Pioneers of Early Childhood Education: A Bio-Bibliographical Guide

By Barbara Ruth Peltzman | Go to book overview

Lucy Sprague Mitchell (1878-1967)
As cofounder of the Bureau of Educational Experiments, which later became the Bank Street School and in 1950 the Bank Street College of Education, Mitchell encouraged research on progressive education and educational experimentation. Mitchell's efforts helped to provide an opportunity for professional women to pursue an interest in early childhood education in a scientifically rigorous way. She believed that theory and practice in education must never be separated, and that a commitment to the study of child development was necessary as the basis for early childhood curriculum. She developed teacher training techniques that combined educational theory, classroom practice, and research to stimulate creativity, and believed in educating the "whole" teacher to teach the "whole" child. She believed that children's block play and experiences in the neighborhood are the basis for map skills. Mitchell said that children develop play maps to orient their block communities and therefore map skills are a natural part of a child's thinking because they are used as a tool and a means of expression. Mitchell authored twenty books for children, including Here and Now Stories to stimulate language development and play with real experiences; was the author and editor of six books for adults and numerous articles for teachers; was renowned lecturer; and was director of the. Writer's Workshop designed to encourage authors of childrens books. Mitchell was a creative force who combined "the abilities of a scientist with the spirit of an artist."
PRIMARY SOURCES
311. "Imagination in Realism". Childhood Education 7, no. 3 ( November 1931): 129-131. Discusses the importance of reality and imagination in children's literature. States that imagination is not fantasy nor the denial of reality, literature should present the real world on the maturity level of the reader to heighten the experience, reality must be familiar with the element of the "new," and children need contact with reality to "fly" from the here and now after many real experiences. Emphasizes that imagination enhances the real world of the child.
312. "Maps as Art Expression". In Creative Expression: The Development of Children in Art, Music, Literature, and Dramatics, ed. for the Progressive Education Association by Gertrude Hartman and Ann Shumaker. New York: John Day, 1932, pp. 40-41. Describes the beginning of map making as a floor activity scheme in block building and the progress children made to map orientation. States that play maps as expression and maps as tools are the same in children's minds and should not become divorced in

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