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 @ #AskingWhatIf.
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.
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.”
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).