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Early Childhood Curriculum, History of

  • By: Gaile S. Cannella
  • In: Encyclopedia of Curriculum Studies
  • Edited by: Craig Kridel
  • Subject:Cultural Studies (general), Curriculum & Content (general), Curriculum Studies

The dominant history of early childhood curriculum (as attitudes, content, and teaching methods), focusing on children from birth to age 8, is grounded in the Enlightenment, modernism, and the Euro-American construction of social science from which emerged sociology, psychology, and education. Early childhood curriculum has been located in a range of public and private education and care settings and has been termed nursery, preschool, kindergarten, and primary education. Mainstream definitions of curriculum for young children have ranged from custodial care to diverse philosophical views regarding child rearing and learning, content and activities that include play, belief in a predetermined human development process that can be facilitated by particular kinds of curriculum, child-centered teaching, and education based on behavior modification. However, over the past 30 years, ...

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