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Scenes From Day Care: How Teachers Teach and What Children Learn.

Elizabeth Balliett Platt. New York. Teachers College Press, 1991. 119 pp. $16.95. This small book presents big ideas to readers who are interested in providing better, more appropriate child care. Platt sheds light on unique environments that have evolved, in recent years, into modern American child care. The author states that she did not intend to write a "how-to guide" to child care, but wanted to offer an in-depth discussion of specific examples of care practices that best serve young children.

Chapter 1 orients the reader to the design of the book. One of the most interesting features is the use of extensions at the end of each chapter, entitled "Other Voices." These sections add perspective to each chapter discussion and challenge the reader to think further into relevant issues and practices. Chapter 2, "The Day-Care Day," gives an overview of daily practices, physical environments and child care methods that foster children's sense of privacy, independence and autonomy. Chapter 3 discusses "Self-Control" from the perspective of adults and children. Platt acknowledges the "push-pull" relationship between adults and children as children develop self-control and autonomy and adults try to maintain a sense of order within a one-room environment.

Chapter 4 discusses the emotional expression that children exhibit through small or vigorous protests. Platt suggests that children should have the right to express themselves and teachers should provide a viable, authentic outlet for these protests. In Chapter 5, she encourages child caregivers and concerned adults to listen to what children communicate through crying. What are we teaching children during these crying instances? Suggestions for listening and sharing feelings are offered. Chapter 6 presents children's developmental patterns in social membership and place identity. Children should feel as though they belong to a group outside of the family unit, while maintaining a healthy sense of self-identity.

Early childhood caregivers have diverse responsibilities, challenging working conditions and emotionally demanding daily tasks. The author devoted Chapter 7 to discussions from a teacher's perspective. It would be helpful in the future to offer a "focus group" perspective, rather than that of a single teacher. The depth of thought and honesty in this excellent professional perspective, however, compensate for the methodological shortcoming. Chapter 8 provides a view of integrated curriculum through daily routines and appropriate teacher behavior. This text is an excellent resource for early childhood professionals who need a concise view of child care practices and how daily routines affect young children's development. Reviewed by Michael J. Bell, Assistant Professor, Early Childhood, University of North Texas, Denton
COPYRIGHT 1993 Association for Childhood Education International
No portion of this article can be reproduced without the express written permission from the copyright holder.
Copyright 1993, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

Article Details
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Author:Bell, Michael J.
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Jan 1, 1993
Words:421
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