Encyclopedia of Educational Philosophy and Theory

2017 Edition
| Editors: Michael A. Peters

Longing for Innocence and Purity: Nature and Child-Centered Education

  • Meike Sophia Baader
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-981-287-588-4_9



The figure of the innocent, pure child permeates the discourse about children and childhoods, family, child-rearing, and education in Western modernity. It is closely linked with questions of religion, nature, and sexuality. At the same time, the discourse is polyphonic and contradictory. In what respect “innocence” or “purity” has been ascribed to children, and what has been meant by “nature,” has varied over the centuries, as have the child-rearing ideals and educational concepts and practices associated...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Baader, M. S. (2004). Froebel and the rise of educational theory in the United States. Studies in Philosophy and Education, 23, 427–444.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Baader, M. S. (2016). Tracing and contextualising childhood agency and generational order from historical and systematic perspectives. In F. Eßer, M. S. Baader, T. Betz, & B. Hungerland (Eds.), Reconceptualising agency and childhood. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  3. Christensen, P. H. (1999). Childhood and the cultural constitution of the vulnerable bodies. In A. Proud (Ed.), The body, childhood and society (pp. 38–59). New York: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  4. Cunningham, H. (2005). Children and childhood in western society since 1500 (2nd ed.). Harlow: Longman.Google Scholar
  5. Key, E. (1909). The century of the child. New York/London: G. Putnam's Sons. Retrieved from https://archive.org/details/centurychild00frangoog
  6. Neill, A. S. (1969). Summerhill: A radical approach to child rearing. London: Victor Gollancz. (Original date of publication 1960).Google Scholar
  7. Orme, N. (2001). Medieval children. New Haven/London: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  8. Plamper, J. (2012). Geschichte und Gefühl. Grundlagen der Emotionsgeschichte. Munich: Campus.Google Scholar
  9. Rousseau, J. -J. (1979). Emile or on education. Introduction, translation and notes by Allan Bloom. New York: Basic Books. (Original date of publication 1762).Google Scholar
  10. Schleiermacher, F. (1989). Die Weihnachtsfeier. Zürich: Manesse. (Original date of publication 1806).Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of HildesheimHildesheimGermany