The Boy Who Would Be a Helicopter

Harvard University Press
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How does a teacher begin to appreciate and tap the rich creative resources of the fantasy world of children? What social functions do story playing and storytelling serve in the preschool classroom? And how can the child who is trapped in private fantasies be brought into the richly imaginative social play that surrounds him? The Boy Who Would Be a Helicopter focuses on the challenge posed by the isolated child to teachers and classmates alike in the unique community of the classroom. It is the dramatic story of Jason-the loner and outsider-and of his ultimate triumph and homecoming into the society of his classmates. As we follow Jason's struggle, we see that the classroom is indeed the crucible within which the young discover themselves and learn to confront new problems in their daily experience. Vivian Paley recreates the stage upon which children emerge as natural and ingenious storytellers. She supplements these real-life vignettes with brilliant insights into the teaching process, offering detailed discussions about control, authority, and the misuse of punishment in the preschool classroom. She shows a more effective and natural dynamic of limit-setting that emerges in the control children exert over their own fantasies. And here for the first time the author introduces a triumvirate of teachers (Paley herself and two apprentices) who reflect on the meaning of events unfolding before them.
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About the author

Vivian Gussin Paley, a former kindergarten teacher, is the winner of a MacArthur Award and of the 1998 American Book Award for Lifetime Achievement given by the Before Columbus Foundation.

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Additional Information

Publisher
Harvard University Press
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Published on
Jun 30, 2009
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Pages
175
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ISBN
9780674041868
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Language
English
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Genres
Education / General
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Drawing as Language: Celebrating the Work of Bob Steele is a Festschrift in honour of Bob Steele, Professor Emeritus, artist, educator and tireless advocate for bringing authentic aesthetic lived experiences to young children. Bob Steele’s prolific contribution to the field of visual arts education recognizes the importance of drawing for everyone, but especially with young children. As an artist-teacher-researcher Bob has devoted decades to developing understandings of drawing as language. He is a progressive thinker with commitment and passion, and through a lifetime of work has provoked serious engagement with children’s drawing processes: how children learn through drawing, through authentic experiences with their sensory world, and through their intense engagement with stories. In this unique collection we have invited educators and scholars whose work represents the ongoing influence of the ideas and teachings of Bob Steele: what he has brought to the field of art education, early childhood studies, and curriculum studies in general. It traces the history and development of his ideas. The reader is taken through his journey as a young educator in rural Saskatchewan, Canada to significant moments in his teaching and his work. The voices of the contributors offer an insightful alternative into how drawing need not be limited to a particular discipline but can be language of communication; a language that significantly matters in the daily lives and learning not just only for children, but for those who also work with them. We hope this Festschrift inspires you to think about the drawings of children differently and take your understanding to a new level.
Bad guys are not allowed to have birthdays, pick blueberries, or disturb the baby. So say the four-year-olds who announce life's risks and dangers as they play out the school year in Vivian Paley's classroom.

Their play is filled with warnings. They invent chaos in order to show that everything is under control. They portray fear to prove that it can be conquered. No theme is too large or too small for their intense scrutiny. Fantasy play is their ever dependable pathway to knowledge and certainty.

" It . . . takes a special teacher to value the young child's communications sufficiently, enter into a meaningful dialogue with the youngster, and thereby stimulate more productivity without overwhelming the child with her own ideas. Vivian Paley is such a teacher."—Maria W. Piers, in the American Journal of Education

"[Mrs. Paley's books] should be required reading wherever children are growing. Mrs. Paley does not presume to understand preschool children, or to theorize. Her strength lies equally in knowing that she does not know and in trying to learn. When she cannot help children—because she can neither anticipate nor follow their thinking—she strives not to hinder them. She avoids the arrogance of adult to small child; of teacher to student; or writer to reader."—Penelope Leach, author of Your Baby & Child in the New York Times Book Review

"[Paley's] stories and interpretation argue for a new type of early childhood education . . . a form of teaching that builds upon the considerable knowledge children already have and grapple with daily in fantasy play."—Alex Raskin, Los Angeles Times Book Review

"Through the 'intuitive language' of fantasy play, Paley believes, children express their deepest concerns. They act out different roles and invent imaginative scenarios to better understand the real world. Fantasy play helps them cope with uncomfortable feelings. . . . In fantasy, any device may be used to draw safe boundaries."—Ruth J. Moss, Psychology Today
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