Preschool and Parental Education

Preschool and Parental Education

Preschool and Parental Education

Preschool and Parental Education

Excerpt

The chances are that practically every reader of this yearbook received such training as he did receive during the first five or six years of his life at the hands of adults who were convinced that the chief problem during that period was to maintain in the said reader a reasonable condition of health, including the avoidance, so far as feasible, of the stock diseases of infancy and early childhood. The chances are that, save for the few who attended kindergartens, our readers received but scant educational training, and that of a more or less sketchy and incidental, not to say accidental, character during that period. The chances are, furthermore, that the parents of practically every reader of this yearbook dispensed whatever training they did dispense in accordance with certain stock, rule-of-thumb precepts that they had acquired from their parents, modified somewhat perhaps, here and there, by contact with the differing notions of other parents and to a lesser degree by ideas picked up from the chance reading of books on the feeding of infants and like topics.

Now, however, there has arisen a new and different conception of the educational significance of the first half-dozen years of life. Infancy and early childhood are held to be of fundamental and far-reaching importance for the entire development of the individual--of importance, that is to say, not only with respect to his physique, his physical well-being, but even more with respect to his mental well-being, his temperamental and emotional outlook upon life. Adults, and particularly parents, are held responsible, therefore, to an extent and in ways not before deemed possible, for the future success of the child, and these success-conditioning factors are held to be peculiarly operative during the preschool years.

This new conception of the significance of the preschool period has led to the development of several new educational activities, more especially to the development of nursery schools and of new organizations and methods for the better training of parents. What the ultimate meaning of these developments may be for our general program of public education can hardly be discerned clearly at present; the whole movement is too recent to predict its outcome with assurance.

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