Learning In The Early Years Essay

1304 words - 6 pages

Learning in the Early Years

This assignment identifies they key ideas and work of Margaret
McMillan, Maria Montession, Rudolph Steiner and Fredrich Froebel. To
discuss how those early educators have influenced current early years
practice and to identify to ways in which current provision and
practice is influenced by the work of the early educators.

Margaret McMillan (1860 - 1931)

Margaret McMillan believed in active learning through first-hand
experiences and emphasised feelings and relationships aswel as
physical aspects of movement and learning. She believed that children
become whole people through play. She thought play helps them to apply
...view middle of the document...

Early years settings give opportunities for
children's physical, social, imaginative and creative play and
encourage expression of feelings. Active learning is encouraged
through provision of a wide range of materials and equipment. Margaret
McMillan's views on the nursery school as a community are followed
through today as parents are invited into schools and seen as partners
in the care and education of their children. School meals and medical
services are now an accepted part of provision.

Maria Montessori (1870 - 1952)

Maria Montessori was a doctor who spent a lot of her life observing
children especially those with special needs. To Maria Montessori
children are seen as active learners who go through sensitive periods
in their development when they are more open to learning particular
shills and concepts. Montessori did not think there was a need for
adult correction. Children are seen not seen as part of a community
but work largely on their own in a quiet and peaceful environment of
total concentration. Little parental evolvement is encouraged. Maria
Montessori did not see the point in play; she did not encourage
children to have their own ideas until they had worked through all her
graded learning sequences: she did not believe that they were able to
do free drawing or creative work of any kind until they had done this.
Maria Montessori designed a set of what she called didactic materials
which encouraged children to use their hands. Her approach moved
children through simple to complex exercises. For her, the highest
moment in a child's learning was what she called 'the polarisation of
the attention'. This is when the child is completely silent and
absorbed in what they are doing.

Mainstream provision sees the child as an active learner and some of
Maria Montessori's ideas and materials are used, such as particular
shapes, e.g. small, medium and large shapes. Although Maria Montessori
believed that children should work alone and that this would help the
children to become independent learners, the mainstream practice would
not usually leave children to work through activities alone but
encourages group work and intervention by adults to scaffold the
learning process.

Rudolph Steiner (1861 - 1925)

Steiner believed in childhood as being a special phase of life and
that the children need a protected environment where all-round
development can take place. Rudolph Steiner emphasised the spiritual,
moral, social, artistic and creative and the need to care for each
other. He did not emphasise what is taught but how and when. He
believed that young children need to be protected from formal learning
and learn through imaginative and creative play using simple tasks and
activities with natural materials. To Rudolph Steiner what the child
eats and the symbolic...

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