In the context of modernization of the pre-school education institutions of Ukraine within the framework of individually oriented and competent approach is a change of priorities for education – on the child's development, on the accumulation of knowledge – on the ability to apply them in specific situations. Providing self-development of preschool children in a prepared environment causes the introduction in the educational process of the activity approach. Therefore, the problem of studying the updated achievements of the past to identify those that can be adapted to the modern educational space is up-to-date. According to the results of the theoretical analysis the interpretation of key concepts, namely, the «idea», «activity», «action», «approach» in the philosophical, psychological and pedagogical sense is presented. The absence of a holistic historical and pedagogical research activity approach to training and education of pre-school children, in our opinion, has a negative impact on the development of both the historical and pedagogical science and practice of implementation of the activity approach in the modern educational process in the kindergarten. Theoretical analysis reveals that in its essence and content of the concept of the activity approach is complex and multi-faceted education, which includes an analysis of the formation of self-realization, self-development of the person as the subject of activity. The basic idea of the activity approach in the educational process is not connected with the activity as such, but with the activities, which is a means of formation and development of the child. The transformation of ideas of the activity approach in historical and pedagogical context of the twentieth century is revealed. It was found out that the content of this concept in the 30’s in psychology was regarded as «the principle of the activity»; in the 70th of XX century appeared in the scientific revolution definition of «active approach». In the second half of the 80th – student-activity approach, focused not only on the assimilation of knowledge, but also on the ways of their assimilation, thought and action, the development of cognitive effort and creativity of the child that has been recognized as one of the system-forming factors restructuring the education system. Further development of the activity approach in psychological and educational research over 90s is associated with a change in the educational paradigm (90 years of the twentieth century), since the transformation took place in the student-activity-oriented concept of education. Generalization of the characteristics, especially the development of the ideas of the activity approach in educational theory, due to deterministic requirements of the society for the education of children in different historical periods is made.