978-0-8070-2320-4 / 9780807023204

They Don't Like Me: Lessons on Bullying and Teasing from a Preschool Classroom


Publisher:Beacon Press



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About the book:

In her new book, Jane Katch explores the painful problems of bullying, teasing, and exclusion. Why, she wonders, does a young child, just becoming aware of the existence of the group, feel such a strong need to keep another child out? And is it possible to teach children to create social groups that aren't defined by excluding others?

With her acute eye and deft pen, Katch watches her class of four- and five-year-olds begin to form exclusionary groups and tells us what happens as she tries to intervene. Her classroom has a rule based on Vivian Paley's work: You can't say you can't play. It works well, until a new child joins the class. ZoŽ, braids flying behind her, insists on having things her way and wants the other children's games to conform to her wishes; she's scared of roaring, she kicks, and she's terrified of losing her tenuous place in the group. She's also a wildly, wonderfully imaginative child, but the rule of fairness is not by itself enough to address the dynamics of this classroom.

ZoŽ's endless troublemaking sends Katch on a quest to better understand why some kids exclude others. Talking with her brother, who teased her as a child, with high school kids, and, as always, with her class, Katch comes to new understandings of why some kids bully and scapegoat, how other kids get through the experience, and how she as a teacher might intervene. They Don't Like Me is at once a fascinating, absorbing look into the social lives of children and a book for teachers and parents who are trying to understand how to prevent exclusion and how to support children who are being teased and bullied.

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