David Weikart came up with the idea of preschool because he needed to solve a problem.
When he took a job as a school system administrator in the small city of Ypsilanti, Michigan back in the late 1950s, Weikart was shocked to discover how many poor African-American children were doing badly in school. A lot of them were being assigned to special education classes, getting held back, and failing to graduate from high school.
Weikart wanted to do something about it, but school officials did not share his enthusiasm. They didn’t want him changing things, messing around in their schools.
So rather than change the schools, Weikart decided to invent a new kind of school – a pre-school for 3- and 4-year-olds.
In this video, a colleague interviews Weikart about his life, the creation of preschool, and his ideas on the future of education.
David Weikart died in 2003 of cancer, just a few months after this interview.
Video courtesy of HighScope