Robert Owen (1771-1858)On his monument in a London cemetery the words "He Originated And Founded
Infant Schools" commemorate Owen's work. Owen's other contributions include raising the working age in his mill from six
years to ten years and providing improved housing, better working conditions, and
a company store that charged less than other shops for workers. In 1816 he established a school for children and adults in the mill in New Lanark, Scotland, called
the Institute for the Formation of Character, which included an Infant School for
children ages 3 through 6. Owen believed in the importance of the early childhood
years. The school provided humane treatment for pupils by avoiding physical punishment; instruction aimed at the formation of good habits and kindness to others;
play, outdoor activities, hands-on instruction, and field trips; and classes in reading, writing, arithmetic, writing, sewing, music, dance, geography, natural history,
and modern and ancient history. Children were taught only what they could understand and were not forced to attend to lessons. Owen's desire for social reform through model communities emphasized the
education of children to deal with the new social order. The concept of Infant Schools
spread to America and even though the movement was short-lived, it set the stage
for future educational reforms. Infant Schools provided humane education and child
care for working mothers.
|329. || Owen Robert Dale. Outline of the System of Education at New Lanark. Glasgow: Wardlaw and Cunningham, 1824. Owen's son describes the education plan in detail for children in the mill town of New Lanark. Robert
became his father's chief interpreter of educational ideas.|
|330. || "Essay on the Formation of Character". In The Life of Robert Owen by Himself Vol. 1. London: Effingham Wilson, 1857. Owen's educational philosophy and plan in his own words.|
|331. || The Life of Robert Owen by Himself. 2 vols. London: Effingham Wilson, 1857- 1858. Autobiography presenting Owen's political, social, and educational philosophies. Has reprints of Owen's writings until 1820 in the
|332. || Owen Robert Dale. Threading My Way: Twenty-Seven Years Autobiography. New York: G.W. Carleton, 1874. The life of Owen's son with excellent original documents about New Harmony, the New Hampshire community based on New Lanark.|
Questia, a part of Gale, Cengage Learning. www.questia.com
Book title: Pioneers of Early Childhood Education:A Bio-Bibliographical Guide.
Contributors: Barbara Ruth Peltzman - Author.
Publisher: Greenwood Press.
Place of publication: Westport, CT.
Publication year: 1998.
Page number: 85.
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