This review was written by Jean Marzollo, one of the nation’s leading writers of children’s books. My children, and now my grandchildren, grew up reading and loving her “I Spy” books, and many others.

 

 

 

 

A wonderful educator friend of mine, Ellen Booth Church (http://www.ellenboothchurch.com) sent me a copy of her new book, Getting to the HEART of Learning, published by Gryphon House, 2015. I wish every candidate running for president would read her first two paragraphs and quote from them on the podium:

 

 

“All learning is social-emotional learning. Children do not learn skills in isolation but through social connection and interconnection to the real world—their world. It is their curiosity about the world that stimulates their desire to learn and to share what they have learned. We all learn best when we care about what we are learning and whom we are learning it with. Children live their lives with their hearts and minds open and connected. From that union of heart and mind, they develop into people who are balanced, happy, and successful.

 

 

“Take a quick look at what is being presented in the news, and you will see the need in our culture for social-emotional development. Preschool and kindergarten teachers recognize both the need to address social development in their students and with their students’ families and the need to teach the basic skills that are essential to learning. These two things do not need to be separate; in fact, they truly are inseparable.”

 

 

In Chapter 3, Getting to the Heart of Science, Church says, “Children are natural scientists. They wonder, predict, and experiment with everything! Scientists work best in a lab team, and these activities are designed just for team explorations. The children will explore science themes as well as processes together as they build the social skills of cooperation, helping, and working with others. Many of these activities work best with a partner. The children will have to wait to use materials, control impulses to take over, and communicate ideas together. In the process, children also will be building problem-solving skills that will last a lifetime.”

 

 

Church says that in order to get to the heart of learning, we need to help preschool and kindergarten teachers teach basic skills and social skills while studying the exciting topics of sound, magnets, camouflage, sunlight, melting, weather, clouds, mirrors, sand, seeds and plants. She spells out, in enjoyable detail, lesson plans for these topics in her book.

 

 

Imagine a presidential candidate quoting Aristotle (as Church often does in her presentations): “Educating the mind without the heart is no education at all.”