Milestones: A Child Care History Timeline

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The view that childhood is a precious and magical time is a relatively new concept. In many lands, for many years, children were often regarded as not much more then miniature adults or property. In fact we are still learning how crucial early experiences are in a young child's development. And child care as a profession can still be considered to be in it's infancy. Follow along with some selected historical milestones in early childhood education and daycare.

  • 1658 - John Amos Comenius, known as the Father of Modern Education and was the first to recognize that the play of childhood was learning, produced the first children's picture book, "The World Illustrated".
  • 1762 - Philosopher Jean-Jacques Roussueau states that a child's mode of thinking is different than an adult and they learn though hands-on experience.
  • 1801 - Johann Pestalozzi established what is considered to the first school to teach preschool age children.
  • 1837 - Children's Garden (Kindergarten) started in Germany by Friedrich Froebel.
  • 1854 - The Nursery School for Children of Poor Women was opened in cooperation with Children's Hospital of New York City.
  • 1873 - First public school kindergarten started in St. Louis.
  • 1898 - Hull House, a settlement house for immigrants, establishes a day nursery.
  • 1907 - Maria Montesorri opens the Children's House in Rome.
  • 1926 - National Association for the Education of Young Children is founded. Now over 100,000 members and 400 affiliates.
  • 1964 - Head Start is funded by the Economic Opportunities Act.
  • 1969 - The first Kindercare center is opened.
  • 1982 - National Association for Family Day Care is founded.
  • 1985 - San Francisco becomes the first large city to require developers to set aside space of funds for child care space.
  • 1985 - National Academy of Early Childhood Programs is established by NAEYC for voluntary accreditation of center based programs.
  • 1988 - The U.S. Department of Education establishes Even Start, a parent education/literacy program.
  • 1990 - Child Care and Development Grant is enacted.
  • 1990 - T.E.A.C.H. Scholarship program enacted.
  • 1996 - The Stand for Children Campaign begins, initiated by the Children's Defense Fund.
  • 1996 - Provider Appreciation Day first celebrated.
  • 1997 - Bill Clinton reestablishes the White House Conference on Children.
  • 2001 - NAEYC celebrates its 75th anniversary.
  • 2001 - The No Child Left Behind Act bill is passed.
  • 2003 - Campaign Launched to Avoid SIDS In Child Care Settings.
  • 2005 - Operation Military Child Care is started to support the child care needs of parents who are activated and deployed.
  • 2013 - President Obama called on Congress to expand access to high-quality preschool to every child in America, called The Preschool for All initiative.