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Why are theories important? To give meaning to what we observe. As a basis for action -- finding ways to improve the lives and education of children.

6th - 15th centuries : Medieval period Preformationism: children seen as little adults. Childhood is not a unique phase. Children were cared for until they could begin caring for themselves, around 7 years old. Children treated as adults (e.g. their clothing, worked at adult jobs, could be married, were made into kings, were imprisoned or hanged as adults.) 16th Century : Reformation period Puritan religion influenced how children were viewed. Children were born evil, and must be civilized. A goal emerged to raise children effectively. Special books were designed for children.

17th Century : Age of Enlightenment John Locke believed in tabula rasa Children develop in response to nurturing. Forerunner of behaviorism

19th Century : Industrial Revolution Charles Darwin theories of natural selection and survival of the fittest Darwin made parallels between human prenatal growth and other animals. Forerunner of ethology

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20th Century Theories about children's development expanded around the world. Childhood was seen as worthy of special attention. Laws were passed to protect children.

Friedrich Wilhelm August Froebel (Frbel) (1782 - 1852). Friedrich Froebel, the German educationalist, is best known as the originator of the 'kindergarten system

' Humans are essentially productive and creative Encourage the creation of educational environments that involved practical work and the direct use of materials. Play - it is both a creative activity and through it children become aware of their place in the world. He developed special materials (such as shaped wooden bricks and balls - gifts), a series of recommended activities (occupations) and movement activities, and an linking set of theories. Teach young children through educational games in the family.

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Maria Montessori, born in 1870, was the first woman in Italy to receive a medical degree. She worked in the fields of psychiatry, education and anthropology. She believed that each child is born with a unique potential to be revealed, rather than as a "blank slate" waiting to be written upon. Her main contributions to the work are in these areas:

Preparing the most natural and life supporting environment for the child Observing the child living freely in this environment Continually adapting the environment in order that the child may fulfill his greatest potential -- physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually

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Education is life itself - John Dewey learning is an active process. Schooling restrictive , long and unnecessary. Students to be involved in real life challenges.

maths could be learnt via learning proportions in cooking or figuring out how long it would take to get from one place to another by mule history could be learnt by experiencing how people lived, geography, what the climate was like, and how plants and animals grew, were important subjects Helped the development of "experiential education" programs and experiments.

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Jean Piaget(1896-1980) Cognitive development theory Children "construct" their understanding of the world through their active involvement and interactions. Studied his 3 children to focus not on what they knew but how they knew it. Described children's understanding as their "schemas and how they use: assimilation accommodation.

The four development stages are described in Piaget's theory are :

Developmental psychology Piaget is without doubt one of the most influential developmental psychologists, influencing not only the work of Lev Vygotsky and of Lawrence Kohlberg but whole generations of eminent academics. His theory of cognitive development can be used as a tool in the early childhood classroom children developed best in a classroom with interaction. Page | 7

Lev Vygotsky (1896-1934) Socio-Cultural Theory Agreed that children are active learners, but their

knowledge is socially constructed. Cultural values and customs dictate what is important

to learn. Children learn from more expert members of the

society. learning occurs. contributed to the inter-relationship of language and thought. Less known is Vygotsky's research on play, or children's games and its role in the child's development. Through play the child develops abstract meaning separate from the objects in the world, which helps in the development of higher mental functions. described the "zone of proximal development", where

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Noam Chomsky (Born1928)

Chomskyan linguistics introduces transformational grammar. Chomsky's ideas have had a strong influence on researchers investigating

the acquisition of language in children His best-known work in phonology is The Sound Pattern of English (SPE 1968), written with Morris Halle SPE system is considered the precursor of some of the most influential phonological theories today, including autosegmental phonology, lexical phonology and optimality theory.

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An educational philosophy focused on preschool and primary education. It was started by Loris Malaguzzi . It is a program based on the principles of respect, responsibility, and community through exploration and discovery in a supportive and enriching environment based on the interests of the children through a self-guided curriculum. The physical environment is often referred to as the child's "third teacher. Reflects a theoretical kinship with John Dewey, Jean Piaget, Vygotsky and Jerome Bruner

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A thematic approach to teaching and learning many areas of the curriculum are connected together and integrated within a theme. allows learning to be more natural and less fragmented allows literacy to grow progressively It guides connected ideas to follow on easily. Students will have fun. will be more actively involved. will develop learning skills more quickly. will be more confident and better motivated. will present fewer discipline problems.

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