Early childhood education is a field within education encompassing the knowledge base related to children from birth through age eight (third grade). Early childhood is a unique time in the development of a child, during which much learning takes place. Approaches to teaching young children cover a wide spectrum ranging from direct instruction to emergent curricula. This entry provides a brief historical background of early childhood education, discusses its roots in child psychology, summarizes outside impacts on the field, and describes its main curricular models.

Historical Background

The development of young children is addressed in historical evidence from the ancient civilizations of Greece and Rome (by the work of Plato and Aristotle and Quintillian) to the Middle Ages in Europe (by the work of Martin Luther, John ...

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