From Publishers Weekly
How do parents instill a lifelong love of learning in their children? Stipek, dean of the School of Education at Stanford, and Seal, a journalist and author, answer this question with well-documented studies, including research from UCLA's Corrine A. Seeds University Elementary School, a laboratory school for educational improvement where Stipek has served as director for 10 years and Seal as co-president of the parent-teacher's association for two years. Believing that "play is children's work" because it engages their interest in the world around them, Stipek and Seal encourage parents to develop their children's natural drive to learn by focusing on what they believe are the three primary components of success: competence, autonomy and relatedness (the unconditional acceptance, connection and support parents provide their children). Combining famous and fictional anecdotes and other special tips (the proper use of rewards, the role of self-esteem) with the results of current research studies, the authors provide an informative account of the broader concepts they believe are important for parents to understand so that they can create a culture of learning at home. An appendix supplies suggestions on how to assess a school and when to enroll a child in kindergarten. Despite the many studies cited, parents will find the book to be friendly and engaging, a useful resource that they can consult over the many years of their children's education. Agent, Heide Lange.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.
From Library Journal
Though these parenting aids both emphasize nurture over nature, they have different focuses. Conkling, a freelance writer specializing in health and alternative medicine, believes that experience and environment can change and improve children's intelligence and, furthermore, that early stimulation can alter the size, structure, and chemistry of a child's brain ("In fact, 70 percent of your child's brain development will be complete by the time she blows out her first birthday candle," she writes in the introduction). Using research of the past 20 years, she argues that even a genius would not achieve her potential without the proper stimulation. Included are tips on assuring that maximum neural development can take place in the womb, talking to your baby and appreciating her special gifts, encouraging artistic expression and speech development, and making good food choices. Stipek, dean of the School of Education at Stanford University, and Seal, a freelance psychology and education journalist, believe that most children are born with the desire to learn but that this desire starts to decline at about middle school. Rather than focusing solely on boosting self-esteem (which she says can "do damage"), she advises parents to foster competence, autonomy, and relationship security in children. One of her most useful bits of advice is how to connect book learning to the real world. She also rightly points out that if children worry that making a mistake will make them look bad, they will avoid challenge. Caretakers, she says, should help children understand that they can feel and even get to be smarter by doing their work. Public library patrons will find both of these books helpful and approachable. Annete V. Janes, Hamilton P.L., MA
Copyright 2001 Reed Business Information, Inc.