Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science

Degree Discipline



Historical Background

The origin, of Progressive Education, dates back before the birth of Christ. The works of educational reformers such as Socrates, Rousseau, Pestalozzi, Herbart, and Froebel greatly influenced the early leaders of progressive educational practices in America. Impetus was also given to this movement to a very significant degree from outside the academic world. The efforts of scientists during the Seventeenth, Eighteenth, and Nineteenth Centuries to develop a scientific method and apply it to the study of the mind and human relations were important factors in the development of progressive education.

However, it was John Dewey, while Professor of Philosophy and Head of the Department of Education at the University of Chicago, who •was the first to ignite the flame of current revolution in education in America. 1 His theory, that the school should be organized on the principle of child growth, emerged from a half-century ago. It was in 1896 that John and Mary Dewey in company with colleagues and neighbors started their little laboratory school. This movement was the beginning of change from formal school subjects and traditional education. The laboratory school had no formal school subjects nor conventional school furniture. Nevertheless, it was from this small beginning and through trial and error, we have the first change from traditional to progressive education. John Dewey succeeded in phrasing the new doctrines of educational reconstruction. He was largely guided by children's interests and intentions. School subjects developed out of children's life activities. Children were to work and not sit idle and listen.

Some educators did not approve of the new education, but Francis W. Parker and William Heard Kilpatriek supported the Dewey philosophy. Our first schools to practice the new education were the Elementary School in School of Education at the University of Chicago, Laboratory School at the University of Missouri, and Francis W. Parker School of Chicago.

Committee Chair/Advisor

G. W. Reeves

Committee Member

J. H. Windom

Committee Member

H. E. Wright

Committee Member

0. J. Baker


Prairie View Agricultural And Mechanical College


© 2021 Prairie View A & M University

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Date of Digitization


Contributing Institution

John B Coleman Library

City of Publication

Prairie View





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