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History of Early Childhood Education

            The development of the minds of young children around the world has undergone a dramatic evolution over time. Beginning with Aesop in the 6th century BCE, and including the influence of great thinkers like Socrates, Plato, and Aristotle, the education of young children has become a benchmark for the overall effectiveness of society (Morgan, 1999). The prodigious minds of John Amos Comenius, John Locke, Jean-Jacques Rousseau, Friedrich Froebel, and Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi contributed pioneering developments in early childhood education practice throughout the enlightenment (Elkind, 2010; Morgan, 1999). These men set the philosophical foundations and curriculums of early childhood education (Morgan, 1999). At the turn of the 20th century, Maria Montessori traveled the US in to tout her teaching techniques (Morgan, 1999). Deriving from the theories of John Dewey and John Piaget, Montessori program schools encourage children to have "freedom of experience" (Elkind, 2010; Morgan, 1999, p. 174). With those foundations set in place, the process of adapting educational programs to a child's overall development can be achieved. While some of those organizations that were established by those 17th and 18th century forerunners were effective, what is even more profound is the discovery that piquing a child's interest early in their life can accelerate the development of their skills, respective needs, talents, and interests. .
             In order to discuss the history of early childhood education, it is important to understand the exact definition of the term. According to Brown (2009), "early childhood development is defined as a set of concepts, principles, and facts that explain, describe and account for the processes involved in change from immature to mature status and functioning" (Brown, 2009, para. 1). This means that the goal of early childhood education is to facilitate the development of a child's overall abilities and understandings to prepare the child for future endeavors.

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