In this chapter I suggest that American early childhood
education (like education in general) is at the brink of a major shift in
how it conceptualizes and defines its mission. Linking care and
education, such redefinition affords promising options and
opportunities. Following an analysis that delineates this change, I
offer a new definition of excellence in early care and education and
suggest strategies for achieving it.
Reports on a study of the way children are provided for in Scandinavia and explores those aspects of the child-care system which are potentially adaptable to American needs.
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.
Our purpose in this chapter is twofold. First, we will investigate
current educational practices to determine if and how basic developmental
principles have been considered in educational settings.
Second, while we acknowledge that the barriers to change may be
great, we offer concrete suggestions that demonstrate how educational
practices can be supportive of and conducive to sound principles
of child development.
The views of Jean Piaget and Rudolf Steiner concerning children's stages of development are compared and related to present-day instructional practices used in the Waldorf schools, which employ Steiner's ideas. Educational principles and practices used at the elementary school level are discussed.
Jean Piaget's theories about children's cognitive development are applied to the evaluation of childhood psychosis. Problems with the testing of such children are described, and results of a research project that used the Piaget-inspired Uzgiris and Hunt Ordinal Scales of Psychological Development to assess autistic children's cognitive processes are given.
Jean Piaget's belief that children's developmental levels largely determine what they can learn is challenged. Research concerning the existence of cognitive structures in children is critiqued, and problems with administering Piagetian tasks are pointed out. Educators should not restrict children's exposure to learning because, according to Piagetian criteria, they are not ready.
On November 14, 1980, the Developmental Psychology Program at Teachers College, Columbia University, held a memorial conference in Thorndike Hall to mark the death of Jean Piaget on September 17, 1980. Sixteen scholars from the fields of psychology, philosophy, and education presented brief reflections on Piaget’s work to an audience of about sixty people.
The question that lies behind all I want to say in this chapter
is an easy one to ask: how do we as teachers make sense of our
experiences of children's language development in school?
The underlying premise of this article is that the information and the education processes should be perceived as integrated—or combined in a larger process—and that activities related to both processes should be coordinated. The perception is important in both the industrialized and less industrialized countries (LIC's).
The 1960s saw the widespread adoption in this country of early education pro¬grams aimed at counteracting the effects of poverty on human development. This article is an analysis of seven early education program studies.
As fresh studies of familial education are undertaken in their own right—studies in which explicitly educational questions are addressed to appropriate primary sources—a criticized body of generalizations will begin to emerge, and we shall come to see the family anew as the crucially important educator it has always been.
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-making—all 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.
Within anthropology we have developed several useful distinctions in discussing the questions of how grandparents do or do not play a role in the education of children in any given society, and particularly in our own. Within the context of this article the author uses the word education to include conscious teaching of any sort, whether of speech, manners, morals, or skills, but include also the process of socialization, which occurs in all societies as children learn to restrain their impulses, postpone gratification, control their sphincters, walk, talk, and participate in social life, and the process of enculturation, by which children learn a particular culture.
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.
There is currently in the United States unparalleled interest in
the systematic use of broadcast television to promote the social,
emotional, and intellectual growth of young children. Support for
this movement lies in the recognition that television is ubiquitous,
reaching into 97 percent of all U.S. households; that young children
are exposed to upwards of thirty hours of television fare each
week; that while they learn a great deal from what they watch,
there have been far too few significant attempts to plan program
content in order to address important areas of learning and development
systematically; and that no other approach can promise
to deliver so much to so many at so small a unit cost.
The questions which this essay shall raise and try to answer are these: Why are the vast majority of elementary teachers women? What are the contextually imposed constraints upon the sex of the teacher as an operational component of classroom life? What are the consequences of the sex of the teacher in context, particularly the unanticipated consequences?
This paper will attempt to dull the distinction between conceptual and rote learning.
To speak of offering a broad program
of services for young children without recognition of the fact that
it will necessitate money--and lots of it is not only an exercise in
futility but sheer hypocrisy. We also must come to grips with the
human problem of learning how to share and coordinate funds and
energies without the threat of loss of personal or institutional identity.
When and only when this nation really understands the significance
of offering the young child the best beginning in life that
our knowledge can produce will we accomplish a real commitment
expressed in terms of necessary funds. With such a commitment,
possibly a brighter, more productive present may be expected for
the young child, with boundless possibilities for his future functioning
as a socially competent adult.