Review by: Peter Gray, Research Professor, Department of Psychology, Boston College - January 19, 2012
This book -- like the child care centers on which it is based -- is fun, funny, playful, and a great place to learn. What I like best is Jeff's and Denita's insight that little kids are in many ways like us bigger kids. They hate advice or help that they didn't ask for and don't need; they hate to be micromanaged; they love to make their own discoveries and solve their own problems; they are a lot more competent than most people think they are; and they learn best when they can chart their own learning paths. I recommend this book not just to early childhood professionals, but to all new parents as well. It will help you enjoy your kids, rather than worry about them.
Review by: Daniel Hodgins - February 1, 2012
Let Them Play: An Early Learning (Un)Curriculum is a book you should wrap your arms around and hold close to your heart. Don't let it out of your sight. It constantly reminds us that play is not just a conversation, but also a combination of beliefs and practices. This book is filled with current research on why play is so important. At the same time, it fills our hearts and minds with fun, creative, and child-friendly ideas that extend the curiosity of children.
Review by: Lenore Skenazy - February 1, 2012
It’s strange how the words, “Go play!” conjure up some of our happiest memories as kids—and our deepest fears as parents? If kids are just PLAYING, aren't they missing out on learning? The opposite is true, as Jeff Johnson and Denita Dinger deftly prove in this great read, which reminds us all that games and play aren't the empty calories of childhood—they're the vitamins, the vegetables, the protein, AND the sprinkles.
Review: Wisconsin Bookwatch - May 1, 2012
Early childhood playing is taking a lesson from the classroom of the world. "Let them Play: An Early learning (un)curriculum" is a guide to encouraging learning through free will and curiosity of young children, as Jeff A. Johnson & Denita Dinger walk readers through how to inspire learning in the very young. From social skills to language and other elements of young education, "Let Them Play" is a strong pick for parents and early childhood educators, and should have a spot in any early childhood education collection in community libraries.
Review: Book News Inc - June 1, 2012
Drawing on a combined 30-plus years of experience as early childhood care providers, Johnson and Dinger offer fellow providers a play-centered approach as an alternative to the academic-oriented focus that has dominated the field in recent years. While based on a solid foundation of research and real-world experience, they call their approach an "(un)curriculum" because it is the antithesis of what currently happens in most early learning programs. The authors review the development of the current trends away from play, then explain their approach in detail, including how to support an (un)curriculum, practical ways to create engaging spaces, and learning how to not plan specific lessons but rather trust kids to tap into their natural curiosity to lead their own learning with assistance from adults. No subject index is provided. (Annotation ©2012 Book News Inc. Portland, OR)
Review by: Haley Kindrex - June 25, 2012
"…we are currently in the process of implementing a curriculum map-a document showing the goals we have for each age group in our center, and some ideas on how to address each goal. The uncurriculum concept fits perfectly with our map, and I think it will really help our teachers balance the goals we have with developmentally appropriate learning!"
Review by: Barbara Street, Teacher and blogger at www.msbarbarasblog.blogspot.com/ - July 1, 2012
This book is definitely worth checking out! I loved that the authors share the reasons behind their thinking, explain how children learn, discuss the importance of the caregiver taking care of him/herself, and encourage BABY steps to make changes. Jeff and Denita aren't telling us to reinvent the wheel-they're telling us to look at the reasons why we do things and to try making small changes to improve the experiences for the children.
Review: The August issue of "California Bookwatch" - August 1, 2012
LET THEM PLAY: AN EARLY LEARNING (UN)CURRICULUM is all about letting kids experience the learning power of play and belongs in any early education collection where teachers are interested in making the most of kids' impulses to play. It comes from an educator who runs a family child care program and has over twenty years of early childhood experience, and a co-writer who has been a child care provider for over ten years. Together these two put together a play-oriented program for teachers who want to trust kids to learn through the play process, offering keys to successful physical and emotional climates that foster success.