You are here

What If Everybody Understood Child Development?

What If Everybody Understood Child Development?
Straight Talk About Bettering Education and Children's Lives

June 2015 | 160 pages | Corwin

Understand the connection between how kids grow and how they learn 

Rae Pica knows what she’s talking about. With over 35 years in the field of education, she’s realized that what’s missing from our approach to schooling is an understanding of the connection between how children develop and how they learn. In this collection, Pica keeps children front and center as she provides thought-provoking commentary and actionable insights on topics such as the Common Core, the self-esteem movement, and standardized testing. You’ll find

  • 29 short essays on topics critical to best practice in child development and education
  • Opinions of experts supported by research and anecdotal evidence
  • Real-life stories shared by teachers and parents
  • References to related articles and interviews with experts 

With its unflinching look at well-meaning initiatives that may be holding students back, this pocket-sized powerhouse of educational philosophy is sure to inspire discussion about our schools. 

About the Author
Part I. Understanding Children
1. All Children Are Not the Same
2. The Earlier the Better?
3. The Power of Joy
4. Bubble Wrapping Not Required
5. When Did a Hug Become a Bad Thing?
6. Teaching Girls They’re More Than a Pretty Face
7. Doing Away With the “Baby Stuff”
8. “But Competition Is Human Nature”
9. Terrorist Tots?
Part II. Understanding the Mind/Body Connection
10. The Myth of the Brain/Body Dichotomy
11. Why Does Sitting Still Equal Learning?
12. In Defense of Active Learning
13. “Play” Is Not a Four-Letter Word
14. The Body Matters, Too
15. Reading, Writing, ’Rithmetic . . . and Recess
16. Why Kids Need “Gym”
Part III. Understanding Developmentally Appropriate Practice
17. In Defense of Authentic Learning
18. Who Should Lead the Learning?
19. The Trouble With Testing
20. Failure Is an Option
21. Should We Teach Handwriting in the Digital Age?
22. Just Say “No” to Keyboarding in Kindergarten
23. iPads or Play-Doh?
24. The Homework Debate
25. In Defense of the Arts
26. No More “Good Job!”
27. Bribes and Threats Work, But . . .
28. Time to Give Time-Out a Time-Out
29. “You’re Outta Here!”

"What a pleasure to read common sense wisdom about what young children need!"

Diane Ravitch, Research Professor of Education
New York University

"This is an amazing book. It does far more than chase down the myths about how to ensure that children are successful. If offers real, research-backed practical strategies every teacher and parent can use quickly and easily. This belongs on every desk for quick and handy use!"

Eric Jensen, Director
Jensen Learning, Maunaloa, HI

"This book is a must read for anyone who is part of the current education system. It is time to think about what we are doing to the youth who are the new digital generation era and to ensure we are teaching them in ways that are the most developmentally appropriate."

Lyneille Meza, Coordinator of Data and Assessment
Denton ISD

"This is a great read.  Its social media flavor is inviting and inspiring.  The issues presented echo teacher discussions made around the water fountain.  [Rae Pica’s] expertise and evidence based on research will move your hair-pulling complaints to policy-changing action."

Leonard J. Villanueva, Teacher
Palisades Elementary School

"This book offers provocative ideas for the new educator, the experienced teacher, and administrators alike. Let’s use what we know about child development to start remaking our schools to meet the needs of all students. This book provides a starting point." 

Katrina L. Ladopoulos, Teacher
Crestwood Elementary School

"Rae Pica has a deep understanding of childhood development and she has delved into every facet of it so that educators, parents, and policymakers will come to that understanding, too. What If Everybody Understood Childhood Development? includes 29 critically important chapters that focus on every single important issue we don’t always take enough time to talk about. This book needs to not just be on everyone’s shelves, but open in everyone’s hands."

Peter DeWitt, Author/Consultant
Former K-5 Principal, Finding Common Ground Blog – Education Week

"Our understanding of young children has become quite distorted, as have our policies and practices. It's time to reorient our views and Rae Pica’s What If Everybody Understood Child Development? gives clear examples of the problems and of the solutions. To her children are remarkable human beings -- active, caring, and creative. They are more than an investment in the future. They are of immense value here and now."

Joan Almon, Co-founder
Alliance for Childhood

"Rae Pica understands children.  With her wisdom and insight, she helps us know how to do right by kids in a world full of conflicting pressures.  Thank you, Rae, for this valuable book.  We need it now more than ever!"

Nancy Carlsson-Paige, Professor Emerita
Lesley University, Cambridge, Massachusetts

Pica’s folksy, straight talk about the big and small, but still contentious, issues in education today couldn’t be more refreshing. Some of the subjects are among the most vexing of our time, but they’re served up with a wicked wit, not to mention a deep respect for developmental science, that makes them easily digestible.

Susan Ochshorn, Founder and Principal
ECE PolicyWorks

"What If Everybody Understood Child Development? would be a great book to give to any parent or teacher you know who is uneasy about aspects of our current educational system (excessive testing, lack of play-based or individualized learning, etc.) but having difficulty articulating the problems."

Jen Robinson, Book Reviewer and Joyful Learning Advocate
Jen Robinson's Book Page

Sample Materials & Chapters

Table of Contents


For instructors

This book is not available as an inspection copy. For more information contact your local sales representative.

Purchasing options

Please select a format:

ISBN: 9781483381848