The role of pioneers and other key players in this sector has been acknowledged as some of the issues they bought up are still subject of debate to this day.
1.01. Historical and social Influences in England and Wales. An attempt to give a historical account of the development of early childhood education and care system is bound to raise the question of accuracy. Nevertheless this paper endevours to give a guideline in the discussion of issues from the early days that have a bearing on issues arising today.
It is widely acknowledged that Robert Own a Welshman was the first to establish a nursery school in the UK in 1816. His outfit was called 'The institution for the formation of character'. Owen was motivated by a desire to provide care and education to children whose parents were working in the cotton fields. He was one of the visionaries who appreciated that early childhood education and care was an integral element in developing a better society.
Later in 1870 the education act was enacted into law and established compulsory elementary schools for children from age 5. In 1880 elementary education became compulsory for all children between 5 and 13 years. Board of Education, (1905). Owen's ideas were obviously ahead of their time ad raised some themes that are extremely relevant in England today. According to Scarr (1998), early childhood education and care delves into 3 seemingly conflicting rationales. Firstly, it seeks to maintain maternal employment, assist in child development and lastly to bridge the social gap between the poor children and others from the mainstream society. One of the key historical themes of the Early childhood education and care in England is the question about the form that curriculum for the early years should take. Blenkin, Geva M., & Kelly, A. V. (1994). This has continually been a subject of debate and it prompted a report by Plowden in 1964 that called for child-centered system (CACE, 1967).
When elementary education became compulsory, the schools also started receiving and admitting children less than five years for practical reasons and the figures kept rising by the year. In 1905, women inspectors were commissioned by the education board to examine the admission of babies in elementary schools. They disapproved the entire practice and suggested separate facilities for the younger children (Board of Education, 1905). This issue of age in relation to school admission is still debated today. Rousseau's theories on education have cast profound influences on modern educational ideals. He reduced the significance of book learning, and advocated that a child's emotions should be cultured before his reason. He stressed on learning by experience. Later in 1911, Margaret McMillan and her sister Rachel established a nursery to cater for children from economically disadvantaged families. Her nursery was based on her socialist ideals. She emphasized the importance of health care, proper nutrition, cleanliness and play. These are also themes that have endured to this day.
The 1st and 2nd world wars gave momentum to the establishment of more nursery schools and day care centers. This was because more women were required