Theories of Childhood Book Summary - Theories of Childhood Book explained in key points
Listen to the Intro

Theories of Childhood summary

Carol Garhart Mooney

An Introduction to Dewey, Montessori, Erikson, Piaget & Vygotsky

4.3 (235 ratings)
19 mins

Brief summary

Theories of Childhood by Carol Garhart Mooney is a thought-provoking book that explores the different perspectives and theories about early childhood education. It challenges conventional ideas and encourages a deeper understanding of how children learn and develop.
Table of Contents

    Theories of Childhood
    Summary of 5 key ideas

    Audio & text in the Blinkist app
    Key idea 1 of 5

    Child-centered education, with John Dewey

    Born in 1859 in Vermont, John Dewey is one of the most influential figures in American education. He earned a PhD from Johns Hopkins University, then joined the University of Michigan as a philosophy professor. His wife, Alice Chipman, had a strong interest in education's connection with social issues, which led Dewey to explore educational studies.

    In 1894, the couple moved to the University of Chicago, where Dewey blended philosophy, psychology, and educational theory in his teaching. He established the Laboratory School within two years, placing the university at the forefront of progressive education – a child-centered, democratic approach that differed vastly from the rigid, traditional style of education prevalent during the nineteenth century. Despite facing criticism at the time, Dewey's approach led to extensive educational research and theory that are still relevant today.

    In 1899, Dewey addressed parents worried about the changing times and their impact on children's education. He emphasized that change brings new challenges but also opportunities, urging parents to find innovative ways to instill social responsibility in their children without clinging to the past.

    Today, Dewey's theories still resonate strongly with our current educational conundrums. His writings provide significant insights into how to introduce children to subject matter, the feasibility of multi-age classrooms, curriculum planning, supporting classroom teachers, and teaching thinking skills. His teachings align with those of other early theorists like Maria Montessori and Jean Piaget, who advocated learning by doing and encouraged experimentation and independent thinking.

    Key to Dewey's pedagogical approach were his beliefs that education should be child-centered, active, and interactive. Education should involve the child's social world, too. Dewey proposed that curriculum should evolve from real-life situations, and that the interests and background of each child should be the basis for planning learning experiences. He viewed education as a part of life, not merely a preparation for the future. He argued for a gradual progression from home life to school life, with the school deepening and extending the values of the home. 

    These ideas formed the crux of his influential book My Pedagogic Creed, published in 1897. He argued that teachers are more than subject-matter instructors; they help shape society and form proper social life. Dewey emphasized the importance of teachers' confidence in their skills and abilities, which in turn helps to nurture inquiry and learning dispositions in children. 

    Want to see all full key ideas from Theories of Childhood?

    Key ideas in Theories of Childhood

    More knowledge in less time
    Read or listen
    Read or listen
    Get the key ideas from nonfiction bestsellers in minutes, not hours.
    Find your next read
    Find your next read
    Get book lists curated by experts and personalized recommendations.
    Shortcasts New
    We’ve teamed up with podcast creators to bring you key insights from podcasts.

    What is Theories of Childhood about?

    Theories of Childhood (2000) is a foundational text for early childhood educators that explores the lives and work of five influential thinkers who have shaped modern education over the past century. 

    Theories of Childhood Review

    Theories of Childhood (2013) explores the different theories that shape our understanding of childhood development, making it an essential read for educators and parents alike. Here's why this book is worth diving into:

    • Offers a comprehensive overview of the major theories of childhood, providing a solid foundation for understanding and supporting child development.
    • Breaks down complex psychological concepts into accessible language, ensuring readers grasp the essence of each theory without feeling overwhelmed.
    • By including practical examples and case studies throughout the book, it bridges the gap between theory and practice, making it relevant and engaging.

    Who should read Theories of Childhood?

    • Anyone curious about the minds and theories behind modern education
    • Classroom teachers seeking more information about child development
    • Parents or guardians seeking insight into age-appropriate challenges to help their children thrive at learning

    About the Author

    Carol Garhart Mooney is an educator and author on childhood development with decades of classroom experience. Her books include Theories of Attachment, Use Your Words, and Swinging Pendulums.

    Categories with Theories of Childhood

    Book summaries like Theories of Childhood

    People ❤️ Blinkist 
    Sven O.

    It's highly addictive to get core insights on personally relevant topics without repetition or triviality. Added to that the apps ability to suggest kindred interests opens up a foundation of knowledge.

    Thi Viet Quynh N.

    Great app. Good selection of book summaries you can read or listen to while commuting. Instead of scrolling through your social media news feed, this is a much better way to spend your spare time in my opinion.

    Jonathan A.

    Life changing. The concept of being able to grasp a book's main point in such a short time truly opens multiple opportunities to grow every area of your life at a faster rate.

    Renee D.

    Great app. Addicting. Perfect for wait times, morning coffee, evening before bed. Extremely well written, thorough, easy to use.

    People also liked these summaries

    4.7 Stars
    Average ratings on iOS and Google Play
    32 Million
    Downloads on all platforms
    10+ years
    Experience igniting personal growth
    Powerful ideas from top nonfiction

    Try Blinkist to get the key ideas from 7,500+ bestselling nonfiction titles and podcasts. Listen or read in just 15 minutes.

    Start your free trial

    Theories of Childhood FAQs 

    What is the main message of Theories of Childhood?

    Understanding the diverse theories of childhood and how they shape our perceptions and experiences.

    How long does it take to read Theories of Childhood?

    The reading time for Theories of Childhood varies, but the Blinkist summary can be read in just 15 minutes.

    Is Theories of Childhood a good book? Is it worth reading?

    Theories of Childhood is a valuable book that offers insights into the different perspectives on childhood. It is definitely worth reading.

    Who is the author of Theories of Childhood?

    The author of Theories of Childhood is Carol Garhart Mooney.

    What to read after Theories of Childhood?

    If you're wondering what to read next after Theories of Childhood, here are some recommendations we suggest:
    • The Montessori Toddler by Simone Davies
    • Gaslighting by Stephanie Moulton Sarkis
    • Potty Training in 3 Days by Brandi Brucks
    • The Psychology of Intelligence by Jean Piaget
    • Tiny Humans, Big Emotions by Alyssa Gloria Campbell & Lauren Stauble
    • Stress Resets by Jennifer L. Taitz
    • How Children Succeed by Paul Tough
    • Raising Mentally Strong Kids by Amen MD Daniel G. & Charles Fay
    • 1-2-3 Magic by Thomas W. Phelan
    • Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman