Early childhood education today is like banquet tables full of offerings when it comes to the philosophies and practices which make up the practice. Preschool education, as we know it today, for the most originated in the ideas which sprung out of Europe during the early 19th century, especially those of humanism in Germany. Yet do not let this relatively recent development fool you. The educational values and practices come from ancient traditions from Greece and beyond.
Today the overriding value in all education is a humanistic approach which states it as “a system of thought that reflects concern for the values, potential, well-being, and interests of human beings.” This approach, which is completely accepted today, was once considered radical and unorthodox. For one thing, the way we think about children has been totally revolutionized. In a relatively short time children have gone from being thought of as “little adults” with childhood just a place to wait until adulthood. Only the children of the wealthy received formal educations, while the rest received physical punishments, repetitive, rote learning and harsh treatment.
Today this is not the case at all. Children are educated, and recognized as prime material for learning. Childhood is a crucial stage where much matters and deserves as much respect as all other stages of development throughout life. Childhood should not be rushed through, but should be nurtured to get the best results.