Learning from Children: learning from Caroline Pratt (1867-1954). Early Progressives in Early Years Education (FORUM 1)

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Publication date: March 1, 2014

MARY JANE DRUMMOND

This review of Caroline Pratt’s life and work in early years education includes an account of how a six-year-old boy taught a woman in her thirties what she needed to know in order to open a school – in 1914 – that continues to this day, a school that was, in the founder’s own words, fitted to the child and not the other way around. It finds a clear case of parallel evolution in some of her contemporaries in England, and examines aspects of her beliefs and practice that are highly challenging and contentious for educators today. Caroline Pratt’s story invites us to think about how reliable learning from children, or learning from the past, can ever be. Maybe all learners, teachers and children, yesterday, today and tomorrow, cannot escape the grand responsibility of asking their own questions, and of being in charge of their own learning.

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