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Foreword • The five elements of a truly child-centered program (pages 41–42) • Three advocacy tips (pages 48–49) • The seven programming guidelines that make an (un)curricu- lum possible (page 52) • Five reasons society has lost faith in saying, “Go play” (pages 12–15) • Eight reasons to throw away your lesson-planning books (pages 150–151) • Nine problems with boxed, preplanned curriculums (page 16) • The twelve principles of brain-based learning (page 31) • The six characteristics of an (un)curriculum (page 29) • The ten principles of physical spaces that permit children to be the boss of their own learning (page 79) Depending on where you were trained, where you went to school, who mentored you, and what bandwagon the USA was riding when you cut your early childhood teeth, Jeff and Denita’s message might be affirming or frightening. When I first started teaching and working in child care centers, I was told, “This is the theme. Now go plan activities that fit it.” There’s nothing wrong with predetermined themes, but there’s a lot wrong with how they’re often implemented: talking about XYZ topic Monday through Friday come hell or high water even if it has no context or relevancy to the children in the room. As I grew and was exposed to emergent curriculum, I started planning for the bones of the day but moved away from the themes. I started paying attention, observing, and using what I was seeing the children do as fodder and inspiration for deeper investigation. I played with language, and “theme” morphed into “projects”; “lesson planning” turned into “documentation and observations.” It can take time to change minds. We must be patient with our- selves, our programs, and our children. We must trust the process. xi