The Imagination of Early Childhood Education

The Imagination of Early Childhood Education

The Imagination of Early Childhood Education

The Imagination of Early Childhood Education


This book informs students and scholars of early childhood education about the vital influences that imagination in preschool and early childhood education has exerted upon the lives of various populations. It explores the deeper imaginations of scholars of philosophy and theory, and describes how their work has found its way into present-day classroom practices. The imagination of early philosophers, writers, and teachers, like Aesop, Plato, Socrates, Locke, and Rousseau, are considered in terms of how they affected the theories of Comenius, Oberlin, Pestalozzi, Froebel, Montessori, Freud, Piaget, and Erikson. These thinkers are integrated throughout the text in their proper historical and philosophical periods.


This is a book about children, parents, and teachers. If there were a single entity that could integrate these three groups into a passion for childhood education, it would be imagination. A scholarly view of childhood experiences captures this imagination while dispelling the notion that young children are learning only when teachers are teaching.

Early childhood education requires teachers who are knowledgeable about young children from infancy through age eight. It also requires parents who are willing to accept the responsibilities associated with the idea that they are the child's first teachers. And early childhood education requires an informed public willing to act upon the idea that high- quality early education is essential for future generations.

Traditionally, the ages of birth through eight are more associated with developmental concerns that emerge from basic human reflexes at birth than from grade assignments during schooling. Early childhood teachers are therefore more concerned about the learner's stage of development than the designation of a school grade level.

This book also examines historical features that are important to early childhood scholars. These features began to take shape hundreds of years before the recorded birth of Christ, beginning with Aesop's fables--fables that were not originally intended for children but found a welcome place in children's literature. Only recently have scholars noted the contributions of the slave Aesop to Western thought. Previously, discussions of Western education commenced with studies of philosophers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, and little attention was given to philosophers like Aesop who appeared centuries before them and significantly influenced their ideas.

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