2 out of 4 stars
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Beverly Klingbeil's 28-year career as a committed daycare teacher and her fervent desire to "always be of service to all teachers" have culminated in Daycare: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow. Despite its brevity, this book is a wealth of varied anecdotes, advice, and suggestions related to teaching young children. Inside you will find stories from the author's experience, best practices, crafts, experiments, songs, chants, safety information, printable tools, recipes, art projects, and links to online resources. There are also cute photographs and illustrations which lend a visual aspect to the text. Klingbeil's passion for teaching and love for children is undeniable throughout.
I do not work in the early childhood education field, but I am a full-time parent of three small children, so I am always on the lookout for any books or resources which may help me interact with, inspire, or teach my kids. I began reading Daycare with anticipation, hoping it would do just that. I did find several fun activities ("building a rainbow") and recipes (homemade playdough) that I look forward to trying out myself, as well as some genius crafting and storage hacks that were entirely new to me. Additionally, the portion of the book discussing the alarmingly low average pay rate for teachers was enlightening and prompted a Google search of my own. I was dumbfounded to find out that a daycare teacher makes less than, say, someone in pest control or a cook at a fast food restaurant. However, If I had to sum up this book with a single word, it would be "disorganized."
While most of the contents are useful, frankly, they're also haphazard. Imagine what would result if you searched for "daycare teaching ideas" on Pinterest and you get a sense of the format of this book. There is a table of contents with chapter titles such as "Teacher Effectiveness," as well as chapters covering the teaching of specific school subjects, like math. Under each chapter heading are several sub-headings that, one would assume, break down more detailed aspects of the subject discussed in that chapter. However, the placement of specific paragraphs, lists, sentences, etc., often defies reason and is not intuitive or reader-friendly. For example, the fire safety information and materials are located under the heading of "Language Development." Within the fire-safety segment is the heading "Home Fire Safety Checklist." Children and parents are encouraged to "inspect [their] home" and "answer the questions below." Great idea, except only a blank space was "below," with no checklist or questions to be found.
This is not the only instance where implied information seemed to be missing entirely. At one point, the lyrics to "One, Two, Buckle My Shoe" are featured, along with the phrase "Origins and Meaning," in bold, followed by nothing at all. Why include a reference to the song's origin if it wasn't going to be discussed? There are also several numbered lists of what are apparently subject-related items, which appear abruptly, with no title or introduction to acquaint the reader with the list's purpose. I found myself repeatedly paging back and forth, thinking I must have overlooked something, but that was never the case. Also, many of the images are grainy or out of focus.
Daycare is obviously written for a narrow audience (daycare teachers), as many of the tools, tasks, or programs mentioned are just that - mentions. No further description or background is provided, indicating that Mrs. Bev fully expects her reader to instantly know, for example, what Unifix cubes are or what NEA stands for. She offhandedly refers to the "Roud Folk Song Index" and the "library's 746.46 area," as if no further explanation is necessary. To me, the uninitiated, this may as well have been a foreign language. No music appears with song lyrics and no translation of American Sign Language is provided with illustrated signs. I was often bewildered by details for which I had no context.
I fully believe in Mrs. Bev's intent with her book, which was to provide encouragement, advice, and resources to daycare teachers and other early childhood educators by drawing on the expertise she has gained over a long and fruitful career. A good teacher's value is immeasurable. Unfortunately, this published work feels more like a draft, where material hasn't been arranged or fleshed out into its final form. In its current state, it's a labyrinth of information, which severely limits its usefulness and its prospective audience. With that in mind, I award Daycare: Yesterday, Today, and Tomorrow, by Beverly Klingbeil, 2 out of 4 stars. Early childhood educators will love exploring Mrs. Bev's "closet" of great stories and ideas. Just be prepared to browse for what you need.
Daycare Yesterday Today and Tomorrow
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