Next book

THE IMPORTANCE OF BEING LITTLE

WHAT PRESCHOOLERS REALLY NEED FROM GROWNUPS

A deep, provocative analysis of the current modes of teaching preschoolers and what should be changed to create a more...

An early childhood educator offers fresh advice on how parents and teachers should be interacting with preschool children to achieve better overall results.

Christakis, who teaches at Yale University’s Child Study Center, examines current early childhood education policies and practices and suggests what can and should be changed so preschoolers have the optimum learning experience. "I offer a straightforward roadmap for recognizing signs of powerful learning that can be hard to discern,” she writes, “and I provide concrete recommendations for nurturing young children's learning impulses wherever we find them." Christakis looks at the current practice of teaching preschoolers long vocabulary lists without necessarily emphasizing a true understanding of the words being taught and the overuse of creating a "print-rich environment," in which the classroom is filled to excess with "labels, vocabulary lists, calendars, graphs, classroom rules, alphabet lists, number charts and inspirational platitudes" that often overwhelm young students just learning to read and write. The author studies the need for arts and crafts time in school, which allows students to express themselves when they've yet to master reading and writing. Playtime is another focus, and Christakis stresses the benefits of letting children play outdoors with natural (and free) objects as opposed to continuous screen time. She points out how teaching to achieve mandated skill levels isn't working since it breaks unified tasks into small, often disconnected pieces. Among other issues, she voices thoughts on the expectations educators have on the reading and writing levels of preschoolers without taking into consideration each child's individual development level. Christakis points out the flaws in many of the nation's preschool programs and offers concrete steps for change in the classroom and in education policies.

A deep, provocative analysis of the current modes of teaching preschoolers and what should be changed to create a more effective learning environment for everyone.

Pub Date: Feb. 2, 2016

ISBN: 978-0-525-42907-4

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Viking

Review Posted Online: Nov. 23, 2015

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Dec. 15, 2015

Next book

INSIDE AMERICAN EDUCATION

THE DECLINE, THE DECEPTION, THE DOGMAS

American schools at every level, from kindergarten to postgraduate programs, have substituted ideological indoctrination for education, charges conservative think-tanker Sowell (Senior Fellow/Hoover Institution; Preferential Polices, 1990, etc.) in this aggressive attack on the contemporary educational establishment. Sowell's quarrel with "values clarification" programs (like sex education, death-sensitizing, and antiwar "brainwashing") isn't that he disagrees with their positions but, rather, that they divert time and resources from the kind of training in intellectual analysis that makes students capable of reasoning for themselves. Contending that the values clarification programs inspired by his archvillain, psychotherapist Carl Rogers, actually inculcate values confusion, Sowell argues that the universal demand for relevance and sensitivity to the whole student has led public schools to abdicate their responsibility to such educational ideals as experience and maturity. On the subject of higher education, Sowell moves to more familiar ground, ascribing the declining quality of classroom instruction to the insatiable appetite of tangentially related research budgets and bloated athletic programs (to which an entire chapter, largely irrelevant to the book's broader argument, is devoted). The evidence offered for these propositions isn't likely to change many minds, since it's so inveterately anecdotal (for example, a call for more stringent curriculum requirements is bolstered by the news that Brooke Shields graduated from Princeton without taking any courses in economics, math, biology, chemistry, history, sociology, or government) and injudiciously applied (Sowell's dismissal of student evaluations as responsible data in judging a professor's classroom performance immediately follows his use of comments from student evaluations to document the general inadequacy of college teaching). All in all, the details of Sowell's indictment—that not only can't Johnny think, but "Johnny doesn't know what thinking is"—are more entertaining than persuasive or new.

Pub Date: Jan. 4, 1993

ISBN: 0-02-930330-3

Page Count: 400

Publisher: Free Press

Review Posted Online: May 19, 2010

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 1, 1992

Categories:
Next book

THE ESCAPE ARTIST

A vivid sequel that strains credulity.

Fremont (After Long Silence, 1999) continues—and alters—her story of how memories of the Holocaust affected her family.

At the age of 44, the author learned that her father had disowned her, declaring her “predeceased”—or dead in his eyes—in his will. It was his final insult: Her parents had stopped speaking to her after she’d published After Long Silence, which exposed them as Jewish Holocaust survivors who had posed as Catholics in Europe and America in order to hide multilayered secrets. Here, Fremont delves further into her tortured family dynamics and shows how the rift developed. One thread centers on her life after her harrowing childhood: her education at Wellesley and Boston University, the loss of her virginity to a college boyfriend before accepting her lesbianism, her stint with the Peace Corps in Lesotho, and her decades of work as a lawyer in Boston. Another strand involves her fraught relationship with her sister, Lara, and how their difficulties relate to their father, a doctor embittered after years in the Siberian gulag; and their mother, deeply enmeshed with her own sister, Zosia, who had married an Italian count and stayed in Rome to raise a child. Fremont tells these stories with novelistic flair, ending with a surprising theory about why her parents hid their Judaism. Yet she often appears insensitive to the serious problems she says Lara once faced, including suicidal depression. “The whole point of suicide, I thought, was to succeed at it,” she writes. “My sister’s completion rate was pathetic.” Key facts also differ from those in her earlier work. After Long Silence says, for example, that the author grew up “in a small city in the Midwest” while she writes here that she grew up in “upstate New York,” changes Fremont says she made for “consistency” in the new book but that muddy its narrative waters. The discrepancies may not bother readers seeking psychological insights rather than factual accuracy, but others will wonder if this book should have been labeled a fictionalized autobiography rather than a memoir.

A vivid sequel that strains credulity.

Pub Date: Feb. 11, 2020

ISBN: 978-1-982113-60-5

Page Count: 352

Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster

Review Posted Online: Oct. 20, 2019

Kirkus Reviews Issue: Nov. 15, 2019

Close Quickview