Back in June, I began reading the book What If Everybody Understood Child Development? by Rae Pica. I'm grateful for Rae and the thinking she has inspired on these issues in education. (You can see all the posts in this blog series on the Book Study page.)
All of the issues that Rae has raised are important for young kids and their teachers. In fact, as I read the book, I also kept seeing blog posts and news stories that connected with it. The post that continues to resonate with me is Amanda Morgan's post "Allowing Children to Bloom in Season" (Not Just Cute).
She compares the growth and development of children to flowers in a garden. There's a predictable pattern to the growth and development. But each flower (and child) blooms at its own time. And for children sometimes that blooming season lasts longer or comes later.
As I pondered what I had read in Rae's book (and saw repeated in other places), I thought about the people that are proposing some of these challenging practices. I really think that teachers and most administrators have the same goal in mind--children who grow and learn and are successful. But sometimes in trying to get there, adults forget who kids are and how they are. They try "short cuts" to success and end up doing things that are not the best for them. They don't think about development. Or they are trying to be more expedient and don't realize the consequences of those choices.
As I blogged earlier, I think we teachers should think about the kids first. Then we can make intentional and balanced choices. Overall, that's my takeaway from this book. Think about the kids. Make intentional choices that relate to helping kids bloom in their own seasons. And take a balanced approach to technology, educational trends, and so forth.
The key quote from this book, the one that comes back to my mind again and again: "We talk so much about preparing kids for school but give very little thought to preparing schools for kids." (Rae Pica)
As I create learning environments for kids, I want to think about them and how I can prepare that environment for them--prepare the environment according to child development and according to the individuals that I have that inhabit it.
I highly recommend Rae's book. And I welcome any comments you have about it.