Chapter 2: Recognizing the Power the Early Years

“There’s been a revolution in our scientific understanding of babies and young children. We used to think that babies and young children were irrational, egocentric, and amoral. Their thinking and experiences were concrete, immediate, and limited. In fact, psychologists and neuroscientists have discovered that babies not only learn more, but imagine more, care more, and experience more than we would ever have thought possible. In some ways, young children are actually smarter, more imaginative, more caring, and even more conscious than adults are.”

– Gopnik, 2009, p. 5

Opening Vignette: Harrison’s Glove

One winter morning, Ms. Juanita sees that Harrison is quickly teetering back to his cubby during free play. She watches him search in his coat pocket and realizes that he is looking for his new gloves that he wore to school. She walks over to the cubbies and says, “Harrison, are you looking for your gloves?” He nods “yes,” and continues to reach into the pocket of his coat and then says, “Here!” Ms. Juanita, responds saying, “Look! You found one glove. Where could the other glove be?” Harrison responds by immediately looking in his other pocket. He pulls his hand out empty and then makes an upset face. Ms. Juanita says, “Oh no. Your other glove isn’t in your pocket?” Harrison replies, “Missing? No!  Missing.” As she can see that finding the glove feels important to the child at this moment, she proceeds to ask Harrison questions about where the glove could be and the last place he had it. She turns the search into a game and supports Harrison until he finds the glove at the bottom of his cubby under his boots. Once he has both gloves, together they count each finger as he pulls the gloves onto his small hands. Harrison says, “Need gloves now. Have to go to store.” Ms. Juanita replies and says, “Ohhh…you are going out to the store now? Are we out of food in home living?” Harrison nods his head “yes” and smiles as he walks over to get a paper bag to collect the groceries. Ms. Juanita jots down a few observations in her notebook as she notices some skills in communication, counting, and self-regulation that are new for Harrison.

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The Early Literacy Journey: Supporting and Celebrating Young Learners Copyright © 2024 by Sandra Carrie Garvey is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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