To view this page ensure that Adobe Flash Player version 11.1.0 or greater is installed.

2 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET | Giants in the Nursery In the United States, the negative legacy of humanism and the reliance on books, recitation, and role learning have been difficult to overcome. This has been partic- ularly true of elementary and secondary education. The difficulty has been aided and abetted by the introduction of standardized tests of academic achievement— suggesting that education is a measurable quantity. As a consequence, major efforts at educational reform have not been fully successful. As Diane Ravitch (2011) explains, the problem is that each reform movement is followed by a counterrevo- lutionary one aimed at correcting the errors of its predecessor. With this in mind, perhaps the best we can hope for is that we take what is of value in each of these efforts to progressively craft a more humane and effective educational system. Early childhood education has had its own problems. Because of its focus on very young children, long thought to be the province of the family, the education of young children outside the home has challenged traditional gender roles and religious values. It also has not been spared the intrusion of politics, economics, and social and historical forces (Pound 2011). As a result, the history of early child- hood education has been diverse and discontinuous. For example, in many coun- tries, including the United States, support for educating young children outside the home has waxed and waned depending on the particular political party in office at the local, state, and federal levels. The fortunes of early childhood education have also suffered because of the many competing child-centered programs claiming to best meet the needs of young chil- dren. The success of these competing programs (for example, Froebel, Montessori, Waldorf, and Reggio) has made it difficult to argue that one is undeniably better than any other. That being the case, it has been hard to present a united front against the pressures to make early childhood education a “size smaller” elementary education. The Introduction of DAP In 1987 the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) reintroduced some of Comenius’s ideas under the rubric of developmentally appropriate practice (DAP) (Bredekamp 1987). In 2010 this concept was expanded (Bredekamp and Copple 2010) to encompass the philosophical, practical, theo- retical, and research contributions of the later Giants. What this integration has made clear is that all of the child-centered early childhood programs, regardless of the particular Giant to whom they owe allegiance, share the same core principles: COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL