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Written by a recipient of a MacArthur award, gained for her pioneering work on the storytelling technique and its use in the classroom, this book focuses on the challenge posed by the isolated child to teachers and classmates alike in the community of the classroom. It is the story of Jason - the loner and outsider - and his ultimate triumph and homecoming into the society of his classmates.;As the reader follows Jason's struggle, it can be seen how the classroom is a crucible within which the young discover themselves and learn to confront new problems in their daily experience.;The book is an essay on the practice of teaching young children and the author uses children's stories as a vehicle of instruction.

Table of Contents

Storytellers and story players; teacher and theory-maker; Jason's story; new questions.

Product Details

Table of Contents

Foreword by Robert Coles Preface Storytellers and Story Players Teacher and Theory-Maker Jason's Story New Questions

About the Author

Vivian Gussin Paley, a former kindergarten teacher, is the winner of a MacArthur Award and of the 1998 American Book Award for Lifetime Achievement given by the Before Columbus Foundation.


Recent MacArthur award-winner Paley reveals the subtle, involved process that occurs as a child learns to socialize and interact with other children. In her classroom, children become storytellers. She feels that by letting them create stories with alternate patterns of behavior, they learn new ways to achieve acceptable behavior. By tape-recording and analyzing (with her colleagues) children's conversations and actions she shows how play is, among other things, a sort of rehearsal of problems, and misbehavior perhaps just a poor timing or performance. Calling to mind echoes of Sylvia Ashton-Warner's Teacher (LJ 5/1/63; 1986. pap.), this offers insight into class control, setting limits, and teaching methods. Ideal for those who specialize in working with children and for libraries in need of material on this subject.-- Annette V. Janes, Hamilton P.L., Mass.

The Boy Who Would Be a Helicopter is, among other things, an original essay on the practice of teaching young children...Vivian Paley's innovation is her use of children's stories as a vehicle of instruction...Paley is an artist whose medium is children in the classroom. The end product of her year's work is a group of children who can live comfortably with themselves and with one another. This group of children will soon scatter. But each child will always carry a bit of Vivian Paley along with him or her, and that is the way in which a gifted teacher's art lives on. -- David Elkind New York Times Book Review For those interested in...the education of the spirit, this is finally a heartening and challenging book. -- Geoff Fox Times Educational Supplement A tour de force...Years from now we may know the fruit of the trees Vivian Paley and her associates have planted. It will be easy, then, to recognize her former students. When asked to recall their kindergarten experiences, they surely will begin with the words, "Once upon a time..." -- Thomas J. Cottle Chicago Tribune There are many funny moments...[and] an attractive humility in Paley's work...Anyone who was once a child, and especially those who were once helicopters, will enjoy it. -- David Perkins Kansas City Star Humanity, wisdom, and understanding are the words that come to mind when reading Paley's latest book. She offers a view into the world of children that is respectful of their strengths and complexity...This book shines with an authenticity that comes from the voice of the teacher, not the observer...[It] should be required reading for all those working with children of any age. They and other readers will find it an absorbing and enlightening experience. -- S. Sugarman Choice

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