This review by Barbara Isaacs appeared in issue 121, Spring 2017 Montessori International, and were absolutely delighted to receive it. It is always so lovely when one of our older books get attention like this – thank you!
It is hard to believe that this book is now ten years old; it offers much wisdom and deep insights into children’s learning and development in the first seven years of life. It primarily follows the Waldorf Steiner approach to children’s development whilst offering practical insights into children’s learning, and clearly explains the stages of the child’s development and the importance of family and other relationships as the child grows in independence and capacity to play and learn with others.
Each chapter offers a very useful checklist of key points discussed and practical considerations. For this reason and its very accessible style it is eminently suited for sharing with parents. The individual chapters would serve well as a focus for staff meeting discussions where both more experienced and newly qualified staff would be given an opportunity to reflect on their content.
The book includes a really interesting chapter on storytelling which is one of the key strategies of the Steiner early years pedagogy. It also considers how boys and girls learn and provides a view on the use of computers – it is interesting to read the 1999 and 1997 passages from newspaper articles which the authors have chosen to share with readers and consider how far and fast we have moved in the last twenty years.
The question of school readiness is now on the political agenda and practitioners know that many children would benefit from spending their early years foundation stage years in the nursery rather than experience the final year of this important developmental stage in the reception class of a primary school. This book will equip you with a sound rationale for children’s continued nursery experience, even though you may not agree with all the arguments presented in its pages.
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