A TIME TO LEARN: A Guide for Parents to the New Theories in Early Chilhood Education by Ruth Langdon Inglis

A TIME TO LEARN: A Guide for Parents to the New Theories in Early Chilhood Education

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Instead of summarizing leading pedagogical theories as the title promises, Inglis quotes -- selectively and often imprecisely -- from Piaget, Bruner, and other authorities to support her endlessly reitereated argument that the differences in early language environments of poor (used interchangeably with ""disadvantaged"" and ""working class"") and middle-class children have a pronounced and irreversible effect on their I.Q.s. But this proposition is neither novel nor unchallenged (Dillard's Black English, 1972, offers one alternative view) and her conclusion that Head Start-type day care is the answer ignores recent negative findings on the program's lasting effectiveness; furthermore, there is more than a hint of condescension in her references to ""mother-helpers with almost unintelligibly thick Cockney accents"" and to her Jamaican cleaning woman's five-year-old daughter ""beautifully attired in. . .up-to-the minute lace suede sandals that must have cost her mother a week's salary."" Nor does Inglis contribute to the children's TV debate in the three chapters on ""The Child's Third Parent"" (also a string of approved quotes, including a put-down of Sesame Street's ""winkety-blinkety presentation"" and a chapter later, a defense of Laugh-in's quick belting images on the grounds that the modern child has a ""grasshoppery mind""). Her discussion of ""Children's Literature Today"" centers on the absence or stereotyping of blacks in the Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, Enid Blyton and Golden Books (!,) and when her concluding chapter on ""Modern Solutions for Teaching the Under-Tens"" turns into a promotion of the English ""open plan"" school ""about which so little has been written,"" we can only recommend that this British journalist return to the library.

Pub Date: Oct. 19th, 1973
Publisher: Dial