was an American educator. She was the founder and first president of what is today National-Louis University
National–Louis University is a private non-profit American university. NLU has campuses in and near Chicago, Illinois, as well as in Wisconsin, Florida, and Nowy Sącz, Poland. Many NLU courses and programs are also offered at-a-distance. The university practices multi-campus, at-a-distance, and...
. Harrison was a pioneer in creating professional standards for early childhood teachers and in promoting early childhood education
Early childhood education is the formal teaching and care of young children by people other than their family or in settings outside of the home. 'Early childhood' is usually defined as before the age of normal schooling - five years in most nations, though the U.S...
After encountering the early kindergarten
A kindergarten is a preschool educational institution for children. The term was created by Friedrich Fröbel for the play and activity institute that he created in 1837 in Bad Blankenburg as a social experience for children for their transition from home to school...
movement in Chicago
Chicago is the largest city in the US state of Illinois. With nearly 2.7 million residents, it is the most populous city in the Midwestern United States and the third most populous in the US, after New York City and Los Angeles...
in the 1870s, Harrison sought training in St. Louis and New York
New York is a state in the Northeastern region of the United States. It is the nation's third most populous state. New York is bordered by New Jersey and Pennsylvania to the south, and by Connecticut, Massachusetts and Vermont to the east...
. She then taught kindergarten in Iowa and Chicago. In 1886, she founded a training school for kindergarten teachers in Chicago, which thereafter became an innovative college of education. She was president of the college until her retirement in 1920.
During her career, Harrison wrote a number of books, including: A Study of Child Nature
(1890), In Storyland
(1895), Some Silent Teachers
(1903), Misunderstood Children
(1908), Montessori and the Kindergarten
(1913) and The Unseen Side of Child Life
(1922). In 1893, the college published Harrison's book, The Kindergarten as an Influence in Modern Civilization
, in which she explained, "how to teach the child from the beginning of his existence that all things are connected [and] how to lead him to this vital truth from his own observation . . .." Harrison's autobiography, Sketches Along Life's Road
, was edited and published in Boston in 1930, after her death.
Nobel Peace Prize
The Nobel Peace Prize is one of the five Nobel Prizes bequeathed by the Swedish industrialist and inventor Alfred Nobel.-Background:According to Nobel's will, the Peace Prize shall be awarded to the person who...
winner, Jane Addams
Jane Addams was a pioneer settlement worker, founder of Hull House in Chicago, public philosopher, sociologist, author, and leader in woman suffrage and world peace...
of Hull House
Hull House is a settlement house in the United States that was co-founded in 1889 by Jane Addams and Ellen Gates Starr. Located in the Near West Side of , Hull House opened its doors to the recently arrived European immigrants. By 1911, Hull House had grown to 13 buildings. In 1912 the Hull...
, said of her colleague and friend, that Elizabeth Harrison "has done more good than any woman I know. She has brought light and power to all the educational world."
In the 1890s, Harrison organized a series of annual conferences in Chicago, which led to the founding of what is today the National Parent Teachers Association (PTA).
External links and sources