PHILOSOPHICAL AND SOCIOLOGICAL FOUNDATIONS OF EDUCATION: Can you provide an elaborate critique of Jean Jacques Rousseau thoughts on Early Childhood Education?




5a iii). Provide an elaborate critique of Jean Jacques Rousseau thoughts on Early Childhood Education.


He was born in 1712 in Switzerland. He was a writer and naturalist. He believed that teachers should understand the nature of children so that they can base their decisions on that knowledge. The nature of children include: Children are active, inquisitive and always exploring. Before him children were treated as miniature adults. He wrote a book called “Emile” in which he talks about children and how they should be educated.




His beliefs about children and how they should be educated.

  • Children are born good but corrupted by adults.
  • Children should be taught by nature.
  • He believed that children should grow without unnecessary interference or restrictions.
  • Adults have no control over natural growth of children. This is the process of unfolding, in which the nature of the child unfolds as a result of maturation.
  • Teachers should observe the child’s growth and development in order to provide appropriate activities at the right time.
  • Early childhood is a special period of development, during which different aspects of development flowers according to nature’s plan.
  • Children were to learn through natural experiences and not from books. Children were to learn what they want.
  • He believed that mothers played a very important role in the education of children.
  • He believed that parents were to provide the child with opportunities of learning through discovery.
  • Rousseau believed that the child should not know anything because he has been told but because he was learned it for himself.
  • He was against children punishment because it caused suffering and darkened childhood.


Criticisms of Rousseau’s education for children.

  1. Children were indiscipline due to uncontrolled freedom. The system relied on nature for discipline.
  2. Provided limited scope of experiences due to shielding from adults.
  3. Cognitive ability was sacrificed at the expense of freedom.
  4. Ignored the nature of children.



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