Oklahoma child care providers are always looking for books and resources that can help them in their goal to provide quality child care. This is the first of a two part interview with Jeff A. Johnson and Denita Dinger, co-authors of the upcoming book: Let Them Play: an Early Learning (un)Curriculum. Jeff Johnson has presented trainings in Oklahoma on preventing and recovering from burnout and can be found online at his blog, his website Explorations Early Learning or on his Facebook page. Denita is a family child care provider and can be found online through her website Play Counts, blog, or Facebook page.
When will your new book be released?
[Jeff A Johnson] It is available for preorder at Redleaf Press and on Amazon now and will start shipping by the end of March.
[Denita Dinger] The “docking date” is March 23rd….. YIPPEEE!!
Tell us how you guys met and came to collaborate on this book
[Jeff A Johnson] We met at the South Dakota Family Child Care conference years ago and I fell in love with her energy and ideas. I figured collaborating with her would make me look good. We don’t agree on everything, but we work well together and are usually good at finding common ground.
[Denita Dinger] I first heard Jeff present at a FCCPSD (Family Child Care Professionals of South Dakota) Conference. He was awesome! I laughed and learned so much during that workshop! I wanted to hate him so badly (because I had a goal in life of being a fantastic presenter someday and here was a fantastic presenter already doing what I had hoped to do) but I just couldn’t hate him. There was something annoyingly loveable about Jeff! (ha) Little did I know that this person that I was extremely jealous of (oh I hate admitting that) would someday turn into an amazing mentor. I have learned so much from Jeff, and was completely honored when he asked me to write a book with him.
What was the inspiration behind your book?
[Jeff A Johnson] For me, the book was inspired by my desire to push back against the forces of evil that are stealing childhood, devaluing play, and sucking the fun out of being a child. OK, the whole “Evil” thing may be a bit dramatic, but you get the point. I wanted to help people find ways to let kids be kids, trust them as learners, and value the power of Play.
[Denita Dinger] Simply saving play. Who would have ever thought there would need to be people with a mission of saving play?
Reading programs for babies? Really? Something has gone terribly wrong! Somewhere the message has gotten all mumble jumbled and it’s time to pause and reevaluate what is happening.
Play is being stuffed in a corner, it’s almost shamed. It’s been replaced with structure this and structure that. Gone are the moments most valuable and loaded with honest to goodness, retainable learning for children. Learning through play, creating natural curiosity, using imaginations and getting along with others. It’s gone. We want to bring it back. It needs to be brought back. People just need to step back and take a closer look at what goes on when a child is playing. It’s there…everything a child needs to know can be learned through play.
Check here for part two of this interview!