This article focuses on the considerably lower proportion of Latino parents who select a formal preschool or child-care center for their three to five-year-old youngsters. The authors empirically focus on the influence of ethnicity, maternal education, family structure, and preliteracy practices on parents' propensity to select preschools and center-based programs.
In this chapter I
will examine recent data to chronicle why changes in the social, demographic,
and research context of the nation have made preschool education
an imperative despite its political illusiveness. I will suggest that
until specific tensions are addressed, significant advances in early care
and education are likely to remain remote from reality. I will close by
making recommendations for normalizing early childhood services,
with the knowledge that only in making such services available for all
children will the real needs of the nation's poorest children be met.
An introduction to this special issue of the Teachers College Record that represents some of the most recent thinking on the conceptual and practical growth within the field of early childhood education and child care.
Child care and early childhood education should be fully integrated. The roots and consequences of the current separation are examined. A description is provided of the Kramer Project, a day care school. Obstacles to fully integrated day care and educational services are discussed.
After tracing the changing forms of work, family life, and child care in America, this article explores the benefits to family, home life, work place, parents, children, and child care workers afforded by a variety of current employer practices in child care services and support.
Buffalo's Early Childhood Centers, which grew out of court-ordered desegregation plans, are described and evaluated in this article in terms of student achievement, parental involvement, and racial balancing.
The change process surrounding the introduction of an all-day kindergarten program in a small suburban school district is examined in this case study. Implications for adoption and implementation of early childhood programs in other school systems are discussed.
A look at programs that reduce damaging outcomes for at-risk youth.
This article discusses the connection between the availability of day care and early childhood education and the future of the U.S. economy by examining three key elements in the relationship: the family, the individual, and the nation as a whole.
Two antithetical views of the sense-making potential of young children are explored: the Piagetian egocentric view and the sociocentric view. The article suggests that empirical research demonstrates socially construed perspective-taking tasks do not show the young child to be egocentric, but sociocentric.
Kindergarten programs in public schools generally have an academic/ formal orientation or an intellectual/experiential orientation. This article highlights the fundamental differences between the two approaches by examining current curriculum, policy and staffing, and administrative practice regarding kindergarten.
This article outlines key issues in early childhood education related to (1) identification and characterization of the populations to be served, (2) definition of the goals of services, (3) preparation of early childhood specialists, and (4) optimal settings for delivery of service.
This article discusses four reasons for advocacy activities related to early childhood education and child care: preserving existing programs; increasing capacity and quality of service; making early education more accessible, affordable, and equitable; and educating the public.
The author discusses some of the literature on the family as educator. The family is an arena in which virtually the entire range of human experience can take place. Warfare, violence, love, tenderness, honesty, deceit, private property, communal sharing, power manipulation, informed consent, formal status hierar¬chies, egalitarian decision-makingall can be found within the setting of the fam¬ily. And so, also, can a variety of educational encounters, ranging from conscious, systematic instruction to repetitive, moment-to-moment influences at the margins of awareness.
It is possible to combine all the individual and group consumption that goes on in the family unit into one "family consumption package" and, using economic theories designed for analyzing individual decisions, to make valid and useful statements about family activities.
Early childhood is a period of rapid growth. Changes, some of
which are the greatest that occur in the total development of the individual,
become evident as the child manifests differences in physical
appearance and abilities and develops, in a few short years, a
multiplicity of complicated skills and behavior patterns. Some developmental
tasks, such as walking, running, jumping, and talking,
emerge dramatically and can be observed readily as they are initiated
and refined. Feelings, attitudes, and concepts, which are personality
components, are also engendered by early experiences but may evolve
relatively unnoticed due to their less perceptible nature.
The essential attribute of four-year-olds, particularly relevant to
parents and teachers, is the distinctive capacity of these children to
plunge into developmental adventures: motor, emotional, social, and
intellectual. This eagerness to master and control one's body, to
broaden social horizons, to bring feelings under control, and to express
thoughts and ardently pursue intellectual interests offers parents
and teachers of four-year-olds a rare opportunity to accept,
support, and nurture human individuality in one of its most transparent
forms. The educational potential which this attribute releases
constitutes the theme of this chapter.
This chapter is based upon the assumptions that (a) all forms of
the communication arts are closely related; (b) many experiences
necessary for the development of the communication arts must be
provided; (c) specific instruction is necessary to provide the background
skills of reading and writing. An effort will be made to trace
briefly the development of the several communication arts through
the preschool years.
The Committee has aimed to present a yearbook which will bring to educators and others interested a survey of the fields of preschool and parental education. During the past ten years there has been such a phenomenal growth in the interest in the welfare of young children that it seemed pertinent to attempt at this time to bring together the information available in the field and to present the movement to those engaged in education. It is impossible to separate those activities which relate to the education of young children and those which relate to the education of parents. The two are so interrelated and so correlated that it is essential to discuss them together.
A most significant trend in the forward movement of organized education is toward a closer coordination of the facilities of the home and of the school. If one were to inquire of any student of social progress,'' "What is the newest development in the educational world?'' the answer would almost surely be, ''Schools for infants and a constructive program of education for parents.''
The purpose of education in its broadest sense is the providing of a suitable environment for the complete development and growth of children. This implies that education begins at birth, for growth, from that moment on, may be affected by the environment. Such a conception of education also means that the first six years of a child's life, the preschool years, are particularly significant because of the important development which is taking place and the influence upon later years of the growth during these years.
The term day nursery as used in this country stands for an institution having one primary purposenamely, the day care of children who remain part of the family unit but who for social or economic reasons cannot receive ordinary parental care.
The importance of the family as a social influence is generally conceded. In spite of this we find scant attention given to the study of the family as an educational institution. As a result, our knowledge, compared with what might rightly be expected, is hazy and inadequate.
Maternity and infant welfare centers are now a conspicuous feature in the educational program of mothers and of preschool children. The program of these centers as we know them today, including prenatal, infant, and preschool hygiene, has developed from the earlier work confined to infants and directed toward the lowering of infant mortality.
In order to understand the behavior of children, either in the nursery, home, school, or elsewhere, we must interpret their behavior in terms of past experiences as well as in terms of present physical, intellectual, and emotional life. It is necessary to keep in mind how closely related and dependent upon each other are the child's mental and the child's physical life. Serious and irreparable errors may ensue if there is lacking a most careful and painstaking clinical examination, as well as the necessary laboratory tests essential to revealing those physical conditions which are often at the basis of conduct disorders.
As the significance of the period of growth during the preschool years has become more apparent there has developed an increasing interest in establishing nursery schools. A list compiled in 1924 showed a total of 28 nursery schools in 11 states, whereas the list at the end of this chapter, compiled less than four years later, shows 85 nursery schools located in 24 states and the District of Columbia. A study of these schools reveals wide variation in purpose and scope, in basic educational principles, in ideals and standards, and in working techniques, even though the ultimate aim of all is to contribute to the development of children and society.
The problem of preschool and parental education cannot be discussed without reckoning very fully with the kindergarten. To be sure, it is possible to consider the issues chiefly in terms of the nursery school, but it would be unwise to ignore either the historic or the potential position of the kindergarten in the whole situation.
Parental education has a twofold meaning: it is a conscious effort on the part of parents to gain an understanding attitude toward their children as developing personalities; also, it is a conscious attempt on the part of organizations and agencies that serve children to interest the parent in the newer knowledge of child life, for the benefit of the child in the home as well as in the school and the community.
Preparental education frequently uses nursery schools as laboratories for students and often takes place in centers where parental education and professional training are also going on. An account of the one cannot avoid reference to the others, nor can discussion of one remain free from some overlapping with discussions of the others. The development of preparcntal education has in many centers paralleled that of parental and nursery-school education, each contributing to the others, and each gaining from the others knowledge of teaching methods, of content for courses, of texts, and of administrative methods.
Professional training in child development with a center of interest in the preschool child is a new movement in education. It has gained impetus through the establishment, as integral parts of institutions for higher learning, of stations and institutes for the study of normal children, and the subsequent introduction of preschool laboratories, nursery schools, and guidance clinics. Less than a dozen years ago the first center for the scientific study of normal and superior children at a university was established; since then institutes of child welfare research have been founded at a number of leading universities.