The twentieth century was a lime of great change in early year education, As the century opened, the use of Froebel 's kindergarten methods infiltrated more infant classrooms. The emergence of psychology as a discipline, and especially its work on child development, was beginning to influence thinking about how infants learn through play. Whi Ie there were many teachers who maintained Victorian approaches in their classrooms, some others experimented, were widely read and a few even travelled to the US and Europe and brought new ideas home. As well, there was increasing political support for new approaches to the 'new education' ideas at the turn of the century.
Helen May is the Dean of University of Otago College of Education. She began her career as a primary school teacher in the mid-1960s, worked in childcare in the 1970s, and began tertiary teaching in the 1980s. During the early 1990s she worked with Margaret Carr on the development of Te Whariki, New Zealand's first national curriculum for early childhood education. In 1995 she was appointed to the first New Zealand professorial chair in Early Childhood Education at Victoria University Wellington and in 2005 she was appointed Professor of Education at the University of Otago. She has published six books as sole author on the history and politics of early education.
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