From the Publisher
“A source of inspiration.”
Vivian Paley, author of The Boy on the Beach
“As a classroom insider, Diamond pulls back the curtain and allows parents and others a view of how an effective classroom actually works.”
“[A] reaffirmation of the crucial role teachers can play in the development of children.”
Herbet Kohl, author of 36 Children and ”I Won’t Learn from You”
"[Diamond] has captured the world of the classat times chaotic, always busy, usually inspired."
Los Angeles Times
"Diamond’s book is an extraordinary resource for parents and teachers at all stages. It is honest and masterful, engrossing and unique. And it is utterly real."
Ruth S. Charney, co-founder of Northeast Foundation for Children and author of Teaching Children to Care
Educator Diamond has worked with the younger set for 25 years. Most recently, she taught kindergarten at New York City's P.S. 87, the setting for this memoir and sourcebook for current or aspiring teachers and parents. In the foreword, artist and writer Feiffer reminisces about his own school days, reveals that Diamond taught one of his daughters and offers words of praise for the book, citing its rich "sense of inquiry, observation, mission and self-examination." Indeed, Diamond's passion for her work, affection for the kids and her dedication to their improvement is evident throughout the book. Even as she describes her experiences with her pupils, she details the times she questioned her own judgment. She is also frank about how to engage a child and when to involve his or her parents: for example, she describes a student named Henry (whose "Welcome to the Aquarium" sign inspired the book's title), who is initially reluctant to participate in artistic projects, and decides to call in his parents to talk about her concerns. Diamond's honesty makes for a highly informative if overlong narrative. (Dec.)Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
Diamond, a teacher for 25 years, follows a prototypical group of kindergarteners from their first day, when everything is new and scary, through an entire school year, as the class develops its own unique personality, organization, voice, and relationships that shape each child's future experiences in schooling. As an educator grounded in the progressive tradition, Diamond believes that experiences and ideas shape schooling; by developing a classroom environment that mirrors our values and ideals, we are better preparing kids for future roles in society than the current extreme emphasis on test scores and outcomes does. As a classroom insider, Diamond pulls back the curtain and allows parents and others a view of how an effective classroom actually works. The writing is easy to follow, and Diamond glosses over research in favor of anecdotes gleaned from nearly three decades in the classroom. Highly recommended for libraries supporting academic programs in education, as well as larger public libraries.