Saturday, January 9, 2016

Let's All Play - A Group Learning (Un)Curriculum: A Book Review

About The Book:

Let's All Play is the newest release from FCC favorite authors Jeff Johnson and Denita Dinger

Young children learn best when they are allowed to lead their own play. The 40 all-new adventures in this book support children's social learning and skill development through open-ended group play. These play experiences help children engage with each other and the world around them, and they stimulate and support children's group interactions and conversations—all of which leads to rich learning. This book also encourages you to reflect on the value of children's play and your practices and policies through deep thinking activities. 

Let's All Play builds on the early learning principles presented in Jeff A. Johnson and Denita Dinger's first book together, Let Them Play, and the open-ended learning adventures in their second book, Let's Play.

Age focus: 2–6. Softbound, 184 pgs.


About The Authors:

Jeff A. Johnson spent twenty-five years as a child care provider in center- and home-based programs. He now works full time as an author, keynote speaker, podcaster, toymaker, and early learning advocate. He is the author or coauthor of eight Redleaf Press books. 

Web site: www.explorationsearlylearning.com
Blog: www.jeffajohnson.com/
Facebook: www.facebook.com/ExplorationsEarlyLearning


Denita Dinger has been a child care provider for more than fifteen years and operates a family child care program. For the last five years, she has been a frequent keynote speaker at early childhood conferences, focusing on the topics of hands-on learning, learning through play, and transitioning early learning programs from a teacher-controlled environment to one that is child-led and play-based.

My Review:

I have been an early childhood educator for over 17 years and Jeff Johnson has been a huge influence in my work with children over the last four years. I cannot believe I did not know of his work prior to that! However, since learning of his work with young children , I have learned so from his work, videos, toys, and particularly, his books. I have the pleasure of owning almost all of Johnson's book, and I will definitely be purchasing the others down the road (I have to pace myself with all the amazing early childhood education books out there!). 

Recently, Redleaf Press sent me a copy of the new book from Jeff Johnson and Denita Dinger, Let's All Play: A Group Learning (Un)Curriculum and I am loving it!

First off, the book is LOADED with awesome, easy to implement activities that use mostly household items, that will keep children learning and having fun for hours. Second, it has some awesome activities for the teacher to do so they can evaluate how they understand the importance of play in a child's life and how to grow in their teaching methods. I actually loved these sections, as well as the Terminology section that referenced words the authors referred to in the book. When I looked at the Suggested Reading list at the end of the book, I was pleasantly surprised that I already own several of the books listed and its a great list for me to reference later. Finally, the introduction was full of valuable information, particularly important for those who are new to the child interest, play-based style of early childhood education. 

I am not an educator that uses worksheets, does cookie cutter crafts, or weekly themes (unless it builds on a child's interest) and I love that I can learn from the authors who have similar philosophies. I count it a privilege to add Johnson and Dinger to my list of favorite teachers, along side of Dan Hodgins, Lisa Murphy, Bev Bos, Peter Gray and so many others. 

As the book states social skill development is one of the most important skills children can use and this book is a fantastic resource for helping children learn and gain the skills the they need to grow into competent members of society. It doesn't matter one bit if a child can speak three languages, write in cursive, and count to 100 by grade one but doesn't know how to take turns, be pleasant to others and have a reciprocal conversation. Human to human interaction is what this book is all about and I loved it!

Every early childhood educator, and even parents, need this book in their hands to help our children be children and forget about early academics!

I highly recommend this book and give it a huge thumbs up!

BUY IT: You can purchase Let's All Play: A Group (Un)Curriculum online via Redleaf Press

***I received a complimentary copy of this book, courtesy of Redleaf Press, for the purpose of review on this blog. All opinions expressed are my own, and I have not been compensated in any other manner***

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