in DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET the Nursery A Biographical History of Developmentally Appropriate Practice David Elkind, PhD COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Giants in the Nursery COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Giants in the Nursery A Biographical History of Developmentally Appropriate Practice David Elkind, PhD COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Published by Redleaf Press 10 Yorkton Court St. Paul, MN 55117 © 2015 by David Elkind All rights reserved. Unless otherwise noted on a specific page, no portion of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or capturing on any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a critical article or review to be printed in a magazine or newspaper, or electronically transmitted on radio, television, or the Internet. First edition 2015 Cover design by Jim Handrigan Cover art by Hakki Arsian/ThinkStock Interior design by Dorie McClelland, Spring Book Design Typeset in Adobe Minion Pro Photo on page 176 © Ted Streshinsky/Corbis Photo on page 194 © Heritage Images/Corbis Printed in the United States of America 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Elkind, David, 1931- Giants in the nursery : a biographical history of developmentally appropriate practice / David Elkind. pages cm Summary: “Examine the evolution of developmentally appropriate practice with this biographical history of early childhood education. This book explores the theory’s progression--from its beginnings in writings of sixteenth- and seventeenth-century philoso- phers, its experimental implementation by eighteenth- and nineteenth-century practitioners, and its scientific grounding in contemporary theory and research”— Provided by publisher. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-1-60554-370-3 (paperback) ISBN 978-1-60554-371-0 (ebook) 1. Early childhood education 2. Early childhood educators. 3. Child development. I. Title. LB1139.23.E56 2015 372.21--dc23 2014030734 Printed on acid-free paper COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET To Nancy McCormick Rambusch dear friend trusted and admired colleague originator of the American Montessori Association COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Contents Introduction Chapter 1 A Prehistory of Early Childhood Education Chapter 2 John Amos Comenius Chapter 3 John Locke Chapter 4 Jean-Jacques Rousseau Chapter 5 Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi Chapter 6 Friedrich Froebel Chapter 7 Rudolf Steiner Chapter 8 Maria Montessori Chapter 9 Sigmund Freud Chapter 10 Jean Piaget Chapter 11 Erik Erikson Chapter 12 Lev Semenovich Vygotsky Chapter 13 The Evolution of Developmentally Appropriate Practice Index 1 9 23 39 55 71 89 105 123 141 159 177 195 219 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 207 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Acknowledgments Acknowledging all the many friends and colleagues who have contributed to the conceptualization of this book over the years is impossible. But I must thank sev- eral people in particular who have helped to make it a reality. I am most indebted to Barbara Beatty, who insisted I read and include John Amos Comenius. I also want to thank George Scarlett for reading and commenting on many of the chapters. Punum Banta was kind enough to read the Montessori chapter and make many valuable suggestions. I owe enormous thanks to Kyra Ostendorf and Elena Futz for their thoughtful and thorough editing and fact-checking of all the chapters. They have made it a much better book than it would have been without their help. Last, but certainly not least, I want to thank my wife, Debra, for her gracious willingness to serve as a sounding board for, and gentle challenger to, my ruminations about each of the Giants. ix COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Let the main object of this, our Didactic, be as follows: To seek and to find a method of instruction, by which teachers can teach less, but learners learn more; by which schools may be the scene of less noise, aversion, and useless labor, but of more leisure, enjoyment, and solid progress; and through which the Christian community may have less darkness, perplexity, and dissension, but on the other hand more light, orderliness, peace, and rest. John Amos Comenius, dedication to the great Didactic xi COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Introduction O ver the last few centuries, early childhood education—the instruction of young children outside the home—has become an internationally accepted level of schooling. Yet the first years of life are unique in that they include the most accelerated pace of physical, intellectual, emotional, and social growth and development of all stages of the human life cycle. Consider the progress from a squalling bundle of wants at birth to a walking, talking, socially adept child by age five or six. These rapid changes make it necessary to take growth and development into greater account in the education of this age group than any other level of pedagogy. It was John Amos Comenius in the seventeenth century who not only first recog- nized the educational importance of the early years but also articulated the teach- ing practices, skills, and subject matter most appropriate for this age group. First and foremost, he argued that both child rearing and education should be adapted to the growing abilities, needs, and interests of the child. In accord with this principle, he contended that subjects should be presented from the simple to the complex and in a way that is made interesting and enjoyable to the student. He was also adamant that education should be for everyone, male and female from whatever station in life, and for those of limited as well as exceptional ability. These ideas were progressively elaborated, articulated, and given philosophical, practical, research, and theoretical support by those individuals whom I am calling the Giants of early childhood education. The work of these Giants further clarified, extended, and enriched Comenius’s original vision of child-centered education. To be sure, early childhood was not the major concern of many of the Giants. None- theless, they all recognized, in their own ways and from their own perspectives, the crucial importance of age-appropriate child-rearing and early childhood instruc- tion for later healthy development. Yet despite four centuries of arguments for con- structing pedagogy in accordance with the psychology of the developing child at all age levels, this idea has yet to be fully implemented. 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 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 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Introduction | 3 namely, child rearing and education have to be adapted to the growing needs, abil- ities, and interests of the child, and children are best served when they are actively involved in their own learning. This commonality makes it clear that beneath the appearance of diversity and discontinuity in the history of early childhood educa- tion, there is an underlying unity and continuity. The Giants of Developmentally Appropriate Practice The progressive elaboration and integration of the philosophical insights, experi- mental innovations, theoretical ideas, and research evidence of the twelve principles brought together by NAEYC is the untold history of early childhood education. To be sure, these philosophical, practical, theoretical, and research ideas were not for- mulated exclusively for the education of young children. Indeed, the Giants thought of their ideas as applicable to all levels of child rearing and education. Comenius himself proposed that his ideas were applicable from infancy through the univer- sity level (Keatinge 1910). That DAP can be employed at least up to the high school level is supported by the fact that many of the descendants of the schools first intro- duced by two of the Giants, Montessori and Steiner (Waldorf schools), today serve the K–12 age groups. I am very well aware that, over the years, a great many distinguished educators both in the United Sates and abroad have made important contributions to early childhood education. But in every discipline there are only a few individuals whose work marks major turning points in their field. I believe this is true for early child- hood education. From this perspective, there are eleven individuals whose work has shaped the discipline. These are the philosophers, practitioners, researchers, and theorists whom I am calling Giants. By focusing on the work of the Giants, I by no means intend to belittle the significance of other contributors. It just seems nec- essary to call on the authority of the Giants in support of DAP at a time when DAP principles are being overlooked, ignored, or rejected—witness national achieve- ment standards. In choosing the Giants, I used three criteria. First, they were persuaded, far ahead of their times, that education had to be based on an understanding of the child. In the absence of a science of child psychology, they employed analogies, such as the growth of plants and the change of seasons, to illustrate developmental changes and to suggest age-appropriate child-rearing and educational practices. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 4 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET | Giants in the Nursery Second, each has made a unique contribution to our conception of the child and to our understanding of experiential learning. To be sure, all learning is experien- tial in a broad sense. Yet, since the time of Francis Bacon (1561–1626), it has been tradition to distinguish book learning and deductive reasoning from experiential learning based on sensory observation, experiment, and inductive reasoning. Finally, they are all Giants inasmuch as they have all found a prominent and lasting place in the theory and practice of early childhood education. Coming from different backgrounds and living in different times and places, each Giant concep- tualized the child and experiential learning from his or her unique orientation. Each successive conception has added to our knowledge of the complexity and variety of child nature and of the ways in which young children learn. Thanks to these ideas, we have a more comprehensive picture of the young learner than stu- dents at any other age level. Ten individuals meet the criteria outlined above. John Amos Comenius, John Locke, and Jean-Jacques Rousseau contributed the philosophical foundations of experiential learning and modern education in general. Johann Heinrich Pestalozzi, Friedrich Froebel, Maria Montessori, and Rudolf Steiner carried out the experimental groundwork of early childhood education. Most recently, early child- hood education was scientifically rooted in the research and theory of Sigmund Freud, Jean Piaget, and Erik Erikson. I have also added a chapter on the Russian Lev Vygotsky, even though he was not a Giant in the sense described above. This seemed appropriate both because of his influence and because he might well have been a Giant had he lived long enough to fully articulate his theories and complete his research program. The Aims of This Book My aims in this book are threefold. First, as described above, one core problem in early childhood education is that most, if not all, historians of early education give accounts of the diversity and controversy in the field at the expense of a comprehensive picture of the discipline as a whole. From the perspective of DAP, however, early childhood education does have a historical and a conceptual con- tinuity and unity. All the Giants contributed significant ideas about the nature of the child and about learning and instruction that have been progressively assimi- lated into the principles of DAP. In detailing the lives and works of these Giants, I COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Introduction | 5 aim to provide a much-needed coherent and compelling narrative of the progres- sive formulation, application, and theoretical or research support for the founda- tional principles of DAP. Second, another longstanding problem in early childhood education is that there are a number of competing child-centered camps linked to the work of Froebel, Steiner, Montessori, Freud, Piaget, Vygotsky, and Erikson. The proponents of these methods seldom communicate or interact with one another. Many educa- tors working under these rubrics are unfamiliar with the other methods’ histories and shapers. This book addresses this problem by bringing together a brief biog- raphy and work summary of the Giants of each of these programs. This integrative approach will afford both students and workers in any early childhood specialty an opportunity to learn about the Giants of other approaches. This is particularly true for the contributions of little-known and exceedingly original Comenius. Likewise, there is little recognition of Pestalozzi’s introduction of manipulatives and field trips as methods of experiential learning. Finally, outside of Waldorf-trained edu- cators, few early childhood professionals know much about Rudolf Steiner and his holistic educational contributions. A third aim of this book is to provide early childhood educators three powerful arguments in defense of DAP: 1. DAP is more solidly grounded in philosophy, theory, research, and prac- tice than any other approach to education or any other early education program. 2. DAP provides the most integrated curricula of socialization, individualiza- tion, work, and play than does any other approach to education. 3. DAP offers students the greatest possible combination of learning experi- ences (social, natural, personal, and unconscious) than any other approach to education. I believe these three considerations taken together enable early childhood educa- tors to make a powerful case for the superiority of DAP over any other educational programs for young children. I fully appreciate that there are many approaches to the education of young children other than DAP. But in my fifty years of engaging in child-development research, teaching child development, and supervising students, I have become convinced that the science of child psychology is the science of education. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 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 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Introduction | 7 theorists: Austrian Sigmund Freud, Swiss Jean Piaget, Danish American Erik Erikson, and Russian Lev Vygotsky. At the end of each chapter, I summarize how each Giant viewed the nature of the child, the aims of education, and the role of play. I chose the nature of the child because each Giant held his or her own view of what was essential to childhood. Like the blind man and the elephant, each Giant saw the child in a somewhat differ- ent way. Together, their perspectives give us a fuller and richer appreciation of the child than we might otherwise have. I chose the aims of education because the modern recognition of individual rights has raised the issue of whether education should focus on individualization, socialization, or some combination of the two. Over the years, individual rights versus social obligations has become a major issue addressed in different ways by modern major educational figures. Herbart (McMurry 1893) suggested that the issue was a character (education) versus academic (teaching) issue; Dewey ([1899] 1900) put it as an issue of the child and society. More recently, Freire (1970) has argued that it is a political issue of liberation versus domestication. What is import- ant from the perspective of this book is that regardless of how each Giant viewed the aims of education, they all believed these aims could be achieved in develop- mentally appropriate ways. I have included the Giants’ ideas on the role of play because their views of play complement their views on the aims of education. Each Giant’s perspective also gives weight to the idea that our stances on perennial issues in education derive, in part at least, from our personal predispositions. Each chapter concludes with how the writings of the Giants link to one or more of the twelve principles of early childhood education given in Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8 (Bredekamp and Copple 2010). For the later Giants in particular, the origination is often readily apparent. For example, the principle “Develop- ment and learning result from a dynamic and continuous interaction of bio- logical maturation and experience” is a basic proposition of Piaget’s theory. The principle “Early experiences have profound effects, both cumulative and delayed, on a child’s development and learning; and optimal periods exist for certain types of development and learning to occur” is surely a reference to Montessori’s sen- sitive periods. Likewise, the principle “Development and learning advance when children are challenged to achieve at a level just beyond their current mastery COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 8 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET | Giants in the Nursery and also when they have many opportunities to practice newly acquired skills” is clearly taken from Vygotsky’s zone of proximal development (ZPD) concept. For the earlier Giants, the links to the DAP principles are not as direct but are clearly anticipated in their writings. The book’s concluding chapter describes some of the personality traits that the Giants had in common and details each Giant’s individual contribution to the con- cept of experiential learning. The chapter also compares and contrasts the Giants’ contributions to our conception of child nature as well as their views on the aims of education and the role of play. A final section in the last chapter concludes that his- tory supports the employment of DAP and reiterates the warning of the great phi- losopher George Santayana: those who ignore the mistakes of the past are bound to repeat them. The chapters that follow teach again how much we have to learn from history. References Bredekamp, Sue. 1987. Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8. Washington, DC: NAEYC. Bredekamp, Sue, and Carol Copple. 2010. Developmentally Appropriate Practice in Early Childhood Programs Serving Children from Birth through Age 8. Washington, DC: NAEYC. Dewey, John. (1899) 1900. The School and Society. Chicago: University of Chicago Press. Freire, Paulo. 1970. Pedagogy of the Oppressed. New York: Herder and Herder. Keatinge, Maurice Walter. 1910. The Great Didactic of John Amos Comenius. London: Adam and Charles Black. McMurry, Charles Alexander. 1893. The Elements of General Method Based on Principles of Herbart. Bloomington, IL: Public School. Pound, Linda. 2011. Influencing Early Childhood Education. Glasgow: Bell & Bain. Ravitch, Diane. 2011. The Death and Life of the Great American School System: How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education. New York: Basic Books. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 2 John Amos Comenius 1592–1670 H istory is not always kind to innovators, and it has been particularly unkind to John Amos Comenius. Given little mention in contemporary histories of education, Comenius nonetheless made major and lasting contributions that have shaped many facets and levels of contemporary education. The breadth and depth of his contribution is truly extraordinary. As Maurice Wal- ter Keatinge writes, Comenius was the man whose theories have been put into practice in every school that is conducted on rational principles, who embodies the materialistic tendencies of our “modern side” instructors, while avoiding the narrowness of their reforming zeal, who lays stress on the spiritual aspect of true education while he realises the necessity of equipping his pupils for the rude struggle with nature and with fellow-men . . . [yet] produced practically no effect upon the school organization and educational development of the following century. (1910, 98) The failure to fully appreciate Comenius’s contribution lies in circumstances unrelated to his educational achievements. Rather, it had to do with Comenius’s unfortunate boyhood acquaintance Drabik, with whom Comenius remained in contact throughout his life. As a young man, Drabik re-created himself as a seer and a prophet. Comenius was taken in by Drabik’s self-serving descriptions of forthcoming events. Naively, Comenius wrote articles in support of Drabik’s pre- dictions, which turned out to be false. When the truth came out, the public rejected not only Comenius’s writings supporting these prophecies but the whole of his huge 23 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 24 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET | Giants in the Nursery educational opus. His books and essays were only rediscovered and reprinted in the nineteenth century. Likewise, Comenius’s barely marked grave was also found at that time, and his remains reinterred with a proper tombstone. In the last century, there has been a growing interest in the man and his work (for example, Berg- son 1911, Anastasas 1973, Gardner 1993). This interest will no doubt continue to enhance his reputation and acknowledge the lasting importance of his work. The Man The Early Years, 1592–1611 John Amos Comenius was born in 1592 in Moravia, a province in what is now the Czech Republic. His father was a prosperous miller who belonged to the Moravian Brotherhood, a Protestant sect characterized by its extreme simplicity. Its members dedicated themselves to living as pure a life as possible in accord with the demands of a literal interpretation of scripture. Throughout his life, Comenius maintained a strong relationship with the brotherhood and, at various times, served as a teacher, a minister, and a church leader for the group. Because of the religious conflicts and prejudices of the times, the brotherhood was forced to leave Moravia and other provinces as well. As a result, Comenius led a nomadic life and, once he reached adulthood, was never able to return to his homeland. His nomadic existence was also assured by the death of both parents while he was still a child. Relatives looked after his rearing and schooling but with- out great warmth or affection. He entered the Latin school in his teens, at a later age than most of his peers. As an adult, his memories of the thousands of rules he had to learn, the deadly study of grammar, and the drudgery of translating Latin authors without a good working dictionary contributed to his deep and abiding sympathy for the struggles of the elementary school student. The hate he felt for his educational experience may well have contributed to his later decision to become an educator. The University Years, 1611–1628 In 1611 Comenius went on to Herborn University, where he intended to study for the ministry. It was at Herborn where he became acquainted with the work of the educational philosopher Ratke. This thinker’s radical ideas for educational change COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET John Amos Comenius | 25 helped nourish Comenius’s still-emerging sense of self as an enlightened educa- tor. Although Comenius did not pursue them immediately, Ratke’s ideas became embedded in his psyche. Ratke argued that there is a natural sequence in the devel- opment of the human mind and in the acquisition of knowledge. He contended that this sequence should be followed in designing a course of instruction. Among other innovations, Ratke also insisted that children first be taught in their native tongue. These ideas, among others Ratke advocated, eventually became part of Comenius’s own educational philosophy. Yet at that point in his life, Comenius still thought of himself as having a life in the ministry and went on to the University of Heidelberg, where he matriculated in philosophy and theology. However, he had to drop out after a few months due to lack of funds. Comenius traveled to Prague on foot. Because he was still too young to enter the ministry, he took a job as a teacher in a brotherhood-run elementary school in Prerau, a town in the Olomouc region of what is now the Czech Republic. In that role, he was able to introduce some of the educational ideas he had acquired at Herborn. He was most concerned with the way Latin was taught and wanted to create a text that would make it much easier for children to learn that language. In 1616 Comenius was ordained and became the minister of a church in Ful- neck, a town in the Silesian region of what is now the Czech Republic. Comenius continued his elementary school teaching while still performing his ministerial duties. In fact, he was so admired for his teaching that he was chosen as the super- intendent of education in the town. Even after assuming his new role as superintendent, he did not give up his min- istry and continued to meet both the spiritual and educational needs of the com- munity. The three years he spent in Fulneck were perhaps the happiest and most conflict-free years of his life. During this period, he married and had two children. But these tranquil years were ended with the outbreak of the religiously inspired Thirty Years’ War (1618–1648). To the Catholic Spaniards, the Moravian Brother- hood was an apostate group. In 1620 the Spaniards invaded Fulneck, pillaging and burning the town. Comenius’s home, his library, and his unpublished educational manuscripts on which he had labored for years were lost. Fleeing Fulneck, Comenius was given refuge by Count Karl von Zerotin on his Bohemian estate. The trials of being an exile were compounded by the deaths of his wife and children due to disease. But the persecution of the Moravian Brotherhood continued, and an edict in 1627 ended the protection of the brotherhood by the COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 26 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET | Giants in the Nursery Bohemian nobles. Comenius and other members of the brotherhood set out for Poland. Crossing the mountains, Comenius was able to look back for the last time at his beloved Bohemia and Moravia. He later wrote, “My whole life was merely the visit of a guest; I had no fatherland” (Monroe 1900). The Years in Poland, 1628–1641 In the Polish city of Lissa, Comenius and several hundred other members of the brotherhood were welcomed to the estate of Count Raphael, who was also a mem- ber of the Moravian sect. During his thirteen years in Lissa, Comenius was able to pursue an idea that had gradually taken hold of his imagination. This idea was a pansophic (encyclopedic) educational system that would cover all extant knowl- edge and that was organized into an age-graded curriculum, which extended from infancy through the university. This was The Great Didactic, which he completed in outline form during his stay in Lissa. Comenius approached his grand design on two fronts: one philosophical and the other practical. These remained the two central themes of his educational dis- course for the rest of his life. While in Lissa, Comenius wrote some of his other most important educational works: Janua Linguarum Reserata (a revolutionary introduction to Latin), Orbis Pictus (The World in Pictures), and School of Infancy (a primer for parents). In Lissa, Comenius also taught elementary school and intro- duced a grading of the schools and a detailed description of a course of study for each grade. The publication of Janua and Orbis Pictus were well received, and Comenius’s educational work began to be recognized at home and abroad. It was not long before his educational ideas and methods began to be implemented in schools all over the world. He lectured in many countries on the European continent and in 1641 was invited to Britain. But despite the writings of Bacon decrying the state of education in England, British Parliament was too involved with the uprising in Ire- land and then the civil war against King Charles I to be concerned with educational reform. Comenius had hoped for financial support from the English to fill out his grand design of conducting universal research on curriculum and the founding of pansophic colleges, which would be comprehensive schools that taught the whole of human knowledge. Comenius regarded the pansophic colleges as the capstone of his educational system and whose graduates would exemplify the social, practical, and spiritual rewards of a universal education. This idea of a universal college that COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET John Amos Comenius | 27 would serve all the people of the world was Comenius’s fervent dream to which he devoted all of his energies. Devastated by the failure of the English to provide financial support for his grand educational project, Comenius left London for Sweden, where he broken- heartedly resigned himself to giving up his grand educational scheme. From Swe- den he went back to Lissa. In that city, however, his teaching and writing brought little income, and his poverty made it necessary for him to seek a patron to sup- port his work. The Years at Elbing, East Prussia, 1642–1648 Comenius found such a patron in Louis De Geer, a rich Dutch merchant who was then living in Sweden. But De Geer had little interest in such grand designs as The Great Didactic. He offered to support Comenius if he would undertake writ- ing more effective schoolbooks, provide more rational methods of teaching for the instructors, and introduce a more intelligent grading of the schools. Comenius accepted the offer and moved to the town of Elbing on the Baltic Sea in East Prus- sia, where he and his second family settled in 1642. In order to provide for his family and others of the brotherhood (for whom, as a leader and pastor, he continued to feel responsible), Comenius had to abandon his dream of creating a universal educational system. Perhaps because he did not find writing textbooks particularly challenging, Comenius allowed himself to be diverted by accepting a teaching position in Elbing and by frequent trips to Poland to attend ecclesial conventions and to minister to the needs of the brotherhood. However, De Geer became impatient with him and appointed a commission to review his work. In 1646 Comenius went to Stockholm to report on his educational efforts. The commission reviewed his progress and gave a very favorable report. By that time, Comenius had completed a number of projects: a book on language teaching, which dealt with the nature, function, and laws to be observed in language instruction; a lexicon based on these laws; and a series of graded reading books. De Geer urged him to prepare these materials for publication. The Return to Lissa, 1648–1650 Another detour in Comenius’s career came in 1648 with the death of Justinus, the senior bishop of the Moravian Brotherhood. Comenius was chosen as his successor. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 28 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET | Giants in the Nursery This appointment meant that Comenius had to move back to Lissa and give up his arrangement with De Geer. Comenius’s strong sense of responsibility was shown by the fact that once in Lissa he sent the finished books to De Geer as rapidly as he could. Comenius was actually happy to leave the town of Elbing, where he felt isolated and, in some ways, betrayed. He had assumed his connection with Sweden, where De Geer lived and wielded considerable influence, would end a ban that had exiled the brotherhood from Bohemia and Moravia. However, the Peace of Westphalia, which ended the Thirty Years’ War, did not withdraw the ban, and the brotherhood remained excluded from their homeland. In his role as bishop, Comenius devoted his full time to the needs of the broth- erhood from 1648 to 1650. Still, the church had little money, and Comenius began to consider lucrative offers from other regions to revise their educational systems. One such offer came from Transylvania in Hungary. The offer was appealing. In addition to a liberal salary, he would be provided with the complete backing to set up a school system according to his philosophy. He was also offered a printing facil- ity for the printing of his books. Recognizing that this arrangement would benefit the brotherhood as well as his own work, Comenius petitioned the brotherhood to be relieved of his position as bishop for a few years. Last Years in Hungary and Holland, 1650–1670 The brotherhood granted the petition, and Comenius and his family once again moved to a new community, this time in the city of Saros-Patak, a cultural center in northern Hungary. He immediately drew up a plan for a seven-year school. Come- nius stayed in Saros-Patak for four years, during which the first three years of the seven-year plan were completed. The innovations that Comenius introduced were an immediate success. In part at least, the positive outcome of the program was attributable to the fact that the teachers were those Comenius himself had trained in Lissa. Comenius returned to Lissa in 1654 to reassume the role of bishop. But his stay there was brief for the Swedes attacked Lissa; Comenius escaped, as he put it, almost “in a state of nudity” (1858, 101). As he had in Fulneck, Comenius once again lost both his library and his many unpublished manuscripts. He wrote of the loss of these manuscripts, on which he had labored for years: “The loss of this work I shall cease to lament only when I cease to breathe” (Monroe 1900, 70). COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET John Amos Comenius | 29 Comenius escaped to Silesia and shortly afterward to Frankfurt in Germany. Still not feeling safe, he journeyed on to Hamburg, Germany. In Hamburg, he suf- fered a severe illness that incapacitated him for two months. When he learned of Comenius’s illness, Lawrence De Geer, the son of Comenius’s deceased former patron, wrote to him and told him to come directly to Amsterdam in Holland. During Comenius’s time with his father, the young De Geer had formed a deep and abiding affection for Comenius and a profound respect for his educational ideas. He wanted to ensure that Comenius had a safe and secure place to reside. In 1656 Comenius made his final move to Amsterdam. This was a happy move for Comenius. The Dutch Republic was the most lib- eral region in Europe, open to a wide variety of religious beliefs and opinions. Although in his sixties—old for the time period—he continued to be productive and published a one-thousand-page edition of his collected educational writings. He also continued serving as minister to his disheartened brotherhood who had also escaped to Holland. In addition, thanks to the efforts of the young De Geer, he was sought out to teach the children of the wealthy merchant class in Amsterdam. He was comfortable both financially and intellectually in this new setting. Comenius could well be regarded as a genius, and one who could rightly be named the father of modern education. In person he was a humble, gracious, and generous man. As Palacky writes, all those who knew him attested to his goodness, kindness, and faithfulness: In his intercourse with others, Comenius was in an extraordinary degree friendly, conciliatory, and humble; always ready to serve his neighbor and sacrifice himself. His writings, as well as his walk and his conversation, show the depth of his feeling, his goodness, his uprightness, and his fear of God. He never cast back upon his opponents what they meted out to him. He never condemned, no matter how great the injustice that he was made to suffer. At all times, with fullest resignation, whether joy or sorrow was his portion, he honored and praised the Lord. (Monroe 1900, 81–82) The Work Comenius was a reformer—but an evolutionary reformer rather than a revolution- ary one. For example, he was opposed to the way in which Latin was taught, but COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 30 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET | Giants in the Nursery he was not opposed to the teaching of Latin. I have included Comenius among the philosophers because of the sweeping scope of his conception of pedagogy and his contributions to the institution of education as a whole. But he might equally have held his own place among the second group of practitioners in this book. His focus on methodology and his many innovations with respect to both teaching methods and curriculum rival those of Pestalozzi, Froebel, Montessori, and Steiner. Philosophical Work Comenius’s most overarching work was The Great Didactic. Will S. Monroe describes the encyclopedic scope and aims of the work: Not only should education be common to all classes of society, but the subjects of instruction should be common to the whole range of knowledge. Comenius holds that it is the business of educators to take strong and vigorous measures that no man in his journey through life may encounter anything so unknown to him that he will be unable to pass sound judgment upon it and turn it to its proper use without serious error. . . . But even Comenius recognized the futility of thoroughness in a wide range of instruction, and he expresses willingness to be satisfied if men know the principles, the causes, and the uses of all things in existence. It is a general culture—something about a great many things—that he demands. (1900, 88–89) Indeed, Comenius agreed with Plato that “if properly educated, man is the gentlest and most divine of created beings; but if left uneducated or subjected to a false training, he is the most intractable thing in the world” (Monroe 1900, 86). Considering the exponential growth of knowledge and technology over the past four centuries, Comenius’s vision of pansophic education—that individuals could be taught all that there is to know—seems impossible today. Indeed, today it is rare for an individual to know all there is to know within his or her own discipline or profession. But it was not this way at the time of Comenius’s writing. The induc- tive, experimental sciences introduced by Bacon were in only their infancy, the New World was only in the process of being discovered, and the modest range of arts and mechanical skills could all be covered. Comenius looked to nature as a guide for both his teaching methods and for the organization of the curriculum. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET John Amos Comenius | 31 He believed that his educational precepts were grounded in the way nature operates and that education would be easy and enjoyable: 1. if it is begun before the mind is corrupted. 2 . if the mind is prepared to receive it. 3. if we proceed from the general to the particular, from what is easy to what is more complex. 4. if the pupils are not overburdened with too many different studies. 5. if the instruction is graded to the stages of the mental development of the learners. 6. if the interests of the children are consulted and their intellects are not forced along lines for which they have no natural bent. 7. if everything is taught through the medium of the senses. 8. if the utility of instruction is emphasized. 9. if everything is taught by one and the same method. (Monroe 1900, 91) Comenius was as attentive to method as he was to the child being taught. In The Great Didactic, he laid out in detail methods for how to teach the sciences, the arts, language, morals, and religion. For each discipline he outlined specific steps that had to be taken to master the subject matter. With respect to language, for example, he argued that language instruction should be first tied up with the study of objects, and it should reflect the interests and comprehension of the children. He writes, “They waste their time who place before children Cicero and the other great writers; for, if students do not understand the subject-matter, how can they master the various devices for expressing it forcibly?” (Monroe 1900, 100). In reading The Great Didactic, one cannot help but be impressed, indeed over- whelmed, by Comenius’s foresight. Although he lived at the very beginning of the Renaissance, Enlightenment, and Age of Reason, many of his ideas are remark- ably contemporary. As illustrated above, he paid equal attention to the developing child, the method of instruction, and the nature of subject matter being taught. The later Giants further elaborated and articulated these ideas that are today con- ceptualized as DAP. Even today we see these three essential components only in quality early childhood education programs and in some private schools for older children and youth. We can turn now to some of the more practical contributions of Comenius’s work. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 32 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET | Giants in the Nursery Contributions to Practice The School of Infancy In his advice to parents, Comenius was quite contemporary. He urged mothers to breast-feed their children and complained about those mothers of wealth who made use of wet nurses. As children moved beyond breast-feeding, their food should be soft, sweet, and easily digestible. He strongly advised mothers not to give their children highly seasoned foods and, above all, not to give them medicines. Apparently in Comenius’s time, as is true today, there were hucksters hawking pan- aceas that often did more harm than good. Comenius believed that infants reared on such medicines would grow up to be “feeble, sickly, infirm, pale-faced, imbecile, [and] cancerous” (Monroe 1900, 114). He cautioned parents to ensure that their infants and young children had abundant fresh air, sleep, and exercise. Comenius also emphasized the importance of math and language development. With respect to math, he contended that very young children should be able to count to ten and be able to distinguish different quantities. But he also recognized that going beyond those attainments was too difficult for children in the first years of life. He did argue that very young children could learn some beginning geometry by distinguishing among geometric shapes and between larger and smaller shapes. But he recognized that such children could not really understand true measure- ment until they reached the age of reason at six or seven. Comenius also had much to say about language development in young children. He was adamant that children should learn to identify things like shapes, plants, and animals either before or at the time that they are given words for these objects. He emphasized that it is important that children speak correctly. He also believed that children should first learn to speak and comprehend their own mother tongue before learning another language. And he challenged his contemporaries by insist- ing that Latin not be taught until at least age twelve. During the early childhood years, children could profit from listening to poetry as well as jingles and nursery rhymes. They might not always understand the words, but they would enjoy the rhythm and rhymes of the language. In many ways, Comenius anticipated what is now considered the best preparation for reading—namely, language enrichment. Comenius believed that children should be introduced gradually into language learning, going from the simple to the complex step by step. He wrote four Latin COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET John Amos Comenius | 33 instruction books. In order of difficulty but not of publication, they are Orbis Pic- tus, the Vestibulum, the Janua Linguarum Reserata, and the Atrium. Orbis Pictus Orbis Pictus translates to “The World in Pictures.” This book is generally regarded as the first illustrated book for children. While the idea of an illustrated textbook was not original to Comenius, he was one of the first to use it in elementary lan- guage instruction. Comenius, in keeping with his pansophic outlook, included a wide variety of subject matter in Orbis Pictus. A sense of the subjects covered is given by some of the chapter titles: “God,” “The World,” “The Heavens,” “Fire,” “The Air,” “The Water,” “The Clouds,” “The Earth,” “The Fruits of the Earth,” “The Met- als,” “Tame Fowls,” “Singing Birds,” “Birds That Haunt the Fields and Woods,” and “Ravenous Birds.” Under the pictures in each chapter are two columns, one describ- ing the picture in the vernacular and the other describing it in Latin. With Orbis Pictus, Comenius hoped to achieve several different goals. One of these was to entice children to learn by using pictures, which are attractive and interesting to them. Another was to turn the child’s attention to words and things. Finally, Comenius believed that interest and attention are the prerequisites for readiness to learn. Pictures thus facilitate the learning process and the child’s will- ingness to follow a teacher’s instructions. Orbis Pictus gained enormous popularity and was translated into many languages and continued in print well into the seven- teenth and eighteenth centuries. Janua Linguarum Reserata Comenius wrote Janua Linguarum Reserata (The Door of Languages Unlocked) during his stay in Lissa. Comenius fashioned his book after a Janua published several decades earlier by a Jesuit priest. But Comenius geared his Janua to the elementary and secondary student. Again, its aim was encyclopedic, and in one hundred chapters, Comenius covered everything from the origin of the world to the mind and its faculties. As in the Orbis Pictus, the text was presented in adjoin- ing columns, one with the subject in German and the corresponding column in Latin. Comenius had a definite method in mind for the use of this text. Each chapter was to be read ten times. At each reading the student had to engage in an ever more complex rendering of the material. The method took the student from a literal COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 34 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET | Giants in the Nursery translation of Latin into the vernacular, to a later logical analysis of reading, to a final reading in which students challenge one another to quote certain passages of Cicero or Virgil. This followed Comenius’s belief that mastery of a language can only be demonstrated in its effective use. The Janua, which appeared before the Orbis Pictus, earned Comenius worldwide fame that was reinforced with the later appearance of the Orbis Pictus. Atrium Atrium (The Central Court) was meant as a more advanced text for those students who had completed the Janua. In Comenius’s scheme, the Janua provides the mate- rials for the building, while the Atrium provides the decorations. It essentially deals with each of the parts of speech, including nouns, pronouns, and adjectives. In the book, Comenius introduces the parts of speech from the simplest to the most complex. Each part of speech is explained along with examples. Comenius really intended the Janua to be a simplified Latin grammar book, which reflected his belief that grammar should be taught late, not early, in language instruction. Vestibulum In practice, Janua proved more difficult than Comenius had anticipated. Vestib- ulum, Latin for the corridor from the outside of the Roman house to the atrium, was written while Comenius was at Saros-Patek. It was meant as a primer to Janua. As such, the sentences are shorter and deal with simpler subjects than Janua. The chapters deal with topics such as, in Comenius’s terms, the accidents and qualities of things, the actions and passions of things, things at home and at school, and the virtues. Comenius expressed regrets that he could not illustrate this book. He believed the parallelism between words and things was the essence of his method, and illustrations would help cement the relationship. Like his other books, Vestibu- lum was widely published and translated. It is to be hoped that Comenius will eventually gain the recognition his enor- mous contribution deserves. We can now look at Comenius’s positions on the ques- tions posed to all the Giants. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET John Amos Comenius | 35 Common Themes The Nature of the Child For Comenius, the child has the predispositions for learning, but how those dispo- sitions are realized is dependent on education. The seeds of knowledge, of virtue, and of piety are, as we have seen, naturally implanted in us; but the actual knowledge, virtue, and piety are not so given. These must be acquired by prayer, by education, and by action. He gave no bad definition who said that man was a “teachable animal.” And indeed it is only by a proper education that he can become a man. (Comenius in Keatinge 1910, 204) The Aims of Education That the education given shall be not false but real, not superficial but thorough; That is to say, that the rational animal, man, shall be guided not by the intellects of other men, but by his own; shall not merely read the opinions of others and grasp their meaning or commit them to memory and repeat them, but shall himself penetrate to the root of things and acquire the habit of genuinely understanding and making use of what he learns. (Comenius in Keatinge 1910, 234) The Role of Play Comenius viewed play as a means of learning. In such social plays with their companions there is neither the assumption of authority nor the dread of fear, but the free intercourse which calls forth all their powers of invention, sharpens their wits, and cultivates their manners and habits. (Monroe 1900, 117) Conformance with DAP Principles Comenius anticipated many of the principles set forth by NAEYC as fundamental to developmentally appropriate practices, including these two examples: NAEYC Development and learning proceed at varying rates from child to child, as well as at uneven rates across different areas of a child’s individual functioning. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL 36 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET | Giants in the Nursery Comenius We must wait for opportunities to train our youth in all things and not anticipate them. We must begin in good time but not before it, as that would be no help to nature but would corrupt it. (Comenius 1986, 92) NAEYC Many aspects of children’s learning and development follow well- documented sequences, with later abilities, skills, and knowledge building on those already acquired. Comenius Education will be easy if the pupil is not overburdened by too many subjects . . . [and] if the intellect be forced to nothing to which its natural bent does not incline it, in accordance with its age and the right method. (Keatinge 1910, 127) Commentary John Amos Comenius was truly a genius. He not only understood child development as well as all the sciences, languages, and arts of his times, but also devised methods of teaching these subjects at all age levels. His The Great Didactic also set the four levels of schooling that are the standard in most developed countries. It is truly astounding to read his exposition of the principles of DAP written more than four centuries ago. While to my knowledge Piaget never read nor referred to Comenius, I was fascinated to read that they both shared the same vision of education: to teach individuals to think for themselves and not to accept the first ideas that come to them. I hope that Comenius will eventually receive the recognition he so clearly deserves. References Anastasas, Florence H. 1973. And They Called Him Amos: The Story of John Amos Comenius: A Woodcut in Words. Jericho, NY: Expostion Press of Florida. Bergson, Henri. 1911. Creative Evolution. Translated by Arthur Mitchell. New York: Macmillan. Comenius, Johann Amos. 1858. The School of Infancy. An Essay on the Education of Youth, During Their First Six Years. London: W. Mallalieu. ———. 1986. Pampaedia, or, Universal Education. Translated by A. M. O. Dobbie. Dover, UK: Buckland. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET John Amos Comenius | 37 Gardner, Howard. 1993. Multiple Intelligences: The Theory in Practice. New York: Basic Books. Keatinge, Maurice Walter. 1910. The Great Didactic of John Amos Comenius. London: Adam and Charles Black. Monroe, Will S. 1900. Comenius: The Beginnings of Educational Reform. New York: Scribner. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Education Explore the extraordinary history that has shaped Developmentally Appropriate Practice In Giants in the Nursery, Professor Elkind uses his expertise in early childhood education to bring the history of DAP to life. Beneath the supposed fits and starts that have been portrayed in other histories of DAP, Dr. Elkind shows that there is a thread of historical and conceptual continuity and unity. The book traces the evolution of developmentally appropriate practice from its early philosophical beginnings, through its later practical implementation, to its contemporary underpinnings in scientific theory and research. It does so by providing biographical sketches and work summaries of the philosophers, practitioners, and researchers/theorists whose work marked major turning points in this progression. In so doing, the book also gives powerful arguments for adopting DAP as the approach of choice in the support of young children’s learning, growth, and development. The Giants were ahead of their time in early childhood education, and, taken together, their perspectives give us a fuller and richer appreciation of the child. David Elkind, PhD, is currently Professor Emeritus of Child Development at Tufts University. He is a consultant to many organizations and lectures both at home and abroad. As an expert in ECE, he has appeared on shows including The Today Show and The Oprah Winfrey Show. Professor Elkind has over 500 publications, including articles for a variety of magazines and a number of popular books, such as The Hurried Child and The Power of Play: Learning What Comes Naturally. “Professor Elkind has devoted his panoramic erudition and wisdom to distilling the essence of ‘developmentally appropriate practice’ bequeathed to us by eleven of history’s Giants of early child development. An indispensable contribution that should be compulsory reading for all practitioners, students, campaigners, and policy makers across the Western world.” —Dr. Richard House, Chartered Psychologist, retired university lecturer in early childhood, founder of Early Childhood Action, and editor of Too Much, Too Soon? ISBN 978-1-60554-370-3 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL $29.95