The Importance of Being Little

The Importance of Being Little

What Preschoolers Really Need From Grownups

Book - 2016
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A bold challenge to the conventional wisdom about early childhood, with a pragmatic program to encourage parents to rethink how and where young children learn best.
Publisher: New York, New York : Viking, c2016
ISBN: 9780525429074
Branch Call Number: 372.21 Chri
Characteristics: xxii, 376 pages : illustration ; 24 cm
Contents: Little learners : the classroom called childhood
Goldilocks goes to daycare : finding the right zone for learning
Natural born artists : the creative powers of childhood
The search for intelligent life : un-standard learning
Just kidding : the fragmented generation
Played out : habitat loss and the extinction of play
Stuffed : navigating the material world
The secret lives of children : fear, fantasy and the emotional appetite
Use your words : hearing the language of childhood
Well connected : the roles grownups play
Hiding in plain sight : early learning and the American Dream


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JCLChrisK Apr 14, 2016

Christakis begins with a very simple premise: that, for preschoolers, schooling and learning are often two different things. That young children are much more powerful and capable than we often give them credit for, that they primarily learn through relationships and play, and that the educational push to make their school experience more focused on "academic readiness" runs counter to their natural inclinations for learning.

She then spends nearly 400 pages comprehensively exploring that idea across the many dimensions and aspects of early childhood education. She has been a child, parent, teacher, and academic, and all perspectives figure into her considerations. At times she's a little too unnecessarily jargony with her educational and academic language; at other times she's a little too wistfully nostalgic for childhoods of times now past and reliant on her own version of common sense; but she is always thorough in her considerations. Whether you are already on board with her premise, are tentatively willing to be converted, or find it misguided and want to debate her, this is a book worth engaging. I highly recommend it for all educators and suggest it for all parents as well.


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