Teaching Young Children: Peggy’s Way

Reviews of her book, created by former primary grade teacher Peggy Broadbent, describing her successful program in combined first and second grade classes

Reviews from teachers:

  • What a total joy it is to read Peggy Broadbent’s marvelous account of how she taught. She carefully lays out descriptions of how she managed her classes- all the way from including parents in helping with lessons, planning activities on a variety of skill levels-so, each child could feel success, designing towns or cities for social studies, organizing plays, working on reading, writing, and math lessons, discussing literature, and many more exciting approaches- I can imagine any teacher or parents coming away from this book with many exciting ideas to try. Whoever gets their hands on this book will indeed be extremely lucky! Believe me, it’s a supreme adventure to be enjoyed!!!
  • I bought several of these to share with fellow teachers. Everyone of them used the book immediately and was thrilled with it. This is written so beautifully in the voice of the author who is obviously a highly intelligent, thoughtful educator dedicated to insuring that each child learns in his own way and loves doing it. Ms Broadbent studies and learns from her students finding the best ways to teach and inspire. This is not a treatise on education by a theorist, this book is a journey through the real events day to day in an exciting learning environment created by the author. If you are an educator who wishes your students to really love learning and to perform at their highest potential, you couldn’t find a better guide or resource than the insights of this dedicated, experienced teacher. And it’s fun! You hear Ms Broadbent’s voice and the voices of her students and you learn and grow and delight with them.
  • Wonderful programs providing excitement about learning for all children. Peggy’s programs appeal to all ages and various levels of ability. Be sure to look at the web site to download materials to use in a classroom – activities that children will gravitate to. Her book is a must for early childhood educators.

Reviews from former students:

  • Who has ever heard of a second grader who loved taking one-minute, timed math tests? A child who had a blast — even spent free time — racing against her friend to see who could finish the test first, with the higher score?
  • Peggy Broadbent nurtured the scientist, the storyteller, the inventor, actor, artist — and mathematician — that is in every child. In her book, Broadbent shares her time-tested, kid-tested methods for teaching young children. The book is a generous source of information and resources developed during her many years as a successful, public school teacher in a combined first and second grade classroom. Find out how classroom organization, structured and unstructured class time inspired an excitement for self-guided, collaborative learning amongst her students. This book is a testament to Broadbent’s faith in children and the fact that children are natural, ready learners when given a friendly environment that is ripe for discovery.
  • Years ago, I was that kid who loved taking timed math tests. Today, reading her book, I realize that she was teaching us at every moment of the day, though most of the time I thought we were just having fun. But for Mrs. Broadbent and her students, learning and fun go hand-in-hand.
  • This book is a fantastic resource for elementary school teachers who are looking for inspiration. It contains so many wonderful programs, all honed over years of practical experience. One underlying theme of the programs is that they are designed to harness the natural enthusiasm of children for learning. The author truly understands that children are natural explorers, and that it is through self-initiated exploration that they learn the most.
  • One important thing to note is that the book is not intended to set forth a one-size-fits-all approach. Although the programs described in the book were implemented in a combined 1st/2nd grade classroom, they can be readily adapted for older or younger children. Likewise, the programs can be adapted to meet the particular needs and interests of any group of students.

Reviews from parents:

  • I am so pleased to see Broadbent’s teaching program available to others through this book. Her method works! It works for every one of the students in a classroom full of children of varying ages and abilities. The students learn because the method is based on an understanding of a child’s natural cognitive development. The growth that this program nurtures extends, as it states in the title, from academics into a child’s sense of personal self-worth. Teachers who employ the early childhood education programs outlined here will be providing their students with a foundation for success.
  • The American education system is increasingly designed by administrators to teacher-proof classrooms with a one-size-fits-all curriculum. Educators willing to embrace change can fix what’s broken from within the system by recognizing how individual children learn – and this book will help with that.(Yes, indeed, I am biased: Peggy Broadbent was my son’s teacher, and we’re grateful for that. She’s an inspiration. What she accomplished with children in the learning environment she created led me to go into teaching, and seeing the successful learning from putting her programs into use subsequently inspired other teachers as well.)
  • Just what I’ve been looking for. Programs are outlined completely and come with already made charts. Entertaining too. Can’t wait to see my kids own ‘Kiddie City’!!! What a help!

Peggy’s book: Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Success. Included is a web site where programs and activities can be downloaded for use in a classroom.

Although available through major publishers, at a cost of about $45.00, a lower price of $22.80 is available through the publisher, AuthorHouse, at:


The Joy of Timed Tests in First and Second Grade

In my combined first and second grade, I fully believed that understanding math does not replace memorization. It is a tool to facilitate carrying out math operations. Timed tests? Never, I thought, for these young and eager math students! Then I heard of a method and decided to try it. After children took a daily timed test, they kept a record of their scores on a personal bar graph. This focused their attention upon their own improvement. Much to my surprise, it didn’t take long for me to realize that they LOVED taking timed tests. And Anne S., as an adult writing about her memories, stated, “And I remember those one-minute timed tests. Somehow, you made them fun for us – so fun that my friend and I would practice them during free time, as if they were the newest game. You taught us in such a way that we didn’t know we were learning – we thought we were just having a blast!”

There were six tests. The first two tests were a plus test and then a minus one of 50 problems with sums to 10, for 1 ½ minutes. (Full sheets of 100 facts were cut in half to provide only 50 facts per test) Next, for three minutes, were an addition and then a subtraction test with 100 problems for sums to 20. And finally for especially capable students there was a multiplication and a division test also with 100 problems, each for three minutes.

Sometimes, however, after successfully completing the first three tests, a few children were progressing very slowly on the minus test with sums to 20. So, they were taught a new method which involved just knowing the sums to 10. When given an example, such as: 15 – 8 = (written vertically) they were reminded that 15 = 10 + 5, and then, looking at 15 – 8 =, told to first take 8 from the 10 resulting in 2 and then add the 2 to the 5 ones which = 7. Voila! The correct answer. It involved more than plain memorizing, but with a little practice it was simple for them to use, and they could do it very rapidly. Certain children loved this method and their scores quickly progressed to passing the test.

Correcting 24 or so tests each day was more than a little daunting. So that children could correct each others, the top row of numbers on a pair of tests, were the answers to the other. One child for each test would read the answers, and I would correct that child’s test. I would always correct any test that was passed. But when spot checking at times, the children seemed to be quite accurate. And if someone got mixed up, we’d hear a loud, “Wait a minute!”

Scores were recorded on one’s bar graph, filled in each day when the previous day’s test was returned. If, over time, I saw a child who wasn’t improving, the parents were informed. Usually they acknowledged that they hadn’t been studying the facts for a while. When studying resumed, the bar graph began climbing again, and the child was very pleased. Facts were to be memorized at home, but if that was a problem, some student or adult volunteers at school would help.

In order to reinforce their attention upon their own success, each day on the front blackboard, I wrote the names of about 5 or more who had improved the most. The name could be for a child on a plus test with sums to10 or one on a division test. This was the last activity for each afternoon. Children were so disappointed if for some reason we couldn’t have a daily timed test.

Read more about the math program, including the timed tests, in my book, Early Childhood Programs: Opportunities for Academic, Cognitive, and Personal Success. Included is a web site where the timed tests and graphs can be downloaded, in addition to downloading other materials for use in a classroom. Also, see 7 reviews on www.amazon.com

   Teaching Young Children © Peggy Broadbent 2011 - All Rights Reserved