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Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn-- And Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less Hardcover – October 3, 2003

4.5 out of 5 stars 107 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Authors and child psychologists Hirsh-Pasek, Golinkoff and Eyer join together to prove that training preschoolers with flash cards and attempting to hurry intellectual development doesn't pay off. In fact, the authors claim, kids who are pressured early on to join the academic rat race don't fair any better than children who are allowed to take their time. Alarmed by the current trend toward creating baby Einsteins, Hirsh-Pasek and Golinkoff urge parents to step back and practice the "Three R's: Reflect, Resist, and Recenter." Instead of pushing preschoolers into academically oriented programs that focus on early achievement, they suggest that children learn best through simple playtime, which enhances problem solving skills, attention span, social development and creativity. "Play is to early childhood as gas is to a car," say Hirsh-Pasek and Golinkoff, explaining that reciting and memorizing will produce "trained seals" rather than creative thinkers. Creativity and independent thinking, they argue, are true 21st-century skills; IQ and other test scores provide a narrow view of intelligence. The authors walk parents through much of the recent research on the way children learn, debunking such myths as the Mozart effect, and pointing out that much learning unravels naturally, programmed through centuries of evolution. Although the research-laden text is sometimes dense, parents will find a valuable message if they stick with the program, ultimately relieving themselves and their offspring of stress and creating a more balanced life.
Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.


“An elegant summary of what mind and brain science can tell us about child development and learning. The reasonable and reassuring implications the authors draw from this research provide a much-needed corrective to the hype and distortions all too prevalent in the popular media. Finally, the truth!” ―John T. Bruer, Ph.D., president of the James S. McDonnell Foundation and author of The Myth of the First Three Years

“Parents eager to know what to do-- and even more important, what not to do-- to help their children discover and take advantage of their hidden talents will find this well-written book a treasure trove of information and advice. A trustworthy parenting resource from two highly respected scholars!” ―Linda Acredolo, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and author of Baby Signs and Baby Minds

“This book makes it easy to be a good parent! It explains how, by nurturing your child's love for learning through play, you will foster initiative, creativity, curiosity, empathy, and self-esteem-- in sum, a happy child. Isn't that what we all want? Indeed, I gained many new insights into how my 4- and 2-year-old daughters are engaged in learning through their own magical play.” ―Janet Rice Elman, executive director of the Association of Children's Museums in Washington, D.C.

“Although parents know that the early years are learning years, just what that means has been confusing-- until now. Einstein Never Used Flash Cards makes practical sense of the vast number of technical studies and hyperbole of advertising claims. It explains in clear, compelling, and scientific terms how learning really takes place. This book is a must-read for parents, grandparents, teachers, caregivers, pediatricians, and policy makers-- in other words, all those who care about and for the next generation of children.” ―Ellen Galinsky, president and cofounder of the Families and Work Institute in New York City


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 302 pages
  • Publisher: Rodale Books (October 3, 2003)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1579546951
  • ISBN-13: 978-1579546953
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 1.2 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (107 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #322,156 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
You know how it goes. You hear another mommy in the playgroup or a mutual friend talk about how they are teaching their one-year-old to read or how their toddler just got in to the spanish immersion pre-school and you feel that twinge of guilty panic, wondering if you're doing what is right to make your child as smart as possible. This book is INCREDIBLE and will calm you down and help you realize what is truly important: children do not learn from boring drill-and-kill experiences. They learn from play and enjoyable reading.

My favorite quote from this book is "Put away your credit card and get out your library card". That is the theme of the whole book. The authors explian why most expensive "educational" toys MAKE your children play with them a certain way and don't allow for creativity so they should not be the only toys your child has. (You can have them! They simply suggest you also have creative toys like dolls, blocks, dress up, kitchen & tool sets or Legos.) They go on to explain that access to toys like these encourage unstructured, imaginative play that help children learn about numbers, physics, geometry, the world and their feelings.

This book tackles our most pressing questions, like how we will teach our children to read before pre-school and how we will teach them the concept of number symbols standing for actual quantities of items. Moreso, they explain to parents exactly how children learn and that parents are not the sole architects of the perfect baby brain. Mother nature has already created a brain that loves to learn and drilling children with flash cards or worksheets can kill a love for learning that is naturally there.
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Format: Hardcover
it is so amazing to watch my 21 month old daughter learn. it's fun to watch her explore things and figure them out and see the lightbulb go off in her head. and this book is partially responsible for allowing me to sit back and notice those little steps and appreciate them. if she is interested in figuring something out it can hold her attention for a pretty long time. for instance, she'll get bored with the insanely complicated shape sorter I got her pretty quickly right now...but put her in front of her car seat or stroller and she will spend a good five minutes or longer trying to get the buckle snapped without getting frustrated. and once she gets it done she wants you to undo it so she can do it again.

this book argues for the merits of "play" and theorizes that by pushing kids too hard you can end up hampering their natural tendencies to experiment and explore. basically the authors liken a child's mind to a highway and if you cram it too full of information at one time you end up with a traffic jam. they also explain the different stages of learning and how a child's mind works at different ages and give a lot of good experiments to do with them to monitor their development. I rarely recommend reading baby books because i find them to be alarmist and one-sided, but this is one i highly recommend every parent read.
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Format: Hardcover
I was concerned that I wasn't doing enough for my toddler. While I sit and play with him at times during the day, he primarily plays by himself while I'm nearby. We don't do alphabet drills, I don't run addition flash cards, and I prefer to have him play with blocks to watching an "educational" video. And yet, now at 24 mo, he has an extensive vocabulary, speaks in full sentences, counts to 10, creates wonderful stories for me, and loves to play with his trucks and trains.

This book confirmed to me what I always felt was right - involve your kids in your everyday activities. Talk to them, reinforce what they learn naturally, and spend time with your kids. You don't need to entertain them, enroll them in "enrichment" classes, or hire personal tutors. Children learn naturally through play and open, unstructured activities.

By no means does this book advocate ignoring your children, or failing to get them assistance if they are developmentally delayed. It does argue, rather compellingly, that over-teaching our kids is not only unnecessary, but is also harmful to their long-term development.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I wish I could just absorb this book and automatically incorporate its ideas into my everyday parenting. The information is very well presented and convincing, and the suggested activities are specific and useful. It's serious advice to parents of babies and young children that their child's best learning moments are in play! It doesn't encourage parents to take to the sidelines, but rather to use play and everyday experiences to foster their child's love of learning.

Now as I watch my son, I can truly appreciate that "Play IS learning!" Just the other day he was carefully moving his trike back and forth, turning the handle bars and watching the wheels turn and move as he manipulated it. Now he confidently rides his trike through narrow paths between obstacles, backing up and steering as needed. Not too long ago he would get frustrated and immediately cry for help to get out of a jam.

This book drives home the idea that you really shouldn't "try to teach" your young child so much as expose and guide him/her through different learning opportunities. Children are wired to learn, which doesn't mean we should try to feed as much info into their growing brains as early as possible. It's not meant to be work...it's play.
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