Einstein Never Used Flash Cards

October 29, 2009, 0 Comments

Einstein Never Used Flash Cards – Roberta Michnick Golinkoff Ph.D. (Author), Kathy Hirsh-Pasek Ph.D. (Author), Diane Eyer Ph.D. (Author)

Publishers Weekly
“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.

The current frenzy of sending kids into schools as early as one or two year old, gearing them up to be ahead academically calls for a re-look at how children really learn best. It talks about how society buys into “Faster, better, more” syndrome.

Myth 1: The First 3 years and the “critical period” theory.
Author describes ‘critical period” as one that comes from biology. It is a window of time in which some important aspect of development occurs and it has a beginning and end.
*There appear to be more and less receptive periods for learning certain behaviours, like language & visual learning.
*There does not appear to be a “critical period” that is suddenly over at a certain point in time for learning these behaviours. The window for language learning doesnt snap shut after first 3 years of life.
*Responsive periods do not seem to exist at all for behaviours like chess and gymnastics.

Key predictors of healthy intellectual and emotional developments are ‘responsive, nurturing relationships with parents and caregivers.” – National Research Council of Institute Medicine.

Myth 2: “If the neurons are used, they become integrated with the circuitry of the brain by connecting to other neurons; if they are not used, they may die” theory.
*Media have us thinking that synapses are developing fast and furious in infancy, we want to keep as many of them as possible. More is better? Bigger is better? No. If children have more synapes then adults, they will have trillions of excess connections. These connections will shed the way a snake shed its skin in order to accomodate a bigger body. Brain downsize for the same reason many ‘organizations’ do. With streamlined networks, they can function more efficiently.

*Throughout developmental process, the brain is ALWAYS growing and changing, producing new synapses, strengthening exisiting ones that are used often and eliminating onces that arent used often enough,

*Scientists found that more stimulation were actually contributing problems of attention deficit and hyperactivity.

*Very ambitious early enrichment and teaching programs may lead to crowding effects and to an early decrease in the size and number of brain regions that are largely unspecified but necessary for creativity in adolescent and adult.

What is play and Why?
*Play needs to stern from Child’s desire. We can provide some boundaries and let them choose from these options.
*Play is spontaneous and voluntary.
*Play must be pleasurable and enjoyable.
*Plan contains a certain element of make-believe.
Yale Professor and noted researcher Dorothy Singer says ” Through mae-believe games, children can be anyone they wish and go anywhere they want. When they engage in sociodramatic play, they learn how to cope with feelings, how to bring the large, confusing world into a small manageble size and how to become socially adept as they share, take turns and cooperate with each other. When children play, they are learning new words, how to problem solve and how to be flexible. Most of all, they are just plain having fun.”

Balance is the key
*Buy less, spend more time with children.
*Ask ourselves ” Am I buying this so that I can teach my child the ways of adult world or Am I interested in what will intrigue and challenge my child within his reach? Emphasize process, not product.

Parenting
When you’re always rushed and tired and not enjoying parenting, things are out of balance. The hurried parent who is often, though not always, misdirected.

Preschool that emphasize play often has
*kids’ projects that are done by kids and not teachers who make them look like its the kids
*Books that are within reach
*Play corner (dramatic corner), gym area
*Child level art area, sands, water play
*Outdoor Play area ; playground, cars etc
*Field trips
*Children are excited and interacts with teacher
*Slot where children can make free choices, free to make mistakes
*Toys that are within reach

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