Preschool Pedagogy

The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Preschool Pedagogy


a branch of pedagogy that studies the patterns of upbringing for preschool children. It is closely associated with child psychology, developmental anatomy and physiology, pediatrics, hygiene, and a number of other scholarly fields, including linguistics, aesthetics, and ethics. Preschool pedagogy developed as a separate field from general pedagogy in the second half of the 19th century as a result of the development of child psychology as an independent branch of knowledge and the emergence and spread of preschool educational institutions as women took factory jobs. The English Utopian socialist R. Owen was the first to give grounds for the idea of public education for children from the first years of their lives and to create a pre-school institution for proletarian children. The pedagogical system and practical activity of the German pedagogue F. Froebel promoted the development of preschool pedagogy as a special branch of studies. In Russia K. D. Ushinskii exerted enormous influence on the development of preschool pedagogy in the 1860’s. From the early 20th century the idea of the self-development of the child’s personality through free education, as well as biological and pragmatic theories, became widespread in bourgeois preschool pedagogy and practice.

The basic task of Soviet preschool pedagogy is the development of the content, forms, and methods of the communist upbringing of preschool children. N. K. Krupskaia played a great role in the elaboration of the theoretical foundations of Marxist preschool pedagogy. Certain important problems about the group and the personality and about family upbringing were elucidated by A. S. Makarenko. The all-Russian congresses and conferences on preschool education, which were directed by Krupskaia and A. V. Lunacharskii, were very important in determining the tasks and means for the upbringing of preschool children. (The first congress was held in 1919.)

Soviet preschool pedagogy and psychology have worked out a new method of sensory upbringing based on the systematic development of a child’s sensory capacities through various activities. A major achievement is the systematic kindergarten instruction developed by corresponding member of the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of the RSFSR A. P. Usova. Fruitful research is being conducted to find ways to use more fully the preschool child’s capacities for intellectual development and to increase the role of preschool upbringing in the solution of general problems of perfecting the system of public education, in conjunction with the demands of scientific and technological progress. The first All-Union Conference on Current Problems of Public Preschool Upbringing and Preparation of Children for School was held in 1970.

Problems of moral upbringing receive theoretical interpretation in preschool pedagogy. Attention is focused on questions of personality formation in children, the positive interrelationships of children in common activities, the development of collectivism and moral ideas, and upbringing in the foundations of patriotic feelings. A prominent place is given to questions of the labor education of preschool children in nursery schools and in the family, which forms the first work habits and a love of work. The problems of aesthetic upbringing are being explored actively, and the artistic, musical, and creative oral activity of children are being studied. Since the late 1950’s, work has been done on the development of a system of aesthetic upbringing in the nursery schools. Comprehensive research is being conducted on the question of the formation of child creativity, and the interrelationship of artistic creativity and the training of the preschool child is being clarified. The theory of the physical upbringing of preschool children is scientifically grounded in Soviet preschool pedagogy. The problem of the capacity for work and the endurance of children under physical and mental burdens has begun to be worked out.

The problems of games have received considerable attention in Soviet preschool pedagogy, including the influence of the teacher on a game’s content, the choice of educationally valuable games, training children through games, the formation of principles of collectivism, and the characteristics of didactic games. In the 1960’s studies on the role of games as a form of organization in the life of children and the influence of games on the development of “child society” appeared. Researchers on questions of early childhood created a system of public education that reinforced the didactic component of games and lessons for small children.

The problems of preschool pedagogy are worked on comprehensively at the Institute of Preschool Education of the Academy of Pedagogical Sciences of the USSR, which was founded in 1960. A great deal of scientific research work is done by the institutes of schools and pedagogy of the union republics and by the departments of preschool pedagogy at pedagogical institutes.

The results of scientific studies and advanced experience in preschool education were reflected in the Program for Nursery School Upbringing (1962). A revised program (1969) paid special attention to the general educational and developmental functions of the nursery school and its role in the preparation of children for school. A number of scientific and methodological journals, including Sovetskaia pedagogika (Soviet Pedagogy) and Doshkol’noe vospitanie (Preschool Education), contribute to the development of preschool pedagogy. Soviet preschool pedagogy makes extensive use of the advanced experience of the other socialist countries and influences the development of child pedagogy in them. Since 1959 the countries of socialist cooperation have held biannual seminars of specialists in the theory and practice of preschool pedagogy.


Krupskaia, N. K.Pedagogicheskie sochineniia, vol. 6. Moscow, 1959.
Makarenko, A. S.Soch., vol. 4. Moscow, 1957.
Arkin, E. A.Rebenok v doshkol’nye gody. Edited by A. V. Zaporozhets and V. V. Davydov. [Moscow, 1968.]
Usova, A. P.Obuchenie v detskom sadu, 2nd ed. Moscow, 1970.
Sorokina, A. I.Doshkol’naia pedagogika. Moscow, 1961.
Zaporozhets, A. V., and T. A. Markova. “Doshkol’noe vospitanie.” In Narodnoe obrazovanie v SSSR. Moscow, 1967.
Teoriia i praktika sensornogo vospitaniia v detskom sadu. Edited by A. P. Usova and N. P. Sakulina. Moscow, 1965.
Umstvennoe vospitanie detei rannego vozrasta. Edited by E. I. Radina. Moscow, 1968.
Nechaeva, V. G., T. A. Markova, R. I. Zhukovskaia, and L. A. Pen’evskaia.Formirovanie kollektivnykh vzaimootnoshenii deteistarshego doshkol’nogo vozrasta. Moscow, 1968.
Trudovoe vospitanie v detskom sadu. Edited by V. G. Nechaeva. Moscow, 1964.
Zhukovskaia, R. I.Vospitanie rebenka v igre. Moscow, 1963.
Psikhologiia i pedagogika igry doshkol’nika. Edited by A. V. Zaporozhets and A. P. Usova, Moscow, 1966.
Sistema esteticheskogo vospitaniia v detskom sadu. Edited by N. A. Vetlugina. Moscow, 1962.
Vetlugina, N. A. Muzykal’noe razvitie rebenka. Moscow, 1968.
Sakulina, N. P.Risovanie v doshkol’nom detstve. [Moscow] 1965.
Osokina, T. I., and E. A. Timofeeva.Gimnastika v detskom sadu. Moscow, 1969.
Roditeli i deti. Edited by E. I. Volkova. Moscow, 1961.


The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
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The design of the interview was influenced by literature on mathematics education (e.g., Ball, 1988; Hiebert & Lefevre, 1986), preschool pedagogy (e.g., Bowman, Donovan, & Burns, 2001; Clements, Sarama, & DiBiase, 2004), cognitive development (e.g., Kamii & DeVries, 1978; Mix, Huttenlocher, & Levine, 2002), and mathematics content for very young children (e.g., Copley, 2010; Ginsburg et al., 2008).
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Fifty years of Soviet preschool pedagogy. Soviet Education, 10(4), 3-14.