Academic Leadership: The Online Journal


Gladys Idogo


Literature tells us about three different views of children each relating to different era of civilization. The first is during the Greco – Roman times. During this period children were taken to be miniature adult and this depicted in the acts and paintings of that period. Children were not accorded any special status. As miniature adults, they were allowed to work on the fields and farms with little or no attachments to parents. The second is the medieval period. With the decline of the Greco-Roman civilization, Christianity came to the fore. Under the religious tenets, man was born evil and so children were regarded as sinful, immoral and therefore their sinful nature needed to be exorcised through religious teachings and practices. As sinners, children were seen to be bad creatures and were subjected to various kind of punishment aimed at purging off their sinful nature. Thirdly, is the age of enlightenment which emerged with the decline of the church. One the great philosophers of the time – John Locke (1632 – 1604), believed that a child’s mind was a Tabular Rasa – a blank tablet on which experiences write, thereby determining the child’s future. According to Locke, children were not innately bad but required adult-directed experiences to become good adult in future. Locke’s proposition was opposed by another notable psychologist – Jean Jacques Rousseau (1712 – 1778).