American Philosophy of Education and the Discovery of Childhood

Joseph Watras
Vol 29, Number 2, p.74
According to Philippe Ariès, people in the seventeenth century changed their conception of childhood, and this enabled parents to send the children to schools that prepared them for adulthood. In the United States, American educators disagreed from 1893 to 1912 about the nature of childhood and the appropriate curriculum for children. These exchanges show that the discovery of childhood changed notions of education in the United States; however, it did not encourage the spread of schools. Americans built schools before they thought about the nature of childhood. Nonetheless, the debates encouraged teachers to consider teaching methods that differed from the logical presentation of subject matter.