Chapter

The Cognitive Child Versus the Whole Child: Lessons From 40 Years of Head Start

EDWARD F. ZIGLER and SANDRA J. BISHOP-JOSEF

in Play = Learning

Published in print September 2006 | ISBN: 9780195304381
Published online April 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780199894321 | DOI: https://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195304381.003.0002
The Cognitive Child Versus the Whole Child: Lessons From 40 Years of Head Start

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The effect of play on children has become the subject of intense debates in America. Many preschools and elementary schools have reduced or even eliminated play from their schedules. Play is being replaced by lessons focused on cognitive development, particularly literacy and reading, to match the content of standardized testing. The focus on cognition and literacy also found its way into policies and proposals for Head Start. The Bush administration initially wanted to change Head Start from a comprehensive intervention to a literacy program. However, changing the law governing Head Start would have required considerable time. To move the program in the desired direction more quickly, the administration imposed new protocols on how the program should be run (decisions that are within its power). This chapter looks at the lessons learned from Head Start's 40 years of existence, the whole child approach to education, and the theory and practice of children's play and development.

Keywords: play; children; development; Head Start; education; literacy; cognition; whole child approach

Chapter.  10201 words. 

Subjects: Developmental Psychology

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