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I’ve written a book for educators called The Best Schools:  How Human Development Research Should Inform Educational Practice (publisher:  The Association for Supervision and Curriculum Development, December, 2006).  In this book I suggest that our educational climate has become totally overwhelmed by what I call an “academic achievement discourse.”  This discourse concentrates on accountability, rubrics,...
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 A recent book by developmental psychologist David Elkind is entitled The Power of Play, and I would recommend it to parents, educators, psychotherapists, and anyone else who has an interest in play and children.  David Elkind was a disciple of Jean Piaget, the great French structuralist thinker who changed people’s conceptions of how children think.  In this...
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Increasingly we’re seeing early childhood education programs veering toward formal academic learning.  This is a distressing trend, inasmuch as it makes young children do things (formal reading and math, computer instruction) that they are not developmentally ready for, and that take precious time away from letting children be children.  There are no critical periods in...
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Thirty-five years ago, when I was at the beginning of my teaching career, Piaget was all the rage.  We read his books, and puzzled over how observation of children interacting with real life situations could enable us to understand the development of their minds.  We also were able to catch the tail end of interest...
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I have noticed that kids in Scandinavia are allowed to play in freer ways than in the United States.  For example, in one elementary school that I visited in Norway, kids were climbing trees, and they were really high up – I was very concerned for their safety.  And yet the teachers seemed perfectly at...
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