Edited by: Julie Diamond, Betsy Grob, Fretta Reitzes
Foreword by: Vivian Gussin Paley
Publication Date: October 16, 2015
Series: Early Childhood Education Series
Today’s kindergarten teachers face enormous challenges to reach district-mandated academic standards. This book presents a model for 21st-century kindergartens that is rooted in child-centered learning and also shaped by the needs and goals of the present day. Classroom teachers working with diverse populations of students and focusing on issues of social justice provide vivid descriptions of classroom life across urban and rural communities. Teacher reflections and commentary from the editors link teacher decisions to principles of good practice. Teaching Kindergarten illustrates how a progressive, learner-centered approach can not only meet the equity and accountability goals of the Common Core State Standards but go well beyond that to educate the whole child.
Julie Diamond taught kindergarten in New York City public schools for 23 years and currently advises student teachers. Betsy Grob taught kindergarten and Spanish before serving on the faculty of Bank Street College for over 20 years. She consults on curriculum nationally and internationally. Fretta Reitzes taught 3 to 6 year olds. As director of 92Y’s Goldman Center for Youth and Families she created the Wonderplay Conference, and she provides professional development for early childhood educators.
"Coeditors and longtime early-childhood educators and leaders Julie Diamond, Betsy Grob, and Fretta Reitzes offer a hefty collection of teachers’ stories that demonstrate the advantages of learner-centered—progressive—education for five-year-olds."
—American Journal of Play
"What a delightful addition to the field!... it offers the kind of intellectual challenges that mark the best of education writing."
"The teachers you are about to read tell stories no one has heard before, at a time when it is difficult to hear the individual voices in the classroom. No grade level needs this soul-searching examination more than kindergarten. This book maps a remarkable number of journeys toward this goal. I hope teachers will be inspired to add their own voices to the process of renewal."
—From the Foreword by Vivian Gussin Paley, internationally renowned educator, author, and classroom teacher
"The teacher-authors of this richly woven collection demonstrate that the world of kindergarten is much bigger and more complicated than the Common Core Standards. The world of each unique classroom, child, teacher, family member, and administrator encompasses stories of all kinds, and include the arts, sciences and social studies broadly defined, and much more. Within these worlds are evident literacy and math skills, but these are eclipsed by young learners’ budding and distinctive ideas. Teaching Kindergarten will move readers to collaborate, inquire, and create ideas of their own."
—Celia Genishi, Professor Emerita, Teachers College, Columbia University
"We need this book. It speaks eloquently to what good practice looks like in real schools, as well as what it means to be a good teacher. These are stories of amazing educators whose work addresses what equity is all about—starting with 5-year-olds. It's too bad the next 12 years of school are not more like these kindergarten classrooms."
—Deborah Meier, education activist, senior scholar at New York University’s Steinhardt School of Education
“In the midst of relentless and often unproductive debates about teaching and teachers comes this compelling and refreshing book. It captures the authentic, passionate, diverse, and informed voices of experienced kindergarten teachers whose commitment to child-centered learning needs to be heard and understood by those who seek to reform American education. Their message is clear—children need and deserve teachers who respect them as learners, do not see deficits but strengths and possibilities, and can create with children vital classroom communities in which knowledge, skills, and character are nurtured. But this is more than a book about great teachers. It is a book about how to create and sustain learning and optimal child development through the application of what early childhood research and best practice tells us we must do to help all young children thrive and succeed in school and in life. These educators ask and effectively answer the question, what would we do if we applied what we know works in teaching young children? This is an important book, written by highly competent and gifted educators, and it needs to be read by all concerned with the education of young children.”
—Aisha Ray, Dean of Faculty, Erikson Institute
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