The Importance of Being Little

What Preschoolers Really Need From Grown-Ups (2016.2)


关于本书 About the book

Little children come into the world hardwired to learn in virtually any setting and about any matter. Yet in today’s preschool and kindergarten classrooms, learning has been reduced to scripted lessons and suspect metrics that too often undervalue a child’s intelligence while overtaxing the child’s growing brain. These mismatched expectations wreak havoc on the family: parents fear that if they choose the “wrong” program, their child won’t get into the “right” college. But Yale early childhood expert Erika Christakis says our fears are wildly misplaced. Our anxiety about preparing and safeguarding our children’s future seems to have reached a fever pitch at a time when, ironically, science gives us more certainty than ever before that young children are exceptionally strong thinkers.

本书金句 Key insights

● The problem is that this one-size-fits-all approach to education means that kids don’t receive enough attention for their individual needs and capabilities. After all, education that operates according to such strict guidelines denies students the opportunity to learn on their own terms, and with the help of a teacher who can recognize their individual talents and learning styles.

● Families with the lowest incomes, and ones with little to no education, are the most opposed to play-based education. Instead, these families favor curriculums founded upon preparatory academic skills. After all, they want their kids to get the best education possible and think that “proper” teaching is how they’ll get it.

● Every environment is a learning environment for young children. Kids are remarkably adept at teaching themselves what they like.In fact, by forcing a strict curriculum onto creative children, we actually damage this natural ability.

● In America, certified preschool teachers make just a little more than a truck driver or bartender, and rarely even receive health benefits. This is important because low teaching salaries are directly correlated with low-quality teaching.

● We can start by making sure that childcare is informed by the needs of children and focused on their personal development. At the core of this process is the need to move away from an academic preschool curriculum to one that puts the development of children first.