EC Blog Book Study Begins- Join In!

Published on: August 31, 2015

Filled Under: Beyond The Pages, Books, Guest Speakers, Resources

Views: 4313

It’s finally here – the day that our blog book study begins. It is my genuine hope that this study intrigues individuals, serves as inexpensive professional development, provides access to resources otherwise not attainable, and encourages meaningful conversations throughout this country and perhaps even the world.

This is our newest feature on the blog: Beyond The Pages. Beyond the Pages is an online blog book study. This feature acknowledges the importance of reading books while taking you beyond the pages and creating group dialogue. Stacie Goffin has charged those in early childhood education to “continue the conversation” and we believe that this is one method to do that.

Our first book study is centered around Rae Pica‘s book What If Everybody Understood Child Development? We highlighted her book on the blog last May. You can learn even more about this book in Rae’s candid interview. Find her online at Rae Pica’s Bam-Radio Facebook page and on Twitter @BodyMindChild #AskingWhatIf.

What If Book Study Marketing Pic

We’re pleased to announce that we have an amazing lineup of early childhood experts to assist in leading the conversation around this book! There are many ways for you to participate in this study. If you are just joining us, you will find all the book study details HERE.

Today we are discussing Chapters 1 (All Children Are Not The Same), 2 (The Earlier The Better?), and 7 (Doing Away with Baby Stuff). Angèle Sancho Passe is our guest this week to provide insight and lead our discussion. Visit Angèle’s website to learn more about her books and work in early childhood.Angele Passe

Angèle says, “It’s a privilege to continue the conversation boldly started by Rae Pica! In What if Everybody Understood Child Development?, she tells us that the proverbial pendulum has swung in the wrong direction and too far. Her examples of zero tolerance, no recess, play as a waste of time, and general misunderstanding of academics for young children make us cringe.

Yet we could argue that as the insiders in early childhood education we may have brought this nonsense on ourselves. In our zeal to promote developmentally appropriate practice, we may have neglected to explain –and continuously demonstrate -what we truly meant. Early childhood education happens through play, yes, but it is not laissez-faire, anything goes, developmental whatever! This unclear whatever is the fear driving the downward push we so deplore. If many children are not reading in fourth grade, it must be that early education is not rigorous and early enough or so goes the reasoning. Then rigor becomes inflexible rules and inappropriate practices.

People who know a lot about child development have talked among themselves a lot about DAP (what’s that?), but perhaps not enough to principals, parents, politicians, journalists, or business people. We have not given clear examples. We have not shown what productive, creative play is, and what children learn through play.  We also have not provided enough reassuring proof of our good work teaching young children.

Not all children are the same, indeed. But, all children do follow a similar developmental spiral. They can be ready for kindergarten and learn to read by third grade with rigorous, but not rigid, scaffolding from skilled adults. So thanks Rae, for opening this important discussion.

To add to your vision, I’d like to propose a new resource. It’s a video recently released by the Minnesota Department of Education. In just 8 minutes, it describes and demonstrates how to do developmentally appropriate early education with intention and wisdom. The Shift: The Development and Learning of the Kindergarten Age Children, available at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iMo_VP7N_Tk.”

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Go ahead and share/retweet this post! Let us know that you’re participating in this study (where you’re from and how you’re connected to early childhood). We’d love to hear from you about your thoughts regarding Chapters 1, 2, and 7 and/or about Angele’s commentary. Your voice matters – participate in the dialogue and share your ideas here! (Comment below) If you’ve chosen to blog about what you’ve read on your own site, link back and share your post with us here. Perhaps you have a burning question about something that you read in one of these chapters… we have a feature for that – Ask The Author! That’s right, Rae Pica will be available throughout this live study to answer your questions. #AskAuthor

*If you’re a MN participant and are seeking training hours for your active participation in this book study, please visit THIS LINK for the details and requirements.

What to read next: Chapter 3- The Power of Joy and Chapter 5- When Did a Hug Become a Bad Thing? (9/7/15). 

68 Responses to EC Blog Book Study Begins- Join In!

  1. Yi Ling (Ivy) Flanders says:

    I like the idea of help parents understand that all children can’t be expected to be the same. Sometimes, it’s even harder to educate the parents. We need to show them the resources and numbers from the professional and explain everything to them to gain their trust, and it surely takes the time to do all the process. Also, we do adjust our curriculum and use teaching practices base on the research and children’s different levels and needs.

  2. Derrylin Young says:

    After reading the chapters 1, 2 & 7, Each of the chapters showed how we are pushing our young children to move at a pace not developmental appropriate. We are not really looking and Listening to our children to see where they truly are developmentally. We put pressure on them to perform the way we want them to perform when they should be enjoying Learning. Also, some of us are not aware of the detriment that bad sleeping habits can have on a child. These things need to change so that our children can be successful.

  3. Brandon Young says:

    After reading the 3 chapters of the “what if everybody understood child development book there where a few realizations that I came away with.
    For instance, in chapter 1 regarding all children are not the same I obviously understood that all children don’t learn the same way, but it seems the author believes that the learning standard that most child care schools use today cant possibly be standardized. I always assumed that curriculum experts figured out a universal general process in which at least most kids would comprehend. Yet after reading this and thinking about it, it does seem impossible to generalize such a thing if all children are indeed different. Ultimately the chapter challenges you to re-evaluate early childhood teaching standards.

  4. Steph Kallinen says:

    Yup, I found myself nodding in agreement many times in these first 3 chapters. I am a child care provider and the push that kindergarten is the new 1st grade, preschool the new kindergarten and day care the new preschool has been driving me nuts for years! There are a couple reasons for this: 1) Let them play and be little!! They have years of school ahead of them. 2) I am one provider with sometimes 10 kids. The point of day care is to CARE for the kids- feed them, love them, keep them safe. It was mentioned in the chapters that the people making the laws have never worked in our situations and have no idea what goes on in a day care or classroom setting. I couldn’t agree more with that. I have no time to be “teaching” after all the diaper changes, feeding and cleaning up and etc. Do I play educational games and do the kids learn from me? You bet! But it is very informal and play based! I also stress kindness and conflict resolution in my day care setting. If we focused more on this in the younger years instead of pushing the reading, writing, formal education them maybe the society we live in wouldn’t be so messed up!

    • Karlee O says:

      I’m also in childcare and feel the pressure to make child care the new preschool. Babies don’t need and should be expected to sit still for a specific “story time.” That isn’t to say that they shouldn’t be read to or that they don’t benefit from being read to, because they absolutely do benefit in so many ways from being read to. They shouldn’t however, be expected to sit for a story to prepare them for circle time in toddlerhood. I am a toddler teacher and I was expected to have a circle time with toddlers to prepare them for the multiple circle times they have in preschool to prepare them for sitting still all day in kindergarten. None of these expected benchmarks are realistic but they’re expected by many parents because that’s what they’re being fed by media and policymakers. It’s hard to get parents to understand what SHOULD be expected of these children after all that they’ve been fed.

  5. Kathryn Lundin says:

    Chapter 1, 2 & 7
    I feel that the concept of earlier is better has been a huge obstacle in how we decided when and what to teach as educators. I see children in my preschool classroom that are stressed out because they can’t read, bringing them to the point of tears. This is because we are not letting them accomplish what is “normal” for a 4 or 5 year old child. I feel that No Child Left Behind did more harm that good. It places unrealistic expectations on the children and on the educators. We are also not acknowledging the fact that we are pushing children so hard it is causing a loss or lack of sleep, which in turn leads to problematic behaviors in the classroom and more stress on teachers and students.

  6. Samantha says:

    I have always agreed that children learn different. Some may need music or complete quietness. Allowing the children to have this or more time to learn is something I would love to see. My son was put into Pre-K for 2 days-4 hours a week. They would jump me all the time about him not knowing how to spell his name, he was 3 when started and turned 4 a month before school was out. I did not force my son to do the school work that was sent home. We spelled his name in Legos or cheerios. I dislike the idea of forcing my son to school already. With his behaviors at home, I was instructed to try sending him to school. I’m thankful that they get to play some of the time, but I won’t force him to learn everything RIGHT NOW. He tires out fast and loves to sleep. Him sleeping 12-14 hours a night is normal and then still napping during the day. I love how in the book it states childhood is not a dress rehearsal for adulthood. I love that in my daycare we take a curriculum and turn it into play time more often. I am big on my child and my daycare children resting. Naptime is not a strict must wake up by this time. They can rest until awake. My own child needs his sleep or we have behaviors a lot more through out the day. I believe we need to be teaching our kids how to play with friends or how to laugh.

    I was worried about this book being above my level of changing my lifestyle. But I love that I can relate and believe so far 100%!

  7. Mande Hatten says:

    I really enjoyed reading Chapters 1, 2, and 7. I could feel myself getting fired up as an EC Educator and the chapters left me feeling supported in what I know as DAP. I have had many discussions with my staff about teaching young children and what is developmentally appropriate. Several have actually commented that they feel their parents will be disappointed if they do not send home the cookie cutter crafts and worksheets. It is a difficult tight rope walk between doing what is right and doing what we have been told by politicians, school districts etc.
    I also agree that Earlier is Not Better. I have 20+ years of EC experience and truly, the “playing field of academics” does level out by 3rd grade. In our center we look a the process a child goes though and encourage that process, not all are the same.

    • Melissa D says:

      While completing these first three chapters, I found myself agreeing with what I was reading and getting excited about what it is that I have devoted my career to. These chapters really drove home the importance of ensuring that children are not being held to unrealistic expectations and that we as ECE professionals are providing stimulating and developmentally appropriate environments. One of the ideas that really reinforced this is that childhood is not a dress rehearsal for adulthood. We are responsible for the well being of the children trusted to our care…we need to provide them with developmentally appropriate experiences. I recently had a discussion with one of our Pre-K teachers about reducing nap times to “prepare” the kids for kindergarten. While I understood the intention behind the practice of not offering traditional nap time consistently…the kids aren’t in kindergarten yet and many of them still need to have the 2+ hour nap to have successful afternoons!

  8. Melissa D says:

    While completing these first three chapters, I found myself agreeing with what I was reading and getting excited about what it is that I have devoted my career to. These chapters really drove home the importance of ensuring that children are not being held to unrealistic expectations and that we as ECE professionals are providing stimulating and developmentally appropriate environments. One of the ideas that really reinforced this is that childhood is not a dress rehearsal for adulthood. We are responsible for the well being of the children trusted to our care…we need to provide them with developmentally appropriate experiences. I recently had a discussion with one of our Pre-K teachers about reducing nap times to “prepare” the kids for kindergarten. While I understood the intention behind the practice of not offering traditional nap time consistently…the kids aren’t in kindergarten yet and many of them still need to have the 2+ hour nap to have successful afternoons!

  9. Shari Ernst says:

    I am a daycare provider in Minnesota and I couldn’t put this book down. I could relate to so much of what I was reading. I agree that children are pushed earlier and earlier to learn things that I personally felt the kids were not ready to learn. So when Rae said ” a child’s development absolutly cannot be accelerated or hurried in any way” I was like YES I agree. I just wonder why so many other school educators etc don’t see that. I feel schools feel that earlier is better and pushing kids to read before or in Kindergarten. What happened to easing the kids into school instead of just pushing them so hard to read earlier and earlier? I can see how this is setting our kids up to fail. I can also see where these kids are getting depressed. Kids are pushed and pushed all day to learn. They no longer get to learn through play. 🙁 I also love the fact that the hours of sleep was brought up in chapter 7. Ugggg how I have argued with parents about sleep. The feedback I get is “my Dr. wasn’t concerned about the number of hours of sleep” How can us providers and educators fight that comment?

  10. Karlee O says:

    I feel that these chapters highlight what any early childhood educator knows: that expectations for children today are so contrary to how children function and excel and we are setting children up to fail. I think that the worst part of this thinking is that it’s started a vicious cycle. Policymakers who don’t understand children set up expectations for children that are inefficient and impractical, then when schools are forced to implement them parents come to expect these things from their children. When parents have these expectations the educators who don’t need to follow the poor policies, such as privately funded schools, daycares or preschools, are being asked by parents to uphold these same standards or rick losing those children to programs who do. The effects of these poor policies trickles down to the youngest of children and expands outwards to all children.
    I’ve experienced this personally as a childcare provider. I’m the lead toddler teacher and my former director expected me to hold a circle time with my 1 1/2 to almost 3 year olds that covered letters, numbers, colors, shapes, a story and a song daily. I realized this was ineffective and I spent my time telling children who were not built to sit still to do exactly that, thus making the already too long circle time longer and longer. I started to whittle down my circle time and argued with my director about my goals and the effectiveness of the circle time that she wanted me to have. Now under a new director my circle time to one story and an active song. I’ve found the children are still learning the concepts that were expected at an appropriate rate through play.

  11. Jamie Boorse says:

    I am now intrigued to read the rest and see what she has to say! I agree with most everything. I too feel that children are being brought up in schools that expect too much right away. I have a 10 year old and a 2 year old so it will be interesting to see the differences in schooling as they grow. My oldest went to half day kindergarten but they then changed it to all day the next year. I too feel that kids are not given enough time to be “kids”. Now that I have a childcare I can see that all these children are all going develop at different levels. I can’t imagine trying to have them learn everything at the same speed.

  12. Jill Baer says:

    Chapter 1, 2 and 7.
    The line that hit home the most was about why we are working so hard to prepare kids for school versus preparing school for kids. Not only are we pressuring kids to learn more and faster, in doing so they are losing time for recess, play and gym. The competitive nature is relentless yet one of the first things parents look at when moving is school test scores or what their daycare does for 1 year old learning objectives.

    Kids are getting frustrated because they are pushed to learn so much so fast and at times, they develop feelings of inadequacy. Other times kids are on the other end and not challenged. My own two children have very different strengths and weaknesses. The learn in different ways. After a long day of school, we play, we talk, we get outside. If we push so hard we will end up reinforcing the competition and will end up with kids who do not know how to socialize, play, relax and enjoy learning new things.

  13. Amy Carter says:

    I do childcare and I am also a mother of 3 children ages 4-8. I am a big proponent for child’s free play and also sleep. In my opinion it’s what comes the most natural to them and these chapters help explained that it is because that’s what is developmentally apparoprete for them. Sleep is so crucial and an absolute necessity for everyone but especially children. I see so many behavior issues pop up when they are lacking sleep. Ironically one of my family’s recently asked to cut out naps for their 3 year old. I obliged because I like to be flexible. However a once very well behaved child has now become very whinny throughout the day. I loved reading this book so far and will be using it as a resource for myself and parents of children I provide care for.

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