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Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs Paperback – April 20, 2010
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From Publishers Weekly
Galinsky (Six Stages of Parenthood; Ask the Children) has spent her career observing and analyzing how children learn. Collaborating with top researchers in the science of childhood brain development for the past decade, she identifies seven life skills that help children reach their full potential and unleash their passion to learn. The skills are presented in a readable and accessible volume enlivened by parents' narratives about what works and what doesn't, hints and tips, and over a hundred suggestions (games and family activities) for involving kids in the pursuit of learning. Each of seven chapters focuses on one skill, most of them involved with the executive (or management) function of the brain, such as focus and self-control, communicating, and critical thinking. Galinsky urges parents to instill in their children a grasp of different kinds of knowledge to best tap inborn sense and foster self-motivation. The big message is simple: teaching children to think may be the most important thing a parent can do. It doesn't take a village and it doesn't require fancy courses or equipment—Galinsky's everyday, playful, parent-child learning interactions offer a place to start. Some of the advice may seem self-evident, but it is a valuable, worthwhile resource. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
“[Mind in the Making] may well be the next iconic parenting manual, up there with Spock and Leach and Brazelton, one that parents turn to for reassurance that all is more or less okay, reminders of how to make it better and glimpses of what’s to come.” (New York Times)
“A valuable resource! Ellen Galinsky’s extensive research reveals important insights into the science of early learning.” (Adele Faber, co-author of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen and Listen So Kids Will Talk)
“We need to get these important messages out, and parents are clamoring for it.” (T. Berry Brazelton, M. D., Professor of Pediatrics, Emeritus Harvard Medical School and founder, Brazelton Touchpoints Center)
“A readable and accessible volume enlivened by parents’ narratives about what works and what doesn’t. Galinsky’s everyday, playful, parent-child learning interactions offer a place to start...a valuable, worthwhile resource.” (Publishers Weekly)
As a working parent, I was grateful for every new nugget of insight to help me assess my kids’ development and progress in school. I wish I had had “Mind in the Making,” a recent book by Ellen Galinsky that offers a gold mine of information. (Wall Street Journal)
“[Ellen Galinsky’s] latest book, Mind in the Making just put her in the ‘Child Development Expert Hall of Fame.’ Mind in the Making is one of those rare and glorious books that will make a difference on our children’s lives and future.” (Michele Borba, Ed.D., author of The Big Book of Parenting Solutions)
“Ellen Galinsky—already the go-to person on interaction between families and the workplace—draws on fresh research to explain what we OUGHT to be teaching our children. This is must-reading for everyone who cares about America’s fate in the 21st century.” (Judy Woodruff, Senior Correspondent for The PBS NewsHour)
“Mind in the Making is the central component of a creative, multi-faceted initiative that clarifies paths to lifelong learning—related to discoveries about brain development and how learning builds on the structure and function of the brain. It is a valuable contribution based on solid research that yields practical benefits.” (David A. Hamburg, MD,Weill Cornell Medical College and President Emeritus of the Carnegie Corporation of New York)
“Mind in the Making is a tour de force. In Galinsky’s hands, the latest scientific discoveries about how children learn are carefully molded into seven seemingly simple but profound skills that predict success in the 21st Century.” (Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Professor of Psychology, Temple University, and coauthor of A Mandate for Playful Learning in Preschool)
“A book of incomparable quality about what is best for children and why in today’s world. Mind in the Making helps you assemble the ingredients in your own kitchen for rearing children who are intelligent, emotionally secure, and equipped to succeed.” (Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Professor of Education, Psychology and Linguistics and Cognitive Science, University of Delaware, and coauthor of A Mandate for Playful Learning in Preschool)
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As someone that has coached and mentored children, I found chapter 6 ,which focuses on "taking on challenges" especially interesting. If you are old school like me and are disgusted that every child in youth sports receives a trophy you will enjoy this chapter. It domonstrates that these rewards can be damaging and are not beneficial to a child's development. This chapter goes into detail about Carol Dweck's research in which she has found when adults praise children's efforts..."you are working hard"...versus their personal attributes.."you are so smart or you are so strong," they are more likely to have children who are willing to take on challenges.
The other chapter that I found especially interesting was the chapter on "perspective taking". Perspective taking is the foundation for empathy development. Because empathy is such a critical component of any individuals development and there is a critical period in which the development of this skill needs to occur, I think all parents should work on perspective taking with the children. If an individual fails to develop empathy, they will most likely engage in many anti-social behaviors throughtout their life-span. At one point the book actually puts forth the question as to why aren't we teaching "perspective taking" in schools when it is such a critical component of development? Well, why aren't we? But if we aren't ready to do that yet, parents can at least work on this skill with their own toddlers so that they develop empathy later in childhood.
My only complaint of this book's content is that it's buy-in may be low for those that aren't educated and unfortunately, the children that typically need the most help are children that come from uneducated families of low socio-economic status. Therefore, how can this book be re-writen by Ellen Galinsky in order to communicate these complex ideas to parents that may not be well educated?