This introduction presents an overview of the key concepts covered in the subsequent chapters of this book. The book consists of biographies that introduce leading thinkers of the past whose theories still impact upon current educational policies and practices. It covers an international scope of what early years' education and care has consisted of in the United States and some areas of Europe, both in the past and present, in various settings for young children from birth to eight years old. The book tracks the ideas introduced by the relevant pioneers through to the present, considering how they have been developed for modern practice. It considers the pioneers within their historical context, and provides underpinning knowledge of the relevant historical milieu to aid readers' understanding of the times and places in which the pioneers operated. The book considers the original kindergarten developed in Germany by Friedrich Froebel and tracks the continuing international successes of Froebelian-inspired pedagogy to the present day.