The First Five Years of Life: A Guide to the Study of the Preschool Child, from the Yale Clinic of Child Development

The First Five Years of Life: A Guide to the Study of the Preschool Child, from the Yale Clinic of Child Development

The First Five Years of Life: A Guide to the Study of the Preschool Child, from the Yale Clinic of Child Development

The First Five Years of Life: A Guide to the Study of the Preschool Child, from the Yale Clinic of Child Development

Excerpt

It is now fifteen years since the Macmillan Company published the predecessor of the present volume under the title: The Mental Growth of the Preschool Child. The subtitle was longer: A Psychological Outline of Normal Development from Birth to the Sixth Year, Including a System of Developmental Diagnosis.

This subtitle is recalled because it remains a fair description of the contents of the new volume, even though the text has been entirely rewritten and extended as a result of accumulated experience and investigation.

The last two decades are notable for the scientific and educational efforts which have been devoted to the first five years of life. As early as 1923 the National Research Council sponsored a Committee on Child Development to foster and coordinate the rapidly growing research in this field. More recently the establishment of hundreds of nursery schools as part of an emergency educational program has brought the problems of preschool hygiene into fresh relief throughout the nation.

The Clinic of Child Development has been in a fortunate position to share in what has become in America both a scientific and a social movement concerned with the welfare of young children. The social status of the preschool child has already undergone a revolutionary change; and this change has placed a premium upon a scientific understanding of his nature and needs. Too little is known about him, and there is always a danger that we shall presume on insufficient knowledge.

The present volume is written in a conservative spirit, and aims to broaden the approach upon problems of early psychological development. The subject matter is concrete and is addressed to students and laity, as well as to readers whose interest may be more technical.

The contents represent a true collaboration on the part of workers who have had both theoretical and practical interests in the applications of psychology and medicine to the protection of early mental growth. Professor Henry M. Halverson, who contributes the chapter on the motor characteristics of the preschool child, has made extensive studies of the development and mechanisms of prehension, and related motor phenomena. As Research Associate in Biometry, Helen Thompson, over a period of years, has given special attention to the normative and biogenetic aspects of early behavior development. She contributes a chapter . . .

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