We each view the world through our own unique lenses. There’s nothing wrong with that, it’s just the product of who we are, where we’ve been, and what we experience. Through all of that, we then filter how we perceive the world.
The only problem comes when we aren’t willing to recognize the uniqueness of our lenses, or to try looking through another’s pair.
One area where perspective is paramount, is in the way we view (and therefore approach) childhood.
Emily Plank, a talented early childhood professional, has introduced a new book to challenge us all to put on a new pair of spectacles and enter the world of childhood to see it in a way we may never have before.
Emily’s book, Discovering the Culture of Childhood* (*affiliate link), has been called “brilliant” by none other than psychologist and play advocate Dr. Peter Gray. Early Childhood consultant and author, Jenna Bilmes says, “Regardless of how long you have been working with young children, you’ll experience many “aha” moments that will stay with you long after you have put this book down.”
And it’s the Not Just Cute Read Along book for 2017.
You’ll get more information soon about the read along schedule, and the exciting opportunities for discussion I have planned with the author, Emily Plank, but for now, snatch up your copies (go ahead, read a bit!) or put the title on your wish list so you’ll be ready to go! (Amazon currently has it discounted at this affiliate link.)
Emily’s a world traveler, who currently lives in Switzerland with her husband and three children. Writing about her inspiration for this book, she said:
My new challenge, and the focus of this book, is to illuminate the unnamed cross-cultural relationship that exists between adults and children. In my work as an early childhood educator, I notice striking similarities between my experiences with young children and my time spent traveling. We — the adults who are charged with caring for young children — often lack the resources to truly understand the behavior of young children. Just as I assumed Germans were somehow Americans with a different language, so do adults often tacitly assume children are mini versions of themselves. We hold children to adult standards of acting — such as being quiet, still, or tidy, or watching where they are going — without stopping to examine the reasons why adult standards are the yardstick that defines all human behavior…..Mislabeling children’s actions because of our own misunderstanding carries weighty repercussions, and as we learn to view childhood as a separate culture, we will also develop new language to more accurately describe the behaviors we see.
…Alison Gopnik reflects that “children aren’t just defective adults, primitive grown-ups gradually attaining our perfection and complexity. Instead, children and adults are different forms of Homo sapiens. They have very different, though equally complex and powerful, minds, brains, and forms of consciousness, designed to serve different evolutionary functions”. In the way that Germans are not simply Americans in another location, children are not little adults. They don’t behave based on the same worldview. They operate within a culture entirely distinct and separate from adults, and therefore, we must develop a framework for understanding children in a way that respects them and their unique culture. Looking at childhood in this way holds incredible potential for transformative care.”
Read Along Podcasts and Posts
Follow along with the podcast interviews with the author, Emily Plank, by clicking on the section heading below. Submit your questions for her here, using “Read Along” in the subject field.
Chapter 7 & Conclusion + Reader Q&A
*Affiliate links. Purchases at Amazon.com using these links provides a small commission for Not Just Cute, at no additional cost to you.