Knowledge Development in Early Childhood: Sources of Learning and Classroom Implications

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Synthesizing cutting-edge research from multiple disciplines, this book explores how young children acquire knowledge in the "real world" and describes practical applications for early childhood classrooms. The breadth and depth of a child's knowledge base are important predictors of later literacy development and academic achievement. Leading scholars describe the processes by which preschoolers and primary-grade students acquire knowledge through firsthand experiences, play, interactions with parents and teachers, storybooks, and a range of media. Chapters on exemplary instructional strategies vividly show what teachers can do to build children's content knowledge while also promoting core literacy skills.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"An excellent volume that reviews current research and discusses its implications for practice and policy. Broad in scope, rich in depth, and anchored by contributions from noted scholars, this book is a 'must read' for those teaching and learning about how knowledge is developed and used."--Sharon Lynn Kagan, EdD, Virginia and Leonard Marx Professor of Early Childhood and Family Policy; Co-Director, National Center for Children and Families, Teachers College, Columbia University

"Too often, students in early childhood education classes are true believers in either play or direct instruction. This thoughtful volume goes beyond tired debates and moves early childhood education in a fruitful direction by offering sophisticated analyses of relevant recent research on children’s developmental experiences. I would use this book with my doctoral students in applied developmental psychology; the multiple implications for practice also make it suitable for advanced undergraduates interested in teaching young children. In addition, I will recommend this book to research colleagues because of its excellent compilations of empirically based knowledge."--Carollee Howes, PhD, Division of Psychological Studies in Education, University of California, Los Angeles

"This book is unique in drawing on scholars from both psychology and education to provide a really wide window onto an important topic. It will be useful for anyone concerned with children’s learning who wants a good overview of current empirical approaches, and also would be ideal for advanced undergraduate and graduate courses in cognitive psychology or education. Perspectives are offered on how children acquire knowledge from a variety of sources--from the testimony of others, to the arts, to specific curricula. The succinct chapters provide a mix of current and classic literature, creating excellent jumping-off points for exploring each area more deeply. A terrific overview."--Angeline Lillard, PhD, Department of Psychology, University of Virginia


"The book not only offers a good analysis of relevant research on children’s developmental experiences, but also describes practical applications for those involved in preschool and primary grade level teaching and learning….This book would be valuable for pre-service undergraduates, graduate students, and those wanting an overview of current evidence-based approaches to helping young children acquire knowledge….Recommended. Undergraduate, all levels, and graduate collections."--Choice
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781462504992
  • Publisher: Guilford Publications, Inc.
  • Publication date: 7/9/2012
  • Pages: 270
  • Sales rank: 648,950
  • Product dimensions: 6.20 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Ashley M. Pinkham, PhD, is a Research Fellow at the University of Michigan. Dr. Pinkham earned her doctoral degree in cognitive-developmental psychology from the University of Virginia. Her research focuses on sources of children’s knowledge acquisition and conceptual development, including observational learning, adult-child conversations, and book-reading experiences.

Tanya Kaefer, PhD, is a Research Fellow at the University of Michigan. Dr. Kaefer earned her doctoral degree in developmental psychology from Duke University. She studies reading development and the influence of content knowledge on early literacy skills.

Susan B. Neuman, EdD, is a Professor in Educational Studies at the University of Michigan. A former U.S. Assistant Secretary for Elementary and Secondary Education, Dr. Neuman established the Early Childhood Educator Professional Development Program and was responsible for all activities in Title I of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Her research and teaching interests include early literacy development, early childhood policy, curriculum, and early reading instruction. Her publications include 12 books and over 100 journal articles

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Table of Contents

I. Sources of Children’s Knowledge

1. What You See Is What You Get: Learning from the Ambient Environment, Tanya Kaefer

2. Learning through Play: Procedural versus Declarative Knowledge, Jennifer Van Reet

3. How Children Understand and Use Other People as Sources of Knowledge: Children’s Selective Use of Testimony, Sherryse L. Corrow, Jason Cowell, Sabine Doebel, and Melissa A. Koenig

4. Beyond Pedagogy: How Children’s Knowledge Develops in the Context of Everyday Parent–Child Conversations, Maureen Callanan, Jennifer Rigney, Charlotte Nolan-Reyes, and Graciela Solis

5. Drawing on the Arts: Less-Traveled Paths toward a Science of Learning, Jessa Reed, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff

6. Learning by the Book: The Importance of Picture Books for Young Children’s Knowledge Acquisition, Ashley M. Pinkham

7. Television and Children’s Knowledge, Heather J. Lavigne and Daniel R. Anderson

II. Promoting Knowledge Development in the Classroom

8. Four Play Pedagogies and a Promise for Children’s Learning, Kathleen Roskos and James Christie

9. The Research–Reality Divide in Early Vocabulary Instruction, Tanya S. Wright

10. The Contributions of Curriculum to Shifting Teachers’ Practices, David K. Dickinson, Erica M. Barnes, and Jin-Sil Mock

11. Scaffolding Preschoolers’ Vocabulary Development through Purposeful Conversations: Unpacking the ExCELL Model of Language and Literacy Professional Development, Barbara A. Wasik and Annemarie H. Hindman

12. Building Knowledge through Informational Text, Nell K. Duke, Anne-Lise Halvorsen, and Jennifer A. Knight

13. Knowledge Acquisition in the Classroom: Literacy and Content-Area Knowledge, Carol McDonald Connor and Frederick J. Morrison14. Building Literacy Skills through Multimedia, Rebecca Silverman and Sarah Hines

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