Encyclopedia of Early Childhood Education

Leslie R. Williams, Doris Pronin Fromberg
Garland Pub., 1992 - 518 páginas
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This comprehensive work contains approximately 200 articles concerning all aspects of early childhood education (from birth through age 8) written by eminent specialists in the field. It is intended not only for researchers but for students, parents ofyoung children, and administrators. It encompasses the study of early childhood with all its diverse movements and influences. Until now, these issues were scattered through many classics, such as Evelyn Weber's "The Kindergarten: Its Encounter with Educational Thought in America" (1969), "Handbook of Research in Early Childhood" (1982), edited by Bernard Spodek, and the ongoing series edited by Lillian Katz, "Current Topics in Early Childhood Education" The book is not alphabetically arranged like a traditional encyclopedia. It is divided into six chapters: the historical and philosophical background of early childhood education; sociocultural, political, and economic influences; perspectives on children; varied curricula programs; and perspectives on educators. Each chapter begins with an outline of topics to be addressed and an introductory essay that summarizes current and past thought. The signed entries are arranged thematically. The volume opens with a list of 23 specialists that make up the editorial board and a list of contributors with their affiliations. A combined name and subject index follows the text, and cross-references are provided as needed. A few articles, such as "The Froebelian Kindergarten," are reprinted from "The International Encyclopedia of Education" Entries are scholarly but readable. Statistics and charts accompany some entries; for instance, a chart shows teacher certification requirements for early childhood education in the 50 states. The references given at the end of each entry range from older to very recent books, journal articles, and reports. They provide research results on practices like all-day kindergarten, home-based day care, and holding children (especially boys) back a year to begin kindergarten at age six. Up-to-date topics are included, for example, the article "AIDS and Children" and references to whole language. Many entries were written by scholars who have produced enduring works, such as Beatrice Cullinan, Dorothy Strickland, and Bernard Spodek Several small flaws mar this otherwise excellent and unique resource, largely centering on lack of accessibility. For example, there are no instructions for use that alert the user to the organization of topics within a chapter according to the outline preceding it. In the index, substantial treatment of a topic is not distinguished from simple mention of it; this could have been rectified by boldface numerals or some other device. There are 30 page references under "Head Start", for instance. While the contributors are given with their affiliations, there is no corresponding list of entries written by each of these specialists. Some authors of entries are not listed either as contributors or editors. See, for example, the entry "Child Abuse" written by L. R. Mitchell Problems of access aside, this is a comprehensive and valuable contribution to the field of early childhood education. It should find a place in all libraries that support the study and practice of education. Public libraries ought to consider making it available to day-care providers. This book provides astute selection of topics with accurate and clearly written entries by recognized authorities on an issue of great interest. -Booklist.

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