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Child-Centered Curriculum

  • By: Thomas E. Kelly
  • In: Encyclopedia of Curriculum Studies
  • Edited by: Craig Kridel
  • Subject:Cultural Studies (general), Curriculum & Content (general), Curriculum Studies

Child-centered curriculum is a central and contested concept in curriculum studies. In implicit and explicit ways, examination of this term raises at least three fundamental curricular questions: What are the most desirable ends of education? What are the most effective means to these desirable ends? Who should influence and determine these decisions? These core curricular decisions remain subjects of continuing controversy into the 21st century.

Historically, the child-centered curriculum is most associated with John Dewey's progressive views on education and, particularly, with his critique of the disengaging, rote-minded methods schools typically employed in transmitting to youth a traditional subject matter composed of the classics, history, mathematics, and science. Rather than organizing learning around the separate subject disciplines and insisting that students adapt to this preset curriculum, ...

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