Home » ExchangeEveryDay » More Reations to Honig

ExchangeEveryDay Past Issues

<< Previous Issue | View Past Issues | | Next Issue >> ExchangeEveryDay
More Reations to Honig
August 6, 2002

"Growing old is no more than a bad habit which a busy man has no time to form." —Andre Maurois


On July 2nd, Alice Honig shared her reactions to the ExchangeEveryDay for Monday, June 24, "The Value of Observing and Recording." Then on July 17th, we shared some reader's reactions to Honig's reactions. Today we share some new reactions in including some additional thoughts from Honig:

Maggie Summers: "I was somewhat dismayed that the responses to Alice Honig's thoughts on observation all seemed to present an anti-education point of view. I would venture to guess that all the respondents are themselves well-educated and are not concerning themselves with the bulk of the folks working in early childhood programs that do not have adequate education in the field. For an adequately prepared teacher to set aside theory and use a "beginner's eye" for observation may indeed be very valuable. However, many will interpret such thoughts to mean that understanding of these theories is not necessary. I always have to say, "Shame on us," when we allow ourselves to rely on people's instincts and experience alone to qualify them as early childhood educators. We end up accepting less than other professionals and are treated and paid less as well. I question our understanding of the differences between our system and the Italian system when we throw Reggio into the argument. Most "untrained and unprepared" caregivers in the United States are put to work with a state maximum group size and little supervision, certainly not the environment for "extensive documentation." When our system can allow us to properly mentor people new to our field, we, too, may be able to implement Reggio ideas extensively. In the meantime, we should demand professionals for our field and expect those professionals to be able to put theory, as well as instinct, into practice."

Linda Gillespie: "Well, I am surprised! I work with the Coalition of Infant/Toddler Educators (CITE) in New Jersey and I sent that ExchangeEveryDay around and decided to ask Alice Honig to speak at our conference as a result of it. Furthermore, I agree with many of the comments made, but in the best of worlds it shouldn't be an either or (either theory or observation). Yes, untrained people who are taught to observe non-judgementally can gain huge understandings about children. And YES, understanding the theories of Piaget, Mahler, and Erikson can only enrich this understand and assist them in taking their understanding further. And, yes it can all be and should be translated into laymen terms."

Jerry Parr: "Great comments... Piaget would be proud... you proved his theory of concept development via the creation of disequilibrium -- known in Mississippi as I observe therefore I fry and eat."

Alice Honig: "I was interested in all these comments. It made me realize that the persons responding did not know how we teach in child development. A fine teacher understands ECE deeply and translates the difficult concepts of theorists into practical language harmonious with the epxriences of those learning to interact in more responsive, subtle, ways to promote secure attachment, language flourishing, prosocial skills, etc..

"Yet if teachers do not ever hear the special vocabulary of our field, then it is no wonder that parents and legislators would think we are not really "professionals".

"Let me give a good example from my own work when parents pressured us to start too-early toilet learning with their young toddlers. We told them seriously and slowly about how important it is that there is completion of myelinization of the great motor neurons from the Betz cells of the motor cortex of the brain all the way down to the anal and urethral sphincters. The white fatty sheaths of myelin then permit a neuron to fire much faster and with voluntary control. When this myelinzation is completed fully varies for different children. This may take up to 24 months. Thus, beginning toilet learning too early would not be fair to a little child. We explained every word in our talk BUT, the parents were truly impressed by our knowledge base and more ready to listen to reasonable ideas about what signs to look for in child behaviors, such as words for toileting, evidence that proprioceptive cues from the sphincters (and again we explained in down-to-earth detail!) were being attended to by the toddler, etc.) so that together, parents and caregivers could work toward the desired goals of toilet learning. In our field, we will never be considered professionals unless we are willing to trust in the ability and passion for their work that excellent caregivers bring to the amazing adventure of helping little ones grow and flourish in our care and also trust in their willingness to learn ever more deeply about growth and development of young children."

For a great range of teacher training materials, check out the Beginnings Workshops avialable for sale at www.ChildCareExchange.com.


Delivered five days a week containing news, success stories, solutions, trend reports, and much more.

What is ExchangeEveryDay?

ExchangeEveryDay is the official electronic newsletter for Exchange Press. It is delivered five days a week containing news stories, success stories, solutions, trend reports, and much more.

Comments (1)

Displaying 1 Comment
sherri kramerson · October 11, 2009
Pittsfield Public Schools
East Greenbush, New York, United States

Your literature was a pleasure to read and review. Thank you. Excellent work!

Post a Comment

Have an account? to submit your comment.


Your e-mail address will not be visible to other website visitors.

Check the box below, to help verify that you are not a bot. Doing so helps prevent automated programs from abusing this form.

Disclaimer: Exchange reserves the right to remove any comments at its discretion or reprint posted comments in other Exchange materials.