Educating Young Children with Different Abilities: A Review of Missy Hamilnook Reflects on Early Childhood Education

By Medley, Susan | Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin, Spring 2014 | Go to article overview

Educating Young Children with Different Abilities: A Review of Missy Hamilnook Reflects on Early Childhood Education


Medley, Susan, Delta Kappa Gamma Bulletin


Educating Young Children with Different Abilities: A review of Missy Hamilnook Reflects on Early Childhood Education Hamilton, A. (2013). Missy Hamilnook Reflects on Early Childhood Education. Parker, CO: Bookcrafters. 83 pages. ISBN 978-0-9837470-5-5 (paperback).

The author reviews an engaging memoir about a DKG member's 20 years as an earlychildhood educator with both at-risk and normally developing preschool children in a university speech and hearing clinic and research department. The book provides both a philosophy and a model for educating young children with different abilities.

In this thoughtful memoir, long-time Delta Kappa Gamma member Alicita Hamilton shares thoughts on 20 years (1962-1982) of bringing her talents as early-childhood educator, child psychologist, and mother to a program designed to help small children with communication disorders integrate into broader society. Missy Hamilnook Reflects on Early Childhood Education serves as a classic source of downto-earth philosophies and methodologies for drawing out the best from every child.

Hamilton's two decades with the University of Denver began during a research study that assessed and confirmed the effectiveness of the thennew concept that many hearing-impaired young children could develop speech and language if they were fitted with hearing aids and provided a normal preschool experience in a language-rich environment that encouraged teacher narration in addition to speech therapy. With such an impetus, the memoir will interest teachers, educators, and parents, as well as professionals in related fields such as pediatrics and psychology.

The title of the book was inspired by a small boy who renamed Mrs. Hamilton as Missy Hamilnook, a name thereafter adopted and often used by colleagues. Her work included planning preschool activities and serving as principal teacher and as a member of the university's clinic staff and teaching faculty. She became a leader among early-childhood educators in Colorado during the 1960s as a founder and early president of the Colorado Association for the Education of Young Children.

The preschool program at the University of Denver evolved over the years to helping children with other communication problems and then to fully integrating the children at risk with normally developing children. The narrative richly details Hamilton's interactions with university faculty and graduate students, as well as with children and parents.

Through emphasis on the preschool environment and experiential presentation of curriculum, Hamilton focuses on the theme of play as the primary vehicle for learning by young children: "Play with other children in carefully planned experiences immerses children in the learning process" (p. …

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