This article considers the relevance of Susan Isaacs’ practice and research for twenty-first century early childhood education, reflected in two studies conducted discretely nearly a century apart that theorize young children’s constructions of knowledge: Isaacs’ Malting House School study and the ‘Young Children Are Researchers’ study. The article reviews Isaacs’ work with particular focus on ‘discovery, reasoning and thought’, her values and three key disciplines that informed her practice and research: pedagogy, philosophy and psychology. Selected findings from Isaacs’ Malting House School Study and the ‘Young Children Are Researchers’ study are critiqued to build the argument that not only has Isaacs’ work left a powerful legacy to the field of early childhood education, but that it also has potential to benefit the field now and into the future. However, this proposition is contingent on early childhood educators who are highly knowledgeable and skilled: factors that have policy implications.
Bibliographical noteJane Murray PhD is Associate Professor and Co-Director at the Centre for Education and Research, University of Northampton, UK. Her research interests include early childhood education and social inclusion and she has published extensively
in these areas.
The article is reprinted as chapter 21 in the book The Influence of Theorists and Pioneers on Early Childhood Education, ed. Roy Evans and Olivia N. Saracho (Routledge, 2022).
- susan Isaacs
- children are researchers
- child-led learning
- child-led pedgagogy
- Developmental and Educational Psychology
- Social Psychology
- child-led pedagogy
- Susan Isaacs