Given the debate and realities of out-of-home infant and toddler care, this book is timely and useful. Italy, having provided a stunning example of early childhood education in Reggio Emilia, now offers models of education for the youngest children. Although Italian legislation on infant/toddler programs is national, implementation is regional. The authors focus on programs in four communities in which all the participants are learners. With most of the articles written by the Italian practitioners, readers gain insight into how these professionals think about their work. The Italians see their programs as meeting the needs of the family as well as the child. A long and careful transition period is part of developing an educational community in which the unique needs of each child are developed. Collaboration with parents is an essential feature of the program as is extensive ongoing professional development for the teachers. Documentation is also stressed, using photographs, video and audio recordings, and written records. Children are given a diary of their lives in the program when they leave it. Photographs enhance the text, demonstrating how the documentation works. Highly recommended for upper-division undergraduates and above.
Campbell, a noted child psychologist, has written an engaging book on the identification and treatment of behavior problems in preschoolers. Early chapters discuss theoretical models of social development (e.g., transactional, social-ecological) and developmental issues (e.g., pretend play, self-regulation) in the cognitive and social development of preschoolers. A chapter is devoted to the identification of problem behaviors and their distinction from age-appropriate behaviors. Case vignettes from four preschoolers with behavior problems are included to supplement this discussion. There are separate chapters on the impact of family, siblings, and peers on preschoolers during normal and atypical social development. The latter chapters describe effective treatment models and provide suggestions for social policy that could help families cope with children diagnosed as having problem behaviors. This book will provide appealing reading for psychologists, psychiatrists, social workers, and others who work with young children. A comprehensive, well-documented volume appropriate for libraries serving graduate students and professionals. This review refers to an earlier edition.
Mallon and Hess offer an extraordinarily comprehensive account of child welfare practice, policy, and programming in this updated version of their 2005 classic. Their broad, edited collection gathers perspectives on all-important aspects of child welfare work from social work educators, practitioners, and consultants. Each contributor outlines major assumptions and values of child welfare that underlie their specific focus, identifies and elaborates on the expanding knowledge that supports today’s practice, and reviews relevant recent research. Safety, permanence, and well-being are the book’s tripartite organizing principles. The editors have organized the text into three sections that follow two chapters offering critical historical and legislative contexts. Part one explores child and adolescent well-being in the broadest scope. The second part reviews critical issues pertaining to child and adolescent safety, including excellent chapters on child protection, sexual abuse, and family preservation. The final section is devoted to a wide array of issues related to permanency. Though the book does not cover all possible areas of interest within the field or its up-to-the-minute issues or innovations, the editors have provided the most extensive, well-written, and accessible text available on child welfare. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate students, faculty, professionals.
A thank-you to Golomb for writing such a well organized and articulate overview of how visual representation develops in children. To this reviewer's knowledge, this is the only book that provides a review of this research literature in a form accessible to general readers. Golomb discusses opposing theoretical positions and contradictory research findings in a way that leads to further illumination of the issues, rather than leaving the reader confused as do many other works. Art educators and art therapists will appreciate the critiques of the work of Victor Lowenfeld, Rhoda Kellogg, Rudolph Arnheim, and Brent and Majorie Wilson. Ample illustrations are provided to clarify the development of scribbling, tadpole figures, form, space, color, and composition in children's drawings. There are informative chapters on gifted child artists, art therapy, and art appreciation in children. Parents and early childhood educators will find the book a fascinating introduction to the topic of how childen learn to draw. Golomb sustains this focus throughout the book, making the book a valuable companion to Ellen Winner's Invented Worlds: The Psychology of the Arts (CH, Apr'83). Recommended for all library collections supporting college art education courses. This review refers to an earlier edition.
Outstanding Academic Title
Pendulum swings in education policy can result from the impact of politics. With the advent of "No Child Left Behind," play (once the staple of early childhood programs) is being edged out, in favor of more didactic teaching of young children. Literacy, somewhat narrowly defined, seems to be shaping the curriculum. In this volume, experts in play and early childhood education challenge this movement. As they examine play from a range of theoretical perspectives, the authors raise questions about the appropriate curriculum for helping young children, particularly those who are low income and minority, achieve the skills necessary for school success. These fascinating essays reflect the collective experience of a variety of practitioners and perspectives. While recognizing the limits of the available research, the authors insist that it, and not ideology, should be the basis on which decisions are made. The authors also distinguish the types of play that might be most valuable for children's learning. Each article makes a unique contribution to understanding the issues involved in considering play in its relation to literacy and school readiness. Summing Up: Essential. A must read for early childhood and elementary school educators. Upper-division undergraduates and above.
Saracho (Univ. of Maryland) and Spodek (Univ. of Illinois) were motivated by the lack of local, state, national, and professional science and technology curricular standards for early childhood education. They suggest that "from the first day in school, young children must be actively involved in learning about the world scientifically." Chapters include a review of social and developmental considerations for early childhood science process skills, the process of biological knowledge acquisition and change by young children, and the roles of affect in the acts of learning and teaching science. Other chapters review electronically enhanced play, robotic manipulatives to develop technological fluency in early childhood, and computer applications for mathematics, technology, and vocabulary learning. Based on their review of past studies that have found that young children have the capacity to learn theoretically based concepts and use many developmentally appropriate types of screen media, the editors foresee the reorganization of science and technological knowledge for early childhood education. This reorganization includes increased access to inexpensive interactive technologies, new symbol systems, new models for understanding the world, and merging the mathematics, science, technology, early childhood educational practitioners, and the educational equity communities for the benefit of all children. Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through professional collections.
This volume edited by Falk (City College of New York) addresses timely issues in the field of early childhood education. Recent research in the fields of neurobiological, behavioral, and social sciences has expanded knowledge about how children learn. The contributed essays challenge readers to put into practice what is known about how to best support children's education and care. In addition, the essays discuss threats to children's learning, such as poverty, media, technology, commercialism, and standardized testing. They go on to argue that efforts to improve education must go hand in hand with efforts to address conditions of poverty that affect young children and their families today. This book is highly recommended, especially to all stakeholders committed to the care and education of young children. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels.
Outstanding Academic Title
Editors New (Tufts Univ.) and Cochran (Cornell) offer a comprehensive look at early childhood education. This encyclopedia's entries are a compilation of controversies, theories, policies, and practices that offer information on key historical and contemporary people and issues. Uniquely this work also includes entries on professional organizations and journals in the field. Over 400 entries are presented in four volumes; the first three cover issues in the US, and the fourth discusses international issues in countries including Australia, Brazil, China, France, Italy, Japan, South Africa, Sweden, and the UK. Alphabetically arranged and written by over 300 international contributors, the entries vary in length from one to five pages, with small variations in quality and larger differences in tone and focus. Though weighted toward the US, this set stands above previously published works in its exceptional look at the current state of affairs for 11 countries. A brief guide in volume 1 groups together related entries, and boldfaced cross-references within the text allow tracing of broad themes across the entire work. Prepared for a large, diverse audience, this distinctive encyclopedia, with its cross-cultural focus and outstanding features, will be extremely valuable to undergraduate students. Summing Up: Essential. Lower-/upper-level undergraduates, professionals, and general readers.
Tracing the history and theories that shaped early childhood educational practices is a worthy undertaking. Barbara Beatty did this in Preschool Education in America: The Culture of Young Children from the Colonial Era to the Present (CH, Feb'95, 33-3431). An update and a fresh perspective informed by the events that have occurred since then would be valuable. This book, however, does not offer new insights. Morgan does make references to the political and social changes of the past decade, and he offers some more details about pioneers such as Comenius and Froebel. Despite the information that Morgan provides, his digressions and chronological leaps weaken the narrative. A section subtitled "Dewey and Montessori Meet" wanders: the chapter on play starts with two pages on the subject, then discusses infants and toddlers, aggression, the Project method, and how to select a child care center, then goes back to infants. At times, as when the author makes the distinction between the change in focus from how children learn to what they should be taught, the reader glimpses the book that might have emerged with the help of an editor. Summing Up: Not recommended. This review refers to an earlier edition.
Outstanding Academic Title
This is one of the best sets of books in the area of early childhood special education (ECSE) that has come along in years. The three volumes were edited such that there is a seamless flow within and among books, and the contributing authors are some of the finest minds in the field of ECSE. Volume 1 has the traditional topics that readers would expect in a series such as this: historical perspectives, national and international policies and perspectives, and other topics that provide the justification for the existence of this field of study and practice. Volume 2 contains the nuts and bolts of how to establish an ECSE program, teaching methodologies and efficacy, and some insights on specific categories of exceptionality (e.g., autism, blindness, deafness, and mental illness) and why their uniqueness demands extraordinary interventions. Volume 3 presents an array of promising practices and future trends in the ECSE field, including the proliferation of technology, response to intervention, and emerging issues in professional development.
Although most of the topics and issues addressed in the set are neither novel nor new, the writing style, insight, and depth of experience of the contributing authors sets it apart from works in this genre. Those names read like a who's who of researchers and practitioners in the ECSE community, and so it is no wonder that this set stands above many others currently available. These books should be in the professional libraries of any serious scholar or teacher who works directly or indirectly with very young children with special needs or their families. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and above.
Outstanding Academic Title
Shanahan (urban education, Univ. of Illinois at Chicago) and Lonigan (psychology, Florida State Univ.), both members of the National Early Literacy Panel (NELP), have edited an invaluable resource for early childhood professionals, researchers, literacy leaders, curriculum specialists, and policy makers. This reader-friendly book is packed with contributions from a Who's Who of highly respected early language and literacy researchers. Impressively, systematically, and objectively, this text summarizes key research findings from the NELP. The contributors expand upon and update important topics, including assessment, connections between literacy and socio-emotional development, oral language development, intervention, and parent involvement issues, in practical ways. This volume makes clear the importance of supporting early language and literacy development with evidence-based strategies and opportunities, and it affirms the link between early language development and later success in reading and written language. Shanahan and Lonigan provide a critical resource for those who strive to close the gap early on. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduate, graduate, research, and professional collections.
A very useful reference guide on a very timely topic, containing definitions of terminology in early intervention for at-risk or developmentally delayed children. It will be useful for practitioners, special education personnel, college students, and families of special children. It does not include in-depth definitions for every term; some are very brief, others lengthy. Coleman provides an excellent multidisciplinary approach covering terms from fields such as pediatric medicine, speech and language, audiology, social work, psychology, and special education. The work attempts to include only the most common drugs, evaluation tools, and conditions. It touches on many important topics (e.g., attention deficit disorder, babbling, double hemiplegia, eardrum perforation, time-out, and umbilical hernia). Appendixes are noteworthy, containing growth charts, head circumference graphs, nutritional intake, feeding style chart, and Apgar scoring chart. All libraries. This review refers to an earlier edition.
Two award-winning scholars in the field of human development, Haith and Benson (both, Univ. of Denver), have edited this three-volume work. It features 155 alphabetically arranged entries, each averaging ten pages or more, that cover topics of importance to academic researchers and areas of public interest. Articles are signed by the expert authors, who are often leaders in the field. Every self-contained entry completely covers a particular aspect of development--thus exposing readers to current knowledge and how it was acquired and any future possibilities. Cross-references to other entries uniquely expand the scope of each individual topic and show the complex relationship between all the developmental issues addressed. In addition, where possible, authors have included international information that further broadens the scope of the entries. While the work is grounded in the discipline of psychology, fields including medicine, anthropology, education, and art are also well represented. The editors state that the volumes were designed for a broad readership, and while the color pictures and article glossaries contribute to accessibility, the decidedly technical and complex writing style of most entries makes this set most suitable for extremely advanced undergraduates or graduate students. Nevertheless, this very high quality work offers comprehensive insight, especially in the field of infant development, which cannot be found in other similar works in the field. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Very advanced undergraduates through professionals/practitioners.
This multivolume fourth edition of the definitive Encyclopedia of Special Education (CH, Jul'07, 44-6004) continues to provide the most up-to-date, all-encompassing resources for those working to improve the educational experiences of special-needs children. With 2,806 entries from 1,085 contributors, this set is a necessary resource for the study of special education. International in scope (it boasts descriptions of special education in 35 countries), the set encompasses all areas of special education, with a primary focus on the US. It includes new tests and revisions of older tests featured in previous editions. Additional updates include corrections to website references that may have changed since the previous publication, the revision of outdated terminology, and the inclusion of new entries on positive behavior supports. Readers also will see a move to include the contemporary issues of federal and state accountability, evaluation, and assessment as well as more entries related to neuropsychological principles and terms. The volumes are purely alphabetical, with no separate sections for specific issues; however, suggested terms are given for most entries as cross-references to material located elsewhere in the work. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower-division undergraduates and above; general readers.
For practitioners, advocates, parents, and concerned citizens, this is an informative, useful examination of what research tells about the long-range effects of various programs for young children. The authors and editors focus on programs serving low-income children, English-language learners, and special needs children. One in six children in the US lives below the poverty line, so evaluating the effectiveness of the educational alternatives that have been implemented over the past 40 years offers important guidance for the future. Quality early childhood programs are expensive, but the return in monetary and human terms justifies the initial investment. Children experiencing such programs are more likely to graduate from high school and avoid special education placement, not to mention avoiding criminal behavior. Getting children ready for school is important, but it is also necessary for schools to be ready. The longer, more comprehensive, and more consistent the program, the greater are the benefits to the child and to society. Analysis includes federal and state funded preschool programs, home-based care, school-age services, out-of-school programs, and professional development for educators. The bibliographies are extensive, the format is accessible, and the conclusions clear and convincing. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers, upper-division undergraduates through practitioners. This review refers to an earlier edition.
This updated edition of a classic text from pediatric specialists Sheridan (a researcher for 40-plus years) and the London-based Sharma (pediatrician), and Cockerill (speech and language therapist) is a valuable reference in child development. Aiming for inclusiveness, this edition not only focuses on diagnosing disorders but also moves to define a common core set of skills for all children. Part 1 offers bulleted points detailing developmental milestones for children from one month to five years in various areas including posture, vision, hearing, and social behavior. Simple line illustrations assist in visualizing some of the concepts presented. Part 2 outlines very specific details of how the milestones can be assessed. The focus is on determining when delays or problems are outside the normal pattern, thus indicating a possible disorder. The extensive tables that outline specific markers and offer guidelines for each area are among the most useful features of this section. With credible content that is supported by cited research, this concise work provides current information that will serve for ready reference or student study. Overall it is a practical work suitable for undergraduates interested in child development, early childhood education, communication disorders, or medicine. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels.
Outstanding Academic Title
Part of the "Research in Global Child Advocacy" series, High-Tech Tots looks at the use of technology in early childhood across the world. This collection of scholarly work clearly documents the ubiquitous and growing presence of digital technologies in the social and cognitive lives of young children. Berson and Berson (both, Univ. of South Florida) organize the book into three areas of interest: digital technologies as teaching and learning tools for social and cognitive development, their influence on young children, and cybersafety and socialization research. At least half of the book deals with socialization and child protection issues. There is even a chapter dealing with the use of cell phones by young children. One consistent theme is the importance of adult involvement and guidance in the use of technology for children at this age. Looking beyond the obvious, chapter 2 provides an excellent review of the range of risks found in a child's cyberworld. There is truly a global focus on the topic with articles on work in New Zealand, Africa, Europe, and North America. This book is a must read for practitioners and preprofessionals and the educators who prepare them. Summing Up: Essential. Upper-division undergraduates and above.
Tough argues that crucial components of the character ethic (e.g., grit, curiosity, conscientiousness, optimism, and self-control) can allow students, even those in depressed circumstances, to overcome their grave environmental obstacles. On one hand, his thesis is a welcome antidote to those academic psychologists who emphasize purely cognitive abilities (e.g., IQ and SAT scores). On the other hand, Tough's stance still places a heavy burden on individual students with scant resources and social capital. Tough is rather silent on concrete assistance of a communitarian nature required to build safety nets for those in poverty. Character does count, but it needs muscular societal nurture to help it thrive. Tough fails to fully acknowledge the kind of political commitment and action that would be necessary. His book is quite inspirational when it speaks of certain personal stories of accomplishment; at other times, it seems to ask too much of those who can be seen as society's guiltless victims. Summing Up: Optional. General readers; undergraduate students, all levels; professionals.
Outstanding Academic Title
Rochat's delightful book detailing the development of infant social cognition is the first of its kind. In six compact chapters, the author (Emory Univ.) brings the reader into the world of the infant: he discusses research relevant to what infants feel, perceive, and know about themselves, objects, and others and ends with two chapters on theory and developmental mechanisms. Although some may argue with Rochat's division of social cognition into knowledge of self, objects, and others, the division serves to organize effectively a large, complex, and rapidly expanding field. The author makes a compelling case for two major transitions in the infant's development--two months and nine months. He integrates recent research with older results and theories, while avoiding the extremes of several dichotomies (nature/nurture, stage/continuity). Issues are highlighted as questions with experimental results for answers, making for an enjoyable read. Rochat provides the right amount of experimental detail to permit evaluation of his arguments and in many places gives the reader direction for exploring alternative explanations. His review of major theoretical approaches is most helpful, if somewhat brief. An excellent resource for an upper-division undergraduate course and highly recommended for faculty and researchers, the volume can serve as text as well as supplementary reading.
Saracho (Univ. of Maryland) has done extensive research in curriculum and child development, and is well qualified to provide a comprehensive introduction into integrating play into the various areas of the early education curriculum. One of the strengths of this book is the author's consistent provision of suggestions about how to adapt the various play and curriculum areas to special-needs children. She gives specific advice for each disability and curriculum area. Besides providing a solid context in the history and theories of play and child development, Saracho briefly refers back to them when it is appropriate. There are vignettes of the children's work, organizing tables, and highlighted boxed suggestions for activities and resources. Summaries at the end of each chapter review the main ideas and principles. Readers might question particular suggestions such as filling water tables with different food materials at a time when many children go hungry or the focus on children's museums when so few are available to most programs, but generally the advice is sound. After its initial reading, this book will be a fine reference source for early childhood teachers. Summing Up: Recommended. Lower-division undergraduate and two-year program collections.
While few 20th century educational theorists are more influential than Vygotsky, his contributions are frequently misunderstood. Smidt works to remedy this problem with a text that endeavors to make Vygotsky accessible to early childhood educators and students. To that end, Smidt uses a variety of diagrams, vignettes, and glossaries of key terms to help students and educators become familiar with key Vygotskyian concepts. Special emphasis is given to Vygotsky's theories of memory, mediation, culture, context, tools, and language, especially as these interact with child development and learning. Chapters devoted to these and other themes provide helpful features to assist the novice. Case studies are provided to demonstrate a Vygotskyian analysis to introduce concepts and stress their applicability to practice. Throughout the work, key words or phrases are italicized and included in a glossary at the end of each chapter that provides definitions and explains their relevance to teaching and learning. Brief closing sections conclude each chapter that summarize its content and explains how this is relevant to the next chapter. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers, all undergraduate students, and professionals.
Byrnes and Wasik (both, Temple Univ.) were motivated to write this text, which is primarily for undergraduate students, by the current focus on increasing teachers' knowledge of the research regarding the development of language and literacy skills in children. The authors were further motivated by the lack of texts that explain the educational implications of the research for classroom practice. The book is divided into sections that address foundational issues, the nature of spoken language and literacy, emergent literacy, individual differences, and instructional implications. Each chapter begins with an applicable vignette and a list of the chapter's main ideas. The content is then presented based on recurrent questions concerning each skill (phonological skills, grammatical knowledge, vocabulary skills, etc.). These questions focus the reader's attention on each skill, why a teacher should care about that skill, how the skill normally develops, why it develops in that manner, and how deficiencies in that skill might affect a child's reading ability. Heavily referenced, this text is sure to provide undergraduate students with the theory and the practice necessary in today's classroom. Summing Up: Recommended. Undergraduate students of all levels and graduate students.
In this book, the authors focus on introducing "the art and science of teacher research" to the field of early childhood education, asserting that teacher research has "[the] potential to help us make important changes in our educational lives and in the early lives of the young children." Future research agendas in the field of early childhood education are also presented in this text. These agendas range from "social justice and equity," "children's cognitive development," and "children's play," to "reflection, knowledge, and professional growth." While the book does a good job of presenting the art and science of teacher research, the authors appear to present teacher research as something new to the field of early childhood education. As a teacher researcher in the field of early childhood for more than 14 years, this reviewer was somewhat disappointed both in the naiveté of the authors, and in the text's lack of current teacher research in the field of early childhood. Overall, however, if a teacher of young children had not been exposed to the field of teacher research, this book would serve as an appropriate text. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers, lower-division undergraduates and practitioners.
The authors give a balanced presentation of how to teach young children about Native Americans and argue convincingly that "excellent children's literature is the most effective way to counter deeply held stereotypes." The authors ask teachers to avoid a heroes-and-holidays multicultural "tourist curriculum" and give recommendations on how to handle the problematic Thanksgiving and Columbus Day holidays. They suggest ways to present Native Americans and other minorities without inaccuracies, stereotyping, insensitivity, or errors of omission. Jones and Moomaw recommend portraying Native peoples from different tribes as they are living today. They present chapters on children, home, family, community, and the environment with suggested children's books and associated recommended activities that develop skills in reading, writing, science, mathematics, drama, and art. The authors also describe some classroom activities to avoid. The final chapter has excellent guidelines for teachers on selecting multicultural materials, including art and music, and a list of recommended teaching guides, Web sites, and other publications. The volume also includes a recommended list of 37 preschool and primary books along with a brief list of books to avoid. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Lower and upper-division undergraduates and professionals.
Drawing on their extensive and varied experiences with early childhood education in Australia and the US, the authors argue persuasively for an approach rooted in an appreciation of children and their families. They focus on questioning that will enable the educator to understand the individual child and the culture from which the child comes. Looking at the educational needs of children from birth through age five, Gonzalez-Mena (emer., Napa Valley College) and Stonehouse point out that children are continuously learning as infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. They see no difference between services that are labeled as child care or education. Although they emphasize respecting and collaborating with all families, stressing the acceptance of diversity, they also recognize the necessity of accepting each child as an individual, articulating children's strengths rather than their deficiencies. This book offers a bracing alternative to the movement toward poorly designed academic programs that are inappropriate for the learning needs of young children. Seeing children as partners in their own education is a concept that could well be extended beyond early childhood. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Upper-division undergraduate through professional collections.
According to the educational philosophy of constructivist education, moral means respect for others. Based on Piagetian theory, a constructive classroom is one in which children are respected and become autonomous by solving problems and learning to negotiate with others. DeVries (Univ. of Northern Iowa) contrasts transcripts of alternatives such as Boot Camp and Factory classrooms with the socio-moral philosophy of early childhood constructivist classrooms. Examples of constructivist education concerning the various aspects of conflict resolution, rule making, decision making, social and moral discussions, and cooperative alternatives to discipline between other topics provide vivid illustrations of the methods and interactions between teachers and children and children and children. Each chapter is well organized with principles discussed in depth. The description of the Peace Bench where children go to resolve issues among themselves demonstrates children expressing their feelings while learning to listen to others as they move towards higher levels of cognitive and social understanding. This book should be the basis for much productive discussion among teachers and administrators about goals and methods of teaching. It offers an important alternative to current practices and policies at all levels of education. Summing Up: Highly recommended. Graduate, research, and professional collections.
Freelancers Bronson and Merryman describe the quandary that contemporary parents experience when a mythical wellspring of wisdom does not magically flow. Empathizing with the dilemma confronted by parents who turn to the media for information when instinct is insufficient to help them guide their children, this pair of provocateurs rallies the reader with a collection of ten evocative essays on topics of interest in child development. They expose the detrimental effects of a culture addicted to instant sound bites based on incomplete interpretation of research data: they posit that such superficial treatment of substantive information circumvents a process of thoughtful scrutiny that is imperative to process, and they interpret the complexities and nuances inherent in the empirical literature. The cumulative effect of the book is to engage the reader in a lively discussion on the myths and misconceptions that beg to be deciphered in instilling pro-social values such as gratitude, honesty, and empathy. Though not useful as an academic resource, this clever, entertaining volume will help parents navigate the tangled maze of parenting advice and emerge with a deeper understanding of nurture. Summing Up: Recommended. General readers and professionals only.
Tobin (Arizona State Univ.) revisits his original research published in Preschool in Three Cultures (CH, Nov'89, 27-1642). In his new book, Tobin, in collaboration with Hsueh (Univ. of Memphis) and Karasawa (Tokyo Women's Christian Univ.), focuses on changes over the last two decades in Chinese, Japanese, and US preschools. In his first book, Tobin noted that preschools at that time were new social institutions that reflected and imparted the three cultures' core beliefs. To make sense of the similarities and differences in preschool students over time, the author proposes the use of a space-time continuum that applies history to past and present cultural and economic issues. For example, while all preschools are moving through history, all are not following the same assumptions or moving at the same speed. According to this book, preschools in China have made the most progress over time while those in Japan have made the least progress. Preschools in the US are not leading the way but fall somewhere between China and Japan. Overall, this reviewer found this to be a fascinating book and recommends it most highly to a wide audience. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels.
The Sandbox Investment comprehensively assesses the policy and politics of the preschool movement in the US. Kirp (Univ. of California, Berkeley) uses a wide range of data sources, including evidence from preschools in Chicago, discussions of preschool experiences in several US states and in Great Britain, and an extensive overview of scientific and social scientific research on the subject. This large body of research, which comes from geneticists, neuroscientists, and economists, reveals that paying for universal preschool up front can reduce the substantial costs associated with crime, poor health, and unemployment later in life. Kirp also chronicles the recent politics of the preschool movement, which illustrates that universal preschool has increasing appeal. The book is an impressive work of scholarship that is accessible to nonacademic readers. The subject matter could not be timelier. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All readership levels.
Schwartz is well known for her numerous articles on teaching mathematics to young children. She draws on her experiences as an early childhood teacher to give valuable insights into preschoolers' perspectives, interests, and abilities. The chapters on games and the integration of mathematics with other disciplines and classroom routines are useful to anyone planning for or teaching in an early childhood program. Schwartz views mathematics as important but argues that it should be introduced, used, and practiced in contexts meaningful to the young child. Two chapters attend specifically to mathematical learning, one on number concepts and skills, the other on geometry and measurement. The recommended readings are helpful, but there are important ideas about young children's understanding of numbers, their struggles with tens and ones, and what is known about types of simple word problems that do not appear in the text. While primary teachers will find valuable ideas, both preschool and primary teachers will need other sources to find the range and clarity of mathematical ideas needed. A good supplement for similar audiences would be Teaching Student-Centered Mathematics, Grades K-3, by Van de Walle and Lovin (2005). Summing Up: Recommended. Upper-division undergraduates and practitioners.