In a chapter devoted to the Importance of Building a Trusting Relationship Between Caregiver, Child and Family, the book points out that one of the first things very young children need, first and foremost, is an attachment with a primary caregiver. The child’s first primary caregiver is his mother, with whom he initially bonds. In an early child care program, the child’s teacher becomes, in effect, the child’s substitute parent for the day. In this chapter, using prekindergarten and kindergarten classes at one particular school, we illustrate:
- Why the teacher must successfully build an emotional attachment with children in her care as a vital prerequisite to any kind of teaching that will take place.
- How the teacher can create a developmentally appropriate environment, one that simultaneously fashions an atmosphere in the classroom that is both emotionally nurturing even as it stimulates learning.
- How each child in a group situation can be made to feel unique, why flexibility is important in daily class routines and the best way a teacher can deal with the problem of aggression in young children.
- How the child care center can establish and maintain the link between school and home that is vital to the process of working successfully with children; how it can strengthen the important task of mutual respect and communication between parent, teacher, and administrators as partners in the healthful development of the children.
In a chapter devoted to How to Build Healthy Peer Relationships Among Children:
The building of healthy relationships among the children is one of the prime tasks of a good early child care program. This chapter explains why this is so. It then illustrates:
- How the daily class activities teach children to cooperate and share ideas on daily tasks and play projects.
- How children are encouraged by their teachers to resolve conflicts that arise among them in a way that engenders self-respect and confidence.
This chapter also discusses in detail and provides examples through the interaction of the children in the classroom, the stages of play that children go through, illustrating:
- How opportunities for peer interaction are created at different stages of play.
- How building blocks for successful interpersonal relationships later on are developed at each stage of play.
- How relationships among the children and peer play can be used by teachers to develop creative thinking in the children.
In one chapter, the book discusses a topic that is of vital importance for education of young children in a democratic society — How to Use Diverse Heritages of Children in the classroom as a teaching tool to enrich the experience of young children.
Too often, parents look for a school or a class that reflects only their own images. But American society is rich in the diversity of its people and cultures. Teaching children respect for this diversity can best be accomplished if the children, from their earliest years, come across this diversity in their own experience, to the greatest extent possible in any community. A school that believes in this principle can make the diverse cultures of its children into a natural experience. The chapter also discusses:
- How an ethnically diverse student body in a child care center can be an asset in the child’s development as they learn about different cultures in a positive way.
- How the school curriculum can make the diverse cultures of the children a daily living experience.
- How children speaking different languages can be an asset in the classroom and how non-English speaking students can be made to feel a part of the class in the process of learning English.
- How the cultural diversity of our society can be reflected in the stories the children read, the games they play, and the foods they eat.