What Do Preschoolers Really Need from Grownups? Ask Erika Christakis

Suddenly, everyone’s weighing in on what young children need. From CEOs of tech startups to the titans of philanthropcapitalism, from economists to journalists and political pundits, early development and education have become a free-for-all, the province of those whose expertise lies elsewhere.

Enter, Erika Christakis, author of The Importance of Being Little. First, her credentials. She spent her undergraduate years at Harvard, and went on for advanced degrees at Johns Hopkins, the University of Pennsylvania, and Lesley University’s Graduate School of Education.   Long affiliated with Yale, she has taught preschoolers along with college courses on child development and . . . Read full article →

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Susan DuFresne: Humanity Stripped from a Whole-Child System

Last summer, I reviewed Learning Together, a book that links Vygotsky’s theory of social constructivism with the vision of the Framers’ vision for American democracy. Here’s the thesis:

By developing habits of mind and heart that enable children to construct knowledge through meaningful relationships, [social constructivist early childhood education programs] help to..realize the Framers’ vision of a regime that depends for its survival on the capacity of individuals to advance and disseminate knowledge through their association…and build skills such as inter-subjectivity, cognitive integration, attachment, executive function, self-regulation, discipline, synthesis, creativity, respect, and ethics.

Susan . . . Read full article →

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Learning Together: Vygotsky and the Framers of American Democracy

How can you resist a book that links Vygotsky’s theory of social constructivism with the Framers’ vision for American democracy?  I couldn’t.

When I first looked at Learning Together: The Law, Politics, Economics, Pedagogy, and Neuroscience of Early Childhood Education, I nearly ran in the other direction. I’m married to a lawyer, and let’s just say that wordy, rationalist framework in which our daily interactions take place has its limitations. Written by three attorneys, Michael Kaufman, Sherelyn Kaufman, and Elizabeth Nelson, the book had an invisible red flag on the cover.

Still, I gingerly opened the . . . Read full article →

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