A historical subject-didactical genetic analysis of Life Skills education in early childhood
Du Preez, Hannelie
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The assumption of educationists is that the teaching of Beginning Knowledge, situated in the Life Skills subject within the Foundation Phase curriculum, is not as important as the education of Literacy and Mathematics to learners. However, scholarly work has conveyed that the acquisition and comprehension of Beginning Knowledge concepts and skills, developed through Geography, History, Natural Sciences, and Technology knowledge bases, is essential for cultivating scientific literate citizens for a democratic society and essential knowledge and skills for an ever-changing future. The purpose of this historical research inquiry was to explicate how the subject Beginning Knowledge has developed historically, by means of critically analysing international and national views on Education, Society and Technology over a period of six hundred and fifteen years. These three accounts were interpreted, by using a hybrid theoretical framework (Cultural-Historical Activity Theory, Ecological Systems Theory, and Media Theory), to explain the complex nature and development of Beginning Knowledge education in the Foundation Phase in South Africa. The significance of the inquiry is not only in the unique methodological and theoretical framework utilised to investigate the phenomenon, but also the first ever intellectual mapping of this subject within a South African context. It also has the potential for serving as an impetus for future debates and research, especially in South Africa, on the importance of teaching Beginning Knowledge in the Foundation Phase to cater for the necessities of future societies. This historical research inquiry also announces the compelling truth that Foundation Phase teachers should be trained adequately, with sophisticated knowledge about Beginning Knowledge and how to teach the subject optimally to our future generation of Foundation Phase learners. In the words of Vygotsky in Doyla: “Education must be orientated not towards the yesterday of child development but towards its tomorrow” (2010, p. 10).
- Education