Add to GoodReads

Learning Together

The Law, Politics, Economics, Pedagogy, and Neuroscience of Early Childhood Education

Michael J. Kaufman; Sherelyn R. Kaufman and Elizabeth C. Nelson

This book makes a comprehensive, multi-disciplinary argument for investing in effective early childhood education programs, especially those that develop in children their proven natural capacity to construct knowledge by building meaningful relationships. Recent insights in the fields of law, policy, economics, pedagogy, and neuroscience demonstrate that these particular programs produce robust educational, social, and economic benefits for children and for the country. The book also provides legal and political strategies for achieving these proven benefits as well as pedagogical strategies for developing the most effective early childhood education programs. The book concludes by making visible the wonderful learning that can take place in an early education environment where teachers are afforded the professional judgment to encourage children to construct their own knowledge through indispensable learning relationships. « less more »
Rowman & Littlefield Publishers
Pages: 296Size: 6 x 9
978-1-4758-0643-4 • Hardback • March 2015 • $89.00 • (£60.00)
978-1-4758-0644-1 • Paperback • March 2015 • $40.00 • (£24.95)
978-1-4758-0645-8 • eBook • March 2015 • $39.99 • (£24.95)
Michael J. Kaufman, J.D., M.A., is Associate Dean for Academic Affairs, Professor of Law, and Director of the Education Law and Policy Institute at Loyola University Chicago School of Law. Dean Kaufman has written countless books and countless articles regarding education law and policy and has served for many years on the Board of Education of a large, diverse public school district in the Chicago area.

Sherelyn R. Kaufman, J.D., M.A.T., is a Professor on the Adjunct Faculty at the Erikson Institute Graduate School of Child Development. She has practiced education law in private law firms and the United States Department of Education, Office for Civil Rights, has taught students in virtually every grade level, has served as the director of an early childhood education program, and has provided expert consulting to many early childhood programs.

Elizabeth C. Nelson, J. D. M.A.T., is a Professor on the Adjunct Faculty at Loyola University Chicago School of Law, specializing in education law and policy, as well as professional skills development. She has practiced law in the Office of the Attorney General for the State of Illinois and taught third grade in the city of Chicago.
Section 1: The Political, Pedagogical, Legal, and Economic Case for Investing in Early Childhood Education
Chapter 1: The Foundations of American Education Policy
1.Classical Philosophies of Education: Early Education Must Be a Public Concern Because It Has the Power to Shape Character and Support the Particular Political Regime
2.Modern Educational Philosophy: Public Education Is Vital to Freedom and Self-Government
3.The Foundation of American Educational Policy: Democratic Education Must Develop Meaningful Relationships Between Individuals and the Community
4.The Foundations of Contemporary Debates About American Educational Policy
5.Reconciling the Authoritarian and Progressive Movements: Educating Children for the Future by Encouraging them to Construct Knowledge through Meaningful Relationships
6.American Education Policy Establishes a Strong Foundation for Early Childhood Education Programs Designed to Construct Knowledge Through Meaningful Relationships
Chapter 2: The Pedagogical Foundations of American Early Childhood Education
1.The Framers’ Nuanced Understanding of Human Nature and Human Development
2.The Pedagogical Consequences of the Framers’ Nuanced View of Human Nature and Human Development
3.The Political Consequences of the Framers’ Nuanced View of Human Nature and Human Development
Chapter 3: The Legal Foundations of American Early Childhood Education
1.The Fundamental Relationship Between Federal and State Control Over Education
2.The Relationship Between the State’s Power to Regulate Education and the Constitutional Rights of Parents and Guardians to Direct the Upbringing of their Children
3.The Relationship Between the State’s Power to Regulate Education and Federal and State Constitutional Rights to Equitable and Adequate Educational Funding
4.The Relationship Between the State’s Power to Regulate Education And Federal Statutory Rights and Protections for Young Children with Educational Disabilities
5.The Foundations of American Education Law Support Compelling Legal Arguments for Providing Access to Early Childhood Education Programs
Chapter 4: The Economic Foundations of American Early Childhood Education
1.America’s Schools and Their Students
B. America’s Early Childhood Education Programs and Their Students
C. The Sources of Revenue to Support American Education
4.The Sources of Revenue to Support Early Childhood Education
E. The Inadequate and Inequitable Funding of American Education
6.The Changing Economic Landscape
7.Investing in Early Childhood Education
8.The Robust Economic Returns from an Investment in Early Childhood Education
Chapter 5: The Relationship Between Investing in Early Childhood Education and Other Reform Initiatives
3.Remedial Education and Vocational Training Programs
Section 2: The Proven Benefits of Early Childhood Education Programs that Encourage Children to Construct Knowledge by Building Meaningful Relationships

Chapter 6: Pedagogical Approaches to Early Childhood Education
1.Direct Instruction of Traditional Academic Skills
2.The Constructivist Approach
3.The Social Constructivist Approach
Chapter 7: The Proven Benefits of the Social Constructivist Approach to Early Childhood Education
1.The Social Constructivist Approach Has Proven to Produce Robust Educational, Social, and Economic Benefits
2.Recent Discoveries in Cognitive Neuroscience and Psychology Demonstrate How the Social Constructivist Approach Produces Particularly Robust Returns on an Investment in Early Childhood Education
Section 3: Strategies for Expanding, Developing, and Designing Early Childhood Learning Communities that Construct Knowledge through Meaningful Relationships

Chapter 8: Legal, Political, Economic and Comprehensive Strategies for Expanding Access to Early Childhood Education Programs
1.Legal Strategies for Expanding Access to Early Childhood Education Programs
2.Political Strategies for Expanding Access to Early Childhood Education Programs
3.Strategies for Authentically Assessing Early Childhood Education Programs
4.Economic Strategies for Expanding Access to Early Childhood Education Programs
5.Developing Public-Private Partnerships to Expand Access to Early Childhood Education Programs
6.The Comprehensive Implementation Strategy: Supporting Teachers and Reconciling Policy Debates About Accountability and Privatization
Chapter 9: Strategies for Developing a Social Constructivist Early Learning Environment
2.Shared Activities
3.Encouraging Multiple Expressions of Learning through Media and Materials
4.The Social Construction of Literacy
5.The Social Construction of Mathematics
6.The Social Construction of Science
Chapter 10: Making Learning Visible Through Documentation
1.Developing the Art of Documentation
2.Practicing Documentation to Deepen Learning
3.Using Documentation to Make Learning Visible to Multiple Stakeholders
About the Authors
For too long, early childhood education has been conceived of as simply “pre-school,” rather than as a critical and foundational school experience. Weaving together research and rationale from a wide variety of disciplines, the authors build an airtight case for recognizing early education as the “real” schooling it is, and for investing in quality programming for all of our children.
James E. Ryan, dean of the Harvard Graduate School of Education

Until recently, early education received scandalously little attention, and it still takes second fiddle to k-12 schooling. Today, millions of young children get no educational opportunities, and millions more get cut-rate, woefully inadequate support. Learning Together provides a jargon-free synthesis of a vast amount of research--in neuroscience, pedagogy, economics, politics and law--which unequivocally demonstrates why the youngest members of our society deserve much more than they've been given. It will prove invaluable to researchers, policy-makers and advocates.
David L. Kirp, James D. Marver Professor of Public Policy Goldman School of Public Policy and author of “Improbable Scholars: The Rebirth of a Great American School System and a Strategy for America's Schools” (Oxford, 2013)

This book offers serious and comprehensive analysis of legal, economic, philosophical, and psychological foundations of early childhood education. Broad in scope, it does not oversimplify or trivialize, and yet it is accessible to the general reader. From my own perspective, the description of the Reggio Emilia approach is accurate and conveys a sense of the rich dialogue with North American educators. The background on the historical roots of progressive education in the writings of American political founders raised many questions deserving further consideration. Altogether, a fascinating and provocative book with an original perspective.
Carolyn Pope Edwards, Willa Cather Professor and professor of psychology and child, youth, and family studies, the University of Nebraska, and author of “The Hundred Languages of Children, 3rd Edition: The Reggio Emilia Experience in Transformation” (2012) and “The Diary of Laura: Perspectives on the Reggio Educational Diary” (2012)

This book accurately and clearly chronicles both the history and today’s realities of early childhood education. It offers a comprehensive, compelling case for the adaptation of the social constructivist approach to early childhood education and then proceeds to guide the reader to implementation strategies to create environments where children are allowed to develop their capacities to construct knowledge by building meaningful relationships. It is a refreshing and authentic read for policy makers and educators alike! Bravo!
Lynn White, early childhood education consultant, master teacher and contributing author to "The Hundred Languages of Children" (Second Edition 1998); and "Insights and Inspirations from Reggio Emilia: Stories of Teachers and Children from North America" (2008)

Learning Together is an excellent book. It is gratifying to see the integration of these various perspectives on early childhood education. We have been trying to facilitate cross-sector communication about these issues for over 20 years. This book provides a convergence of diverse perspectives on the fundamental principles. That is why it is so valuable.
Bruce Perry, M.D., Ph. D., founder of Child Trauma Academy, professor in the department of psychiatry and behavioral Sciences at the Feinberg School of Medicine at Northwestern University, author of "The Boy Who Was Raised as a Dog and Born for Love: Why Empathy is Essential and Endangered"