DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Miriam Beloglovsky and Lisa Daly COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Early Learning Theories Made Visible COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Other Redleaf Press Books by Miriam Beloglovsky and Lisa Daly Loose Parts: Inspiring Play in Young Children COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Miriam Beloglovsky Lisa Daly COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Published by Redleaf Press 10 Yorkton Court St. Paul, MN 55117 © 2015 by Miriam Beloglovsky and Lisa Daly All rights reserved. Unless otherwise noted on a specific page, no portion of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or capturing on any information storage and retrieval sys- tem, without permission in writing from the publisher, except by a reviewer, who may quote brief passages in a critical article or review to be printed in a magazine or newspaper, or elec- tronically transmitted on radio, television, or the Internet. First edition 2015 Cover and interior design by Ryan Scheife, Mayfly Design Cover artwork composed from images: (white background visible through the blue paper wrapped) © inxti/iStockphoto; (Green vintage background texture) © Maly Designer/ iStockphoto; (photo of child) by Crystal Devlin and Jason Devlin Typeset in the Quadraat OT and Whitney typefaces Interior photos by Crystal Devlin and Jason Devlin Printed in the United States of America 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14   1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Beloglovsky, Miriam. Early learning theories made visible / Miriam Beloglovsky, Lisa Daly. pages cm Summary: “Go beyond reading about early learning theories and see what they look like in action in modern programs and teacher practices. Each theory is defined—through engaging stories and rich visuals—in relation to cognitive, social-emotional, and physical developmental domains”— Provided by publisher. Includes bibliographical references and index. ISBN 978-1-60554-236-2 (pbk.) 1. Early childhood education. 2. Child development. 3. Education—Philosophy I. Daly, Lisa. II. Title. LB1139.23.B45 2015 372.21—dc23 2014023961 Printed on acid-free paper COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET To our mentors for your guidance and wisdom. To our students for inspiring us and reinforcing our commitment to the field. To our colleagues for sharing the journey of preparing early childhood educators. To our families for your support and encouragement. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Contents Acknowledgments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . ix Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 1 Part 1: The Theories as a Framework to Support Children . . . . . . . . . . 9 Jean Piaget (1896–1980) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 10 Erik Erikson (1902–1994) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14 Lev Vygotsky (1896–1934) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 17 Abraham Maslow (1908–1970) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20 John Dewey (1859–1952) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 24 Howard Gardner (1943–) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 27 Louise Derman-Sparks (1940–) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31 Part 2: Social-Emotional Development: Building Relationships to Learn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 35 Jean Piaget: Arguments, Discussions, and Disagreements That Build Relationships . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 36 Erik Erikson: Children’s Sense of Identity and Social Integration . . . . 43 Lev Vygotsky: How Children Communicate Their Understanding of the World . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 50 Abraham Maslow: Promoting Self-Regulation and Emotional Stability . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 59 John Dewey: Collaboration, Community, and Negotiation . . . . . . . . . 65 Howard Gardner: Multiple Intelligences as a Tool to Develop Self-Esteem . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 72 Louise Derman-Sparks: It’s Not Fair! Children as Social Activists . . . . 78 Your Turn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 86 Part 3: Beyond ABCs and 1, 2, 3s: Children as Protagonists of Their Own Knowledge . . . . . . . . . . . . 89 Jean Piaget: Children as Active Learners . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 90 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Erik Erikson: Taking Initiative to Gain Mastery That Supports Learning . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 98 Lev Vygotsky: How Children’s Play Improves Learning . . . . . . . . . . . 105 Abraham Maslow: Art as a Language That Promotes Thinking and Self-Actualization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 115 John Dewey: Democracy in the Making . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 124 Howard Gardner: Using Multiple Intelligences to Acquire Knowledge . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 133 Louise Derman-Sparks: Engaging Children in Deeper Thinking . . . . 141 Your Turn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 151 Part 4: Physical Development: Beyond Gross-Motor and Fine-Motor Skills . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 155 Jean Piaget: Bodies as Tools for Discovery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 156 Erik Erikson: Promoting Physical Mastery . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 165 Lev Vygotsky: Scaffolding and Learning through Physical Development . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 172 Abraham Maslow: Physical Strength That Supports Self-Actualization . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 179 John Dewey: Collaborative Play That Promotes Physical Skills . . . . . 185 Howard Gardner: Learning with the Body’s Intelligence . . . . . . . . . . 192 Louise Derman-Sparks: Bodies as Identity . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 201 Your Turn . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 210 Part 5: Changing the Assumptions of Early Care and Education: How the Theories Give Us a Voice to Initiate Change . . . . . . . 213 References . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 223 Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 225 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Acknowledgments W riting this book has been an incredible learning process. I am thankful to have embarked on this journey with my friend and writing partner Lisa Daly. Her integrity, creativity, and knowledge are a source of inspiration. This process was enriched by the incredible support from Alexis Baran, Arielle Baran, Alex Rudnicki, and Max Jaffee. Their encouragement, wisdom, ideas, designs, and editing made my own writing stronger. I want to thank my parents, sister, niece, and nephew for being there. And my friend Chris Marks who gave me the freedom to work the long hours. To my Niqui and Diego for their enthusiasm and love. —Miriam Beloglovsky This book could not have been written without the support and encour- agement of many family members, friends, colleagues, students, and editors. I treasure my writing collaboration with my dear friend Miriam Beloglovsky. I value our friendship and her reflective and academic abilities. For generous encouragement and countless listening hours during the writ- ing process, I thank my California and Colorado families. They have always believed in me, supported me, and encouraged me to pursue my dreams. To my husband, Dan, I am forever grateful for his constant love, support, and patience. I would like to give sincere appreciation to my children, Ted and Jenna, who are a blessing and an inspiration. My colleagues Janis Jones, Debora Larry-Kearney, and Eunyoung Hwang provided continual encour- agement and important insight over numerous lunch engagements. My 6:00 a.m. workout partners at Curves and my friend Kathie Congdon, who walks the trails of Folsom Lake with me every morning, helped to relieve stress. —Lisa Daly We express our thankfulness to Crystal and Jason Devlin and all the children and families at Crystal’s Creative Kids who provided the real-life stories. We want to thank David Heath, Kyra Ostendorf, and Redleaf Press for believing in this book. Our gratitude also goes to Elena Fultz for her thoughtful editing and guidance. —Miriam and Lisa ix COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Introduction M any students in our college early childhood education (ECE) courses teach in community early care and educa- tion centers. Some of these students enroll in our college classes to fulfill employer- or state-mandated licensing requirements. A smaller percentage of students have never worked in the ECE field but plan to in the future. Often many of our students have received their teaching positions prior to meeting all of the state regulations. What is common to all students, regardless of why they are in classes, is their experience with the ideals of in-class theory versus the realities of real-life practice. They see a huge discrepancy between what is happening at their work sites or during field observations and the developmentally appropriate practices that are taught in their ECE classes. During classes students often share their frustration with inappropriate practices in the field and having to follow a standardized curriculum that is overwhelming for them and the children they teach. They comment on how they desire to work in the early learning classrooms described during our class meetings but question if such programs really exist. They marvel at our presentations that depict inspiring programs—the ones that show intriguing environ- ments, meaningful activities, and children who are joyful in their explo- rations and experimentations. Frequently our students ask how they can approach their supervisors about making changes. They know what is best for children based on what they are learning in classes, and it resonates with them. Yet they find that they are unable to articulate their position about what they know is best for children. Challenges Educators Face If you have experienced these feelings, you are not alone. Many teachers today experience frustration in expectations to implement inappropriate practices, are overwhelmed by content standards, and are unable to articu- late a philosophy of education and advocate for the right of children to learn through direct, active, hands-on experiences—that is, through play. These are serious challenges that face the field of ECE today. 1 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 2     Introduction Leaving Play-Based Curriculum for Prepared Curriculum Early childhood professionals understand that children learn through play-based experiences, and yet many teachers find it a challenge to imple- ment teaching strategies that support children’s learning through play. It is increasingly difficult for teachers to provide experiences for children that are active, child-centered, intellectually engaging, and constructive. There is pressure from well-intentioned groups, such as policy makers and administrators, to push academics for young children, and many teachers are required to teach using a prepared curriculum. Families, too, are wor- ried that their children will not be prepared for kindergarten without what they consider to be academic rigor. And yet prepared curriculum often has little interest to children, in part because it often contains activities that are inappropriate and involves meaningless tasks. It typically does not take into consideration how chil- dren learn. The rationale to use such curriculum is to improve standard- ized test scores and prepare children academically for kindergarten, not to support their growth and development. Prepared curriculum also limits teachers’ critical thinking, creativity, and active engagement in curriculum development based on the needs and interests of the children they teach. Narrowing In on Standards and Accountability All states have adopted standards or guidelines for preschoolers that outline skills, abilities, and knowledge that children should achieve in key learning areas of development. Many of these standards are based on elementary school content areas such as math and literacy and do not recognize that how young children learn is different than how school-age children learn. Learning is profoundly integrated in young children. Early childhood edu- cators are required to teach so children can meet the standards, and some states are beginning to hold educators accountable for making sure that children have mastered required outcomes. This means that some teach- ers are mandated to measure outcomes and provide evidence that children have mastered required measures. It is a challenge to balance the standards’ emphasis on academic rigor with research findings that value play and young children’s developmental needs. The standards may be designed for teachers to plan curriculum or for use as a framework for general planning, but they can also lead to nar- rowly focused teaching and inappropriate expectations. Too often, a teach- er’s time is dominated by completing assessments and required forms and conducting teacher-directed activities rather than spending high-quality time with children engaged in meaningful investigations. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Introduction  Learning to Articulate a Philosophy of Education A third challenge facing teachers is their need for a deep understanding of how children learn. In order to teach children effectively, teachers need to have a philosophical foundation for their work; however, many early child- hood educators face a challenge when it comes to clearly articulating their field’s practices and principles. Even if they instinctively understand it, many teachers struggle to explain their rationale for specific actions, envi- ronmental design, and other choices in the learning environment. As professors of current and future early childhood educators, we have seen our students record good observations of children’s behavior. How- ever, many of the same students have difficulty connecting their theoretical knowledge with the observations they witness in a classroom. It seems that many early childhood teachers have difficulty bringing a critical-thinking perspective into their work with young children—and this is not for their lack of good intentions! Today more than ever, professionals in ECE need to be the voice of chil- dren and speak up on behalf of children’s rights. They must be able to make critical decisions based on strong knowledge of theory and research-based practices, and they need a solid foundation that allows them to do so. As ECE professionals, we see the need for teachers to practice intentionally connecting theories with real-life stories and real children. In our experi- ence, ECE students’ ability to understand and respond to children’s needs and interests, and thus support their learning, is based on a strong theoret- ical foundation and reflective practice. Moving from Theory to Practice Many of our ECE students report that they have a good grasp of how chil- dren grow and learn. However, when they begin student teaching, many also admit that their theoretical foundation is not enough to facilitate children’s growth in a significant or comprehensive way. It is not easy to thoroughly understand a theory that was introduced during ECE Child Development 101 along with multiple new and unfamiliar concepts. It is difficult to remember these theories without relevant review, even when students know they are important. And the theories are often introduced in a dry, isolated manner without concrete examples of real children. This approach makes it hard to transition from a theoretical to a practical appli- cation. It is problematic to try to comprehend, internalize, and apply the- ories if teachers have not clearly seen them first. We need to move toward a deep understanding and thoughtful analysis of theories. Then teachers can COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL   3 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 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Introduction  one particularly significant visit, Miriam was at her college’s center with students. Upon entering the classroom, the students noticed skin-colored art materials attractively displayed on a small table. Miriam told the stu- dents the classroom teachers set up the materials as a provocation. The term provocation is used by teachers working in Reggio Emilia, Italy, who place intriguing, challenging, or surprising materials in the environment as a way to provoke or stretch children’s thinking. Provocations are not orga- nized activities; they are materials simply—but intentionally—placed in the environment. Once in place, the teachers wait expectantly to observe how the children respond to them. Miriam continued to facilitate the class discussion about the prov- ocations. The students observed the children sorting and classifying the skin-colored materials on the table, and they discussed how this related to Jean Piaget’s cognitive development theory. Piaget’s theory reveals how children understand differences and similarities as they accommodate new information—in this case, by sorting and classifying skin-colored materi- als. Miriam clarified that this is Piaget’s concept of how children connect new information to previous knowledge. During the observation, one child commented, “Dark skin comes from mud” while exploring the materials. Miriam explained that children have preconceived ideas based on encounters with previous information. The students were able to connect the child’s comment with Piaget’s theory— their observation illustrated how a provocation can build upon children’s thinking and increase the children’s knowledge about skin colors. Miriam also brought up how Lev Vygotsky emphasizes the importance of language and conversations in promoting learning. A student asked if children dis- criminate at a young age. This question prompted Miriam to introduce the work of Louise Derman-Sparks and anti-bias education (ABE), which sup- ports children’s identity development and promotes justice, equality, and inclusion. As the discussion continued, Miriam invited students to think further about the theories by introducing a variety of inquiry questions: “What theory do you think the teachers used as they selected the art materials in the demonstration environment? What other selections can be added to promote Maslow’s concept of self-actualization through creativity? How is Gardner’s theory of multiple intelligences (MI theory) integrated into the different spaces?” These kinds of inquiry questions challenge students to practically apply the theories learned in class. After this observation, students shared with Miriam that the theories were starting to make sense. Their comments revealed a new apprecia- tion for having a deep knowledge of the science of child development. The COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL   5 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 6     Introduction combination of a strong basis of child development, real-life experiences, and reflective thinking helped students connect theory and practice. This same model of learning is used in this book as a strategy for you to acquire a solid theoretical foundation and implement the inquiry process to support children’s learning. Going forward, we encourage you to deepen your understanding of early learning theories, develop a strong educational philosophy based on theory, and apply teaching strategies that support children’s growth and development through play. What’s in This Book The Learning or Developmental Theorists Many excellent researchers have developed theories about how children develop and learn. For this book, we chose to focus on the work—the the- ory—of child development theorists who provide the foundation for the field’s current early childhood practices. Each theory offers a particular viewpoint that supports different aspects of the development of young chil- dren. These varying perspectives provide a diverse, comprehensive view of the whole child. Throughout the book, we use the terms child development the- ories and early learning theories interchangeably. It should be noted that even though some of the theories offer specific developmental “ages and stages,” these divisions are not static; children move at their own individual paces and are also influenced by the culture in which they live. Part 1: The Theorists and Their Models Part 1 contains an explanation of the theoretical model and its use in everyday life. It introduces the seven theorists we cover—Jean Piaget, Erik Erikson, Lev Vygotsky, Abraham Maslow, John Dewey, Howard Gardner, and Louise Derman-Sparks—and provides a summary of each of their theories and focuses. This overview offers the foundation needed to understand each theoretical framework. To help you understand the basic theory, a story showing children at play is set alongside each theorist, followed by an explanation that connects the children’s behavior and development to that specific theorist’s ideas. Parts 2, 3, and 4: Theorists and the Developmental Domains Parts 2, 3, and 4 look at the social-emotional, cognitive, and physical devel- opmental domains through the eyes of seven child development theorists. Presenting the content by children’s development through these three domains provides definition and clarity. The social-emotional domain COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Introduction  involves social, emotional, and personality development. The cognitive domain involves all the mental processes that are used for thinking, lan- guage, and acquiring knowledge. The physical domain involves a child’s physical growth and motor skills. The theorists did not necessarily divide their work into these categories, yet each theorist addressed specific com- ponents of value for each developmental domain. Looking at the domains in a holistic way offers a broader understanding of child development: every aspect of a child’s development is related to all three domains as they inter- act with and influence one another. Parts 2, 3, and 4 each begin with an overview of the developmental domain (social-emotional, cognitive, and physical). The overview estab- lishes the fundamental basics of the domain and its critical role in children’s development. The discussion of each theory follows a specific order: first we define the developmental specifics of the theory being discussed, which is followed by a story of real child development, then an analysis of that story through the theorist’s lens. The children in the stories attend Crystal’s Creative Kids, a home-based program owned and operated by Crystal and Jason Devlin. These stories and the photographs share their experiences of friendship, conflict, negotiation, and learning in their relationships with the children in their thoughtful and responsive program. We wrote the sto- ries based on conversations with Crystal and her observational notes and photographs. The discussion of each theory concludes with action pages that provide helpful ideas to guide you in your work with children and put the theories into practice. Parts 2, 3, and 4 each end with a conclusion of the developmental domain and an example story to further your analytical skills. The example stories are designed to help you practice analyzing children’s play based on theory. Throughout each part of the text, the foundation has been laid for you about theory and developmental domain, and the connection between story and theory has been made visible. The concluding exercise is an opportunity to reflect and further your thinking by putting theory into prac- tice and articulating the connection between the two. Part 5: A Professional Learning Story The final chapter chronicles Crystal’s growth as an early childhood educa- tor. Crystal began her educational journey while in college, working full- time and embracing her roles as a mother and wife. As she gained a deep understanding about child development theoretical foundations, Crystal was able to facilitate children’s growth in a significant way. We find her COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL   7 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 8     Introduction journey inspiring and empowering, as she transformed her teaching prac- tices, environment, and curriculum based upon her research and knowledge of child development theories. Today Crystal is able to clearly articulate her foundational philosophy of education. Her journey provides inspiration for educators who desire to be a force of change in ECE. Our Hopes for You We hope this book helps you to develop a solid understanding of early learn- ing theories. Knowing the theories is essential since they offer teachers a reflective perspective and a way to respond to children’s thinking and ideas. Early learning theories strengthen the decisions teachers make about how to support children’s learning within a theoretical framework. While know- ing theory is one component of being an effective teacher, educators also need to be able to apply their knowledge of theory to real-life situations. Throughout this book, we hope the theories will help you gain understand- ing of how children learn and grow and guide you in supporting children’s development. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Part 1 The Theories as a Framework to Support Children C hild development theory gives educators a foundation of how chil- dren grow and develop socially, emotionally, cognitively, and phys- ically. Theories help explain how children think and learn, develop motor skills, make friends and work with others, and gain self-esteem and a sense of identity. Each theory highlights specific behaviors and abilities that help early childhood educators know what to look for as they work with children. These aspects help teachers identify what is happening with a child and determine ways to support children’s learning and development. Teachers of young children must have the knowledge, skills, and dispo- sitions that inform their practices about how children grow, develop, and learn. Many individuals enter the field with the idea that loving to work with children is all that is necessary to be a good teacher. But to fully under- stand and make informed decisions about children, teachers need to have a strong understanding of child development theories. Why are theories so necessary? Theories provide ideas, principles, and strategies that apply to working with children. Theories offer context to analyze and interpret children’s behav- ior coherently and bring together different facts in a way that is meaningful and makes sense. Knowing the theories is having power to make informed deci- sions that influence children’s lives. Theories provide a comprehensive way to organize and reflect on observations of children. 9 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 10     Part 1 Theories allow relationships to be established and implications to be explored between collected facts. Theories increase curiosity and move educators to further reflect, question, and research their own practices. Think of the theories as a woven tapestry that creates a solid base to inform the work you perform with children. Each theory serves a func- tion and offers a different view of how children grow and develop. Theory inspires the use of research-based teaching strategies and the creation of new and innovative perspectives. To better understand the theories, it is crucial to take a closer look at how each theory demonstrates and supports development. Exploring Multiple Theories Even though many of the theories include specific developmental stages, it is important to point out that these stages are not static and should not be used to assess deficits. They instead offer a view of multiple possibilities into the way children grow and develop. For instance, recognizing that trust is something that is built throughout the life span and not just a stage in the first year of life opens further possibilities and applications of Erikson’s theory. Theories do not function in isolation. The theories in this book share commonalities and challenge the discrepancies in each theorist’s thoughts and principles. Each one offers an important contribution to your work with young children, and thus the theories need to be fully integrated as a framework for the decisions you make in your work with children. Jean Piaget (1896–1980) In Plain View: Piaget’s Theory Defined P iaget is regarded as an influential researcher and theorist in the field of developmental psychology and in the study of human intel- ligence. Piaget focused his research on how children’s minds work and develop. He spent much of his professional life listening to and observ- ing children and then analyzing his resulting data. Piaget’s cognitive COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET The Theories as a Framework to Support Children  Sensorimotor (birth to two years old): Children use their senses and motor skills (for example, sucking and grasping) to gain information about the world around them. Preoperational (three to seven years old): The ability to learn through symbols (language and mental representations of thought) is developed. Children use interactions with meaning- ful experiences to acquire knowledge that can be integrated into previous information. Children are egocentric. Concrete Operational (seven to eleven or twelve years old): Children have the ability to think logically about direct experiences and perceptions. Their thinking is restricted to what they can per- sonally see, touch, and hear. Formal Operational (eleven or twelve years old through adulthood): Adolescents and adults have the ability to think abstractly and reason analytically. They can be logical about things they have never experienced. Piaget suggests that children have their own unique way of thinking that differs from that of an adult. The terms that follow are from Piaget. They explain the cognitive processes that allow children to move from one cognitive stage to the next. They also apply to how adults incorporate new information into existing knowledge. Adaptation is the process that happens any time new information or a new experience occurs. Adaptation takes two forms, assimilation and accommodation: Assimilation occurs when a person tries to make new information or a new experience fit into his existing concepts. Accommodation occurs when a person has to modify or enlarge her usual ways of thinking (or her schemas) in order to take in new information. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Piaget development theory reveals that children spend time making sense of the world around them through active involvement in meaningful activities. This theory emphasizes how children construct an understanding of the world around them and adapt their thinking based on what they know and through active engagement with the environment. Piaget’s theory is based on his understanding that children’s minds process new information as children move from one stage of thinking to the next through relevant play experiences. He proposes four stages of development:   11 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 12     Part 1 Equilibrium is the mental balance a person seeks between existing thought structures and new experiences. Disequilibrium is the lack of balance and confusion experienced when existing thought structures and a new experience do not fit exactly into what a person (previously) knows. Piaget understood that balance as described in the definition of equi- librium is accomplished through the assimilation and accommodation of conflicting experiences and perceptions. Assimilation, accommodation, and equilibrium occur, for example, when children visit a zoo. Aaron visits the aviary at the zoo and sees what he calls a “rainbow bird.” Even though he has not seen a green-cheeked Amazon parrot before, he incorporates or assimilates his observations into his existing knowledge about birds. Aaron knows the animal he sees has feathers, wings, and can fly—so it is a bird. He doesn’t know the name of the bird, but he sees the many colors and names it for himself. Samantha sees a koala bear and thinks it is a bear because the word bear is part of its name and because it has fur. Samantha is confused, however, as she sees the koala bear in a tree and not on the ground similar to other bears she has seen. She rejects the idea that a koala is a bear. She also rejects the idea that koalas are monkeys, as koalas do not chatter or swing from branch to branch. In doing so, Samantha extends or accom- modates her thinking about koala bears. She knows that koalas are animals and has been told that they are bears. She needs to change her thinking to accommodate this new species. She achieves equilibrium when her mental concept of the animal name “koala bear” matches her new knowledge of real koala bears. Organization is the mental process by which a person organizes experi- ences and information in relation to each other. This process allows a per- son to arrange existing ideas and adapt to new experiences in a way that is understandable, connected, and integrated. Schemas are concepts or mental representations of experiences that help a person adapt and organize his environment. Schemas help people orga- nize knowledge. Children use schemas to think or guide their behavior. For example, infants first learn about their environment through a suck- ing schema and a grasping schema—their methods for learning about the world affect the type of knowledge they can learn. A preschooler has a schema for a dog, friendship, or zipping her jacket. The schema structures develop and change with age and experience. Piaget recognizes that children are active makers of meaning and that they construct their own knowledge when engaged in meaningful and authentic problem-based learning. As ECE professors, we validate Piag- et’s view of children as scientists in search of knowledge. We want early COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET The Theories as a Framework to Support Children    13 childhood teachers to know and believe that children are indeed the “pro- tagonists” of their own learning, as shown in the following story. Constructing Knowledge The children discover a shiny object in the rock garden. This exciting find leads to a search for more “lost treasure” and a complex treasure hunt dramatization that goes on for days. The teachers offer pirate hats and eye patch props to enhance the children’s interest in becoming pirates in search of “the biggest hidden trea- sure ever found.” The children use shovels to bury treasure (small, gold-painted stones), cover them with dirt, and then immediately dig them up. They read pic- ture books about pirates and stories about hidden treasures and compare their own ideas to those presented in the stories. Bella thinks pirates bury treasure to keep it safe while Alex believes they bury it to keep bad guys from finding it. An argument occurs about the best place to bury treasure in the yard to keep it safe. Alex thinks behind the tree is best, but Alina believes inside the playhouse is safer. Alina: You have to have a map so you know where to find it (the treasure), like in the book. As the focus turns toward maps, the teachers offer real maps to support the chil- dren’s thinking and help them create their own treasure maps based on their theories and assumptions. Bella insists on making an “X” to show where to find the treasure. Alina: It’s called “X marks the spot.” The teachers bury a treasure that the children then find in excitement. Making Piaget’s Theory Visible in Play Throughout the pirate play sequence, the children negotiate, argue, and test new ideas and hypotheses. They learn about mapmaking, giving clues, the COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Piaget Going on a Treasure Hunt, Argh DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 14     Part 1 various treasures found by treasure hunters, and the tools treasure hunt- ers used to accomplish their discoveries. The children build relationships, solve problems, and make sense of the world around them. Piaget recognizes the capacity human beings have to gather informa- tion from external events and make them fit into previously acquired men- tal structures. This is seen in the way children manipulate the real maps to create their own treasure maps. Piaget views this process as a fluid one. In other words, new information is constantly adapted into previous knowl- edge. Knowledge continuously changes based on the information provided by a changing environment. As the teachers respond to children’s ideas by adding new materials to make maps, they support the children’s abilities to accommodate new information into existing knowledge. Piaget connects developmental growth to the important interactions children have with peers and other adults. He argues that children con- struct knowledge as they interact with people, places, and objects in their daily life. The children in the story have a schema about pirates and buried treasure. They accommodate their “pirate schema” to fit the new informa- tion they learn about pirates from the books. The children reach a reso- lution (equilibrium) that treasure is buried to keep it safe from bad guys; however, they experience confusion or disequilibrium about where pirates bury treasure. One thing they discover is that pirates use treasure maps, and there is agreement that a map needs to be used to find the buried trea- sure. As the children pretend to be pirates, they demonstrate how Piaget’s theoretical model maps out their own development—social-emotional, cognitive, and physical. Erik Erikson (1902–1994) In Plain View: Erikson’s Theory Defined E rikson was a pioneering psychoanalyst who introduced psychosocial development theory, which addresses the importance of mastering specific tasks in order to achieve success at later stages of develop- ment. In this theory, eight stages of development unfold as children and adults go through life (Erikson 1963). At each stage, a major conflict exists. For healthy development to occur, an individual is challenged to success- fully negotiate the crisis or achieve a balance between two extremes. Erik- COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET The Theories as a Framework to Support Children    15 son hypothesizes that if a crisis is not positively resolved, later problems will result in life. For example, if an infant does not develop a strong sense of trust, he will have problems trusting others as he moves through future stages. The first four stages are especially important as they describe unique social-emotional developmental tasks that occur in the life of the infant and young child. They are: The next four stages cover the span between adolescence and late adult- hood (old age). These stages are: identity versus role confusion, intimacy versus isolation, generativity versus self-absorption, and integrity versus despair. In this book we focus on the first four stages as the significant stages in young children’s development. Identity is another major aspect of Erikson’s theory. Erikson addresses how a child develops a sense of identity, which is the ability to define one- self as a unique person with a sense of self. Erikson defines identity as the primary task of adolescence as an individual attempts to develop a moral, religious, and sexual identity separate from others. However, he discusses the beginnings of identity in childhood. A basic sense of ego (which means “self ”) identity is provided when an infant receives continuity, consis- COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Erikson Trust versus mistrust (birth to twelve months): During the first year, infants are busy building trusting relationships with the adults that care for them. Infants begin to develop a sense of their iden- tity or who they are as the adult caregivers respond to them. Autonomy versus shame and doubt (one to three years): As toddlers, children become social beings and productive learners, gain a sense of self, and learn to master skills themselves. During this time, a sense of independence is obtained. Children establish their ability to be independent and express their own free will, ideas, desires, and abilities—against or separate from their elders and leaders. Initiative versus guilt (three to six years): During the play years, children take initiative through purposeful self-initiated play and gain a strong sense of accomplishment. Children develop a sense of self that allows them to express their ideas and think- ing. They begin to take ownership of “who they are” and what they choose to do, both individually and as a member of a group. Industry versus inferiority (six to eleven years): During the school- age years, children learn to be capable and productive. Children master new skills that help them gain confidence and compe- tence in their own abilities. DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 16     Part 1 tency, and sameness of experience. Erikson stresses that emerging iden- tity bridges the stages of childhood: “Identity gains real strength only from wholehearted and consistent recognition of real accomplishment—i.e., of achievement that has meaning in the culture” (Erikson 1963, 235–236). This means that both culture and genuine acknowledgment from others have a strong influence on a person’s identity. Oh, How the Wind Blows Mastering Challenges As the children walk outside near the air conditioning unit they notice air blowing from it. Colter stops and puts his face close. He laughs when his hair blows with the air’s force from the unit. Attracted by the sound of his laughter, other children approach him. They start to get close and let the air blow on their faces and hair. Colter picks up a leaf from the ground and releases it in front of the unit. The leaf swirls away from the air’s power. Teacher Crystal approaches the children. Colter: Wind, Crystal, wind. Crystal smiles at Colter’s fascination. Crystal: What else can the wind blow? The children begin to bring different items and watch mesmerized as some objects float in the air and others drop to the ground. Colter runs inside and returns with a feather. He tests to make sure that it too floats in the wind. After observing the children’s interest in how certain items float with the wind, Crystal researches different opportunities for them to explore. She gives the children various objects to blow on using straws. The children test different ways to make objects move with their blowing. The children: Which blows farther, a balloon or Ping-Pong ball? Ryder: Oh, that is how the wind blows. As the children’s interest continues, Crystal sets up a hair dryer to blow Ping- Pong balls. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET The Theories as a Framework to Support Children    17 Making Erikson’s Theory Visible in Play Lev Vygotsky (1896–1934) In Plain View: Vygotsky’s Theory Defined V ygotsky was an educational psychologist who introduced socio- cultural theory. This theory asserts that children’s cognitive, lan- guage, and social development is enhanced by their social-cultural environment. Vygotsky believes everyone has a culture and what and how children learn is determined by their culture. He calls language and sym- bols “cultural tools” that help people succeed at particular goals just as physical tools do. Tools such as language, signs, symbols, numbers, and pictures serve the purpose of supporting children in expressing their feel- ings, needs, and ideas as they navigate their social environment. In various cultures, specific words are used in speech and particular symbols are used for written print and numbers—what is the same across cultures is that they all use these cultural tools (words and symbols) to accomplish tasks. Central to Vygotsky’s theory are the beliefs that children construct knowl- edge, that language plays a central role in children’s development, and that development cannot be separated from its social, cultural context. Children construct knowledge through active engagement and social interaction using their cultural tools. This means that children need COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Vygotsky As the children discover how the wind affects different items in the envi- ronment, they demonstrate autonomy of thinking. They have developed enough trust in themselves and others that they are free to explore multiple possibilities without the fear of criticism. They demonstrate initiative as they find new objects to both generate wind and to be moved by the wind. As they take the initiative in their play, the children are asserting power and control over the environment that surrounds them. With the support of Crystal and the other teachers, the children are planning experiences that allow them to test their ideas and thinking as they blow on a variety of objects using straws. While they play, they are able to test the limits of their own hypotheses about how different objects move in the wind. In this way, children begin to feel that their self-initiated efforts lead to a sense of purpose and success. The children in this story are gaining trust, becoming autonomous, and demonstrating initiative as defined by Erikson’s theory. DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 18     Part 1 hands-on experiences in order to construct their own understanding along with teachers who provide support. Consider four-year-old Harold, who finds pinecones on the ground during a nature hike. If his teacher points out the various types of pinecones by tree name, Harold will form a different concept than another child whose teacher points out the sizes of the cones. Vygotsky emphasizes the social context of learning and development. According to his theory, cognitive development is always socially mediated. This means the construction of a person’s thought processes—including remembering, problem solving, and critical thinking—are influenced by social interactions. Two of the main principles of Vygotsky’s work that show the social nature of learning include the “more knowledgeable other” and the “zone of proximal development” (ZPD). The more knowledgeable other is someone who is more skilled or expe- rienced than the learner when it comes to a particular task, process, or con- cept. This person—who may be an adult or peer—adjusts the amount of guidance needed to support a child’s potential level of performance. The more knowledgeable other provides more assistance when the child is chal- lenged and less assistance as the child masters the task. This concept is known as scaffolding, although Vygotsky never used the term. The ZPD is a concept Vygotsky (1978) defines as the distance between the most difficult task a child can accomplish alone and the most difficult task that he can accomplish with help. For example, a preschooler who struggles to put a jigsaw puzzle together alone may be successful with a little guidance from another child or teacher who suggests separating the edge pieces from the inside pieces. The influence of play on development is an important component of Vygotsky’s theory. He thinks play supports the whole child, including children’s emotional, social, and cognitive development. According to Vygotsky, real play consists of dramatic or make-believe play and contains three aspects: “children create an imaginary situation, take on and act out roles, and follow a set of rules determined by specific roles” (Bodrova and Leong 2007, 129). There are specific rules of behavior to follow as a child assumes a role in dramatic play. For example, when a child pretends to be a firefighter, there are definite rules about how to behave that differ from pretending to be a dog. Vygotsky maintains that a child gains self-restraint, or the beginning of self-regulation, by taking on these roles in dramatic play. Vygotsky believes that not only does play support the development of self-regulation, but it facilitates a ZPD for cognitive skills and assists children in separating thought from objects and actions (thinking inde- pendently from what she perceives). COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET The Theories as a Framework to Support Children    19 Vygotsky’s theory reveals the importance of play as the main process in which children learn. As ECE professors, we want early childhood teachers to recognize the importance of powerful relationships and to build environ- ments that cherish each voice, including their own. How We Take Care of Baby The Social Context of Learning There are many new baby siblings in the program, and the children are very curi- that when parents drop off the babies, they carry them in their arms or use dif- ferent slings and “kangaroo” carriers. The children have also been observing how Teacher Crystal feeds the babies every day, and they spend time imitating her. They ask many questions and their curiosity engages them in a small-group inves- tigation about baby carriers as well as the feeding and caring of babies. To respond to the children’s interest, the teachers collect a variety of baby carriers and place them in the environment. They make sure to include certain types of carriers used by the families in their program, such as rebozos, mei tai wraps, and slings. The teachers also place in the environment photos and books representing families in their program caring for infants. They place baby bottles in the dramatic play area and incorporate more blankets for the children to use. The children feed the dolls and then rock and sing them to sleep. Bella gently pats her doll on its back and is heard saying, “There, there. It’s okay. I’ll sing you to sleep.” She softly sings “Rock-a-Bye, Baby” to comfort her doll. Later the children test the carriers and spend time placing their dolls in them. The children are particularly interested in the rebozos and slings used to wrap babies on an adult’s back. The children use the baby carriers to transport their dolls while they paint, build with blocks, and play outdoors. Teacher Monéa helps Bella secure a doll to Bella’s back. Alina watches Monéa’s instruction and uses a scarf to wrap a doll to her own back without assistance. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Vygotsky ous about how various families take care of babies. The children have noticed DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 20     Part 1 Making Vygotsky’s Theory Visible in Play Vygotsky’s sociocultural theory offers a view into the connections between people and the sociocultural context in which they live, using their cultural tools. In this story, the cultural tools of books, pictures, and language are used to support children’s caregiving learning. By selecting specific books about caring for babies (which have the cultural tool of print) and incorpo- rating family photos into the environment, the teachers increase the chil- dren’s curiosity and offer them a way to compare and contrast the families in the program. The children also gain knowledge about caring for babies by talking and listening to others’ ideas (using the cultural tool of language). The teachers offer children opportunities to talk about what their families use to carry infants, and they provide experiences for the children to explore the carriers and incorporate dolls in their play. This also helps to strengthen the children’s relationships with their own baby siblings. Through dramatic play, the children create an imaginary scenario of taking on and acting out the role of caregiver. They follow specific caregiver behavior by feeding their dolls with the baby bottles and then rocking and singing to the dolls in an effort to comfort them. The children follow other rules of caregiver behavior, such as keeping their dolls close to them and transporting them in carriers. These caregiver actions highlight Vygotsky’s concept of play, which includes acting in specific ways that correspond with the role of caregiver the children are playing. Vygotsky’s ZPD is seen as Alina observes and then copies Monéa’s instructions to wrap the doll with a rebozo. In this situation, Alina is learn- ing from Monéa, who is more experienced at wrapping fabric. The children will continue to learn about their world through relevant cultural tools and play, and will gain the ability to accomplish new tasks through the support and guidance of adults and more knowledgeable peers. Abraham Maslow (1908–1970) In Plain View: Maslow’s Theory Defined M aslow was a psychologist whose main contribution to psychol- ogy was his hierarchy of needs. This is a motivational theory that looks at the needs humans have and how individuals behave to satisfy those needs. In other words, it asks: What motivates people or puts them into action toward trying to fulfill their needs? Maslow focused his COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET The Theories as a Framework to Support Children  physiological needs: air, water, and food for survival, as well as clothing and shelter for protection from the elements safety needs: being able to trust your environment, including adults and peers; protection, stability, and order love and belonging needs: family affection, relationships, and peers’ friendship esteem needs: self-esteem, confidence, achievement, responsibility, mastery, independence, respect of others, and respect by others self-actualization needs: realizing personal potential, creativity, spontaneity, self-fulfillment, lack of prejudice, morality, and acceptance of facts; and seeking personal growth and problem solving In addition to his basic hierarchy, Maslow also discusses the signifi- cance of cognitive and the aesthetic needs. Cognitive needs are the desires to know and to understand. They initially are seen in late infancy and childhood and include impulses to satisfy curi- osity, to know, to explain, and to understand (Maslow 1987). Maslow states that children are naturally curious, fascinated, and absorbed. He believes cognitive needs are closely tied to basic needs since the desire to know and understand is often just as urgent as other “basic” needs. Maslow asserts that children are ready to learn and will learn when their basic needs are met. Aesthetic needs include a desire for beauty, order, and symmetry. Maslow believes a craving for beauty “is seen almost universally in healthy children” COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Maslow work on a humanistic approach to the education of young children. He first introduced the “hierarchy of needs” in 1954 and continued to develop them as a way to explain the importance of the steps required for a person to achieve self-actualization, or reach her fullest potential (Maslow 1971). This hierarchy of needs is often represented in the form of a pyramid, with the largest and most fundamental levels of human needs at the bot- tom and the need for self-actualization at the top. The bottom two levels, physiological needs and safety needs, are called basic needs. These are the physical needs required to sustain life and essential psychological needs for security and safety. The top levels of love and belonging, self-esteem, and self-actualization, are called growth needs. As children satisfy the basic needs for food and shelter, they progress to a higher level in the pyramid where love, personal esteem, and acceptance take priority. This is what Maslow labels as gaining “self-actualization” or “self-fulfillment.” In other words, self-actualization is the human need to be the best that each of us can be. The following is an overview of the characteristics seen at each level of Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs:   21 DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET 22     Part 1 (Maslow 1987, 25). Maslow (1971) is a proponent of education that fosters individuals who are creative, inventive, courageous, and independent, and he sees art education as a way to develop those characteristics. He writes, “If we hope for our children that they will become full human beings, and that they will move toward actualizing the potentialities that they have, then, as nearly as I can make out, the only kind of education in existence today that has any faint inkling of such goals is art education” (Maslow 1971, 55). In fact, he proposes that the concepts of creativeness and a self-actu- alizing person were much the same thing (Maslow 1971). Maslow believes humans need to think divergently in order to live in a constantly changing world, and art education is a means to develop critical-thinking skills. He emphasizes the importance in creative work of process over a final product. Maslow provides early childhood teachers with a framework that builds on meeting children’s needs to help them gain self-actualization. As ECE professors, we want to validate his work and introduce his contribution of creativity development. Maslow’s work supports the creative process as an essential component in gaining self-actualization. We value creativity as another important developmental domain that has to be nurtured and supported. We want teachers of young children to find their own creativity and to create environments that offer hope and respect for every member of the community. My Body Is a Canvas Advancing Creativity Colter enjoys art and finds opportunities to engage in using a variety of materials and media to create his “masterpieces.” He seems most interested in the movement of the tools he uses and the sensory aspect of feel- ing various textures as he experiments by painting with his hands and feet. His delight is evident in his smiles and laughter as he makes short, thick, sweep- ing brushstrokes on cardboard and random scribbles with markers on easel paper. He works on little and large canvases, from a small piece of paper to a large piece of cardboard placed against the fence. Lately Colter has discovered a new canvas: his own body! The blue paint is spread all around his mouth as if he is putting on lipstick. The teachers enjoy watching COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET The Theories as a Framework to Support Children    23 every new creation and research different possibilities for Colter to experiment and paint with. They anticipate with excitement his daily prize showpiece! Making Maslow’s Theory Visible in Play COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL Maslow Maslow argues that creativity is developed through the arts. The story illustrates how the teachers support children’s creativity at each level of Maslow’s hierarchy. When teachers focus their energy on motivating chil- dren to be creative and to recognize their own power and abilities, they are encouraging children to achieve self-actualization. At Crystal’s Creative Kids, art is an important part of everyday experi­ ences. Opportunities to engage in art are present throughout the environ- ment. Multiple chances are offered for children to express their ideas and to think through the use of the visual arts. The teachers design the environ- ment, offer art experiences, and provide support for Colter to fulfill fun- damental levels of his human needs and move to higher levels of Maslow’s hierarchy. Although not stated in the story, Colter’s basic needs for food and shelter are provided through the center’s physical structure and meals prepared by Crystal. The environment is arranged so that Colter can paint in a safe, protected area without fear of criticism, thus supporting his need for safety. The children trust the environment, but more importantly, they trust themselves. They know they can experiment freely and that their work will be valued. They know they are free to make choices and use their bodies as canvases. Colter’s need for love and belonging are supported as the teachers recognize, encourage, and value his creativity. They provide time, space, and materials for creative expression and support the creative process by offering new art opportunities that are free of preconceived messages. Through his smiles and laughter as he paints, it is evident that Colter’s esteem needs are being met. These are also signs that he feels com- petent, confident, and assured in his ability to paint on different surfaces. Maslow defines self-actualization as an ongoing process in which the goal is gaining full conscious awareness and full use of one’s own abilities (Maslow 1971). Maslow argues that children benefit from multiple opportu- nities to engage with meaningful materials and interactions. This is demon- strated in the story “My Body Is a Canvas.” Colter engages in exploration with his body, and the teachers offer him support and encouragement. Col- ter’s spontaneous enjoyment demonstrates Maslow’s theory that creativity is a process that promotes self-actualization. DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM WITH PHONE OR TABLET Early Childhood Education / Theory iscover the early learning theories that support intriguing environments, meaningful activities, and children who are joyful in their explorations. This book provides a blueprint for learning to understand the work and theories of Jean Piaget, Erik Erikson, Lev Vygotsky, Abraham Maslow, John Dewey, Howard Gardner, and Louise Derman-Sparks and for applying that understanding to your work with children. Each viewpoint supports different aspects of early development—varying perspectives that offer a diverse, comprehensive view of the whole child. With a solid understanding of each theory you can better engage with children and respond to their interests in more meaningful ways. Each theoretical model is defined in relation to children’s social-emotional, cognitive, and physical development and presented with classroom stories that illustrate the theory. “Each theory and action is explained through the major domains of development, giving ECE professionals clear direction for understanding sometimes difficult theoretical constructs. Even though I have read all of these theorists, I don’t think I really understood how some of the theories could be utilized in an early childhood setting until I read this book. This is must reading for ECE teachers and directors, and for resource and referral coaches and mentors.” —M ichael O lenick , P h D, P resident and CEO of C hild C are R esource C enter of C alifornia Photo credit: Jenna Daly Lisa Daly, MA, and Miriam Beloglovsky, MA, have been teachers of, and advocates for, early childhood education for more than 25 years. Both are currently professors in Northern California working to transform teaching with meaningful, intentional experiences. In work and life, Lisa and Miriam are passionate about utilizing play, creativity, and community building. This shared passion also led them to co-author the book, Loose Parts: Inspiring Play in Young Children. ISBN 978-1-60554-236-2 COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL $39.95