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6 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET | Giants in the Nursery This conviction was further reinforced when I began lecturing to parents and teachers in the United States and other countries. I was particularly impressed by my visits to Scandinavian countries where DAP is the norm for their educational systems. Throughout these countries, formal education does not begin until age six or seven, and early childhood programs are play based. One of the most powerful observations I have made is that effective early childhood educators, regardless of their theoretical persuasion, practice what we now call DAP. Finally, I have yet to see any research evidence to show that any non-DAP approaches are more effective in the long or short term than DAP approaches that adapt to the growing needs, abilities, and interests of children. Despite all the above considerations, the pressure to push academics into early childhood has increased rather than abated. In my talks at early childhood centers and in numerous letters and e-mails from experienced early childhood professionals, I hear the same sad story. The pressures for testing, homework, and the elimination of play are unrelenting. Too many of our best early child- hood educators are leaving the field because they cannot, in good conscience, engage in the age-inappropriate practices they are being forced to impose on young children. It is because DAP has the weight of history, philosophy, practice, theory, and research to recommend it that I believe it is superior to any other educational approach for young children—indeed, for students at all age levels. And it is because I see this approach in jeopardy that I wrote this book. Organization of the Book The organization of the book is as follows. An introductory chapter provides a brief history of Western education from the Greeks and Romans until the mod- ern era introduced by the Reformation, the printing press, and the exploration of the New World. The next few chapters of the book offer brief accounts of the lives and work of Moravian philosopher and educator John Amos Comenius, English philosopher John Locke, and Swiss French social philosopher Jean-Jacques Rous- seau. The following chapters give similar accounts of the lives and work of the shapers of early childhood pedagogy: Swiss Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, German Friedrich Froebel, Austrian German Rudolf Steiner, and Italian Maria Montes- sori. The last chapters are devoted to the lives and work of the researchers and COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL