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What If Everybody Understood Child Development?


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Table of Contents

Preface Acknowledgments About the Author Introduction Part I. Understanding Children 1. All Children Are Not the Same 2. The Earlier the Better? 3. The Power of Joy 4. Bubble Wrapping Not Required 5. When Did a Hug Become a Bad Thing? 6. Teaching Girls They're More Than a Pretty Face 7. Doing Away With the "Baby Stuff" 8. "But Competition Is Human Nature" 9. Terrorist Tots? Part II. Understanding the Mind/Body Connection 10. The Myth of the Brain/Body Dichotomy 11. Why Does Sitting Still Equal Learning? 12. In Defense of Active Learning 13. "Play" Is Not a Four-Letter Word 14. The Body Matters, Too 15. Reading, Writing, 'Rithmetic . . . and Recess 16. Why Kids Need "Gym" Part III. Understanding Developmentally Appropriate Practice 17. In Defense of Authentic Learning 18. Who Should Lead the Learning? 19. The Trouble With Testing 20. Failure Is an Option 21. Should We Teach Handwriting in the Digital Age? 22. Just Say "No" to Keyboarding in Kindergarten 23. iPads or Play-Doh? 24. The Homework Debate 25. In Defense of the Arts 26. No More "Good Job!" 27. Bribes and Threats Work, But . . . 28. Time to Give Time-Out a Time-Out 29. "You're Outta Here!"

About the Author

Rae Pica has been an education consultant ( specializing in the education and development of the whole child since 1980. A former adjunct instructor with the University of New Hampshire, she is the author of 21 books, including the text Experiences in Movement and Music, in its 5th edition, and What If Everybody Understood Child Development?: Straight Talk About Bettering Education and Children's LIves. Rae is known for her lively and informative keynotes and trainings and has shared her expertise with such groups as the Sesame Street Research Department, the Head Start Bureau, Centers for Disease Control, the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, Nickelodeon's Blue's Clues, Gymboree, Nike, and state health departments throughout the country. Rae is a regular blogger and YouTube creator and the author of online courses for early childhood professionals.


"What a pleasure to read common sense wisdom about what young children need!" -- Diane Ravitch, Research Professor of Education
"This is an amazing book. It does far more than chase down the myths about how to ensure that children are successful. If offers real, research-backed practical strategies every teacher and parent can use quickly and easily. This belongs on every desk for quick and handy use!" -- Eric Jensen, Director
"This book is a must read for anyone who is part of the current education system. It is time to think about what we are doing to the youth who are the new digital generation era and to ensure we are teaching them in ways that are the most developmentally appropriate." -- Lyneille Meza, Coordinator of Data and Assessment
"This is a great read. Its social media flavor is inviting and inspiring. The issues presented echo teacher discussions made around the water fountain. [Rae Pica's] expertise and evidence based on research will move your hair-pulling complaints to policy-changing action." -- Leonard J. Villanueva, Teacher
"This book offers provocative ideas for the new educator, the experienced teacher, and administrators alike. Let's use what we know about child development to start remaking our schools to meet the needs of all students. This book provides a starting point." -- Katrina L. Ladopoulos, Teacher

"Rae Pica has a deep understanding of childhood development and she has delved into every facet of it so that educators, parents, and policymakers will come to that understanding, too. What If Everybody Understood Childhood Development? includes 29 critically important chapters that focus on every single important issue we don't always take enough time to talk about. This book needs to not just be on everyone's shelves, but open in everyone's hands."

-- Peter DeWitt, Author/Consultant
"Our understanding of young children has become quite distorted, as have our policies and practices. It's time to reorient our views and Rae Pica's What If Everybody Understood Child Development? gives clear examples of the problems and of the solutions. To her children are remarkable human beings -- active, caring, and creative. They are more than an investment in the future. They are of immense value here and now." -- Joan Almon, Co-founder

"Rae Pica understands children. With her wisdom and insight, she helps us know how to do right by kids in a world full of conflicting pressures. Thank you, Rae, for this valuable book. We need it now more than ever!"

-- Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Professor Emerita

Pica's folksy, straight talk about the big and small, but still contentious, issues in education today couldn't be more refreshing. Some of the subjects are among the most vexing of our time, but they're served up with a wicked wit, not to mention a deep respect for developmental science, that makes them easily digestible.

-- Susan Ochshorn, Founder and Principal
"What If Everybody Understood Child Development? would be a great book to give to any parent or teacher you know who is uneasy about aspects of our current educational system (excessive testing, lack of play-based or individualized learning, etc.) but having difficulty articulating the problems."
-- Jen Robinson, Book Reviewer and Joyful Learning Advocate

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