This paper analyses the religious model roles of protagonists in children's literature in late seventeenth century England. The authors of children's literature in the 1670s started to create children's deathbed stories in order to both provide religious education and amuse young readers. Such stories depicted protagonists with different aspects of piety according to their age. Children between 8 and 14 years old tended to be shown as models which overcame difficulties in achieving true belief in the Lord and in His salvation, not only through the repetition of their own prayers, but also with the support of their families and friends. In contrast to this, infants were rather simple models of pious and good behaviour in their early days of health. Even after getting sick and just before dying, they could put much reliance on God's mercy, simply repent their sins and find the right time to die. We can recognise that such infant protagonists functioned as pious models to illustrate the following three points: the necessity and possibility of early piety to prepare for early death, the mightiness of God's mercy, and concrete religious behaviour including prayers, meditation, relations with family and friends, religious affection to others and learning. These points were more effectively suggested through infant protagonists than through older children. Although some contemporary readers doubted the existence of such pious infants in children's literature, the authors wanted to believe that it was possible for small children to prepare for death because the salvation of dead infants was significant. The authors tried to combine their message of religious instruction and a true depiction of protagonists in order to attract young readers. Under such conditions, authors focused on children's realities through showing them as objects of both instruction and observation.
The purpose of this paper is to clarify Eiichi Mochida's view on early childhood education system, focusing on its relation to “sharing” of practices in Lumbini Gakuen Nursery School and Kindergarten. In 1952, Gakuen was founded in Edogawa Ward, Tokyo Metropolis by Toyonobu Fukui, Mochida's old friend and a Buddhist priest. Until 1972, Mochida, a professor of education at the University of Tokyo, had constructed his own view on early childhood education system, which assumed a “sharing” of practices in Gakuen. Firstly, with the expansion of Gakuen resulting from urbanization, teachers instigated staff meetings, which planned and reflected their own practice upon receiving accreditation for the nursery school. However, large-scale retirement and the hiring of new teachers in fiscal 1969 saw Mochida begin to guide Gakuen through study and training seminars. As a result, in 1972 teachers and Mochida published “Kindergarten” which detailed their own practices. Secondly, Mochida visited Gakuen for the first time in 1964, and since fiscal 1969 started to attend study and training seminars with Sachiko Ito, his graduate student. He began to research early childhood education in 1964, which he resumed after student activism at the University of Tokyo in the late 1960s, ultimately deciding on researching the theory of the relationship between educational practice and condition, administration, and management. Thirdly, ” Kindergarten” was a record showing the relationship between practice and management of Gakuen and national policy, and was for Mochida the testing ground for his theory, which set the starting point for unification of nurseries and kindergartens in which teachers had “shared” their practices, shouldering administration and management of their own institution. Finally, through the “sharing” of practices at Gakuen, he thought it essential that teachers opened their own practices and management to the revolution of the existing early childhood education system.
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