Jean Jacques Rousseau And Mary Wollstonecraft

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The Age of Enlightenment began in the late 17th century and had some key ideas developed by education innovators that changed the way that society views children and education. Many of these ideas stem from the revolutionary work of Jean-Jacques Rousseau and Mary Wollstonecraft. This essay will discuss the main ideas from their work and also how it is reflected in other work during the Age of Enlightenment for educationalists such as Johann Pestalozzi and Robert Owen. The final aspect of this essay will discuss how these ideas are reflected in early New Zealand education and the system.

Jean-Jacques Rousseau’s ideas about children and education were both admired and criticised widely. He was “regarded as a foundational thinker on education” (May, 2013, p.32). Ideas of his that were praised and inspired other people’s work included encouraging infants to be unrestricted and roam free in the environment. During the time of Rousseau’s work, children were swaddled to prevent bones and muscles from becoming deformed. Rousseau believed that it would be beneficial for children to have some freedom and interact with the surroundings of the environment. This is thought to be extremely beneficial for their learning and development. Rousseau also had a view that male education should be superior to female education. He believed that females should be educated to become good mothers and wives. Females should be supported by their husbands. These skills would be taught to them by their
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