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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET idea of presenting learning materials as gifts. Maria Montessori, Patty Smith Hill, and Caroline Pratt were critics of Froebel, but they certainly built on his ideas, as today’s educators have built on theirs. Our profes- sion has Montessori to thank for the concept of child-size furnishings and materials arranged with attention to order, aesthetics, and sensory explora- tion. Hill’s recognition of children’s need for big-body activity and social experiences led to the creation of larger wooden blocks for their play, a staple of any early childhood program. Pratt further extended the idea of block play by developing sets of unit blocks with accompanying props. She suggested supplying children with an abundance of basic, open-ended materials and ample space to independently and cooperatively explore and create with them. Our profession is indebted to the early schools and practitioners who first popularized these ideas, notably Harriet Merrill Johnson and Lucy Sprague Mitchell, City and Country School and Bank Street School for Children, both in New York City. John Dewey’s concept of education for democracy is one that influences our thinking as authors and, indeed, Loris Malaguzzi and the early educators of Reggio Emilia Italy studied his ideas and built on them. People familiar with the Waldorf schools founded by Rudolf Steiner may also see shades of that influence in Designs for Living and Learning. Steiner’s general philosophical positions are open to question, but we concur with his idea that education should give children regular experiences with natural materials and the rhythms of the seasons. Waldorf schools have a strong emphasis on the arts, imagination, creativity, and moral well-being. Though Steiner lived a century ago, we concur with his critique of setting up schools to meet economic needs rather than the needs of children. Learning from Contemporary Pioneers , As in graduate 1980s, students we were at Pacific Oaks to be College mentored in Pasadena, Elizabeth California, the fortunate by Prescott and Elizabeth Jones, who pioneered early thinking about creating homelike settings for full-time child care programs. Early on, we made use of the critical components they outlined for program settings, and we are indebted to their ideas about environments, materials, and the importance of observing children’s play for our own learning. Their contributions have influenced wide sectors of the early childhood field with respect to the 4  [   Introduc tion COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL