State of play: Technology in the early years curriculum
Since the establishment of the first nursery school there have been a vast number of developments in early childhood education both nationally and internationally. The recognition, during the seventeenth century, that early years had a positive and important role to play in human development was led by many European philosophers and educators such as Jan Amos Comenius, Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Johann Pestalozzi. They believed in the importance of first-hand experience, learning through play, and the impact of positive reinforcement and active learning during early childhood. In 1816, Robert Owen established the first nursery school, in Scotland, set up for the children of his cotton mill workers from the age of one. A German educator, Friedrich Froebel (1782-1852), started a school for children and named it ‘Kindergarten’; he believed strongly in learning through play. The trend was continued by Maria Montessori (1869-1952), who emphasised the individual over class teaching, where children are given liberty to follow self-chosen activities.