Primary Understanding: Education in Early Childhood, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

Primary Understanding

Education in Early Childhood, 1st Edition

By Kieran Egan


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Beginning with descriptions of the ways in which children make sense of their experience and the world, such as fantasy, stories and games, Egan constructs his argument that constituting this foundational layer are sets of cultural sense-making capacities, reflected in oral cultures throughout the world. Egan sees education as the acquisition of these sets of sense-making capacities, available in our culture, and his goal is to conceptualize primary education in a way that over comes the dichotomy between progressivisim and traditionalism, attending both the needs of the individual child and the accumulation of knowledge.


‘Egan has not only supplied us with an agenda for more fully exploring the issues he raises but has also given us support for some of the best of current practice.’ Teachers College Record

‘…the book should be compulsory reading for all those concerned with the education of young children…Egan’s thinking and theory goes well beyond Piaget, Bruner, Hirst and others who have written about education and the curriculum; it gives an authentic sense of the world of childhood, without sentimentality or ideological bias.’ John Wilson

Table of Contents

Acknowledgements. Introduction. 1 Some Educational Implications of Children’s Fantasy. 2 The Domestication of the sauvage mind 3 The Story Form and the Organization of Meaning. 4 Some Further Characteristics of Mythic Understanding. 5 Cultural Recapitulation: Some Comments on Theory 6 A Curriculum for Primary Education 7 A Framework for Primary Teaching. Conclusion. Notes. Bibliography. Index.

About the Series

Routledge Library Editions: Education

Routledge Library Editions: Education consists of 244 volumes by some of the greatest educationalists, teaching professionals and policy makers of the twentieth century. The volumes are available in a set; in mini-sets themed by sub-discipline; or individually, in your choice of print or ebook.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
EDUCATION / Elementary
EDUCATION / Parent Participation