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You Are Your Child's First Teacher, Third Edition: Encouraging Your Child's Natural Development from Birth to Age Six Paperback – August 14, 2012
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The Amazon Book Review
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“This is a terrific book, packed with commonsense advice on the real basics of healthy mental and emotional development. Rahima is a wise and knowledgeable guide for parents struggling to raise good kids in a challenging world. Someday your children will thank you for reading this book!”
–Jane M. Healy, Ph.D., author of Different Learners and Your Child's Growing Mind
“Here is an extraordinary work for those who want to develop a truly intelligent child and, in the process, unlock new levels of their own intelligence and spirit. Rahima Baldwin Dancy gives us a brilliant new insight into early childhood based on the work of Rudolf Steiner and her own rich experience as mother, midwife, and teacher. I only wish it might be required reading for both men and women in all high schools and colleges.”
–Joseph Chilton Pearce, author, Magical Child
"Every time I dip back into You Are Your Child's First Teacher, and there have been many times, I feel like I have been gently elevated and reassured. Rahima gives a compass bearing to the parenting soul."
–Kim John Payne, M.ED., author of Simplicity Parenting
“In You Are your Child’s First Teacher Baldwin Dancy offers counsel and advice as from a warm and caring friend, never condescending or authoritative, but encouraging, supportive, suggesting new approaches and offering her own experiences for consideration.”
–Home Education Magazine
“It is Baldwin Dancy's sensitive, sincere, and ever-so-natural tending to the soul and spirit, as well as mind and body, of the newborn and young child, that makes this a very special book.”
–The Wellspring Guide
“Parents do not need a new set of rules or another authority telling them how to raise their children, only the capacity to see and understand the young child as a human being. Baldwin Dancy believes she can help parents harness the necessary ‘cognitive and intuitive knowledge’ to accomplish the task.”
–The Brown University Child Behavior and Development Letter
“Baldwin Dancy helps us to see that there are real risks to treating our children like little adults. She suggests ways that we can enhance and nurture their development by making conscious choices in our efforts to educate.”
–Bookmarks, newsletter of the International Childbirth Education Association
About the Author
RAHIMA BALDWIN DANCY is internationally known as a Waldorf early childhood educator, author of Special Delivery, and coauthor of Pregnant Feelings. A mother of four, Dancy is a founding board member of LifeWays North America and co-founded/directed Rainbow Bridge LifeWays Program in Boulder, Colorado. Currently, she is the director of Informed Family Life, through which she organizes national conferences on alternatives in birth, parenting, and education. Visit www.waldorfinthehome.org.
Top customer reviews
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The insights I have learned from this book are INVALUABLE! I am grateful for the teachings and the reviews that steered me to this book. The Waldorf Preschool I wanted my child to attend recommended Across the Rainbow Bridge,which my friend purchased. The reviews said it was a good book but not actionable for parents. This book on the other hand is FILLED with friendly suggestions, examples, and TONS of resources at the end of every chapter. I found myself wanting to buy every book the author recommended, because her style of writing is so inclusive I was inspired to learn as much as I could.
Anyway, since the first chapter I was finding reasons to stay up later to continue reading. I found myself prefacing most conversations with, " This book I'm reading talks about that...", and when I would share with my friend who was reading the book I had intended to buy I asked if any of this content was discussed and repeatedly she said none of the topics we were discussing regarding child rearing were addressed.
I am very happy with my purchase and would recommend this book to even a brand new mom. I personally didn't want to read any books I was so overwhelmed as a single parent and new mom. BUT I do wish I had these insights with a new baby and maybe even in my last trimester when reading books was a simple task ;)
If this is your general philosophy, skip this book and try "Simplicity Parenting" by Kim John Payne or "Calm and Compassionate Children", by Susan Dremond. Both of these are Waldorf-inspired, but written for a more mainstream audience. "You are your child's first teacher" is very strongly based on Rudolf Steiner's anthroposophy philosophy. While I think it's possible to appreciate and incorporate many of Steiner's indications, "You are your child's first teacher" is quite dogmatic from my perspective. While others' have commented that they find the author's tone to be supportive I find it to be condescending in a lot of instances. While she pays lip service to the fact that guilt is not helpful to anyone, the exhaustive list of very specific "Do's" in this book can't help but be guilt-inducing, especially for a newer parent.
If you're not familiar with Waldorf, these "Do's" include things like: music in the pentatonic scale (Major scales, with C & F, are "too bright" for a young child and interfere with the "incarnation" process), surrounding an infant in a particular colour (peach blossom), and providing a young child with beeswax for modelling purposes, because clay is too cold and associated with the earth to be appropriate for a young child.
Again I appreciate many aspects of Waldorf education/parenting - I just think that it's possible for kid's to do wet-on-wet watercolour painting while also enjoying markers and puffy paint. You can have play silks AND "dress-up" costumes. Of course you want your children to be comfortable but for my giant-headed kid, cotton shirts with a bit of spandex are perfect - despite the fact that synthetics are so "inappropriate" for children, according to this book. I also think that there are some good toys out there that... wait for it... contain plastic.
If you're looking for a less dogmatic approach, try "Simplicity Parenting" or "Calm and Compassionate Children". If you're already feeling a bit guilty about something in your parenting life, you could also check out "Buddhism for Mothers" by Sarah Napthali. The "Creative Family" by Amanda Soule is more of a craft book than a parenting book, but very sweet and worth the read.
I like how it tells parents to slow down and not treat kids like little adults. It also gives some great ideas on what to do with kids