Preface The focus of this book is on preschool and primary education, which form an important basis for the lifelong learning process. Early childhood education and preschool education have been important aspects of education since 1840, when the first day care groups were established in Estonia. Today kindergartens and day care centres educate 0–7-year-old children. Preschool teacher education was started in 1905 at professional secondary and in 1967 at university level. Pri- mary teacher education has a longer history. The first primary schools were already established in the 17th century. Study programmes for Preschool and Primary Education at the BA level are currently important for both Tartu and Tallinn Universities and their colleges in Haapsalu, Narva and Rakvere. The MA level is an important part of Tallinn University and the University of Tartu and its Narva College. Preschool institutions base their work on the state curriculum (2008), which determines the principles of preschool curriculum development, educational goals, organisation of educational activities, presumed general skills of 6–7- year-old children, the educational goals and content of different fields, the pre- sumed results of 6–7-year-old children, and the principles for the evaluation of child development. At the first school level (primary school), studies focus on the state curriculum (2010). The main research areas in preschool and primary education in Estonia have included individual and age-related characteristics in student cognitive abilities and school readiness, play as a child’s main activity, the importance of play in attaining the readiness for school, preschool...
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