The Importance of Being Little: What online sale Young Children Really Need from lowest Grownups outlet sale

The Importance of Being Little: What online sale Young Children Really Need from lowest Grownups outlet sale

The Importance of Being Little: What online sale Young Children Really Need from lowest Grownups outlet sale

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“Christakis . . . expertly weaves academic research, personal experience and anecdotal evidence into her book . . . a bracing and convincing case that early education has reached a point of crisis . . . her book is a rare thing: a serious work of research that also happens to be well-written and personal . . . engaging and important.”
 --Washington Post

"What kids need from grown-ups (but aren''t getting)...an impassioned plea for educators and parents to put down the worksheets and flash cards, ditch the tired craft projects (yes, you, Thanksgiving Handprint Turkey) and exotic vocabulary lessons, and double-down on one, simple word: play."
--NPR

The New York Times bestseller that provides a  bold challenge to the conventional wisdom about early childhood, with a pragmatic program to encourage parents and teachers to rethink how and where young children learn best by taking the child’s eye view of the learning environment

 
To a four-year-old watching bulldozers at a construction site or chasing butterflies in flight, the world is awash with promise. 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.
            In her pathbreaking book, Christakis explains what it’s like to be a young child in America today, in a world designed by and for adults, where we have confused schooling with learning. She offers real-life solutions to real-life issues, with nuance and direction that takes us far beyond the usual prescriptions for fewer tests, more play. She looks at children’s use of language, their artistic expressions, the way their imaginations grow, and how they build deep emotional bonds to stretch the boundaries of their small worlds. Rather than clutter their worlds with more and more stuff, sometimes the wisest course for us is to learn how to get out of their way.
            Christakis’s message is energizing and reassuring: young children are inherently powerful, and they (and their parents) will flourish when we learn new ways of restoring the vital early learning environment to one that is best suited to the littlest learners. This bold and pragmatic challenge to the conventional wisdom peels back the mystery of childhood, revealing a place that’s rich with possibility.

Review

Gold medal winner of the Nautilus Book Awards, 2016

"A fervent rebuke of academic-style early education — testing, flashcards and so on — in favor of a more nuanced approach, centered on the child and based on play.”
—The Washington Post

"[Christakis''] new ideas, analysis and methods serve to guide and support teachers, policy makers and parents in understanding the inner lives of children to stimulate their learning and “help young children be young children.”
—The New York Times

“Christakis . . . expertly weaves academic research, personal experience and anecdotal evidence into her book . . . a bracing and convincing case that early education has reached a point of crisis . . . her book is a rare thing: a serious work of research that also happens to be well-written and personal . . . engaging and important.”
—The Washington Post

"What kids need from grown-ups (but aren''t getting)...an impassioned plea for educators and parents to put down the worksheets and flash cards, ditch the tired craft projects (yes, you, Thanksgiving Handprint Turkey) and exotic vocabulary lessons, and double-down on one, simple word: play."
—NPR

The Importance of Being Little is a must-read for anyone with a two- to five-year-old, as well as for preschool professionals. In an ideal world, Christakis, a true defender of childhood, would have a national position in early childhood education.”
Diana Divecha, The Greater Good Science Center at the University of California, Berkeley

"Erika Christakis has her pulse on modern American education, and she wants to help you understand it. She helps explain the doom and gloom so many parents of preschoolers feel about education, providing a much needed context to better understand it—and, hopefully, change it….This mom would encourage any parent of a young toddler to pick up a copy. Arm yourself with the information you will need to be an effective advocate for your child. Her language is accessible, engaging and flows easily. Her research and insights made a believer out of me, while also helping me see a clear path to preserving the childhood I want for my kids."
--Mom.me

“Written for anyone who cares about preschool education in this country… offers terrific insights into the world of children."
—BookPage

“Superbly written . . . [Christakis] takes us inside the culture of current U.S. preschools and eloquently exposes parental fears that without ''strategies'' and ''toolkits,'' their little Einsteins might fall woefully behind.”
—Science Magazine

“Honestly addressing every aspect of a child’s education, the author’s intent here is not to show how to fix things but to start an exchange that encourages us to think differently about education in the early years.”
Library Journal (Starred review)

 “Sophisticated…Christakis’s rich experience and attentiveness to the details of child behavior and psychology give her approach the power of practical real-world experience.”— Publishers Weekly
 
“Fresh advice… 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.”— Kirkus Reviews

“[Christakis’s] insights into raising little ones are eye-opening even for the most involved mamas. Actually,  especially for them.” Motherly

“If only adults observed little children with half the energetic curiosity that little children bring to their scrutiny of adults! That, Erika Christakis argues in her wonderful book, is the key to making preschools the exciting and interesting places kids really need. For a guide to keen-eyed appreciation of preschoolers’ amazing powers, you can’t find a better one than Christakis. Read The Importance of Being Little and you won’t look at kids, or classrooms, the same way again.”
—Ann Hulbert, author of Raising America: Experts, Parents, and a Century of Advice About Children
 
“Drawing on a wealth of research and clinical experience, Christakis deftly diagnoses one of the most urgent problems of our times and offers concrete recommendations for dealing with it, at the heart of which is the startlingly humane recognition that children are usually far more intelligent and perceptive than we assume, and possess hidden powers of imagination, sociability, and self-discovery. Learned, balanced, and hopeful, this compellingly argued and engagingly written work will not only take its place as a standard reference on early childhood education but, because ‘we are all someone’s child,’ will be of great interest to everyone concerned with the future of our nation and democratic culture.”
—Orlando Patterson, John Cowles Professor of Sociology, Harvard, and author of Slavery and Social Death

“A brilliant, altogether original, impeccably researched but also deeply heartfelt call to action. Just as our environment is in grave danger, so is what Christakis calls ‘the habitat of childhood.’ Her advice—practical, authoritative, but offered with the loving, personal concern of the mother and teacher that she is—soars beyond sensible into the realm of wise, disruptive, and irresistible. A tour de force.”
—Edward Hallowell, M.D., author of The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness and Driven to Distraction
 
“Teach your children well. It’s easier to sing than to do. Erika Christakis wants to foment a revolution in early childhood education, and with this deeply insightful, scientifically grounded, and utterly original book, she just may get her way.”
—Daniel Gilbert, author of Stumbling on Happiness
 
“As the experts have bombarded parents with contradictory and ever more demanding advice, childrearing has become more confusing than ever, and the children themselves seem to have been left out of the picture. Parents, caregivers, teachers, and policy makers could have no surer guide through this morass than Erika Christakis. With scientific acumen, irreverent good sense, and a novelist’s eye for human detail, Christakis offers us a judicious view of the new and old realities of bringing up children.”
—Steven Pinker, Johnstone Family Professor of Psychology, Harvard University, and the author of The Language Instinct and The Blank Slate
 
"Remarkably well-researched, erudite and concise, Erika Christakis offers parents and teachers alike a developmentally informed perspective on how preschool children learn best, along with a no-nonsense prescription for how to get them there. . . . If only we adults with our love for top-down instructional methods and endless proliferation of testing can learn to activate our kids'' innate curiosity, support their natural scientific and philosophical wonder, and simply get out of their way."
—Jess P. Shatkin, MD, MPH, Associate Professor of Child & Adolescent Psychiatry and Pediatrics, New York University School of Medicine
 
“One of the most intelligent, compelling, and funniest books I’ve read about children in a long time. Her prose sparkles. . . . Her critique of America’s early childhood programs is sharp, but humane. . . . There’s no underestimating children here: this woman is on their side. . . . Her faith in “these strong, small characters” infuses the book with moral authority, which she wears lightly, revealing her foibles as a professional and parent, and dispensing folksy wisdom from her own vividly evoked childish escapades. . . . [W]e abandon [Christakis’s argument] at our peril.”
—ECE PolicyMatters

"Christakis, offering both research and anecdotal history, covers all the bases: the need for quality teacher training, the dearth of male representation, the effect of low salaries, top-down imposition of ''nitpicky, decontextualized standards,'' technology and screen-time, social-emotional learning, parent/teacher relationships, and more. Although the author thinks it will take years to turn early childhood education around, she never doubts the innate capability of young children to flourish, at home and in school, when they are given the right support and enough time to do so. Perhaps the most important takeaway from this thought-provoking, timely discussion is that children and adults need to be allowed the opportunity to develop meaningful relationships and to get to know and trust one another, because, as Christakis concludes, ''the most essential engine of child development is not gadgetry or testing, but deep human connection.'' It’s an observation well worth considering."
—School Library Journal

“Sometimes a book’s message strikes me as perfect for its time. Such was my reaction to the Importance of Being Little….Christakis makes a powerful, research-based case for why the way we have been educating our young children is not working…I very much hope parents will read her book to better understand what constitutes an authentic and meaningful early childhood education. And Christakis’s message will almost certainly resonate with teachers, administrators, and educational policy makers, as well.”
Alternet

“Weaving together recent research with real-life anecdotes and analogies, Christakis honors the complexity of young children and helps readers better appreciate children’s vulnerabilities and strengths. . . . Her writing is both accessible and creative.”
—The Christian Century

About the Author

Erika Christakis is an early childhood educator and school consultant. She was a faculty member at the Yale Child Study Center and is a Massachusetts-certified teacher (pre-K through second grade) and licensed preschool director. An honors graduate of Harvard College, she has advanced degrees from Johns Hopkins University, the University of Pennsylvania, and Lesley University’s Graduate School of Education. She has written about children for The Atlantic, The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, TIME.com, and the New York Daily News. She lives in New Haven, Connecticut.

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4.6 out of 54.6 out of 5
296 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Graham H. Seibert
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Let Harvard remain in the distant future, while you concentrate on self-confidence and relationships.
Reviewed in the United States on February 12, 2016
A wise, comforting book. Children generally do not present problems to be solved or blank slates to be filled. They are just small people who are eager to learn the game of being human. What they need most of all is kindness and support. There are moments when... See more
A wise, comforting book. Children generally do not present problems to be solved or blank slates to be filled. They are just small people who are eager to learn the game of being human.

What they need most of all is kindness and support. There are moments when it may be necessary to instruct them from a position of authority, such as telling them not to cross the street without holding hands. Learning the alphabet, numbers and so on should generally not require that kind of pushing. Kids will learn when they are ready. It is more important that they want to learn than exactly what and when they learn.

Christakis is kind to preschool professionals. They have a hard job. Their young charges cannot articulate what they want – the teacher has to guess. Administrators and parents want to see concrete results – paper Thanksgiving turkeys are a classic example – but mass producing such banal stuff is likely to be boring to both the student and the teacher. It can also be frustrating. Some kids don''t have the attention span, fine-motor control or even the interest. Even if everybody gets a gold star and a pat on the head, they know that Debbie''s turkey looks better than Janny''s. Kids aren''t dumb.

What I take out of this, as a retired guy who spends full time with his four-year-old, is that giving them a lot of time and attention Is the main thing. The materials, even curriculum are not terribly important. If the kid is talking, asking questions, seeing new things, and telling you about his life, you are doing the right stuff.
108 people found this helpful
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Gavin Hudson
3.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Useful philosophy on raising children that could have been more compact
Reviewed in the United States on February 14, 2017
I believe that the main idea behind this book is that children ought to be allowed to be children, which means engaging with them in a playful manner and respecting their development for what it is at each stage of their growth. This involves a lot of patience and a lot... See more
I believe that the main idea behind this book is that children ought to be allowed to be children, which means engaging with them in a playful manner and respecting their development for what it is at each stage of their growth. This involves a lot of patience and a lot of listening.

I couldn''t agree more with your sentiments. I was listening to this as an audiobook, and so I didn''t take advantage of all of the source material offered by the author as footnotes. I appreciate learning more about research, and that might provide an interesting source of material.

What I didn''t appreciate about this book was the sense I got that the author was essentially yelling at me or somebody for most of the book. Her condemnation of any number of aspects of preschool and her criticism of various child rearing approaches started to take a driver seat in the book. As a passenger along for the ride with the author, I became weary of this in the same way we generally grow tired of hearing a long string of complaints.

Rather than listing so many of the ills of our child rearing systems, I thought the author could have made her book more concise and useful by choosing to battle only those elements of the system which she found particularly harmful and focusing the rest of her efforts on constructive insights, advice and research.
37 people found this helpful
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EricaTop Contributor: Pets
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Excellent resource for parents and teachers
Reviewed in the United States on April 19, 2019
As a parent and teacher, I highly recommend this book. I got this originally for insight on raising my kid and creating an environment that supports learning (human connection and play are more important than test prep and work sheets, unsurprisingly), but it also had an... See more
As a parent and teacher, I highly recommend this book. I got this originally for insight on raising my kid and creating an environment that supports learning (human connection and play are more important than test prep and work sheets, unsurprisingly), but it also had an impact on me as a teacher. Though I teach high school, it''s inspired me to try out some things in the classroom that might help ignite students'' interest in actually learning vs. getting good grades.

This book is pretty common sense, but still worth the read. The author is pretty realistic, and aside from the fact that after turning an outdoor frog (or was it a toad?) into a pet for a while, she released it back into the wild, she has some good ideas and advice.
3 people found this helpful
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Christopher J Finlayson
4.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Don’t overthink early childhood education
Reviewed in the United States on December 27, 2019
The author makes a persuasive case that young children don’t need drills, but scaffolding. They need developmentally appropriate opportunities to explore their world and their peers. They learn collectively, mostly from play and their parents. A relationship with a teacher... See more
The author makes a persuasive case that young children don’t need drills, but scaffolding. They need developmentally appropriate opportunities to explore their world and their peers. They learn collectively, mostly from play and their parents. A relationship with a teacher can help, but strict curriculum is likely a waste. Blocks are better than educational toys, real clay better then Play-dough and slow TV like Mr. Rogers better then fast cut TV. Don’t force tasks that kids are physically or developmentally ready.
4 people found this helpful
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Nicole G.
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
This book should be required reading for any who cares about education, not just pre-school education.
Reviewed in the United States on February 12, 2016
Erika Christakis has brought a wise, well reasoned, and compelling voice to the arena of early childhood education. One need only read today''s NYT for a sickening reminder of what passes for cutting edge in some corners these days. [...] It''s particularly galling that the... See more
Erika Christakis has brought a wise, well reasoned, and compelling voice to the arena of early childhood education. One need only read today''s NYT for a sickening reminder of what passes for cutting edge in some corners these days. [...] It''s particularly galling that the children being treated this way are from underprivileged backgrounds. They have no voice and little choice.
Christakis is that voice, reminding us all that listening matters. Imagination matters. That "rote" and "repetition" are stifling young minds. That we need to pinch ourselves every now and again and ask - are we doing this right?
This book should be required reading for all educators, and not just pre-school.
21 people found this helpful
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David Taitelbaum
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great read
Reviewed in the United States on November 2, 2016
Great read from an educator with a long history in early childhood development who has worked at some of the leading institutions in the field. In our never ending attempt to help children race to the top we''ve missed out on an incredibly important piece of early childhood:... See more
Great read from an educator with a long history in early childhood development who has worked at some of the leading institutions in the field. In our never ending attempt to help children race to the top we''ve missed out on an incredibly important piece of early childhood: letting kids enjoy being kids. This isn''t some hippie dippie navel gazing; Christakis persuasively argues that children develop through play in a way that is frankly missing in our skills driven preschool and prekindergarten. Highly recommended for anyone with a toddler and is mulling over the options for preschool and beyond.
6 people found this helpful
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Kelly
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Great read for anyone who has young children in their life
Reviewed in the United States on December 11, 2017
I feel like every early childhood educator and parent of young children needs to stop and read this book. It made me take pause and reevaluate my own parenting and teaching priorities. This book is incredibly eye- opening and refreshing. This book has completely shifted my... See more
I feel like every early childhood educator and parent of young children needs to stop and read this book. It made me take pause and reevaluate my own parenting and teaching priorities. This book is incredibly eye- opening and refreshing. This book has completely shifted my perspective and taken off my blinders to look beyond rigor and assessment-obsession. The author is kind of annoying, though. I had to reeeally look past her humble brags and condescending comments about early educators .
2 people found this helpful
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Not A Robot
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Very Well Written
Reviewed in the United States on February 26, 2021
This book is very well written and easy to read. I find that for the content, it''s obviously written by someone brilliant. Great book, highly recommend for anyone in early education, especially preschool.
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Top reviews from other countries

emily
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Everyone should have a copy!
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 7, 2016
Interesting, insightful and very readable. I find myself referring back to it in conversations incessantly. Combines a common sense approach that appeals with academic rigour. I wish all schools and parents has a copy!
2 people found this helpful
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Match
1.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Waste of money
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 24, 2020
I bought this book thinking it may give some useful insight into child development. Instead it''s just a ramble into how bad pre-school education is, points out the obvious (such as play is better than rote learning) and offers no real substance. It''s also poorly written....See more
I bought this book thinking it may give some useful insight into child development. Instead it''s just a ramble into how bad pre-school education is, points out the obvious (such as play is better than rote learning) and offers no real substance. It''s also poorly written. Compete waste of money.
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Mrs Roni castle
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
A brilliant book! Shared with colleagues as so impressed
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on January 7, 2018
A brilliant book! Shared with colleagues as so impressed.
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Steven C
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
Changed my perspective on parenting
Reviewed in Canada on November 21, 2019
This is a book I recommend that you read after you have put the kids to sleep and you don''t feel like watching Netflix or Game of Thrones. Unplug your TV, make your favorite cup of sleep time tea and enjoy the incredible wisdom contain in the pages of this masterpiece. Read...See more
This is a book I recommend that you read after you have put the kids to sleep and you don''t feel like watching Netflix or Game of Thrones. Unplug your TV, make your favorite cup of sleep time tea and enjoy the incredible wisdom contain in the pages of this masterpiece. Read it once and read it twice. As a matter of fact I recommend reading it three times, even if you''re on vacation take this book with you. When your kids are old enough read this to them along with Dr. Seuss and various kiddie classics. It''s really that good. I''m not kidding you at all.
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Megan
5.0 out of 5 starsVerified Purchase
As expected
Reviewed in Canada on November 8, 2018
As expected
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The Importance of Being Little: What online sale Young Children Really Need from lowest Grownups outlet sale

The Importance of Being Little: What online sale Young Children Really Need from lowest Grownups outlet sale

The Importance of Being Little: What online sale Young Children Really Need from lowest Grownups outlet sale

The Importance of Being Little: What online sale Young Children Really Need from lowest Grownups outlet sale

The Importance of Being Little: What online sale Young Children Really Need from lowest Grownups outlet sale

The Importance of Being Little: What online sale Young Children Really Need from lowest Grownups outlet sale

The Importance of Being Little: What online sale Young Children Really Need from lowest Grownups outlet sale

The Importance of Being Little: What online sale Young Children Really Need from lowest Grownups outlet sale

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The Importance of Being Little: What online sale Young Children Really Need from lowest Grownups outlet sale

The Importance of Being Little: What online sale Young Children Really Need from lowest Grownups outlet sale

The Importance of Being Little: What online sale Young Children Really Need from lowest Grownups outlet sale

The Importance of Being Little: What online sale Young Children Really Need from lowest Grownups outlet sale

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The Importance of Being Little: What online sale Young Children Really Need from lowest Grownups outlet sale

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