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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 4 Introduction begin to make decisions that support children’s learning based upon solid theoretical foundations. When we teach ECE classes, our goal is to address these challenges by helping future teachers gain a solid understanding of child development theory. More importantly, we want teachers to be able to observe, reflect on their observations, use their knowledge of theories to support children’s learning, and confidently articulate the reasons behind their practice. How to Use This Book This book is a blueprint for learning to understand and implement child development theories. It is written in a way that will help you practice learn- ing, observing, and reflecting on theories based on children’s behavior. Knowing child development theory contributes to understanding children’s social-emotional, cognitive, and physical development, which then leads to real, supported practices. This book shows the connection between theo- ries and real life, and invites you to practice doing the same. Teachers of young children need to understand how young children learn. The theorists who researched and created these child development theories hoped to learn exactly the same thing. As you learn more about the theoretical models, you will find that you gain an immensely practical knowledge as well. Learning about child development theories helps you trace young children’s social-emotional, cognitive, and physical develop- ment; however, theory needs to be seen in real life multiple times so that it is embedded in your consciousness. A teacher’s knowledge is not about memorization; it’s about application and practice. This book focuses on making child development theories visible in an exciting and concrete way, but it should never be used apart from real experience with real children. Whether a first-time ECE student or a veteran teacher of twenty years, every teacher needs personal stories and experi- ences to move their knowledge from theory to practice. The chapters in this book guide you in really getting to know children, engaging with them, and responding to their interests in meaningful ways based on theory. As a group, early childhood educators are charged to verbalize what we know is “best” for children. This book presents a new framework for connecting theories to promote effective practices and develop strong philosophical arguments to support them. Our Model: Looking for Everyday Examples In our ECE classes, we often take time to visit our respective campus early learning programs to observe, reflect, and identify different practices. In COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL