Shaping the Preschool Agenda

Early Literacy, Public Policy, and Professional Beliefs

By Anne McGill-Franzen

Subjects: Education Policy And Leadership
Series: SUNY series, Literacy, Culture, and Learning: Theory and Practice
Paperback : 9780791411964, 227 pages, December 1992
Hardcover : 9780791411957, 227 pages, December 1992

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Table of contents

1. Making Children Ready for School: An Issue for the 1990s

2. Early Schooling, Literacy, and the Law

3. The Early Kindergarten, Readiness, and Reading

4. Child Care, Social Class, and the Government

5. Development: From Mere Description to a Moral Face

6. School Readiness Defined: From Mama Robin to the SATs

7. The Authorities on Developmentally Appropriate Practice: Dispositions, Language, and Cognitively Oriented Active Learning

8. Readiness for School, But What Counts as "School"? Education, Socialization, and Habilitation

9. Equal Opportunity for the Least of Us and Popular in the Suburbs: Public School for Four-Year-Olds

10. Making the Agenda: Conflicts, Windows, and Labels

11. Beginning Reading Materials: Are They Getting Harder?

12. The Shared History: Literacy, Young Children, and Early Schooling






Making all children "ready to learn" is the first, and probably the most important, national education goal for the year 2000. What does it mean for children to be "ready to learn?"

This book is about the beliefs of the people who are shaping preschool policy. McGill-Franzen tells us what key decision-makers are thinking about preschool education — what counts as school, who should pay for it, what should be taught, and especially, whether there should be reading and writing programs for four-year-olds.

This book also explores the history of these beliefs. The author locates contemporary early childhood concepts about "developmental appropriateness" in the ideas of physicians and psychologists of the 1920s, 1930s, and in even earlier periods of time. She believes that these ideas no longer work within the broader framework of literacy as embedded in the interactions of cultures children know and the lives they live.

Anne McGill-Franzen is Assistant Professor in the Department of Reading at the State University of New York at Albany.


"The author takes one of the most important current problems in our society and links it historically in a highly skillful way. The issue with which she deals is critical." — Richard M. Clark, State University of New York at Albany