In Memoriam: Vivian Gussin Paley, 1929-2019

Vivian Gussin Paley, a renowned educator and researcher of early childhood education at the University of Chicago, passed away late last month She was 90 years old.

Paley began her career in education as a teacher in New Orleans in the 1950s, and later in Great Neck, New York. In 1971, she joined the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools and remained there until her retirement in 1995. During her career, she wrote 13 books about children based on her experiences in the classroom. She researched the ways in which children grow socially as well as intellectually, as well as the role of race in the classroom. Her books included  The Kindness of Children (Harvard University Press, 1995), A Child’s Work: The Importance of Fantasy Play (University of Chicago Press, 2004), Kwanzaa and Me: A Teacher’s Story (Harvard University Press, 1995), and White Teacher (Harvard University Press, 1979), among others.

Throughout her career, Paley received numerous awards for her contributions to children’s education. She won the Erikson Institute Award for Service to Children in 1987 and the John Dewey Society’s Outstanding Achievement Award in 2000. In 1997, her book, The Girl With the Brown Crayonwas awarded the Harvard University Press Virginia and Warren Stone Prize for the outstanding book about education and society. In 2004, she was named outstanding educator by the National Council of Teachers of English.

Paley held a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from the University of Chicago, a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Newcomb College in New Orleans, and a master’s degree in education from Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York.

Filed Under: In Memoriam


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