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1.INTRODUCTION
The Early Childhood Education has changed considerably in recent times. The process of
acquiring a new identity for the institutions that work with children has been long and difficult.
During this process came a new conception of the child, totally different from the traditional
view. If, for centuries the child was seen as being an unimportant, almost invisible, today it is
considered in all its particularities, with personal and historical identity.
These changes led to new social and economic demands, giving the child a role for future
investment, this came to be valued, so their care had to follow the course of history. Thus, early
childhood education from a welfare perspective becomes a pedagogical coupled with care,
seeking to meet the child holistically, where their specific (psychological, emotional, cognitive,
physical, etc ...) should be respected. In this perspective, this paper proposes a discussion on the
historical evolution of the concept of childhood and its impact on care for children in early
childhood
education
institutions.
2.CONCEPTS

OF

CHILDHOOD

The design of present-day childhood is very different from a few centuries ago. Importantly, the
vision one has of the child is something historically constructed, that is why one can see the stark
contrasts in terms of feelings of childhood throughout the ages. What today may seem an
aberration, as the indifference intended for small children, ages ago it was absolutely normal. For
larger strangeness that cause, humanity will not always see the child as being a particularly long
and
treated
her
like
a
miniature
adult.
To be an unimportant, almost imperceptibly, the child in a secular process occupies a greater
emphasis on society and humanity, it launches a new look. To better understand this issue we
need to do a historical survey on the sense of childhood, seeking to define it, register its birth and
its
evolution.
According
to
Aries:
the feeling of childhood does not mean the same as affection for children, corresponds to the
consciousness of the particularity of children, this peculiarity that distinguishes essentially the
adult
child,
even
young
(Aries,
1978:
99).
From this perspective the feeling of childhood is something that characterizes the child, its
essence as a being, his way of acting and thinking, which differs from adults, and therefore
deserves
a
more
specific
look.
In the Middle Ages there was no clarity over the period that characterized the childhood, many
were based on the physical issue and determined that childhood is the period of the teeth until the
age of seven, as the quotes from the description given by Le Grand Propriétaire (Ariès, 1978: 6):
The first age is childhood teeth that plant, and such an age when the child is born and lasts up to
seven years, and at that age what is born is called the enfant (child), which means non-speaking,
because at this age one can not speak well or take the words perfectly, because it still has no

teeth

and

no

firm

arranged

...

Until the seventeenth century society did not give much attention to children. Due to poor
sanitation, infant mortality has reached alarming levels, so the child was seen as a being which
could not hold on, because at any moment she might cease to exist. Many could not overcome
their early childhood. The birth rate was also high, which led to a kind of replacement of dead
children. The loss was seen as natural and something that did not deserve to be deplored for a
long time, as can be seen in the commentary of Aries "... people could not get too attached to
something
that
was
considered
a
potential
loss
..."
(1978
:
22).
In the Middle Ages, the child was being seen as a miniature, so that could perform some tasks,
this was inserted into the adult world, without any concern about your training as a being
specific,
being
exposed
to
all
kinds
of
experience.
According to Aries, until the seventeenth century, the socialization of children and transmitting
values and knowledge were not provided by families. The child was removed early from his
parents and went to live with other adults, helping them in their tasks. From there, most of these
not distinct. This contact, the child would direct this phase to adulthood. (Aries, 1978).
The duration of childhood was not well defined and the term "childhood" was used
indiscriminately, being used even to refer to young people aged eighteen or older (Aries, 1989).
Thus, childhood was a long duration, and the child would eventually assume positions of
responsibility, skipping stages of their development. Even his outfit was a faithful copy of an
adult. This situation began to change, featuring a major milestone in awakening the sense of
childhood:
In the seventeenth century, however, the child, or at least the child of good family, be it noble or
bourgeois, was no longer dressed like the adults. She now had a costume reserved for his age,
which distinguishes it from adults. This essential fact appears at initial glance at the numerous
representations
of children's early seventeenth century (Ariès, 1978: 33).
The great social changes in the seventeenth century contributed significantly to building a sense
of childhood. The most important were the Catholic and Protestant religious reforms, which
brought a new vision of the child and their learning. Another important aspect is the affection
which
has
gained
in
importance
within
the
family.
That affection was demonstrated, mainly by emphasizing that education has to have. The
education of children, who once gave the children living with adults in their daily tasks, has
given up on school. The work for educational purposes was replaced by the school, which
became responsible for the deformation process. The children were separated from adults and
kept in school until they are "ready" for life in society. (Ariès, 1978).
Comes a concern with the moral education of children and the church is responsible to direct
learning, aiming to correct the deviations of the child, it was believed that it was the result of sin,
and should be guided to the path of good. Among educators and moralists of the seventeenth
century, formed the childhood feeling that would inspire all education in this century (Aries,

1989). Then comes the explanation of the types of care for children, and repressive nature of
compensatory.
On one side the child is seen as an innocent being who needs care, the other as being a fruit of
sin.
According
to
Kramer:
At that moment, the feeling of childhood corresponds to two contradictory attitudes: one
considers a naive child, innocent and gracious and pampering is translated by adults, and another
appears simultaneously at first, but is opposed to it, making the child an imperfect and
incomplete, in need of "morality" and education made by the adult (Kramer, 2003:18).
These two feelings are caused by a new attitude of family towards the child, who now assumes
its role more effectively, the family begins to perceive the child as a future investment, which
must be preserved, and therefore must be rejected for bad physical and moral. For Kramer (2003:
18) "is not the family that is new, but rather the feeling of family that emerges in the sixteenth
and
seventeenth
centuries,
inseparable
from
the
feeling
of
childhood."
Family life has a more private, and gradually the family assumes the role formerly assigned to
the community. Importantly, this sense of childhood and family is a bourgeois model, which
became
universal.
Kramer
said:
... The idea of childhood (...) appears to capitalist society, urban-industrial, to the extent that
change their social inclusion and the role of children in the community. if, in feudal society, the
child played a productive role direct ("adult") so it exceeded the period of high mortality, in
bourgeois society it becomes someone who needs to be cared for, educated and prepared for a
future function. This concept of childhood is therefore determined historically by the
modification
of
the
forms
of
social
organization
(2003:
19).
In the eighteenth century, the education the family became interested in issues related to hygiene
and
child
health,
which
led
to
a
substantial
decrease
in
mortality.
The changes benefited the children of the bourgeoisie as the children of people remained without
access to the gains represented by the new conception of childhood, such as the right to
education
and
care
more
specific,
being
directed
to
work.
The child slowly comes out of anonymity and occupies an area of greatest prominence in society.
This evolution brings profound changes in relation to education, it had to seek to meet the new
demands that were triggered by the appreciation of the child for learning beyond the religious
issue became one of the pillars in the care of children. According to Loureiro:
... This period begins to be a concern to know the mentality of children to adapt the methods of
education to them, facilitating the learning process. Surge an emphasis on the image of the child
as an angel, "testimony of baptismal innocence" and therefore close to Christ (2005: 36).
You realize the Christian character to which the education of children was anchored. With the
rise of interest in children, concern began to help them acquire the principle of reason and the
Christian adults and make them rational. This paradgma guided the education of the nineteenth

and

twentieth

centuries.

Today, the child is seen as a subject of rights, historically situated and that must have their
physical, cognitive, psychological, emotional and social needs met, featuring an integrated and
comprehensive care of the child. She must have met all its dimensions. According to Zabalza
Fraboni
quote:
the historical stage that we are living, strongly marked by "transformation" scientifictechnological and the ethical and social change, meets all the requirements for making effective
the winning jump in the child's education, finally legitimizing it as a social figure, as the subject
of
rights
as
a
social
subject
"(1998:68).
Thus, the notion of children as a particular being, with characteristics very different from those
of adults, and simultaneously as a bearer of rights as a citizen, will it produce the greatest
changes in kindergarten, making the treatment of children 0-6 years still more specific, requiring
a teacher's attitude should be aware of how accomplished the work with young children, what
their
needs
as
a
child
and
as
a
citizen.
3.The

HISTORY

OF

EARLY

CHILDHOOD

EDUCATION

WORLDWIDE

For a long time, care and education of young children were seen as tasks of the family, especially
mothers and other women. After weaning, the child was perceived as a little adult, when it
reached a degree of independence, started to help adults in daily activities and learn the basics
for their social integration. Did not consider the child's personal identity.
Due to the nature of family care for infants, the first names of children's institutions make a
reference to this aspect, as the French term "kindergarten" means manger crib. And the Italian
term
"asylum
nido"
which
means
that
houses
a
nest.
In primitive societies, children who were in difficult situations such as neglect, were cared for by
a network of kinship, or within the family. In ancient times, the care provided by mothers were
mercenaries, who had no kind of concern for children, and many died under his care. In the
Middle Ages and modern times, there were the "wheels" (hollow cylinders of wood, rotary),
built in the walls of churches or charitable hospitals where children were left gathered. Within
this
perspective,
it
is
evident
that
in
the
words
of
Oliver:
the ideas of abandonment, poverty, guilt and love pervade so precarious that care for children
during this period and will permeate certain ideas about what is an institution that takes care of
early childhood education, stressing the negative side of care outside the family ( OLIVEIRA,
2002:
59).
Given this situation, are clear roots of the devaluation of professional Early Childhood
Education, which needs to change this stereotype, that for working with children is not necessary
qualification, for most professionals working in this area is for laymen, which demonstrates that
even with such progress as regards the concept of a child, there remains a kind of care that
applies only to physical care, ignoring global aspects in the care of children.

In Europe the Industrial Revolution, the agrarian and mercantile society becomes urbanmanufacturing, in a situation of conflict where children were victims of poverty, neglect and
abuse, with high mortality rate. Gradually the children's work becomes more formal response to
this situation were emerging institutions for the care of disadvantaged children or children whose
parents
worked
in
factories
(OLIVEIRA,
2002).
In the eighteenth and nineteenth originates from two types of assistance to small children, a good
quality for the children of the elite, which had the characteristic of education, and another that
served as the custody and discipline for children from disadvantaged classes.
Within this scenario raises the discussion of how to educate children. Thinkers such as
Comenius, Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Decroly, Froebel and Montessori configure the new bases for
the education of children. Although they had different focuses, they recognized that children had
characteristics different from adults, with its own needs (OLIVEIRA, 2002).
In the twentieth century, after the first World War, the idea grows respect for children,
culminating in the New Schools Movement, strengthening important precepts such as the need to
provide a school that respects the child as a being specific, so this should direct their work to
match
the
characteristics
of
child
thought.
In psychology, in the '20s and '30s, Vygotsky supports the idea that the child is introduced to the
world of culture by more experienced partners. Wallon out affection as a determining factor in
the learning process. Research arise from Piaget, who revolutionized the vision of how children
learn, the theory of stages of development. Pedagogical theories were gradually apropos of
psychological concepts, especially in early childhood education, stimulating its growth.
In the context of post-second world war, there is a preoccupation with the social situation of
children and the idea of children as holders of rights. The UN promulgated in 1959, the
Declaration of the Rights of the Child, as a result of the Declaration of Human Rights, this is an
important factor in the conception of childhood that permeates the contemporary, children as
subjects
of
rights.
4.

HISTORY

OF

EARLY

CHILDHOOD

EDUCATION

IN

BRAZIL

The history of early childhood education in Brazil, in a sense, follows the global parameters,
with their own characteristics, marked by strong welfare and improvisation. The children of the
urban area were placed in the "exposed wheels" to be collected by religious institutions, many of
these children were from mothers who belonged to traditional families.
In the early nineteenth century, to solve the problem of childhood, there are isolated initiatives,
such as crèches, nursing homes and boarding schools, which were seen as institutions designed
to care for poor children. These institutions only covered up the problem and lacked the ability to
search
deeper
transformations
in
the
social
reality
of
these
children.
In the late nineteenth century, with the liberal ideals, began a project to build a modern nation.

The country's elite educational assimilates the principles of the Movement of New Schools,
developed in the centers of social changes in Europe and brought to Brazil by U.S. and European
influence. Brazil sees the idea of "garden-care" was received enthusiastically by some social
sectors, but it generated much discussion, because the elite did not want the government does not
take responsibility for care to needy children. With all the controversy, in 1875 in Rio de Janeiro
and Sao Paulo in 1877, the first gardens were created-schools, private in nature, aimed at
children of the upper class, and developed an educational program inspired by Froebel
(OLIVEIRA,
2002
).
In half of the twentieth century, with increasing industrialization and urbanization of the country,
the woman begins to have a better insertion in the labor market, causing an increase in the
institutions that take care of small children. Begins to take shape with a strong service assistance
nature.
In 70 years, Brazil absorbs the theories developed in the United States and Europe, who argued
that children from the poorest social strata suffer from "cultural deprivation" and were asked to
explain their failure in school, this design will aim for a long time Childhood Education, a vision
rooted
welfare
and
allowances,
as
Oliver
says:
concepts such as cultural deprivation and marginalization and compensatory education were then
adopted, without there being a critical reflection on the deeper structural roots of social
problems. It also has influence on policy decisions of Early Childhood Education (Oliveira,
2002:109).
Thus, one can observe the origin of fragmented care that is still part of early childhood education
for disadvantaged children, an education geared to meet the alleged "deficiencies" is an
education that takes into account the poor child as a being able, as someone who will not respond
to
stimuli
received
by
the
school.
In the '80s, with the process of political opening, there was pressure from the grassroots to
expanding access to school. The education of young children is being claimed as a duty of the
state, which until then had not been legally committed for that purpose. In 1888, due to great
pressure from feminist movements and social movements, the Constitution recognizes education
in kindergartens and preschools as a child's right and duty of the state.
In the '90s, there was an expansion on the conception of the child. Now we seek to understand
the child as being a socio-historical, where learning occurs through interactions between the
child and the social environment. This perspective has social interaction as the main theorist
Vygotsky, which emphasizes the child as a social subject, which is part of a concrete culture
(OLIVEIRA,
2002).
There is a strengthening of the new conception of childhood, into law guaranteeing children's
rights as a citizen. It creates the ECA (Statute of Children and Adolescents) and the new LDB,
Law No. 9394/96, incorporates kindergarten as the first level of basic education and formalized
the
decentralization
of
this
phase.

In 1998, it created RCNEI (National Curriculum for Early Childhood Education), a document
that seeks to guide our work with children aged 0 to 6 years old. It represents a breakthrough in
the quest to better structure the role of early childhood education, bringing a proposal that
integrates care and education, which is today one of the biggest challenges of kindergarten. We
must say that the proposals brought by RCN may not materialize to the extent that all involved in
the process seek effective implementation of the new proposals, if not he will become just a set
of
rules
that
do
not
pencil
out.
5.

Concluding

Remarks

Through this historical study, one can see that the concept of childhood resonates strongly in the
role of early childhood education because directs all care provided to infants. Thus, the
kindergarten is deppest linked to the concept of childhood, and its evolution marked by the social
changes
that
led
to
a
new
vision
of
the
child.
Education focused toddler only gained notoriety when it came to be valued by society, if there
were a change of attitude toward the vision that had a child, early childhood education would not
have changed the way they conduct the teaching work and would not have arisen a new profile
for this stage of teacher education. It would not be charged to your specific field, and the child
would remain with a service aimed only to physical issues, and its other dimensions, such as
cognitive,
emotional
and
social
unnoticed.
You can not lose sight that the concept of childhood caused by mankind built a standardization
of the child, as if it were a universal, without characteristics of each society and every historical
context.
Therefore, the Early Childhood Education and ended up being a child of the bourgeois, and a
proposal away from poor children. In spite of early childhood education in Brazil have been
institutionalized as rights of children, few have access to quality care, with teachers who are
unaware of the pedagogical assumptions that should guide work with young children,
characterizing the specificity of early childhood education.

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