Book Share - Yardsticks

One of the books that student teachers in under my supervisors direction are required to read is a wonderful book about the ages of our students and the importance of educating in a way that is age-appropriate. Yardsticks: Children in the Classroom Ages 4-14 by Chip Wood gives a fairly brief introduction to child development and makes an argument for the need to teach children at their level even as they are grouped at different ages in a single classroom. Wood points out that at any grade level in any school there will be most often three different ages. For example a second grade classroom may have older sixes, sevens and young eights. Add to this the fact that a child could have been held back and there is another whole year to that group of children. Not only are the students different ages grouped together, but they will also be maturing at different rates.
The book gives age-by-age expectations we can have for our students, but it begins by teaching that there are four Principles of Child Development:
  1. Development follows predictable patterns.
  2. Children go through predictable stages in the same order, but they will not all go through them at the same rate.
  3. The aspects of development do not proceed at the same rate.
  4. Growth is uneven.
So from the start Yardsticks it was made clear, (or if you already know it is brought home) that even a group of children at the same age will have a wide range of needs and will be developed at different stages in different aspects of development.
Wood goes on to stress the need for students physical needs to be met and to be made a high priority in the classroom.
After introducing some facts of development, and some of the ways that teachers and parents can help their children to develop, Wood goes on to have a chapter for every year. In these chapters he explains what is normal at the age.
This book is a valuable tool for parents and teachers to know what to expect of their students. To gain some understanding for the variations in development, but also to be aware of what is normal, and what they might be concerned about.

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