5 Great Summer Reads for Early Childhood Educators


There are beaches to be sat upon and hammocks to swing in!  You might have some extra time off from teaching in the summer months, but most of us keep on learning about the wonderful world of early childhood education.  Here is a list of 5 must-read books for anyone interested in process-based, child-centered education.

The Hundred Languages of Children  

This classic text is a collection of writings from both Italy and the United States.  Educators from both countries share their reflections on teaching and learning, with an emphasis on the application of principles in US schools.  This wonderful book shares interviews, photographs, and ideas that are sure to inspire your classroom.

It's Not a Bird Yet: The drama of drawing

A colleague in Brussels turned me on to Ursula Kolbe's work years ago, and I often find myself flipping through this book.  This book explores how young children use drawing to play with ideas.  Drawing is a powerful classroom tool that children use increasingly in preschool as they gain the ability to represent their ideas on paper, and this book connects drawing with inquiry and learning big ideas.

Beautiful Stuff!  Learning With Found Materials

This book has seen some renewed interest as Loose Parts become more popular (as they should!), and the ideas contained in these pages are wonderful inspiration.  From involving families in collecting materials to sorting, making, remaking, and sharing creations, this book is wonderful for anyone who has yet to make the transition to process-based play, but is interested.  Even the teacher who is well-versed in materials thinking can benefit from this book.

The Creation of Imaginary Worlds: The role of art, magic, and dreams in child development

This was, by far, the most quoted book in my Master's thesis on how children gain understanding of culture through play.  Claire Golomb links the developmental stages of play with images and anecdotes of children's work.  In childhood, magic can seem real; reading this book helps us reframe our adult thinking to bring a child's sense of wonder into our definition of education.

What's Going on in There?  How the brain and the mind develop in the first five years of life

Lise Eliot's book was required reading for me a few years ago, but her writing makes brain development accessible.  It is important for educators to know about child development, and this book outlines everything from taste and food preference to language and social-emotional development.

What are you reading this summer?