The History of Early Childhood Education

This is FREE sample
This text is free, available online and used for guidance and inspiration. Need a 100% unique paper? Order a custom essay.
  • Any subject
  • Within the deadline
  • Without paying in advance
Get custom essay

The three historical figures that will present my selected subtopic, and the rationale on how the individual selected and what they contributed are Vygotsky, Piaget, and McMillan. Vygotsky gave insight into how children develop and learn based on a social development theory. His theory states that cognitive development happens as social interaction develops not before.(Mcleod,2018) His theory was essential to early childhood education because of the social and cultural aspect that changed how educators view their thoughts on cognitive development.(McLeod,2018)

Piaget theory is the opposite of Vygotsky. His theory revolved around how children develop and learn through various stages that developmentally appropriate practices in the classroom environment. Piaget’s states that children do not learn through open play oppuntities of their own making. Play is facilitated with peer and adult interaction to learn ideas and concepts. Now McMillian felt that health , nourishment, and physical welfare set the standards for cognitive and social education of children through observation.

Reading material to consider after conference

Edwards. (2013). Digital play in the early years: A contextual response to the problem of integrating technologies and play-based pedagogies in the early childhood curriculum. European Early childhood Research Journal.21(2),199-212.


Annotate: Digital play in the early years: a contextual response to the problem of

integrating technologies and play-based pedagogies in the early childhood curriculum by Susan Edwards. * Edwards gives three approaches to broaden digital play based on current research. She suggests addressing a gap between paly and technology in early childhood education and curriculum in multiple countries. Edwards discussing Digital Consumerist Context and three theoretical bodies of work. The most distinctive section is Edward’s description of cultural and temporal adaption of play.

Barblett, L., Knaus, M., & Barratt-Pugh, C. (2016). The pushes and pulls of pedagogy in the early years: competing knowledges and the erosion of play-based learning. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, (4), 36.

Annotation: The pushes and pulls of pedagogy in the early years: Competing knowledge and the erosion of play-based learning by Lennie Barblett, Marianne Knaus, and Caroline Barrett-Pugh. In this research paper the authors asked professionals in the education field about their pedagogy, practice, curriculum, and play-based learning. The participants gave explanation regarding the differences seen in the district, Western Australia, over time. The authors share their feedback taken during the research and resulting conclusion from data collected about play in the classroom.

Edwards, S. (2017). Play-based learning and intentional teaching: forever different?. Australasian Journal of Early Childhood, (2), 4. doi:10.23965/AJEC.42.2.01

Annotation: Play-based learning and intentional teaching: Forever different? By Susan Edwards. Edwards discussed the problem of play verses intentional teaching which are on different grounds. She collaborated with other educators to find research on early childhood teachers using play. The results of their research discussed the authors explanation of how principles of play connect to Vygotsky’s theory. The results helped Edwards better understand her pedagogical theory of play and intentional teaching as a continuous construct.

Historical Perspective Of Subtopic

Piaget’s books on infant and early childhood interactions and theory of child development after observing his own three children were thought of as wildly imaginative in the 1950’s once translated to English (Review of play, 1952). Piaget’s theory of children development and learning was based on his theory of stages of development. Sensorimotor, pre-operational, concrete operations, and formal operations are the stages. In contrast, Vygotsky’s theory of play was not as well proven but shows merit in early childhood education based on research conducted before his passing. He thought of play as part of the cultural and social development of children. An intriguing note from Australia was found in a book that in part states the kindergarten classroom has been essentially the same since the article was written in the early 1900’s (Moore, et al. 2014). This baffled the authors as to the research by Vygotsky was not in place since its founding and went on to comment that the need to add play into classrooms has pushed children into a more academic world they are not cognitively ready to partake. Modern research has shown significant push for play in the classroom and research articles on play or lack of play (Kane, 2016). In Hedges and Cooper’s article, the reference to Brostrom’s description of meaningful learning through play encouraged the author’s definition of play (Hedges and Cooper, 2018, p. 371). They discussed combinations of teaching with play to guide student learning to create play-based learning (Hedges and Cooper, 2018, p. 372).

Review of Play, dreams and imitation in childhood. (1952). Journal of Consulting Psychology, 16(5), 413-414. doi:10.1037/h0052104

Moore, D., Edwards, S., Cutter-Mackenzie, A., & Boyd, W. (1970). Play-Based Learning in Early Childhood Education. Retrieved from https://link.springer.com/chapter/10.1007/978-3-319-03740-0_2

Hedges, H., & Cooper, M. (2018). Relational play-based pedagogy: theorising a core practice in early childhood education. Teachers & Teaching, 24(4), 369-383. doi:10.1080/13540602.2018.1430564

Kane, N. (2016). The Play-Learning Binary: U.S. Parents’ Perceptions on Preschool Play in a Neoliberal Age. Children & Society, 30(4), 290-301. doi:10.1111/chso.12140

What does current research tell us about play?

Researchers Brussoni, Isikawa, Brunell, and Herrington (2017) found children’s outdoor play did not follow the Seven C’s of outdoor play. The Seven C’s are a criterion to design outdoor playgrounds based on seven features: character, context, connectivity, clarity change, chance, and challenge (Brussoni, et al. 2017, p. 6). The researchers review literature to find children’s play spaces that did not have areas for rough and tumble play or loose materials for example, did not rate well using the Seven C’s scale and needed landscaping. Play in the new area provided children with increased imaginative play and quality interactions with teachers (Brussoni, et al. 2017. p. 6) Hussain described the process of teaching and learning through play as not being a free for all or too structured as to allow students to learn freely with teacher guidance (Hussain, 2018 p. 481). Hussain built upon Piaget’s stages of development with the explanation of rules being organized by the students and not the adults (Hussain, 2018, p.482). With both Hussain and Brussoni, et.al, the need for play was evident when conducting research processes and results showed the need for play in outdoor spaces especially. In Jane’s research, Jane stated play has subsets including spontaneous, educational, guided, and purposeful play (Jane, 2014, p. 282). She asked and argued the question, “What is play?” Jane’s research explained the need for play to relieve stress for children (Jane, 2017, pp. 287-288) and increases social emotional development (Jane, 2017, pp. 289-290).

Brussoni, M., Ishikawa, T., Brunelle, S., & Herrington, S. (2017). Landscapes for play: Effects of an intervention to promote nature-based risky play in early childhood centres. Journal of Environmental Psychology, 54139-150. doi:10.1016/j.jenvp.2017.11.001

Hussain, H. (2018). Exploring physically active play in the early childhood curriculum from a complexity thinking perspective. Sport Education and Society, 23(5), 475-490.

Jane, H. (2014). Seeking Balance in Motion: The Role of Spontaneous Free Play in Promoting Social and Emotional Health in Early Childhood Care and Education. Children, 1(3), pp. 280-301 doi:10.3390/children1030280

Helpful tips for parents.

Parent influence:

Parents have considerable influence over how children perceive play whether it be positive and necessary or a waste of academic time (LaForett and Mendez, 2017).

Parent engagement:

Parental engagement in activities with the child is important for language development, social development, and parental beliefs toward play. In research conducted in Asian homes, parental engagement was introduced and thus changed parental perspective on the value of play for development (Lin and Li, 2018).

Parent attentiveness:

Through media and technology sources, sediment activities have increased for parents and children alike. Parents attentiveness to the child verses media can decrease the number of active minutes a child plays. Research conducted on healthy lifestyles and early childhood development found that the intervention group decrease body mass index in comparison to the control group by introducing active play and healthy eating habits by parents (Morris, Skouteris, Edwards, Rutherford, Cutter-Mackenzie, O’Connor, and Williams-Smith, 2016).

LaForett, D. R., & Mendez, J. L. (2017). Children’s engagement in play at home: a parent’s role in supporting play opportunities during early childhood. Early Child Development and Care, 187(5-6), 910-923. doi:10.1080/03004430.2016.1223061

Lin, X., & Li, H. (2018). Parents’ play beliefs and engagement in young children’s play at home. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 26(2), 161-176. doi:10.1080/1350293X.2018.1441979

Morris, H., Skouteris, H., Edwards, S., Rutherford, L. M., Cutter-Mackenzie, A., O’Connor, A., & … Williams-Smith, J. (2016). Feasibility of conducting a randomized trial to promote healthy eating, active play and sustainability awareness in early childhood curricula. Early Child Development and Care, 186(11), 1752-1764. doi:10.1080/03004430.2015.1131158


  1. Cutter-Mackenzie, A., Edwards, S., Moore, D., Boyd, W., (2014). Young Children’s Play and Environmental Education in Early Childhood Education, Springer Briefs in Education, DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-03740-0_2
  2. Fox, J. (2008). Back-to-basics: Play in early childhood. Early Childhood News. Retrieved from http://www.earlychildhoodnews.com/earlychildhood/article_view.aspx?ArticleID=240
  3. Isbell, R. (2018). Early Childhood Education Keynote Speaker • Dr. Rebecca Isbell. Retrieved from http://drisbell.com/
  4. McLeod, S. (2018). Jean Piaget’s Theory of Cognitive Development. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/piaget.html
  5. McLeod, S. (2018). Lev Vygotsky. Retrieved from https://www.simplypsychology.org/vygotsky.html
  6. Nilsson, M., Ferholt, B. (2014). Vygotsky’s theories of play, imagination and creativity in current practice: Gunilla Lindqvist’s “creative pedagogy of play” in U. S. kindergartens and Swedish Reggio-Emilia inspired preschools. Perspectiva, 32(3), p. 919-950. Doi:http://dx.doi.org/10.5007/2175-795x.2014v32n3p919
  7. Social Stages of Play. (2017). Retrieved September 3, 2018, from https://www.encourageplay.com/blog/social-stages-of-play

Cite this paper

The History of Early Childhood Education. (2022, Nov 27). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/the-history-of-early-childhood-education/

We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Peter is on the line!

Don't settle for a cookie-cutter essay. Receive a tailored piece that meets your specific needs and requirements.

Check it out