Erika Christakis

The Importance of Being Little

What Preschoolers Really Need from Grownups

Viking 2016

New Books in EducationNew Books in Politics & SocietyNew Books in Public PolicyNew Books Network March 31, 2016 Trevor Mattea

Everyone hates being underestimated. We want to feel included without others showing us condescension. At the same time, no one wants to be overestimated....

Everyone hates being underestimated. We want to feel included without others showing us condescension. At the same time, no one wants to be overestimated. We want to feel challenged without others overwhelming us. We recognize that children can be frustrated or disengaged, but we often fail to see that their feelings and behaviors are caused by the same things that stir up these feelings in adults — flawed assumptions about their abilities and interests. What if kids are more capable cognitively than we think? What if we demand too much of them pragmatically? Nowadays, we simultaneously adultify children and infantalize them, depending on the situation. But what if we have those situations backwards? In The Importance of Being Little: What Preschoolers Really Need from Grownups (Viking, 2016), Erika Christakis shares her insights gleaned from years working with young children as a parent, preschool teacher, and preschool director.

Christakis joins New Books in Education for the interview. You can find more information about her work on her website. To share your thoughts on the podcast, you can connect with her on Twitter at @ErikaChristakis. You can reach the host on Twitter at @tsmattea.


Trevor Mattea is an educational consultant and speaker. His areas of expertise include deeper learning, parent involvement, project-based learning, and technology integration. He can be reached at [email protected].