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DOUBLE TAP TO ZOOM ON PHONE OR TABLET Introduction The purpose of this book is to make your job easier by helping you be more efficient and effec- tive. I hope this book will give you skills and confidence to do what you know is necessary and right so your classroom is a fabulous place for children—and for you and your coworkers—to be nurtured, to learn, and to grow. Know and follow the policies and procedures your program has in place. If some of those policies and procedures limit your ability to help the children and their families thrive, work toward amending them in a helpful and positive way. Use this book as a resource and be open and clear with your supervisor and coworkers about what you want to change and why. If you work in a facility licensed by your state, you must abide by the state’s regulations—even if they are more stringent than the recommendations in this book. This book approaches issues from the perspective of problems, but I think that it is opti- mistic. You will find that there are potentially many positive solutions to even the trickiest of problems. We will never eliminate all the problems in early childhood education. That’s not my goal. Instead, I hope to help you reduce and manage them so your work with young children and families will be overwhelmingly positive. When things are going well, no job on earth is more fun, more rewarding, and more important to society than teaching and caring for young children. I have tried to make this book helpful to all early childhood teachers wherever they work. I have tried to be relevant to all programs no matter their funding source (public, private, religious affiliated, and so on), their structure (full-day, half-day, or other), the curriculum they use (such as Montessori, Creative Curriculum, Reggio Emilia, or High/Scope), where they take place (whether in a center, school, church, home, or under a tree), or whether they are called child care, day care, preschool, nursery school, school, Head Start, pre-K, or kinder garten. In reality, excellent programs for young children have many more similarities than differences. In every one of the categories listed above, there are examples of superb teach- ing, very low-quality teaching, and everything in between. All good teachers are similar in many ways—they are intentional, creative, reflective, responsive; they individualize and have caring, positive relationships with children—but they all use different emphases, styles, strengths, and talents in their work. This book helps you solve problems while encouraging you to cultivate and assert your own style. I wrote this book for both experienced and new teachers, for teachers with formal edu- cation and for teachers without. I assume that all my readers are intelligent, capable, quick learners and people who care deeply. For the new or not formally trained teacher, I have strived to be clear, concise, and free of jargon. I have focused on the basic, most vital advice and in- formation, which is based on my forty years of experience in the field and on current and re- spected theory and research. You can learn more about every topic from the resources and the references listed at the end of the book. Because the Internet has put a world of information at our fingertips, the primary skills we need now in order to learn something new has shifted from finding information to sorting the good information from the bad and the useful from the useless. So I have tried to find a few key web-based resources that are good (accurate, in- sightful, and thorough), useful (relevant to our work and with practical implications), and, in many cases, enjoyable, particularly the blogs. There is a brief description of each website and they are organized into broad categories alphabetically by topic, from advocacy to testing. COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL • 1