Building Blocks: Making Children Successful in the Early Years of School

Published: September 2006

Building Blocks
Making Children Successful in the Early Years of School
Gene I. Maeroff

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A student's entire journey along the educational spectrum is affected by what occurs - and, crucially, by what does not occur - before the age of eight or nine. Yet early learning has never received the attention it deserves and needs. In his latest book, education expert Gene Maeroff takes a hard look at early learning and the primary grades of schooling. Building Blocks describes PreK-3rd - a concrete and groundbreaking strategy for improving early education. Filled with colorful descriptions and anecdotes from Maeroff's visits to schools around the country, Building Blocks creates a rich portrait of education in America, ranging from math lessons imported from Singapore in Massachusetts to serious but joyful kindergartens in California. He speaks of the need for schools to prepare for the burgeoning enrollment of youngsters from immigrant families and for all children to acquire the habits and dispositions that will make them committed and productive students. Maeroff issues a call to action for policy makers and parents alike.

'This book describes what works in early childhood education. It is a treasure. It is a must read for educators, policy makers, practitioners and academics as well as parents and the general public.' - Arthur Levine, President, Teachers College, Columbia University

'Strong communities understand that investing in kids early ensures they have every opportunity to be successful throughout their lives. Maeroff has an important message for those of us who support early childhood education--it is vital and it works to the benefit of all children. Building Blocks is a book for everyone, from parents to policymakers.' - Governor Thomas J. Vilsack (D-IA)

'Maeroff has made a powerful case for the critical importance of integrated approaches to preschool, kindergarten, and grades one through three for all children. Drawing on cutting edge research and best practices Maeroff chronicles the characteristics of effective programs with clarity and insight. Policy makers, educators, parents, and all who are committed to schools where every child learns and all children achieve at or above grade level by third grade will find inspiration and guidance in Building Blocks.' - James B. Hunt, Jr., Chairman of the Board, James B. Hunt Jr. Institute for Educational Leadership and Policy, former Governor of North Carolina

A World of New Beginnings * The Very Early Years * Pre-Kindergarten for All * A Full Day of Kindergarten * Building a New Structure for Learning * Literacy * Numeracy * A Full Complement of Subjects * Se Habla Espanol . . . and 86 Other Languages * Instilling Habits and Dispositions * Making Schools Accountable for the Primary Grades * Teachers Who Know Young Children * Before and After School * Facing Realities in Early Education

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Gene I. Maeroff was Founding Director of the Hechinger Institute on Education and the Media at Teachers College, Columbia University, where he is now Senior Fellow. He is a former national education correspondent for The New York Times and is the author of over a dozen books, including The Guide to Suburban Public Schools, Team Building for School Change, School Smart Parent, Altered Destinies, and A Classroom of One.

256 pp. / 1-4039-6994-9 / $24.95 cl.

For more information, visit http://www.genemaeroff.com/

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