrich Froebel was born in Germany in 1782. His mother died when he was nine months old and he was brought up by an uncle who sent him to school. At this school he learnt about the natural world as well as studying maths and languages. This experience influenced his approach to teaching children. 'As an idealist, Froebel believed that every child possessed, at birth, his full educational potential, and that an appropriate educational environment was necessary to encourage the child to grow and develop to an optimal manner.' (www.geocites.com) Froebel considered parents to be the main educators of their children and he thought schools should be communities in which the parents are welcome to join their children. ...read more.

Middle

The diadactic materials (diadactic means intended to instruct) have a built-in control of error, so the children can teach themselves in a non-competitive atmosphere. Montessori encouraged children to work alone. She felt that the best learning occurred when children were focused, silent and completely absorbed in a task. She referred to this as the 'Polarisation of the attention.' Montessori placed a lot of emphasis on the development of social skills, and these took precedence over early reading and writing. No formal learning of reading and writing were seen in a Montessori nursery, she felt these would follow once the basic social and emotional development had taken place. Instead, Montessori encouraged children to learn to form letters through sand and finger play. However Montessori placed a great emphasis on the richness of literature and use of language. Rudolph Steiner (1861-1925) Rudolph Steiner was born in Austria in 1861. His ideas about teaching young children are known as the Waldorf education system. Steiner believed that childhood was a separate period of life and his methods aimed to develop all aspects of the child. The curriculum Steiner designed aimed to provide equal experience of the arts and sciences. ...read more.

Conclusion

Her first school, the Casa del Bambini or 'House for Children' was designed so that all the educational materials would be accessible to the children. Child sized furniture is an essential part of an early years setting in today's practices to create a safe learning environment for the children to play. Both Steiner and Froebel believed in free play where the child has the opportunity to choose the focus of the play without constant interference or involvement by an adult. Montessori on the other hand, believed in a more structured play. Structured play is adult led, guided and planned. Both types are plays are widely used in today's early years settings. Montessori and Steiner both believed that children pass through particular developmental stages, which they believed, were essential for the child to be able to learn. Montessori developed a structured education based on these stages, including a number of specially devised pieces of equipment. Steiner's developmental stages were known as the three phases of childhood. In conclusion all three of these early years theorists have helped everyone working with children, past and present, to move forward, and maybe if people like these had not been prepared to stand up and fight for the rights of what children need, we may still be treating children as mini adults. ...read more.

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