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Practical Wisdom for Parents: Demystifying the Preschool Years Hardcover – July 24, 2007

4.9 out of 5 stars 12 customer reviews

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Parenting in a complicated world
Strategies to help you be the best parent you can be. See more
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Schulman and Birnbaum, early childhood educators and directors of the 92nd Street Y Nursery in New York City, have distilled their extensive knowledge to create this indispensable primer for parents of preschoolers. Starting with the premise that parents today face more pressures than ever, the authors admit that getting a child into preschool can be an angst-ridden hurdle. The atmosphere of competitiveness is one of the most significant changes they've witnessed during their combined 59 years in the field, with as many as 10 applicants for every available space at some of the more prestigious preschools, and a formal application and interview process that makes parents understandably anxious. The authors note that there are many viable preschool choices that will provide youngsters with an opportunity to access the five core learning experiences of preschool: separation, being part of a group, socialization, independence and routines. The first section is devoted to the preschool experience, and the authors gently guide parents through an average day, covering such topics as how to deal with separation issues or how to react when a preschooler comes home with a drawing that resembles a brown blob. Ample attention is given to the etiquette of play dates and sundry mysteries of the preschool universe. Discussions of bedtime, meals, discipline, toilet training combine to make this a practical and comprehensive resource. (Aug.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

The authors are directors of one of the most admired preschools in the U.S. Drawing on their cumulative 60 years of experience, they provide practical advice to parents on the most common concerns of parenting young children and preparing them for school. Part 1 focuses on school life, when and how to choose a preschool, and preparing parent and child for separation and the beginning of this new stage in a child's life. Part 2 focuses on the home environment, what parents can do to provide stimulation and nurturance, covering everything from discipline to ethics to play. The authors include vignettes from their own experience with the 92nd Street Y Nursery School to show examples of overscheduling, developing needed social skills, and setting up play dates. A separate chapter on development offers clear benchmarks with the caution that children develop at their own rates. They also advise parents on how to talk with their children about difficult subjects, from moving to divorce to death. Recommended books, toys, and other products and services add to this title's resource value. Bush, Vanessa
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf; 1 edition (July 24, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0307263541
  • ISBN-13: 978-0307263544
  • Product Dimensions: 6.8 x 1.3 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (12 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #824,003 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Gretchen C. Rubin on July 26, 2007
Format: Hardcover
I admit that I have a bias. I picked up this book knowing the two authors, because my daughter attended the nursery school they direct. Because I knew them personally, I expected to get sensible, useful advice -- with some humor -- and that's exactly what this book provides.

I sat down and read the book from beginning to end, but it's arranged by topic, so it makes a great reference book, too. You can easily turn to "talking about death" or "playing with guns" or whatever.

One thing I love about the authors' perspective is that they aren't therapists, doctors, or specialists who see a subsection of kids. Their insights come from the fact that they've seen hundreds of ordinary kids go through nursery school. So when I read that my 2 1/2 year old should be able to take off her own coat, or give up her sippy cup, I know I can trust that.

There's also interesting material on the emotional experiences of PARENTS with children going to nursery school. I'd never read a discussion of that before -- the crazy mix of emotion you feel when your child marches through the school door for the first time.
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Format: Hardcover
Loving parents of young children are beset by anxieties, constantly worrying that they are making mistakes which will resonate down the decades. Here at last is a book which will calm, inform and hearten.

The authors have used their years of experience as educators of pre-school children in writing a book offering sensible advice and perceptive observations. There are no absolutes, no utterly rigid rules. Instead they offer genuinely practical wisdom which will encourage parents to relax and enjoy these most magical years.

Ellen Birnbaum and Nancy Schulman have given readers a precious gift - the sense that everything will be all right and tomorrow is another day. One finishes reading this book feeling a more competent parent.

If you have a young child then buy this for yourself. And if there is anyone you care about who is facing the challenge of parenting a pre-schooler then this is the perfect present.
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Format: Paperback
When I turn to a book for help with my parenting, I don't want some fad or trend or the latest miracle technique for whatever. I want good solid information and advice from experienced competent people. And that's what this book offers. There are no fireworks or gimmicks or marketing hooks--just the shared experience of two preschool teachers who happen to work at one of the most prestigious preschools in the country. When I am having an issue with our toddler, I flip through the book or consult the index to find the section that addresses it, i.e. tantrums, play, sleep problems, sibling rivalry, etc. I always find something valuable. The only quibble I have about this book is that it is a little bit hard to find things in it, and it could be more concise. But I'd rather that they go on too long than cut it too short, as so many parenting books do, giving only a superficial treatment of a complicated issue.

Another book I recommend which is along the same lines and complements this book extremely well is Touchpoints 3 to 6 by T. Berry Brazelton. He also has tons of experience, even more than these ladies, but he's coming at it from the angle of being a pediatrician, and he wrote it with a child psychiatrist, so that also adds an additional valuable angle. It comes in two volumes "Birth to Three" and "Three to Six."
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Format: Hardcover
This is a Must Read for anyone with children between the ages of 2-5. The authors give sound practical advise that will benefit any parent. If you have to pick one book on parenting this should be it.
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Format: Hardcover
This is an excellent and easy read for parents of young children. It is full of solid, practical advice and loads of wisdom about preschoolers and the preschool experience that I have not seen in other books. It would make a much appreciated addition to most young parents' library - tuck it in with the other books on baby care for a really useful baby shower gift!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I just went to a lecture by the authors Nancy Schulman and Ellen Birnbaum, and was so incredibly impressed by them. They really know what they're talking about---not only are they mothers, but they have a combined 51 years of teaching preschoolers and directing preschools. Being able to hear them easily field questions that ran the spectrum from toddlers to 8 year olds was very impressive---they are intelligent, kind, funny women whose advice I would absolutely trust.

I haven't finished reading the book yet, but what I read made sense, and I felt like it cut away all this nonsense parents have had to deal with recently--all the Baby Einstein, Brainy Baby DVDs, music classes for infants, etc. Even more importantly, the book details IN BULLET POINTS how to raise a happy, self-confident, adaptable child----what could be better than that?

I highly recommend this book for parents of children aged 1 - 5.
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