Category Archives: History of Childhood

earlier theories of play

Again, still working with some historic publications… Brian Sutton-Smith once gave an overview of the history of play theories. To quote some of the bits I found interesting, he wrote: “The earlier nineteenth-century theories of play – those of surplus … Continue reading

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why do we assess students at school?

I’m already sold on Peter Gray’s argument for free play as an educational need of children (and adolescents). However, consider some of these points: “About thirty years ago, a team of research psychologists headed by James Michaels at Virginia Polytechnic and … Continue reading

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How schools came to serve the state

Arguing for changes to the structure of ‘schooling’ we employ in countries like New Zealand and the USA, Peter Gray provides a history of what we know as schools, beginning with an explanation of child-rearing in hunter-gatherer societies, then explaining the … Continue reading

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Another interesting point from Peter Gray – on how we perceive children

I found this notion of the shifting relationship between mankind and ‘nature’ and how it shapes our notions of child-rearing thought-provoking: “Finally, I’d like to suggest an additional reason for the difference between hunter-gatherers and subsequent societies in child-rearing methods. Agriculture … Continue reading

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Education and hunter-gatherer children

“Education, by my definition, is cultural transmission. It is the set of processes by which each new generation of human beings, in any social group, acquires and builds upon the skills, knowledge, lore, and values – that is, the culture … Continue reading

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Kindergarten: the seed pearl of the modern era

Norman Brosterman describes kindergarten as “the seed pearl of the modern era” (p.7) In his history of Froebel’s kindergarten, he writes: “Kindergarten has been around so long, and is so familiar, that it is natural to assume personal expertise on … Continue reading

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NZ kindergartens in the early years (of the 20c)

Tania Mace offers this history of kindergartens in New Zealand (and Auckland in particular, focusing on the St James Kindergarten): “In late nineteenth century New Zealand child  welfare had become a particular concern, and from the 1890s legislative changes sought … Continue reading

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History of Kindergartens

Reading about Froebel and a little of the history of kindergartens the other day, I got curious. What (his)stories are there out there about kindergarten? So, just a quick scan of the information available: According to Peter Weston, “Friedrich Froebel … Continue reading

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Steiner Waldorf education

Jill Tina Taplin describes the principles underpinning the Steiner Waldorf early childhood environment, as well as offering “examples of the practical methodology, covering: imitation and example; purposeful activity and free movement; imagination; rhythm and repetition; and child observation.” (p.86) Here … Continue reading

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Froebel and his kindergarten

Tina Bruce explains that “[Friedrich] Froebel [(1782-1852)] was the inventor of the kindergarten.” (p.56) “Froebel’s ideas have entered mainstream educational practice, but at the time he put them forward, they were revolutionary. Froebel did not set down his ideas with … Continue reading

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