This book covers a vast range of different philosophical and practical approaches to early education, from Free/Open schools and Waldorf education, to the Core Curriculum and the learning standards approach of the U.S. federal No Child Left Behind Act. By the early years it is meant the ages from infancy through the end of elementary school. While some of the approaches, such as Montessori and Reggio Emilia, are best known for the pre-school years, and the standards approach is best know for American K-12 education, there is more and more overlap and merging across early childhood and elementary education approaches, world-wide. All the approaches covered in this text can be seen in programs from infancy through the end of elementary school, even if each may focus on a certain age within this time frame. We are seeing major changes in infant, pre-kindergarten and elementary school education approaches, world-wide.
These changes are the result of several major factors, including the extensive and powerful new brain research; globalisation of markets, ideas, and the Internet; rapid demographic shifts in many developed countries, and a move to more universal education in developing countries and more universal pre-school programs in developed countries. Thus, the focus of this book in describing a variety of current education approaches, with a detailed description of their historical and philosophical foundations and their current practice is very timely.