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Close Observation of Children Leads to Powerful Curriculum: Sylvia Ashton-Warner

Sylvia Ashton-Warner (1908–1984) was a woman of many passions, and her greatest was figuring out how to teach young children effectively. Her major contribution to early childhood education, now recognized and replicated in many countries around the world, was the invention of key words, also called organic reading or key vocabulary, a compelling way of introducing young children to reading English. Ashton-Warner was a White woman, born in New Zealand. She struggled to teach with respect, to avoid the colonialism and racism that was then the practice of the segregated New Zealand school system. She kept extensive journals as she explored how to do this and, later in her life, wrote 11 fiction and nonfiction books, which have been translated into more than 17 languages.

Her ...

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