The Boy on the Beach

The Boy on the Beach : Building Community Through Play

3.86 (53 ratings by Goodreads)
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Four-year-old Eli plays in the sand on the beach, playing fireman, protector, and scout, battling waves and defeating invisible monsters. But then a new playmate, Marianne, arrives with her doll, and the boy's stories adapt to accommodate hers: the fireman saves the doll from drowning, but then the doll's mother and father put it safely to bed. What can the richly imagined, impressively adaptable fantasy world of these children tell us about childhood, development, education, and even life itself? For fifty years, educator Vivian Gussin Paley has been exploring such questions - by paying close attention to the imagery, language, and lore of young children. With "The Boy on the Beach", she continues to do so, using her time-honored method of letting children tell the stories of their play in their own words, revealing the developing logic and learning that enable them to create meaning from the complicated world around them.
Combining those careful accounts of make-believe with gentle but incisive analysis and a series of letters between Paley and a fellow teacher in Taiwan, "The Boy on the Beach" reveals the ways that children use their powers of invention to develop the flexibility needed to form a society based on friendship, fantasy, and fairness - an ideal that all educators should foster. Full of wonderful, inimitable stories from the classroom, "The Boy on the Beach" is vintage Paley, a wise and delightful reminder of the importance of play and the enduring appeal of stories.
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Product details

  • Hardback | 96 pages
  • 142.24 x 205.74 x 17.78mm | 272.15g
  • The University of Chicago Press
  • University of Chicago Press
  • Chicago, IL, United States
  • English
  • New.
  • 0226645037
  • 9780226645032
  • 592,424

About Vivian Gussin Paley

Vivian Gussin Paley worked for nearly forty years as a preschool and kinder-garten teacher and is the author of thirteen books about young children, including, most recently, A Child's Work: The Importance of Fantasy Play.
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Review quote

"Her books... should be required reading wherever children are growing. Paley does not presume to understand preschool children, or to theorize. Her strength lies equally in knowing that she does not know and in trying to learn. She avoids the arrogance of adult to small child; of teacher to student; of writer to reader." -Penelope Leach, New York Times "Paley's argument, against which there is no argument, only ignorance, is that child's 'play' is a foundation of education, revealing of and creating social and imaginative skills. But as every educator or parent of a young child knows, the American craze for standardized testing has squeezed out time and funding for the arts, physical education, and 'play.'" -Bob Blaisdell, Chicago Tribune"
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Rating details

53 ratings
3.86 out of 5 stars
5 26% (14)
4 40% (21)
3 28% (15)
2 6% (3)
1 0% (0)
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