About Martin Dutcher
(aka Marty, Mr. Marty)
After starting out in computer science in the late sixties, Dutcher began volunteering in a new neighborhood preschool in Washington, D.C., in 1971. The following year, surprisingly, he quit his computer science work and studies to become a full-time classroom leader in Amazing Life Games Preschool (ALG). His interest in human learning and relationship had begun. Through a local D.C. improvisational theater company (The Living Stage), "Marty" discovered the significance of imagination in play with young children (as well as an increase in fun, dancing, and exploration for himself!).
After 13 years with ALG, including starting ALG's K-3 program, Marty joined a group of educators starting up a large child care center network in the D.C. suburbs. Marty spent 14 years opening new centers and directing and training staff and parents, introducing computers into the classrooms, as well as designing and teaching a project-based K-3 program, before leaving to focus on working directly with children and their parents.
How children learn has been the focus of many educators and researchers over many years, and Dutcher has read a lot if not most of it. But he was also interested in how much, why, and especially what young children learn well before they start school, and questioned why so many of our children have trouble learning to read. He was and still is continually amazed at what educators, and thus parents, do not know to take into account about early learning in their attitudes of, responses to, and conversations they have with children of all ages, both verbal and non-verbal. He is also skilled at helping parents help their children deal with schooling, a particularly confounding environment for children, no matter what method or philosophy of schooling, home-schooling, or unschooling parents choose, and no matter how well they perform in school.
I tear up when I see a pre-verbal young child melt down in frustration because she hasn't yet learned to speak the words, or have someone to just listen, to share her thoughts, her desires, what she knows, and her love and appreciation. Too often we dismiss that frustration as "just" a tantrum, a behavioral problem. Who doesn't get upset when they aren't heard or aren't understood by the people they love most?
After almost 30 years of in-the-classroom experience, hundreds of hours of early childhood CE credits, and attending workshops from many different approaches and philosophies, Dutcher began focusing on working with parents, and in 2013 he published Beyond Good Parenting, a handbook for parents subtitled "the art & science of behavior, learning, and partnership", based on his many years of engagement with young children and their parents[a 2nd edition is coming out in May, 2017]. In the process of writing, Dutcher researched both the roots of early childhood learning theory and parenting practices as well as the latest and ongoing research and discoveries in the broad field of human behavior. He says,
I wrote Beyond Good Parenting to help parents see how and why we are all designed to work the way we do, and that a way of seeing this that eliminates stress and guilt as we practice and learn to build and maintain quality relationships. Most of what we now offer children in the way of learning (via teaching), is a huge misunderstanding of the learning process, and is detrimental to both their relationships and their learning, not to mention the added stress on parents.
In Marty's seminars, he discusses what this entails for parents and teachers, and then also shares many stories, examples, and ways of building and growing relationships of appreciation, partnership, and accomplishment.
Listening and accepting comes first. Then, it is not what has been said that matters, it is what is said next.
Hear Marty's Public Service Interview along with other top experts on understanding emotional literacy. Marty is a Global Presence Ambassador for Parenting 2.0, formerly for Lancaster, PA, and now in San Francisco. Parenting 2.0 is an international consciousness-rasing movement that promotes a more proactive educational process for Life Skills learning for all children. >>>>