Froebelian Endeavours, New Education and the 'Researched' Child from the 1900s to the 1960s 

Larry Prochner

University of Alberta

Systematic data collection about young children - whether through observation methods and measures or other means - are part and parcel of twenty-first century early childhood research and reflective practice; however, this was not always the case. This project will focus on five case-study schools at the forefront of a widespread transformation in the relationship between teacher/practitioner and child, a transformation which happened in the context of empathy-infused child-centred settings on the one hand, and scientific, observation-based research-informed pedagogy on the other. The study’s specific objectives are to investigate how individual practitioners/teachers understood and engaged in their work as groundbreaking researchers and carer-educators of children; to describe the scientific, social, political and other dynamics and their influence on the way research with children was undertaken and understood in these particular schools and in their broader local/national and transnational contexts; to investigate the conceptualization of the child as subject and object of research in these schools, and the status of research-based knowledge about children within the institutions and the field, connecting with inquiries into the theoretical underpinnings of Froebelian approaches. Data will stem from archival fieldwork and analysis of school records and other published and unpublished primary sources. The knowledge mobilization plan includes the dissemination of the outcomes of the research in academic and professional publications and conferences. 

 

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