AWAKENING CHILDREN'S MINDS: How Parents and Teachers Can Make a Difference

Beverley Naidoo, Author . HarperCollins $25 (272p) ISBN 978-0-06-029629-2
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With Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky's sociocultural theory as a framework, Berk offers a consistent way of thinking about child rearing in the face of the flurry of fickle advice available to today's harried parents. Her accessible and practical book is firmly grounded in the latest research on child development and provides an effective antidote for those skeptical of the current emphasis on academics in primary schooling. Rejecting the notion that parents have little influence on their children, Berk, a 30-year veteran in the field, illustrates the importance of "scaffolding" (building an understanding union between teacher and student), make-believe play and "private speech" (aka talking to oneself). She emphasizes the paramount importance of literacy, since being able to converse, read and write creates unlimited learning opportunities. A chapter on children with disabilities and deficits insists upon their full integration into social life, otherwise they risk adding a "cultural deficit" to their existing condition. Armed with the research data on which Berk's vision is based, parents with the time to talk to their children's educators might be able to bring about necessary change. Unfortunately, the reality of ideological and economic obstacles to outstanding early childhood education in the U.S., where Berk says the overall quality of child care is among the industrialized world's worst, means that such progressive and informed thinking as this book contains will likely remain only an ideal. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 09/24/2001
Release date: 09/01/2001
Genre: Nonfiction
Hardcover - 215 pages - 978-0-435-12530-1
Ebook - 272 pages - 978-0-06-200789-6
Paperback - 272 pages - 978-0-06-441002-1
Prebound-Glued - 252 pages - 978-0-7569-8941-5
Paperback - 227 pages - 978-0-14-130476-2
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