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Moral Classrooms, Moral Children

Creating a Constructivist Atmosphere in Early Education

Rheta DeVries Betty Zan Sharon Ryan

288 pages
Teachers College Press

This classic bestseller, now updated for today’s diverse teaching force and student populations, explores the benefits of sociomoral practices in the classroom. The authors draw on recent research to show how these approaches work with children ages 2–8. They focus on how to establish and maintain a classroom environment that fosters children’s intellectual, social, moral, emotional, and personality development. Extending the work of Jean Piaget, the authors advocate for a cooperative approach that contrasts with the coercion and unnecessary control that can be seen in many classrooms serving young children. Practical chapters demonstrate how the constructivist approach can be embedded in a school program by focusing on specific classroom situations and activities, such as resolving conflict, group time, rule making, decision making and voting, social and moral discussions, cooperative alternatives to discipline, and activity time.

New for the Second Edition:

  • Updated examples reflecting the authors’ work with low-income children.
  • Coverage expanded to include 1st- and 2nd-grade classrooms.
  • New alternatives to discipline.
  • “Principles of Teaching” sections with many examples of classroom interactions.
Author Bio

Rheta DeVries is professor emerita of curriculum and instruction at the University of Northern Iowa. Betty Zan is associate professor and director of the Regent’s Center for Early Developmental Education at the University of Northern Iowa. Their books include Developing Constructivist Early Childhood Curriculum: Practical Principles and Activities.