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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Introduction to the First Edition approach doesn’t work once you’re in a real classroom.” Teachers will say, “Now, which one was he?” or “Wasn’t Piaget the cognitive theory?” but rarely pause to reflect on how understanding child development theory might benefit their day-to-day classroom practices. The purpose of this small text is to look for those benefits. Joining Theory to Practice Anthropologist and teacher Margaret Mead said in Redbook magazine in 1963, “If one cannot state a matter clearly enough so that an intelligent twelve-year-old can under- stand it, one should remain within the cloistered walls of the University and laboratory until one gets a better grasp of one’s subject matter.” The field of early childhood education needs to listen to this wisdom. “I need to drop this course,” a student of mine told me recently. “I’m a full-time student, the single mother of a three-year-old, and I work at Pizza Hut on weekends. I don’t have the time or patience to figure out what this means!” She thrust her child development textbook onto my desk and pointed to a highlighted passage in the introductory chapter. It read: “The improvement of research tends to increase divergence in the treatment of evidence and to multiply mystification in the interpretation of specific find- ings. As research on a problem matures, the angles of vision multiply.” I shared with her my memorized interpretation. “It means studying children is really complicated. The more we learn, the more there is to understand about a single topic.” The student looked annoyed. “Well, why can’t they just say that?” she asked. Then, in a sad and quiet voice, she added, “When I see words that I’ve never even heard of, I get discour- aged and think I’m crazy to be going to college. The director at my center told me all that theory won’t help me once I’m working with kids anyway.” 8 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL