The development of early education theory and practices over the years has transformed how we view the education of today’s child. As it becomes clearer with the passing years, the effective utilization of the most useful teaching tools and proper application of learning theories is setting the course of our children’s futures. When we put the importance of a successful early childhood education in perspective, it becomes apparent that the learnings of the past have paved the road to how we now teach our children. In order to better appreciate where we stand today in childhood education and where we may be going in the future, let us take a short walk through the history of early childhood education and some of the key milestones.
Exploring the History of Early Childhood Education
There are many influential people in the past who have influenced the development of early childhood education, so it is really impossible to cover all of them in a single article. Indeed, we would likely be pressing your patience, so we will focus on some of the major historical milestones. The notion of teaching very young children outside of their home is thought to have originated in Europe in the early 19th century. This early education movement, for lack of a better term, came over to the United States in the 1800s. An example would be Wisconsin where the state passed legislation to provide education to four year olds. As time went by, the formation and development of pre-school programs across the United States began to take root and as we entered the early 20th century, the interest in teaching young children outside of their home was blossoming.
The History of Early Childhood Education Timeline
The History of early childhood education timeline in America is best understood if we begin with The National Association for the Education of Young Children which was formed in 1926 with a focus on the improvement and delivery of quality child education programs and Head Start formed in 1965 as an outcropping of the Department of Health and Human Services. Originally the program was formed to provide assistance to lower income children but as the years have progressed the program is now much more universally accepted in supporting early childhood education programs at all levels. These two important markers laid down a path for educators to build upon a sturdy foundation.
Today we are seeing a far greater emphasis placed on the development of early aged children throughout the country. Degree programs for teachers of children are available a colleges, universities, and community colleges. And now, more so than any time in the past, college degrees in early childhood education are now offered online through many hundreds of colleges.