Essay on What Role Does Childhood Play?

727 Words Oct 20th, 2016 3 Pages
What Role Does Childhood Play in Education?
As we continue exploring different aspects that make up the educational landscape, we have to inevitably focus on childhood as one of the main components. In fact, many philosophers see the child, not the teacher, as the central character and thus have extensively studied childhood as their main subject. This is the case of Rousseau who favored a child-centered education and of Kennedy who believed that the more we understand childhood the better equipped we will be to thrive as a society. While education is a lifelong task, it is in the early years that the foundations of formal education take place, therefore, it is critical to have a broad understanding of childhood from different philosophical and developmental perspectives that in turn will help us on our task of becoming effective teachers.
Jean-Jacques Rousseau was a strong advocate for nature’s flawlessness and he believed that children are much closer to perfection than adults. Instead of corrupting the natural state of freedom and perfection by socializing the child prematurely, he instructed parents and teachers to “observe nature and follow the path it maps out for [them]” (Lewis, Grinberg, & Laverty, 2009, p. 11). Given this privileged status of perfection, according to Rousseau’s ideas, educators must let nature do its work since excessive intervention will do more harm than good. Furthermore, he inculcated adults to “love childhood; promote its games, its pleasures,…

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