chapter  22
6 Pages

Caring for babies and children under three

The contribution of Froebelian principles
ByPeter Elfer, Sacha Powell

Researchers have developed three different ways of thinking about and researching babies' development from birth, indeed before birth, through the first three years. The first of these is developmental psychology and the contribution of attachment theory and the concept of intersubjectivity. The second has been psychoanalytic theory and its understanding of the extremes of babies' emotions, from intense rage to blissful contentment. A central idea is that of 'emotional containment', as the interaction through which babies, as they develop through early childhood, gradually are able to integrate and manage their emotions. The third is the neuroscience, with its focus on the crucial role of human interaction in brain development through the processes of synaptic generation and pruning. Frederich Froebel recognised the intellectual, emotional and physical demands of caring for young children and sought to support mothers and other carers through education and training including the resources and materials, which he produced for kindergarten and home contexts.