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What IF Everybody Understood Child Development? by Rae Pica

Posted by on in Early Childhood
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 This is an A plus read for everybody wanting to make sense of early childhood education!

Simply said, Rae Pica walks the talk with plain language about what kiddos really need to survive and thrive in today's challenging STEM world. It's up to us to protect our littles and ensure each child is treated as a genius waiting to explore inner greatness.

whatifBookRae Pica promises straight talk about bettering children's education and lives, and she delivers! Every chapter is a single essay about the things that matter most to us. Twenty-nine outstanding topics tackle hot button issues of critical importance, such as recess, handwriting, homework, testing, etc. How timely!

We know that children learn best in developmentally appropriate ways. The demise of NCLB (No Child Left Behind) was long overdue. However, wagging tongues and pointing fingers do not fix things. We have tremendous opportunity right now to raise our voices about what kids are really like and how to best reach and teach them.

Kudos to Rae Pica for reinfocing that play is the best learning ever. Making school so challenging that recesses are cut or eliminated, scores are what matter, with pianos and rhythm sticks replaced by Data Walls, is just wrong. Rae just states the facts, research-based, practical and worthy of our notice. Everything is backed up and so obvious you just shake your head in agreement.

I read the book in one sitting. In fact I coudn't put it down. Loaded with timely hot topics, it reinforced we're all thinking the same things, but Rae Pica put it together for us, such generosity.

I love the book's easy-to follow format. Each chapter is an important essay, standing on its own, with helpful concluding how-to, and where to learn more, for teachers and parents. Can't beat that. In only a few pages per topic we learn or validate our thoughts about practices regarding keyboarding, time-outs, movement, competition and more. 

Rae Pica knows what she is talking about. She cites experts, offers great reference materials and real life stories and interviews which illuminate her beliefs. For readers, the simplicity and eloquence of her articles underscore her vast knowledge base and practical experience. 

I read this book cover to cover, in one sitting, as I said. I was fascinated that my beliefs about teaching children were so clearly in line with Rae's thinking. I know you will feel the same way, too. 

I could write about every single chapter, which is what I intended to do, but instead, read this book, share it with others and swing this pendulum back to commonsense teaching and learning. Kids are not scores. Teachers are dedicated and deserve our praise and support. I am not sure what schools of the future will look like. I do know that kids are kids and great teachers can teach with an iPad or slate. It really doesn't matter as long as we teach the way kids learn best- differently. Thanks, Rae. This holiday gift keeps on giving!



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Modeling the art and craft of teaching reading for 47 years, Mrs. Wirtz taught language arts, speech and reading at all levels preschool-adult, including penal. She served as Pre-school and K-6 Principal. Rita was also a Curriculum Consultant, ESEA, Title I Program Evaluator and literacy trainer. At the university level she taught school administration in the Bilingual Cohort at CSUS and National University, Sacto. Mrs. Wirtz also taught all reading courses for Chapman University for many years in Sacramento and Placerville, Ca., and mentored student teachers. On the national level she was a well known motivational Keynote Speaker and Seminar Leader. Most importantly, Rita walked the talk, teaching with teachers in more than 500 K-12 and special needs classrooms. Rita authored books, publications, and Pre- YouTube, videos were filmed by San Diego County Office of Education. Calif. ASCD authored companion book guides, and Calif. school districts correlated her basic skills instruction with State Standards. Mrs. Wirtz' newest book is her memoir, Stories from a Teacher's Heart: Memoires of Love, Life, and Family. Rita is currently teaching in a multi-age, fully incuded preschool, ages 2-8. Find Mrs. Wirtz on Twitter @RitaWirtz, Facebook and on her website: www.ritawirtz.com.

  • Rae Pica | @raepica1
    Rae Pica | @raepica1 Monday, 14 December 2015

    Rita, thank you so much for this lovely review! I'm touched and honored!

  • Rita Wirtz |  @RitaWirtz
    Rita Wirtz | @RitaWirtz Thursday, 17 December 2015

    My pleasure, of course! You deserve the praise. You are praise-worthy! Warmly, Rita

  • Dawn Braa @dawnbraa
    Dawn Braa @dawnbraa Monday, 14 December 2015

    Yes, agreed! It is a fantastic, thought-provoking book. I loved it so much that, like you, I thought everyone should read it. Therefore, I created an online book study for that very purpose and brought in 15 more experts to dive into her book. They shared their insight and resources, but also inspired (and participated in) discussion! I'd love to invite everyone to participate in this online, self-paced, innovative book study about Rae's book What If Everybody Understood Child Development? http://blogs.dctc.edu/dawnbraa/2015/08/05/new-feature-beyond-the-pages-a-blog-book-study/

  • Rita Wirtz |  @RitaWirtz
    Rita Wirtz | @RitaWirtz Thursday, 17 December 2015

    Fantastic! I'll be checking this out. Great idea!

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