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Theories of Childhood: An Introduction to Dewey, Montessori, Erikson, Piaget & Vygotsky Paperback – November, 2000

4.6 out of 5 stars 44 customer reviews

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From the Back Cover

Discover the theories behind good child care practice.

Find solutions and guidance in your classroom today by learning about the theoretical foundations of early childhood care.  Theories of Childhood examines the work of five groundbreaking education theorists in relation to early childhood. 

Author Carol Garhart Mooney distills each theorist's work to reveal how it relates to child care and children.  She shows how John Dewey examined the qualities that make curriculum meaningful; Maria Montessori, the need for carefully prepared classroom environments; Erik Erikson, an approach to making children healthy and comfortable; Jean Piaget, our knowledge of children's thought processes; and Lev Vygotsky, the importance of teachers and peers in learning. 

Theories of Childhood is perfect for undergraduate programs, community college courses, and training workshops, or to help keep staff aware of the theories behind good child care practice.

--This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Carol Garhart Mooney has worked as a preschool teacher and college instructor for over 30 years. She currently serves as the child care services manager at Belknap-Merrimack Head Start and an instructor in early childhood education at the College of Lifelong Learning. She is also the author of Theories of Childhood.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Redleaf Press; 1 edition (November 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 188483485X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1884834851
  • Product Dimensions: 7 x 0.4 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 7.2 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #216,662 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book was short but to the point. It is a great starting point for new parents or teachers just starting out in the child care profession. It whets the appetite for further readingon the popular theorists. The layout was simple and easy to follow. One of the best things I liked about this book was that it had discussion questions and suggestions for further reading at the end of each chapter. I have used this book as a teaching tool during seminars where I work. I could see this book as a good supplemental teaching tool in the classroom. A perfect addition to the pre-school teacher's library.
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Format: Paperback
The worst thing I can say about this little book is that the title doesn't name Mooney's intended audience, which the reader quickly realizes is very specific: the teachers and guides of preschool and early-elementary aged children. But for that audience -- and, I would contend, also for the parents of infants and toddlers -- this is an excellent book. Mooney's purpose is to make the wisdom of these five theorists accessible to those who do not have time or interest to read dense, abstract theory, and I think she has succeeded admirably.

The introduction initially turned me off, as it begins with a rant about the evils of living in contemporary America -- apparently this is meant to show the reader how rational education and childcare are in extra need today. For me this is a throw-away argument: the basic ideas of the theories presented in this book would be extremely important to consider relative to raising children in any culture, time or place. There's no need to get on a soapbox about the "consumerism" and sundry "inequities" of our society.

The rest of the book completely won me over. The main text proceeds in five chapters covering some of the basic ideas of the five theorists named. The author had a difficult challenge in trying to introduce the reader to the complex theories of five extremely prolific thinkers (Piaget alone wrote 30 books) within less than 100 pages, and yet this book is an overwhelming success. This is because by narrowing down her intended audience and focusing on practical advice, Mooney can cover just the basic ideas from each theory that are especially relevant to early-childhood teachers.
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Format: Paperback
This book is an excellent introduction to the work of five major child development theorists: Dewey, Montessori, Erikson, Piaget, and Vygotsky. In the book's introduction, the author accurately describes the book as "a practitioner's manual as well as a college textbook" that is "a basic introduction . . . not intended to be academic or scholarly." While it may not be written with a "scholarly" tone, don't discount the worthiness or usefulness of this book for students in early childhood programs. Students will be pleased with this book's readability and its emphasis on linking theory to real-world practice.

Each chapter begins with a photo of the theorist, along with a brief biographical sketch of their life and work. Mooney then hits the high points of each theory, concentrating on those parts that apply to young children (for example, Piaget's sensorimotor and preoperational stages of cognitive development receive the most attention in the text, while concrete operations & formal operations are mentioned briefly). Each component of the theory is then discussed in terms of how it is put into practice. For example, Montessori's emphasis on child-centered environments is examined in regards to providing children with real, child-sized tools and furnishings, keeping materials & equipment accessible to children, & creating beautiful, orderly, well-planned spaces for children. Each chapter concludes with three discussion questions which are framed as real-life scenarios in early childhood classrooms, followed by suggestions for further reading.

This book is an excellent and highly recommended supplemental text. It is also useful in answering the often-asked student question, "Why do I need to know theory? What good will it do me in working with children?"
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am reading this to help me to teach my public- schooled kids more effectively when they are home. I read it fast. It's an easy read and very good. Thank you for writing this for me! It actually shows real life applications of the best of the discoveries about how kids learn best.
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I really liked this book, and I learned a ton from it. This book takes the theories of five different major contributors in the field--John Dewey, Maria Montessori, Erik Erikson, Jean Piaget, and Lev Vygotsky.

The book is a short 94 pages of content, and it dedicates one chapter to each of the five educators. I really liked this format, because it gives a great introduction.

I learned that all Montessori schools aren't connected, and that Maria Montessori was the one responsible for kids having child-sized tools, and I learned how developing object permanence is connected to kids being distraught when they leave their parents, from Erikson.

I also like the examples in the book. Each bad example is balanced by at least one good example, and the author admits where she messed up in the past, which I don't think I've ever seen with an academic. Kudos to you, Carol Mooney.

And, the introduction is actually readable. This is usually the sign of a great book. I usually suffer through introductions on books, but this one actually flew by.

Pros:
+The whole book, including the introduction, is very readable
+Excellent overview of some hard-to-compress subjects
+Made me think about a lot of stuff, and reconsider my beliefs on some things
+Written in conversational, first person, so it's easy to learn and remember

Cons:
-I didn't like the quote boxes on the sides of the book. I ended up just skipping over them. But they are a good way to get an overview of the whole book in about ten minutes.
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