Synopses & Reviews
The High-Performing Preschool
takes readers into the lives of three- and four-year-old Head Start students during their first year of school and focuses on the centerpiece of their school day: story acting. In this activity, students act out stories from high-quality childrenand#8217;s literature as well as stories dictated by their peers. Drawing on a unique pair of thinkersand#151;Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky and renowned American teacher and educational writer Vivian G. Paleyand#151;Gillian Dowley McNamee elucidates the ways, and reasons, this activity is so successful. She shows how story acting offers a larger blueprint for curricula that helps ensure all preschoolsand#151;not just those for societyand#8217;s well-to-doand#151;are excellent.
McNamee outlines how story acting cultivates childrenand#8217;s oral and written language skills. She shows how it creates a crucial opportunity for teachers to guide children inside the interior logic and premises of an idea, and how it fosters the creation of a literary community. Starting with Vygotsky and Paley, McNamee paints a detailed portrait of high-quality preschool teaching, showing how educators can deliver on the promise of Head Start and provide a setting for all young children to become articulate, thoughtful, and literate learners. and#160;
Teacher and author Vivian Paley is highly regarded by parents, educators, and other professionals for her original insights into such seemingly everyday issues as play, story, gender, and how young children think. In The Classrooms All Young Children Need
, Patricia M. Cooper takes a synoptic view of Paleys many books and articles, charting the evolution of Paleys thinking while revealing the seminal characteristics of her teaching philosophy. This careful analysis leads Cooper to identify a pedagogical model organized around two complementary principles: a curriculum that promotes play and imagination, and the idea of classrooms as fair places where young children of every color, ability, and disposition are welcome.
With timely attention paid to debates about the reduction in time for play in the early childhood classroom, the role of race in education, and No Child Left Behind, The Classrooms All Young Children Need will be embraced by anyone tasked with teaching our youngest pupils.
About the Author
Patricia M. Cooper is assistant professor of early childhood education and literacy at New York Universitys Steinhardt School of Education and the author of numerous articles on teaching and learning in early childhood education and When Stories Come to School: Telling, Writing, and Performing Stories in the Early Childhood Classroom.
Table of Contents
Prologue: An “N of 1”
Introduction: Why Interpret the Clear?
Part One Curricular Matters: A Pedagogy of Meaning
Chapter One Early Literacy, Play, and a Teaching Philosophy
Chapter Two Fantasy Play and Young Childrens Search for Meaning
Chapter Three Storytelling and Story Acting: Meaning Extended
Part Two Relational Matters: A Pedagogy of Fairness
Chapter Four Teaching as a Moral Act, Classrooms as Democratic Spaces
Chapter Five Race, Pedagogy, and the Search for Fairness
Chapter Six Fairness Extended: Superheroes, Helicopters, and the Unchosen
Epilogue: The Classrooms Young Children Need—an “N of Many”
Appendix A: Guide to Implementation of Paleys Storytelling Curriculum
Appendix B: Sample Stories
Appendix C: Sample Transcript of Child Dictation
Appendix D: Becoming a Teacher of Stories