This essay will attempt to clarify why it is significant that early years practitioners retain knowledge of the historical and philosophical influences on early years policies. It will look at many pioneers, their philosophy and how their ideas have developed, it will look at how their work, historical influences and events of the past have shaped the early years foundation stage (EYFS). It will then detail why it is important for practitioners to learn about the contribution of the pioneers and history influences to improve their practice when working in an early years setting the penultimate section will then talk about the term practitioner and then will finish with a conclusion.
There are many early theorists from the Greek philosopher Aristotle (384-322 BC) and Socrates (470-399 BC) (Gray and Macblain , 2012 ). who influenced later pioneers such as john Comenius (1592-1670) who in turn influenced on even later pioneers as his theory on education beginning in early childhood and holistic development remain cornerstones of educational theories today (Pound, 2006 p. ).
An influential thinker Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852) was thought to be one of the most significant pioneers of early childhood education because of his continued international influence on practitioners (wood and Attfield , 2007 ). Froebel viewed play as essential in child education and development.
In 1837, Froebel set up a school for young children which was known as ‘kindergarten' this symbolized a protected and safe environment (Bruce, 2008). He emphasized the importance of outdoor play and activity (Pound, 2006 ). His beliefs on play led Frobel to create educational materials for children which were known as ‘gifts ‘they were intended to stimulate children's thinking. (Pound, 2006 ).
Froebel's theories underpin the EYFS. His call for a rich and varied enviroment , that allows children to explore , learn and develop in a secure and safe indoor and outdoor environment has been adopted by the EYFS 2008 and 2012 and by practitioners since then. (DCSF2008).
Practitioners need an understanding of Froebel's theory so that they can provide a positive learning environment both indoors and outdoors where children can initiate their own play led by their own interests. This involves practitioners having an understanding of play and being able to set up age and stage appropriate activities to engage and stimulate children's interests enabling them to drive children to develop holistically.
Rudolf Steiner (1865-1925) believed that play and imagination are important and centered on all aspects of children’s growth and development (Pound, 2006 ). He considered that a vital aim of child education was to Develop the potential of the child (Gray and Macblain , 2012).
The EYFS echoes that babies and children develop in different but individual ways, every area of child development is important , this is seen within the unique child principle (DCSF 2008).
Practitioners need to be...