EC Blog Book Study Begins- Join In!

Published on: August 31, 2015

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

Views: 30225

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”


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). 

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

  1. After reading these chapters, I focused in on chapter 2 – “The Earlier the Better” and found myself thinking that actually, YES, there are times when earlier is better! For example, the earlier the infant develops an attachment with a loving adult – the better. The earlier the toddler hears spoken language (and a variety of vocabulary) – the better. The earlier the young child experiences safe and nurturing relationships with peers and adults – the better.

    Again none of these experiences are competitive in nature or forced, but are meaningful and important to a child’s optimal development. Without some of these great experiences (eg. the vocabulary one), children may have a harder time speaking, writing, and reading.

    We have a great responsibility as early childhood educators to support children’s development by providing an optimal child-friendly environment, developmentally-appropriate activities, and reciprocal relationships for children to learn and grow… as well as partnering with families.

    Thank you for doing this book club – I really enjoy the book so far!

    • Marcy Dragseth says:

      I really enjoyed Chapter 2 “the earlier the better”I totally agree if we can encourage the proper activities. Encourage one on one as possible. Reading books, signs and acting out books or just explaining bigger words when reading. These all help children to learn earlier. But also encouraging outside free play. Whether it is catch, hopping, jumping. All these help children learn in different ways the different motor skills which all children need. As a daycare provider I encourage each child to learn in a way that suits them. Each child learns at a different pace. As long as we are encourage they will be benefited.

  2. Rae Pica says:

    Good points, Natalie! You’re absolutely correct in that the distinction between the examples in my book and those you’ve given is that the latter examples are NOT competitive! There’s no doubt that the earlier children get the “good stuff,” the better. What’s proving problematic is all the confusion, primarily among parents and policymakers, about what the “good stuff” is. It’s certainly NOT being the first baby on the block to walk, talk, and read!

  3. Rae Pica says:

    Angèle, thanks for sharing your thoughts on these chapters! I once heard an educator say that, traditionally, teachers have been told to just shut up and do their jobs. For a long, long time they’ve complied with that. But they’re not staying silent any longer. Thanks to social media and PLNs (personal learning networks), teachers now have a voice.

    Unfortunately, early childhood educators seem to be slow to follow the trend of speaking up for what’s right. It’s understandable, since ECE professionals are often the most warm and kindhearted of people. You’ve reminded them here that having a voice doesn’t necessarily mean being an “activist.” Rather, by simply telling stories — theirs and those of the children with whom they work — they can gently inform people of what’s developmentally appropriate. As the lyrics in “Fight Song” say, “I may only have one match but I can start an explosion.” If early childhood professional begin telling their stories to principals, parents, politicians, journalists, or business people, the “BOOM!” we’ll eventually hear will be the sound of demand for what’s right for the children!

  4. Scott says:

    Recently I have heard this from several different people: “We need to teach young children _________. Even if they don’t understand it all now, it is something they will need later.” I don’t think this is a valid argument. We need to think about who the child is NOW, not what he will be in the immediate or distant future. We need to teach young children in ways that meet their current needs and let the future happen in the future.

  5. Sarah Fritsch says:

    I cannot help myself from yelling out while I read this book! The pushing of inappropriate expectations on preschoolers is the reason I have changed positions. When I taught afternoon preschool I would have children that were hyper, irritable, and falling asleep during class. My class started at 12:30, the children in my class should have been napping and not taking a bus to school. I absolutely agree with chapter 7 we have to meet basic needs, like 12 hours of sleep, before we can expect children to learn.

  6. Mike Huber says:

    Angele makes some good points. I think one of the mistakes we in the ECE field have made is that we have over-emphasized literacy and math when talking to politicians and the public, falling into the trap of No Child Left behind that uses those measures to assess success.

    I think we need to focus on what really makes people successful (whether measured in happiness or business success). People need to be flexible, to be able to adapt and to be able to strategize. This is true whether the person is an artist, a teacher, a construction worker or an administrator. You don’t learn to be flexible by reading a book about it. You learn by playing. From an evolutionary perspective, that’s what play is. It’s about finding the myriad of possibilities with one empty box.

    When we talk to policy-makers and funders, we may need to emphasize the business side of adaptation. When talking to parents, we can focus on the life-skills that play-based, developmentally appropriate practice can bring to children.

  7. Rae Pica says:

    Scott, I’m with you 200%. Let’s concern ourselves with what children need NOW!

    Sarah, what’s your new position?

  8. Dawn, I’m at the University of Connecticut working as a Postdoctoral Research Fellow on a federally-funded grant, the Early Childhood Personnel Center. We are a technical assistance center that provides support to states in developing and maintaining strong comprehensive systems of personnel (teacher) development.

    And I agree, depending on the type of program you are in, young children can be forced to achieve age-inappropriate tasks (eg. reading, etc.) too early. However I also see the other side quite frequently of the “wait and see” attitude when young children may have a delay and need support. Or the “free play” all-day attitude, where the teacher creates the environment and the children are expected to learn naturally without structure or planned activities/lessons. I think there needs to be a balance of both child-centered and structured/planned activities. Just my two cents!

  9. Mike Huber says:

    I agree with you also. Children don’t learn just with play. It is through interactions with adults and children. I think Ann Epstein’s Intentional Teacher has made the best case for the balance of child/play centered learning and structured/planned activities. There are some things children will only learn from more experienced people (teachers, parents, older siblings, etc.). I do think that the way we have sold ECE hasn’t made the case for this balanced approach because we were too busy trying to convince people that this will improve test scores.
    I actually made this argument to my MN State Senator and she had the best answer. “I’m tired of hearing the argument about academics. I can’t help thinking, ‘What about the poets?'”

    The way I like to think of it is learning academic knowledge as part of intellectual pursuit (paraphrasing Lillian Katz).

  10. Dawn Braa says:

    Natalie- I think you hit the nail on the head with your comments regarding the “wait and see” attitude, when young children may have a delay and need support and the “free play” all-day attitude, where the teacher creates the environment and the children are expected to learn naturally without structure or planned activities/lessons. Thank your for sharing that resource!

    Mike- It absolutely is a fine balance of child/play centered learning and structured/planned activities. Your previous comments about focusing on the attributes and knowledge that makes people successful was totally on point.

    Here’s a link to Ann’s book that Mike mentioned

    Sarah – The book had the same effect on me 🙂

  11. Sarah Fritsch says:

    Rae: I am now a Parent Educator for an ECFE program and a trainer for Child Care Aware. With my new position I also get to go on Daycare Home visits. I think this is a great opportunity to discuss Child Development with daycare providers. They have such a huge influence on the children and the families in their care. I have also heard from daycare providers in my classes how much pressure they feel to send home worksheets and set up their home daycare more like a classroom then a home.
    All: I absolutely agree with Natalie and Mike that a balance between free play and directed instruction is needed in Early Childhood programs. We first need to know where the children in our care or classes are at developmentally and scaffold learning from there.

  12. Angele Passe says:

    Scott, I agree about the NOW. It also made me think about the other side , such as “red shirting” delaying the entrance to kindergarten, with the idea that the child- often a boy- will be more ready, and later stronger and bigger in high school.

  13. Mike – I love your paraphrase of Lilian Katz!

    Wanted to comment on the naptime issue too… Does it seem like children have more behavioral issues today? Have you checked to see how many hours of sleep that child gets? Naptime at school is important for those who need it (most preschoolers and younger), but even more important is their sleep schedule at home. Preschoolers need 11-12 hours of sleep total! Amazing, right? I wonder how many young children actually get 12 hours….

    If they are not getting the sleep they need, children will act out, become overexcited, or act lethargic. This can lead to challenging behavior in the classroom, less friends to play with, and frustrated teachers!

    It’s so important to share sleep information with families who may not realize how many hours of sleep are recommended for their child. Anything we can do to help parents remove obstacles and promote sleep (removing tvs/video games from bedrooms, promoting nighttime routines, readalouds) helps parents at home and helps us in the classrooms too! Home visits are a perfect time to help families (who express interest) in setting up routines. Parent-teacher conferences are another great time to bring up sleep. At my old school, we also had sleep workshops for parents talking about these issues – and they were always well attended.

  14. Sarah Fritsch says:

    Natalie: I totally agree sleep is a topic I go over and over again in Parent Ed. With families over scheduled lives now they need lots of reminders of how important sleep is and what behaviors it causes. Mary Sheedy Kurcinka’s book Sleepless in America is a resource I recommend to my parents.

  15. Rae Pica says:

    Natalie, it sounds as though your new position offers you many opportunities to inform child care professionals and parents alike.

    You and Sarah are right on target re: the sleep issue. Most parents have no idea how much sleep their children really need. They believe that if they’re getting 8 hours/night they’re doing great, but it’s not enough.

    Here’s a 10-minute interview on that topic: “Five Classroom Problems Directly Traceable to Student Sleep Deprivation,” with Mary Sheedy Kurcinka as one of the guests: Lots of great information.

  16. Deb Pierce says:

    I believe a lot of the lack of sleep issues are derived from two sources… over-scheduling and reliance on screens by families. How many children do you know who hop on a caravan right after school, either for their own sports or “extracurricular” activities or those of older siblings. They may attend one or several, stopping for fast food or waiting until late to eat something. Then, they have to wind down enough to get to sleep and it’s already past a reasonable bedtime. The second issue arises from the screen habits instituted by harried parents who have found it easier to provide a video or program than spend time they just don’t seem to have. So now, a bedroom TV or iPad is turned on that the child has been conditioned to need to fall asleep. When I take my dogs out each night at about 11:30pm, I can see the big screen TV on in the bedroom of my neighbor’s 4 year old daughter and I know she gets up to to go to child care at 6AM. This is a culture that has developed due to lifestyle changes and I am wondering (and worried) how and if it will ever be reversed.

  17. Deb, I am wondering what is our role as early educators in this cultural issue.

  18. Cory says:

    Rae- thanks for sharing the link from Mary’s work. When I read Natalie’s post I immediately thought of Sleepless in America. I have used this resource many times to inform and educate students on how the issue of over scheduling and lack of sleep coincide with a child’s development. Angele you pose what do we do- I would suggest that as leaders in our field it is our responsibility to include more in our training repertoire on this issue. Anytime I am out speaking or in my college classroom it is an aha moment for students. It becomes particularly meaningful when comparing it to our own experiences as an adult. When I don’t sleep- Im crabby, when I teach until 9 at night after a full day I don’t sleep. Circular…

  19. Tonya says:

    I want to put this book on a string and just wear it around my neck like a necklace so the around me knows it exists! Too often I hear these horror stories about children getting “kicked out” of preschool or worse, being handcuffed – I know that the child has a need which wasn’t being met- either lack of sleep, lack of understanding of child development, or lack of the appropriate social-emotional support. Has anyone heard of CSEFEL? Great resource:

    It also worries me that so many schools have preschool populations but the principals/leadership have no ECE background. So the preschool and kindergarten teachers have no support; so both the parents AND the principals are insisting on more developmentally inappropriate instructional time. I witnessed with my own eyes, a school administrator telling a first year kindergarten teacher to put her alphabet at the top of the wall (above the chalkboard). When the teacher asked why (she had initially placed it at the children’s eye level), the administrator said something to the effect of “because that’s where it goes and that’s where all of our teachers put them.” I worry that this notion of expanding public Pre-K to help improve school readiness in at-risk children, in some respects just may backfire; because, too often, the environments in which these children are placed are not developmentally appropriate.

  20. Sarah Fritsch says:

    Angele: I feel that we are role models for the families that we work with. When they talk to me I am engaged and not doing three other things.
    As an example to parents of what their child may be feeling, I will begin my parent group with a question to a parent, then in the the middle of them talking pull out my phone and begin texting, I play it up a bit, and then look up from my phone and ask how they felt, did you feel heard, important, or ignored. That leads us into the discussion about having time set a side to be present for our kids. Advocating for a SCREEN FREE week is another way to assist parents in finding other activities to do with their kids.
    I also discuss that fact that delayed gratification is such an important life long skill (Mind In The Making is a great book on this) and our children need to learn to wait and not just hand them your phone so they can play games when they get impatient.

  21. Kate Quebodeaux says:

    Angele’: What is your view on having computers/iPads, etc. in the preschool classrooms? I am the director of a preschool that does not use either of these with the students. I have had some parents question why we aren’t using “technology” in the classroom with the preschoolers. Any words of advice as how to approach this subject with families.

  22. Deb Pierce says:

    Kate, I don’t think we can exclude technology from the preschool classroom. It has become an integral part of life. It changes the way we communicate, socialize, conduct business, and handle daily tasks. Children need to be prepared to function in this type of society. We ease them into it with the software we choose and the time we provide for them on computers and other devices. I have my college students become familiar with the joint position statement by NAEYC and the Fred Rogers Center for Early Learning and Children’s Media. The guidelines presented are wonderful to share with families and to follow in the classroom. Technology can be one of the center offerings and choices for the children, along with the other manipulative and sensory experiences we provide for them. As professionals in early childhood, we know that technology cannot substitute for hands-on experiences with real things and face time with real people, because this is the way children learn. So, we must be vigilant. Technology is a wonderful tool and must be used as such, and in developmentally appropriate ways. It is not a curriculum or a caregiver. Knowing the difference is our responsibility.

  23. Mike Huber says:

    I appreciate what Deb said. Technology can enhance hands on learning. I often take photos (cameras are also technology) and later project them on the wall using a nano projector (battery-operated so we can project under tables, on the ceiling, etc). I find this keeps discussions lively as we recall the activity in the photos. I also use youtube frequently to help learn small things. One time we watched a video on how to do laundry and then carried a load down the street to the laundromat. It doesn’t have to be an either/or argument.

  24. Scott says:

    Mike–I appreciate your great examples of using technology (all kinds of technology) as a part of what is happening in the classroom. Tech should be a tool (one of the tools) that we use in the classroom…like blocks or paint or dolls. Sometimes adults focus on using iPads or computers just for the sake of using them instead of being intentional in their use. I agree that it doesn’t have to be either/or; balance is key. (And following the child’s lead and interests rather than forcing the issue is important, too.)

  25. Jen Nagorski says:

    Hello all! I’m excited to join this great conversation. I am a Child Life Specialist working at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of Minnesota. While my perspective doesn’t come from the classroom, I do spend my days teaching children about their bodies and medical procedures necessary to help them become or remain healthy.

    Jane Healy’s quote, “When you start something before the brain is prepared, you’ve got trouble” made me think about the importance of meeting a child where they are at–not only in the classroom but also when preparing them for a hospitalization or procedure (including developmentally appropriate language and detail). However, preparation/education must also be appropriate for a patient’s emotional state. Often, I am seeing a child not at their baseline, but at a heightened stated of anxiety, fear, or uncertainty. A child in a familiar, comfortable setting (such as school or church) will be in a different place than that same child in a new, overwhelming setting (hospital, clinic), much like a tired child has different needs than a rested one. So not only are “not all children the same,” but childrens’ educational needs change based on their situation and emotional state as well. This becomes even more difficult in my work, as often CCLSs have only a few minutes to assess the developmental needs of a child before deciding on the most appropriate intervention (for example in an emergency or ambulatory setting). (CCLSs often have the benefit of working one-on-one with patients and families, and I admire those who must balance the educational and emotional needs of 20+ children)

    I also am really interested in the topic of screen time that was brought up multiple times in the comments here. I see many families using iPads, smart photos, and other personal electronics with their children at the hospital (with varying degrees of supervision and limits). In fact, most Child Life Specialists I work with are equipped with iPads to use for teaching and distraction/relaxation during procedures. I am looking forward to Ch. 23 where I hope we have more discussion regarding this topic.

  26. Kate, yes I do believe technology has a place in early education , as many of you do too. The most important word I have seen related to its use is that it works when “mediated” by an adult. As Jen points out the varying degrees of supervision are the concern .

  27. Lynn Kokal says:

    Reading these chapters brought out a church revival response in me. Realistic standards that are achieved at a child’s own pace with their individual characteristics in mind – “Oh, yeah!” It is not possible for all children to do the same things at the same age – “That’s right!” Each domain of development develops at its own rate – “Hallelujah!” I only wish these were my daughter’s experiences throughout her early childhood, but our collective experiences brought me to where I am today. I am an Early Childhood and Youth Development and Child Life Assistant graduate of DCTC who works at a children’s hospital and loves her job! I really like the format of this book and am looking forward to sharing and hearing everyone’s personal and professional anecdotes throughout this book study.
    I have definitely noticed a big difference in the teaching philosophies of early childhood and/or K-3 educators compared to the grades beyond. Many times I have lamented that some educators “just don’t get it”, but realized that they truly don’t because they have no early childhood education background or are choosing to ignore what they have learned.
    The Earlier the Better?
    I have two close friends that are teachers and I agree with them that our culture has a huge impact. We live in what I like to call a “bigger, better, faster, more” mentality, which leaves no room for individual development. My daughter is involved in two different traveling sports where I have seriously grieved for children that are expected to perform at unrealistic levels by coaches and parents (many are educators!) My daughter (12yrs) loves playing both sports, but is primarily involved because of the social interaction with friends. We’ve had coaches that have chastised players for talking on the sidelines, etc. where camaraderie and enjoyment of the sport are a lower priority.
    “A child’s development cannot be accelerated or hurried in any way” is a great reminder to parents and teachers both to meet a child where they are in every situation to understand and help them going forward.
    The Shift: The Development and Learning of Kindergarten Age Children

    I really appreciated the reference to the importance of the social /emotional aspect where children need a place to learn where they feel safe and understood and are just expected to do their best. So simple , but profound!

  28. Sara Mulso says:

    This conversation is very interesting to me -as a trainer in the field of early childhood but also as the mom of a 3 year old! Chapter 2 really caught my attention -is earlier better. I believe that there have been some great points made about earlier exposure, earlier opportunities, and non-competitive opportunities which prove to be very beneficial to young children as we give the a solid foundation for later learning. But what about a child who has a natural inclination towards an activity? How do you balance developmentally appropriate with creating opportunities and challenges that meet their interest? So much of this I think about on a regular basis -as we have a three year old who is passionate about basketball. We don’t push -but he pushes himself. He want to try and asks to be taught. While I realize that this is very personal to me -I think we encounter these stories regularly with families. What about that child who has a balance but is developing in some ways ahead of the curve in a certain area? This is something that I do struggle with -and in the meantime, hope we’re not hurting our three year old as we balance leaning new skills and providing lots of age appropriate experiences, while meeting his interest and need and probably “pushing” him to an outside person.

  29. Cory says:

    I appreciate the great resources, CSEFEL is used widely in MN, MInd in the Making changed the way I think about educating kids. Chip Donohue also has a great book on technology. Technology and Digital Media in the Early Years.

  30. Rachel Calvert says:

    Hi all!

    I’m a little late in posting this week, but have been so encouraged by reading all of the posts that have followed this week’s chapters. I will make a point to always return to reread what is posted after each week ends!

    I am coming to this study with a couple different perspectives:

    1) Currently I’m working at Children’s Hospitals and Clinics of MN as a child life supervisor (I’m so excited Lynn and Jen are participating in this as well!). As Jen mentioned, child life specialists have the opportunity to work with families in the medical setting – often seeing children not at their baseline due to illness, disabilities, stress, etc. Being able to adapt interventions to meet each child and family where they are at is exactly what we aim to do so these chapters reinforce the importance of that approach. From a hospital policy standpoint, we often aim to incorporate developmentally appropriate standards; however this is often done in a similar manner as what is mentioned in the readings. The pendulum swings and often changes only occur when “something happens.” We also have the opportunity to work with staff that are more familiar with child development than perhaps other medical facilities – for example: our speech, occupational and physical therapists solely work with children and are great advocates along with our child life team to advocate for children on an individual basis about what kids “should and shouldn’t be” working on. Our role really provides the opportunity to encourage staff and parents to examine the expectations they have on children in the medical setting.

    2) During my graduate work, I had the opportunity to work with some great parent educators. I was always so impressed with the way they were able to present some of the research and really, the needs that children have to parents. Sleep was always a topic each made sure to cover – even in groups that were more parent led. Many of the things we learn about children seem so “duh” as Rae had mentioned, but it doesn’t mean we do them!

    3) As a mom to a 1 year old and 2 year old, it is such an awesome experience watching them learn through free play and also more intentional interactions. I’m also amazed at the amount of information and all of the opinions about “what’s best for your child” out there! Realizing this has really challenged me to be intentional during my interactions with other parents in the professional setting to provide information and explain the why. I’m always doing my best to explain the “ranges” of development to friends and other parents in a way that they can see it’s not a competition (walking, talking, reading, etc). I also loved the point Rae made “Childhood is not a dress rehearsal for adulthood.” (Page 14) As parents and professionals, if we just slow down and enjoy kids NOW like Scott mentioned, we can truly appreciate how amazing they are!

    Thanks for all of the other resources and links to check out as well, everyone!

  31. Sarah Fritsch says:

    Sara- I believe your little one is a great example of what chapter 3 is talking about. Follow a child’s lead, where their passion is there is flow and where there is flow there is JOY! I love the quote from Judy Willis ” Joy and enthusiasm are absolutely essential for learning to happen…” It is amazing to me how early some children find their passion. Think of all the things he is learning through basketball!! I understand your concern for balance though, you want him to have a variety of experiences, like you said balance it important.

  32. Dianne says:

    I am joining this conversation late because I am doing this as a self-paced training. I am currently a licensed daycare provider and was previously an ECFE child teacher. I have a major in elementary education and a minor in early childhood.

    I see a definite change in the push we put on preschoolers and what they are expected to know when entering kindergarten. I was disappointed last year when I learned that one of my daycare children that had started kindergarten was flagged by the middle of October as needing extra help because he couldn’t count fast enough. It wasn’t that he couldn’t count to 100, because he could, but he couldn’t do it fast enough. I think it is a bad thing that we are labeling children after a month and a half of school as needing help.

    As far as the importance of sleep, I agree that most children do not get enough sleep and parents don’t realize this is the cause of the behavior problems. I can tell with my daycare children when one of them had a bad night. It is obvious in their behavior. I also have two families with three year olds that the three year olds don’t stay in bed at night and get up and wander around the house and play while the parents are sleeping. Those two children never seem to get enough sleep and do act out a lot during the day. Once in a while they do sleep and it makes a world of difference in their behavior.

  33. Rae Pica says:

    Couldn’t count “fast enough?” Good grief! What on earth is our education system coming to?

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, Dianne, and for joining the book study!

  34. ann makley says:

    Loved the book “What if Everybody Understood Child Development?” I am currently a Kindergarten teacher (12 years) and before that taught special education for 17 years. I always wondered why my special education students hated school. Now I know why. I am concerned locally and nationally about my profession and how we as teachers are pushing young, curious, beautiful children to do more and more developmentally inappropriate tasks so early in their education. Currently my district is on a roll with one to one devices for all, first grade expectations for Kindergartners and curriculum being devised by administration/facilitators/ that have very little experience in early childhood education. Some administrators have never been teachers, ever. There seems to be a business mindset….but children are children. Why are we making things so difficult? Parents? Teachers? Admin? KISS- Keep It Simple, Stupid. What ever happened to common sense?

  35. Rae Pica says:

    Ann, thank you for sharing your experiences. I can’t imagine why anyone would think it’s a good idea for non-educators/business people to be creating curriculum but I do hope that if we all join together to fight back, we can begin to change that!

  36. Kim Woehl says:

    I am loving this book so far. As a parent of a child with special needs I feel strongly about early intervention and providing each child with the best program possible to meet his needs. How do I know if a child needs help? It is through observation and keen awareness of child development. Scott’s post from August 31, 2015 said “we need to teach young children _____”. He goes on to say that we cannot teach over where the child is at today. We must teach in the NOW. I completely agree.

    Some of the blog posts talked about lack of sleep and overly busy schedules for young children. I have certainly experienced this over the years in my own family child care business. It is impossible to teach when children come to us overtired or exhausted. Not only will they not be able to participate and learn but they will display behaviors that erupt throughout the day as a result. This further causes the child to miss opportunities and to fall behind their expected milestones. It is important to communicate with parents about what children need. It is important to support the child and it is important to know where this child is in their development so that we can help create the most success for this child.

  37. Cynthia Kish says:

    I got a late start to this book study, but I can’t wait to read more.

    I agree with many of the posts above, parents and others think children have to something going on all the time. I do in home family childcare and I am sorry to say that I know some of my families pick up the children from here, eat on the run and have activities for the children almost nightly or they are going somewhere else to be watched while the parents do their own plans. Families are so busy now days there is no time for sleep and my children are young, all are 2 and under. I can’t wait to finish this book so I can lend it to families. I do a daily email to parents and I will be putting in the sleep requirements for all ages soon.

  38. Rae Pica says:

    Welcome to the study, Cynthia!

    It does seem as though “busy” is the new status symbol.

    I very much appreciate your desire to share my book with the parents in your program and hope it makes a difference!

  39. Diana M says:

    I have loved reading this book so far because it has echoed my thoughts exactly on how we are pushing too hard too early. My place of employment has recently decided to enforce a more play based approach to learning and it has been amazing how much that has helped with the many challenging behaviors in one particular class. It’s been a trial and error trying to figuring out how to still structure some of their play so that it’s not just a free for all every day. Also, just to throw my two cents in about sleep, it’s amazing how different a child can act based on sleep. Oftentimes, with my more challenging students, I’ll ask the parents about sleep at home, and it amazes me how little some of these kids get! Thank goodness we still have nap time because it makes a world of difference! Kids that are acting out and exhibiting challenging behaviors in the morning have drastically different days after nap!

  40. Rae Pica says:

    Thanks for your comments, Diana! I am so glad that you’ve shared evidence that playing children present fewer behavior challenges!

    As far as sleep is concerned, I had a particularly restless night recently and the following day I was so miserable that I wanted to curl up in a fetal position and cry, or as though I could have easily murdered someone! Why should children feel any differently when they’re sleep deprived?

  41. Rachel D says:

    While reading the book, one of the chapters that really jumped out to me was the one focused on nap time. At the center I work at we highly encourage children to sleep during nap time in our pre-k room. Every now and again we will get a parent who will say their child doesn’t really nap and that it is ok that we just give them a book. It really makes me sad that these parents don’t realize how important that sleep is for their child. I can definitely notice a difference in mood for the rest of the day for the students that napped and those that didn’t. I just hope that when these kids enter into Kindergarten that there is some small portion of their day that involves a nap. So far, while just reading a few chapters I have already found some very interesting information and some great basic early child knowledge that sometimes just gets swept under the rug. I’m eager to read more and see what the other chapters have to offer.

  42. Kelsie Brandl says:

    Reading these first few chapters, it has just hit me how as teachers, we really do focus on the curriculum and requirements rather than the child. As stated in the beginning of chapter one, it does seem obvious, but we’re so bent on doing our job well that we forget that it’s the child that really matters.

  43. Rae Pica says:

    Kelsie, your takeaway from the first few chapters has made me exceedingly happy!

  44. Sarah H. says:

    I’m Sarah H. from MN and I’m participating in this book study as part of my training requirements as a family childcare provider. I became licensed in 2015. I’m currently not providing childcare. I’m also a licensed attorney and am currently practicing law, including family law. I love what I do both as a childcare provider and as a family law attorney. Being a childcare provider brings me so much joy. I love fostering wonder, curiosity, and learning. As a family law attorney, I have a child-centered philosophy. My goal is to represent and support my clients and all their interests and to help parents navigate divorce and coparenting in a way that benefits their children.

    I love this book. It is so well written and I love the essay format. I love Chapters 1 and 2 and took away so much from these. Of Chapters 1, 2, and 7, I think I took the most away from Chapter 7, which related to sleep deprivation.

    As a daycare provider, I had one older preschooler whose nap tended to be a bit longer than some of the other children’s naps. I supposed this is because there is variance in terms of a child’s need for sleep even within recommended sleep guidelines. Some children need the lower end of the recommended hours of sleep and some children need sleep at the higher end of the recommended range.

    Also, as a family childcare provider, I have tried to be thoughtful about the logistics of naps in order to actually promote sleep. I have never put all the children in my care in one room for naps. I know some providers that do this and it makes me wonder whether the children that need to sleep are actually getting as much sleep as they need. I feel good knowing I have created an environment that I think is best for promoting sleep.

  45. Samantha says:

    Developmental appropriate practice this is something that I have talked to my coworkers about for years. As a Pre-k teacher I feel pressured to force young children into doing things they are not yet ready to do so that they are prepared for Kindergarten. This pressure is felt so much that even though I know what is developmentally appropriate it is hard to push that pressure aside. The things that children need to know are forced way to early that the children do not have time to be children anymore. Children learn through play and exploring, this is the first thing that I was taught in early childhood education, yet that’s not what the policy and curriculum makers are based off of. This results in children that are not excited to learn because they are being forced to do things they are not yet ready to do.

  46. Freda says:

    All children, regardless of their age similarities, definitely should not be expected to be at the same level developmentally. As a mom of two, I would say I have first hand knowledge of this fact as I did keep track of my kids monthly. I realized that they both developed skills differently even though I compared them at the same month. Our educational system is broken in this aspect as they expect kids to be at the same stage if they are same age and this can be very stressful both on the kids and the adult expecting identical results. I totally agree with the writer about letting children learn in their best way, which is through free play. This I have noticed makes them problem solver and very innovative.
    As much as we make time for learning and play, it is very important to set aside a time for rest/sleep. This is very important in order to have a more productive day. Trying to carry out activities with a tired child is not fun and that child will definitely not have the ability to comprehend any further learning activity. Rest/naptime helps to rejuvenate the brain which in turn helps the learning process in a child.

  47. Nikki Shapiro says:

    I am Nikki from MN and reading this book study as part of my professional development plan. I am a family childcare provider and I operate a nature based/ play based childcare program. I believe strongly in child centered learning and following their lead. Never once have a sent a child to start Kindergarten that hasn’t been prepared for Kindergarten, but almost all of our learning is through play. Ex – We learn math, measuring and volume by playing in the mud or water table. This idea of pushing children to accelerate the development of skills at an such an early age needs to continue to be a larger conversation. In MN, the governor is pushing in his state budget for 4 year old formal preschool education funding to be mandated. Why are we asking our children at even an earlier age to conform to a formal classroom setting? Children need to play and explore, in a safe and nurturing environment and that environment is not always a formal classroom. Each child develops skills at different rates – some accelerate at fine motor while others accelerate at communication. We need to embrace these differences and not try to package them all into one box. As far as the sleep discussion, I see more and more children coming in the morning having gone to baseball, dance, soccer, etc., the night before and are so tired when they come in the door. As an EC educator, I read my group and allow for longer naps when behavior shows it is needed. I often get questioned about how I get my little ones to nap for two hours. My response is that they will sleep soundly when they are tired and when their body needs it. I am looking forward to delving more into the next chapters of the book!

  48. Kirsten Barie says:

    I love this book so far! I find myself saying “YES!” at points made in the book so far. I am a director of a faith-based half-day preschool program. I have often said that we need to teach parents right along with the children! We need to inform them about development, sleep, etc… I feel like I am being bombarded from parents who want all day programs and more rigorous academic preparation. Of course these families only want what they believe is best for their children and will help them later in life. I think they are pressured by others and they don’t exactly KNOW what is best other than what they see others doing. My goal for the next year is to incorporate more ways to educate the parents either through articles or maybe providing a speaker on this very topic.

    • Rae Pica says:

      Kristen, I love the idea of you saying “Yes!” as you read! 🙂

      I say “Yes!” to your comment that we need to educate the parents. They are being given so much misinformation these days and need our help to understand what is developmentally appropriate and what’s really right for their children.

      Keep up the great work!

  49. Tabitha says:

    Well I read this book and I read chapters 1 2 and 7 and I thought they were very interesting and really enjoyed it a lot. In chapter 1 all the children are not the same chapter was very interesting as there was a couple of areas I was just wowed me “depression among children is at an all-time high” witch that really got me as I would not think so but it was and in chapter 7 that “dr. Kurcinka are set pointed out that if you’re tired you can’t manage your emotions” which I think is true and at first I did not think that believe that as children weren’t getting enough sleep well I work at a daycare and you can tell the children are not getting the right amount of sleep I don’t at the same time some days but I am glad to take this this study as I really enjoy it

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