The background of the system of the preschool education which we know today was made by Patty Smith Hill, a famous American activist in the sphere of education and nursing. Being a daughter of the Presbyterian priest, she was brought up by the principles of mutual benefit and the importance of education. The approach which Patty Smith Hill introduced to the educational system can be called as reformative and innovative.
The Life and Work of Patty Smith Hill
Patty Smith Hill was born on 27 March 1868 in the State of Kentucky in the family of the Presbyterian priest who was the founder of the Bellewood Female Seminary (Explore the laureate n.d.). Her father was strict and exacting; he taught Patty and her brothers and sisters to be dedicated to labor and learning. “Her mother, Martha, received college-level private tutoring at Centre College. Though earned, she never received a formal degree because she was a woman” (Explore the laureate par.2).
It should be noted that the equality of rights and duties of children was encouraged by the parents. The home commitments of boys and girls in the family were the same regardless of the gender. Undoubtedly, such progressive up-bringing of children influenced their future destinies. The mother strongly believed that the childhood is the period when the person should enjoy the pleasures in life if they did not contrast to the moral and ethical norms.
She encouraged her children playing various games to develop their independent thinking (Explore the laureate n.d.). “Even as Dr. Hill moved his family to serve different colleges throughout the United States, Mrs. Hill established extensive play areas at each new home” (Explore the laureate par.3).
In 1887 Patty Smith Hill graduated from Louisville Collegiate Institute where she obtained her professional education (Explore the laureate n.d.). “The greatest influence on early childhood education of this time was Fredrich Fröbel, who started the first Kindergarten in Germany” (Explore the laureate par.4).
Later, she became an assistant and a student at the Louisville Kindergarten Training School (Explore the laureate n.d.). It was the start of her brilliant career in education. After working as an assistant for some time, she became the supervisor at the Louisville Kindergarten Training School where she discovered she had talent teaching infants.
She had been working as a principle at the Louisville Kindergarten Training Schools for 12 years and “studied during the summer months with Hall, Dewey, Colonel Francis W. Parker, and Luther Gulick, the father of the U.S. playground movement” (Explore the laureate par.5). Later, Patty S. Hill joined Teachers College at Columbia University from which she retired in 1935. Patty Smith Hill died on 25 May 1946.
Patty Smith Hill Contribution to Education
Being strongly committed to help poor children, she applied the progressive methods in their up-bringing and education. In particular, she insisted on the importance of the self-determination in activity in childhood which she considered was the primary tool to overcome the life hurdles and economic distress ( Rudnitski n.d.).
Her preschool education approach encompassed testing children for their inherent skills which could be develop further. She taught democracy to infants and talked to them as if they were adults because she believed that in such a way one can develop their personalities.
Patty Smith Hill was an outstanding teacher and a pioneer in the kindergarten system reformation. Her ideas were adopted not only in the United States but all over the world. Her own family traditions of children education became the basis of her vision of the teaching in the kindergartens. Patty S. Hill made a significant contribution to the development of the preschool education in the United States and other countries.
Explore the Laureate Legacy. (n.d.). Kappa Delta Pi. Web.
Rudnitski, R. A. (n.d.). Patty Smith Hill and the Progressive Kindergarten Curriculum. Retrieved from https://docs.lib.purdue.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?referer=&httpsredir=1&article=1398&context=eandc