Course Title: History and Philosophy of Early Childhood

Part A: Course Overview

Course Title: History and Philosophy of Early Childhood

Credit Points: 12


Course Code




Learning Mode

Teaching Period(s)


Bundoora Campus


360H Education


Sem 2 2017,
Sem 2 2018,
Sem 1 2019,
Sem 2 2020

Course Coordinator: Elise Hunkin

Course Coordinator Phone: +61 3 9925 7859

Course Coordinator Email:

Pre-requisite Courses and Assumed Knowledge and Capabilities


Course Description

During this course you will explore the role of history in helping to explain and define the present. The changing social image of children and childhood is a focus and major influences on present theories and practices will be a feature. The pioneers of early childhood that developed out of the Enlightenment will be discussed and the global nature of the influence of this movement explored. The Froebel kindergarten of the 19th and 20th centuries was a product of German Idealism and still has resonance in some programs offered today. Major ideas like the search for a scientific method, progressive education and democracy will be studied. What historical circumstances created the popularity of Piaget and Vygotsky in the second part of the 20th century? In Australia, the kindergarten movement, as part of an international phenomenon was a major movement. You will examine the rise of the kindergarten in Australia and the various iterations that emerged from this movement. In the 21st century other influences have come to bear and the role of the market, in helping define childhood today, has created a possible transformation, from the early kindergarten days, to present views of children and childhood. The international spread of ideas has been a feature of early childhood and perspectives on these ideas and the changes experienced in the political and educational arena are investigated.

Objectives/Learning Outcomes/Capability Development

Upon successful completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Assess the importance of early childhood education in history for understanding the present
  • Investigate and critically reflect on the changing role of the family and the child within the family
  • Identify the implications of political and social changes on the early childhood sector and interpret and reflect on their influence
  • Critically reflect on the implications and intentions of the current reform agenda.

You will be assessed on your development of the following program learning outcomes in this course:

  • Critically analyse, synthesise and reflect on complex theories in present and historical contexts.
  • Communicate using a range of formats and strategies to audiences within and external to the discipline of education.
  • Develop and apply theoretical and practical knowledge and skills to your professional practice and development in curriculum, pedagogy and assessment.

Overview of Learning Activities

You will be engaged in learning that involves a range of activities both face to face and online such as lectures, tutorials, group and class discussion, group activities and individual research.

Overview of Learning Resources

RMIT will provide you with resources and tools for learning in this course through our online systems.
A list of recommended learning resources will be provided by your lecturer, including books, journal articles and web resources. You will also be expected to seek further resources relevant to the focus of your own learning.

Overview of Assessment

You will be assessed on how well you meet the course’s learning outcomes and on your development against the program capabilities.

Assessment may include reports, projects and presentations, individually and in groups. Assessment will cover both theoretical and practical aspects of your learning. You will be able to develop your work in relation to your own specific areas of interest in your professional practice.

Feedback will be given on all assessment tasks.

If you have a long term medical condition and/or disability it may be possible to negotiate to vary aspects of the learning or assessment methods. You can contact the program manager or the Equitable Learning Services if you would like to find out more.

The Student Charter summarises your responsibilities as an RMIT University student as well as the responsibilities of the university.

Your course assessment conforms to RMIT assessment principles, regulations, policies and procedures which can be found on the RMIT University website at:;ID=qwxbqbg739rl1