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What If We Taught the Way Children Learn?

What If We Taught the Way Children Learn?
More Straight Talk About Bettering Education and Children's Lives

July 2020 | 216 pages | Corwin

Strengthen the connection between child development and learning

We often teach our children in ways contrary to what we know about their development. What if our learning environments honored children’s natural inclinations and used them to enrich their lives? To help students experience joy and discovery, while also preparing them for future schooling, we need to understand the connection between how they develop and how they learn. Pica brings decades of experience in education to advocate for this change.  

Written as a follow-up to the bestselling What If Everybody Understood Child Development?, this book includes:

  • 31 easy-to-read chapters on topics including disruptive behavior, creativity, self-regulation, screen time, and mental health
  • Suggested next steps and resources in every chapter
  • Real-life examples from the author's and others’ experiences 
  • Evidence from brain science research
  • Easy-to-read format perfect for PLCs, book studies, and parents

The straight talk in this book inspires readers to generate change so that children can have the lives and education they deserve. 

Chapter 1: Giving Children the Positive Reinforcement They Want and Need

Chapter 2: Seven Reasons We’re Seeing More Challenging Behavior in Early Childhood Settings

Chapter 3: Commonsense Solutions to Behavior Challenges

Chapter 4: Disruptive Children: Are Drugging and Dismissing Them Our Only Options?

Chapter 5: Trouble-Free Transitions: They’re Possible If We Understand Child Development

Chapter 6: Fostering Self-Regulation in Early Childhood: Are We Doing It Wrong?

Chapter 7: Logical Consequences Shouldn’t Be the Norm

Chapter 8: Screen Use in the Classroom: Why It’s Cause for Concern

Chapter 9: Downtime: Necessary for Children’s Mental Health and 21st-Century Skills

Chapter 10: Making a Mess of Human Development: The Terrible Impact of Our Choices for Children

Chapter 11: This Just In: Young Children Don’t Get Enough Exercise

Chapter 12: The Link Between Movement and Challenging Behavior

Chapter 13: Teaching the Whole Child Means Addressing Physical Development, Too

Chapter 14: The Magic of Cross-Lateral Movement

Chapter 15: No Fine Motor Skills? What’s the Big Deal?

Chapter 16: Fidgety, Wiggly Kids: Here’s What’s You Need to Know

Chapter 17: Let’s Do Away with Crisscross-Applesauce

Chapter 18: Five Ways to Sneak Movement into the Curriculum

Chapter 19: “What Is That?”: How We Unwittingly Dampen Children’s Creative Development

Chapter 20: Beyond “One Right Answer”: How to Promote Children’s Thinking Skills

Chapter 21: Should We Be Talking About Sexism in Early Childhood Education?

Chapter 22: Teaching Children to Fear

Chapter 23: School Shootings: What Does Early Childhood Have to Do with Them?

Chapter 24: Life Lessons Learned from Lunchtime

Chapter 25: Children Are Losing Their Connection to Nature and the Consequences Are Real

Chapter 26: Who Are We Protecting When We Ban Children’s Activities?

Chapter 27: The Real Dangers of Childhood: How Do We Help People See Them?

Chapter 28: Shouldn’t School Safety Drills Be Implemented with the Children in Mind?

Chapter 29: Advocating for Children Can Be an Uphill Battle

Chapter 30: What If Early Childhood Professionals Pushed Back?

Chapter 31: ECE Advocacy: We Have the Numbers and the Tools

References and Resources

"Rae Pica’s powerful, thought-provoking book provides rare and uncommon sense. This should be mandatory reading for all new teachers. Our kids would be MUCH better off if we practiced the way that this book suggests we do, and so would the educators around them.”

Eric Jensen
Educational Consultant and Author of "Brain-Based Learning"

"There is a documented rise in challenging behaviors in classrooms and schools nationwide. We, as educators, are the 'front line.' We need to analyze our interactions with our students and work diligently to provide them with the most appropriate education possible. For our youngest learners, the importance of movement and play cannot be overlooked, minimized, or marginalized. This book helps to easily identify what is is occurring in classrooms today and provides meaningful, easy-to-implement ways to make necessary adjustments to address this crisis."

Cynthia C. Massey
Assistant Professor, Georgia Southern University

"I've been impatiently awaiting Rae Pica's new book since I finished her last one! Few people understand children, parents, and educators the way she does. Rae is a passionate advocate, courageous champion, and creative teacher and mentor, with the ability to convey her wisdom both clearly and persuasively. What If We Taught the Way Children Learn? We would have a world in which children and adults collaborate to shape a better tomorrow. This book belongs on the shelf of anyone who cares about what it means to be truly educated." 

Tom Hobson (Teacher Tom)
Author of "Teacher Tom's First Book" and "Teacher Tom's Second Book" and blogger at Teacher Tom's Blog

"Rae Pica’s simple yet powerful statement touched my heart: 'Children really aren’t complicated. All they want and need is you.' Anyone who has worked in an early childhood classroom over the past ten years can tell you that teaching today has become much more complicated, but it shouldn’t be that way and it doesn’t have to be. Rae has brilliantly designed each chapter of her book to clearly identify a specific challenge that is complicating the abilities of early educators to inspire and build on a young child’s natural love for learning. She gives her readers the why, what, and where: why the challenges in today’s classrooms are significantly more difficult; what can be done to make an immediate and positive difference inside the classroom; and where to find research-based resources that can be used to advocate for change in policies or false beliefs affecting today’s early childhood classrooms. What If We Taught the Way Children Learn will give early childhood teachers the confidence and support they need to have a voice regarding the issues that are complicating early learning in their classrooms. This is a must read and a brilliant resource for any early childhood educator who wants to make a genuine difference."

Deborah J. Stewart
Teach Preschool, LLC, IN

"I highly recommend this book as required reading for every teacher and preservice teacher (and parents too!) The topics discussed in this book make you take a step back and think about current teaching practices and why we do them."

Christine Ruder
Teacher, Truman Elementary School, MO

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