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Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn--and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less

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Now Available in Paperback! In Einstein Never Used Flashcards highly credentialed child psychologists, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D., and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Ph.D., with Diane Eyer, Ph.D., offer a compelling indictment of the growing trend toward accelerated learning. It's a message that stressed-out parents are craving to hear: Letting tots learn through play is not onl Now Available in Paperback! In Einstein Never Used Flashcards highly credentialed child psychologists, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D., and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Ph.D., with Diane Eyer, Ph.D., offer a compelling indictment of the growing trend toward accelerated learning. It's a message that stressed-out parents are craving to hear: Letting tots learn through play is not only okay-it's better than drilling academics! Drawing on overwhelming scientific evidence from their own studies and the collective research results of child development experts, and addressing the key areas of development-math, reading, verbal communication, science, self-awareness, and social skills-the authors explain the process of learning from a child's point of view. They then offer parents 40 age-appropriate games for creative play. These simple, fun--yet powerful exercises work as well or better than expensive high-tech gadgets to teach a child what his ever-active, playful mind is craving to learn.


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Now Available in Paperback! In Einstein Never Used Flashcards highly credentialed child psychologists, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D., and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Ph.D., with Diane Eyer, Ph.D., offer a compelling indictment of the growing trend toward accelerated learning. It's a message that stressed-out parents are craving to hear: Letting tots learn through play is not onl Now Available in Paperback! In Einstein Never Used Flashcards highly credentialed child psychologists, Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D., and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Ph.D., with Diane Eyer, Ph.D., offer a compelling indictment of the growing trend toward accelerated learning. It's a message that stressed-out parents are craving to hear: Letting tots learn through play is not only okay-it's better than drilling academics! Drawing on overwhelming scientific evidence from their own studies and the collective research results of child development experts, and addressing the key areas of development-math, reading, verbal communication, science, self-awareness, and social skills-the authors explain the process of learning from a child's point of view. They then offer parents 40 age-appropriate games for creative play. These simple, fun--yet powerful exercises work as well or better than expensive high-tech gadgets to teach a child what his ever-active, playful mind is craving to learn.

30 review for Einstein Never Used Flashcards: How Our Children Really Learn--and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less

  1. 4 out of 5

    Tiffany

    A good review/summary of early childhood education. Reflect, Resist, Recenter REFLECT-why are you enrolling child in certain activity, does child actually like it? RESIST-you don't have to sign up for every (if any) class invented for children (gymboree, music class, art class, etc. PLAY = learning RECENTER-engage in teachable moments, play with your child, BE WITH you child, recognize that children take the lead in their own learning (and need your support as they go along) UNSTRUCTURED PLAY TIME "By A good review/summary of early childhood education. Reflect, Resist, Recenter REFLECT-why are you enrolling child in certain activity, does child actually like it? RESIST-you don't have to sign up for every (if any) class invented for children (gymboree, music class, art class, etc. PLAY = learning RECENTER-engage in teachable moments, play with your child, BE WITH you child, recognize that children take the lead in their own learning (and need your support as they go along) UNSTRUCTURED PLAY TIME "By making children dependent on others to schedule and entertain them, we deprive them of the pleasure of creating their own games and the sense of mastery and independence they will need to enjoy running their own lives." p.11 "Children who are used to having all their time structured for them lost the resources necessary to amuse themselves. Amusing oneself is healthy..." (*P. 224) "Our children seem to be happy as they fly from activity to activity and from one class to the next knowledge station, but we might be creating a cohort of children who are too passive to learn about the world..precursors to the that syndrome "I'm bored." The bored child is one who is just waiting for someone to announce the next activity so that he is always engaged. The bored child is one who has never learned to be creative." (p. 249) MATH Check out "Big Math for Little People" "The very best way to learn about numbers is to manipulate objects, line them up, compare sets, and so on. There is simply no substitution for playing with objects, and these actions speak louder than words. Plus, this type of play is something children love to do without being told." (*p.57) BABY LANGUAGE DEVELOPMENT RANDOM FACT I want to remember: the peak of crying for babies comes at around 2 months of age and then decreases from there (*p.75) THREE CRITERIA that A CHILD IS USING A WORD AS A WORD 1. must have the same meaning each time it is used 2. must use it with the intention to communicate (saying "dada" over and over again, but doesn't do it when dad is present means the word isn't mastered yet) 3. Real words allow baby to name pictures of (daddy) as well as the real McCoy STORYTELLING -has become somewhat of a lost art in homes, even though it provides the bedrock for later literacy skills... tell them stories and construct stories with them (practice Re-telling as well) TALK WITH YOUR KIDS "Children who have larger vocabularies are the one who generally get more out of early reading. In fact, vocabulary is the strongest predictor of later reading and literacy ability. And the best way to build vocabulary is through talk, talk, and more talk. There's not need for parent to consciously introduce big words when they talk with their children, however. This happen automatically as parents converse with their children. Research has found that without even realizing it, parents adjust how they speak to their children. They seem to be always slightly ahead of their children's capabilities. So if a child is speaking mostly in three-word sentences, parent tend to add another word or two to their sentences, but not to speak in paragraphs as they would to another adult." (*p.103) Pre-reading test- Marie Clay of Auckland New Zealand READING "If you have share your enthusiasm about reading and your children see you absorbed in a book or a newspaper, you will be indirectly teaching the importance and enjoyment of reading." (*p. 122) Engage in Dialogic Reading "Just reading to a child is not enough. Asking the child to consider alternative outcomes, relate what's on the page to his own experiences, and talk about the sounds and the letters encountered is much more effective than just plain reading aloud. - Predict what will happen next or talk about how the characters feel." (*p. 124) Lev Vygotsky- Zone of proximal development. (Range or zone of tasks that the child cannot yet handle alone but can accomplish with the help of more skilled partners) Jerome Bruner- calls this the concept of scaffolding (invites parents to be participant in rather than spectators of their children's development) PRAISE "How can we create children who love to learn? Children start out that way. They are are like little sponges. To keep them that way-to avoid drying up their curiosity- we need to be encouraging, not critical. We need to praise the strategies they use to solve a problem, rather than their intelligence. This implicitly says to children that with the right approach, they can do most anything. In this way, we free our children from the anxiety of disappointing us ("If I try something new and fail," they may otherwise reason, "my mom will no longer think I'm so smart.") and enable them to focus on persevering in challenging circumstances. The result is a mastery-oriented child, a child who doesn't give up when faced with a difficult task but instead embraces and enjoys the challenge." (*p.150) "Is the message not to praise? Not at all! But learning to be viewed as a process, not the validation of one's ability. Professor Dweck urges us not to tell student that they are smart because it makes them dependent-hooked on-the praise, with failure being a sign of weakness! The way to make children learn to persevere is to rave about their strategies, their perseverance, their concentration, and their follow-through. And if children succeed readily, we should apologize for giving them a task too Mickey Mouse for them, rather than giving them the idea that we look for perfection on easy tasks." (*p. 177) BABIES CRYING: Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore- found that babies whose cries got a response more frequently cried less at the end of 9 months than those who were responded to less frequently. It seems that when caregivers responded to the babies' cries, they were teaching the babies that they would be cared for-perhaps building up trust in the responsiveness of the environment. (*p. 165) EMOTIONAL REGULATION (reminds me of some of the stuff I read in "Unconditional Parenting"): "Children who have lots of these discussions with their parents have a better understanding of their own and others' emotions later on. And knowledge is power: Understanding your own emotions and the emotions of others helps you to behave better in situations that might lead to negative emotions. Learning to regulate our emotions has benefits well into adulthood." (p. 173) Time for a child to get a prize she picked out, but oops. Something goes dramatically wrong. The researchers say they have made a mistake and they have to give child the prize that she ranked as dead last0 a pair of brown socks..... "How does the parent help the child cope with this disappointment, and what does that tell us about how children learn to regulate their emotions? 1)Do you shift your child's attention away from the disappointing prize toward the nice wrapping the prize came in? 2) Do you comfort your child by holding her or verbally soothing her? 3) Do you "reframe" the situation putting the socks on your hands and making them into a puppet or suggesting you give the socks to another child who might really like them? 4)Do you encourage your child to change the situation, for instance, by talking to the researchers and telling them that she got the wrong prize?" Turns our that "shifting the child's attention and cognitive reframing were associate with lower levels of both sadness and anger." (p. 193) PERSPECTIVE If a young child can't conceive what's going on in someone else's mind- having perspective...a young child can never have a vengeful or vindictive quality. (*p.199) *Look for opportunities to discuss other people's feelings *Explain to your child that there are causes for people's feelings. *Avoid ignoring or belittling you child's feelings- times of emotional upset can be understood as key opportunities for teaching children how to avoid or resolve such situations, while also taking the feelings of others into consideration. *Try to see the world through your children's eyes - Once you do, you'll recognize that the things that cause our children pain are often different from the things that cause us, as adults, pain. You don't want to treat your children any differently than you would want to be treated when you express your emotions. (*p. 203-204) PLAY: THE CRUCIBLE OF LEARNING *Self-guided exploration through play is a learning experience that "teaches" problem solving in a fun way. (*p. 208) Play "gives children a sense of power. And for people who are told what to do every minute of the day, having a sense of power is not only delightful, it's instructive. In free play, children get to practice being charge-buffered from any real-life consequences.." (*p. 213) Vygotsky argued "that child are at the HIGHEST level of their development when they are at play." For example, 5 year-old Jessica cannot sit still for more than 3 minutes in the classroom, even with a very supportive teacher. Yet in pretend play, she can play at being a good student with her peers, sitting and concentrating for more than 10 minutes! Professor Vygotsky said, "In play, a child is ABOVE HIS AVERAGE AGE, ABOVE HIS DAILY BEHAVIOR: In play, it is as though he were a head taller than himself." (*p. 230) TOYS "Studies consistently find that the availability of play materials is important for intellectual development...In the first 2 years of life, children seem to love toys that require fitting things together, putting things into openings, pushing and pulling things, musical toys, and toys that require eye-hand coordination. " (*p.222) Laura Berk, 3 useful questions to consider before buying a toy: 1.What activities will this toy inspire? 2. What values will the activities teach? 3. What social rules will my children learn to follow? ********* Jane Brody: "Toys should are best seen as tools of play....Toys should be used as an adjunct to interactions between parent and caretaker, not as a substitute for an adult's participation in the child's play." (*p.242)

  2. 4 out of 5

    Nicole

    This book was recommended by the newsletter from the preschool that my 3-year-old son attends. I didn't stop reading it because it sucked, really- it was more like preaching to the choir. My kids play a lot. In the 2.5 hours my older son is in preschool (2 days a week) they only have two structured circle times- one for shape/letter/name/number recognition, and the other for story time. The rest of the time they play in centers, play outside, eat snack, and color or play with Play-Doh. We never This book was recommended by the newsletter from the preschool that my 3-year-old son attends. I didn't stop reading it because it sucked, really- it was more like preaching to the choir. My kids play a lot. In the 2.5 hours my older son is in preschool (2 days a week) they only have two structured circle times- one for shape/letter/name/number recognition, and the other for story time. The rest of the time they play in centers, play outside, eat snack, and color or play with Play-Doh. We never got into baby flash cards or computer games with our kids, or V-Techs, or any other fancy-pants products that promise that your kids will turn out to be a genius. I sell for Usborne Books and have talked people out of buying our "Your Baby Can Read" series of DVDs, because I just don't think babies NEED to read! Read to them! They'll learn ot read- I promise! While this would be a good book for people wanting to move away from the my-kid-has-to-be-a-genius mentality, or new parents who don't want to get suckered into all the "baby genius" products, but I felt like it wasn't telling me something useful or that I didn't already know.

  3. 4 out of 5

    AnnaMay

    This really lightened my anxiety and helped me make better use of my resources and time in my parenting approach. I think every parent or soon-to-be parent or grandparent should read this book and take it to heart. Our kids would be much happier little people if we applied the principles in our parenting and even our educating! The book is set up very well. It is not a quick read, definitely, and may seem redundant at times, but I liked that in each chapter, I was presented with scientific studie This really lightened my anxiety and helped me make better use of my resources and time in my parenting approach. I think every parent or soon-to-be parent or grandparent should read this book and take it to heart. Our kids would be much happier little people if we applied the principles in our parenting and even our educating! The book is set up very well. It is not a quick read, definitely, and may seem redundant at times, but I liked that in each chapter, I was presented with scientific studies and and myths that they cleared up, then given great 'do-it-myself' instruction for determining if my child was ready to learn in that specified way, then a great few pages about how to apply those 'playing' principles in my home life with my children. I was surprised by the number of myths I have been adhearing to and passing along. One such is that by playing classical music for my baby (even in the womb), I'd be helping its brain to grow and develop in a beneficial way compared to if I didn't play classical music. Another myth: that all of the picture-recognition board books and 'baby einstein' products and leapfrog learning toys are the best way to get my toddler reading as soon as possible. If my child knows all his/her letters and colors at 18 months, then that means they're smart and raring to go in life. In clearing up the myths, the authors cite the studies that perpetuated the myths, then clarify what the scientists concluded from the studies and differentiate it from what media hype proclaimed as a result. It appears that media likes to capture some jump phrases from the scientists' conclusions and use it as headline sellers, then the toy companies piggy-back off that and quote 'science' in claiming that this or that toy will enhance your child's learning experience. Parents (well-intentioned as we are) suck it right up and spend, spend, spend, esp. as more parents are getting less and less time with their kids and are trying to compensate. My take-home message from this book: I will do far more for my child by providing ample 'good old' toys like blocks, play-dough, cars, dress-ups, etc. than by filling their toy room with battery-powered 'learning toys' that perform a unique function (like teaching letters or colors or numbers.) It's far more beneficial to my child to curl up and read a fun story with them and talk about the pictures than sit down with brightly-colored flash-cards (even in book form) and drill them on picture recognition. And most important: I will benefit my child more in the long run if I follow their lead in play, then help them reach their limit and follow their lead more (i.e. role play a bus driver and then become the passenger and let them be the driver, etc.) Key concept: FOLLOW MY CHILD'S LEAD! If they want to play with a nearby ball instead of the blocks, for heavens sake, I need to play with the ball with them, not drill them on block colors or counting, etc. Oh, and another: to be sure if I'm going to schedule some class or recreational activity for my kids, that I'm doing it because it is really a love of theirs and not because it will give them a 'jump start' on other kids and a 'head start' in getting ahead of the game. Kids need relaxed childhood times, dinner at home with family, and not the anxiety-filled over-scheduled competition-based lifestyles we're throwing them into. Wahoo! The book really does a much better job of explaining the application of the studies. I think I'll need to read it again as I have each baby in the future to really get the info. to sink in, but for now, I am appreciating my kids' play time on a whole new level, for that is how they are discovering the world around them and developing and understanding social skills. I am glad for all of the preschools who base their learning around playing and aren't stressed about getting the kids doing reading, math, and computer science as part of each day. At that age, kids need good old play, play, play (and NOT on the computer or with "learning toys" that perform a specific function when they push a button.) Great book. Tough to read, but so glad I did it.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Afton

    This book was a good refresher for me. I read John Holt's "How Children Learn" quite awhile ago and it certainly is more detailed and engaging than this book. This book was more of a skimming over of some important areas of children's learning. I've been particularly struggling with teaching my 5-yr old reading and math, and had actually almost purchased a few sets of flash cards just days before I came across this book. So, of course I had to read it. I'm glad now that I didn't buy those flash c This book was a good refresher for me. I read John Holt's "How Children Learn" quite awhile ago and it certainly is more detailed and engaging than this book. This book was more of a skimming over of some important areas of children's learning. I've been particularly struggling with teaching my 5-yr old reading and math, and had actually almost purchased a few sets of flash cards just days before I came across this book. So, of course I had to read it. I'm glad now that I didn't buy those flash cards. Allowing my kids to play and learn in context is way more effective and enjoyable, and I don't want to pressure my kids into memorizing disconnected facts before they're ready to understand the processes. I'm also going to stop pushing phonics on my 5-yr old and making her read when she isn't interested. This book helped me to refocus my efforts and lay off. I want most of all for my kids to love to learn, and pressuring them past their abilities will only turn them off to learning and think it is a chore instead of a pleasure. Below I've listed a number of quotes that were particularly helpful to me and that I want to remember. Memorable Quotes: pg 9 "Many districts are considering making reading skills a requirement to get into kindergarten - even though most child experts agree that time in preschool and kindergarten is better spent on experiential play and building relationships." pg 10 "Simply taking the time to enjoy their children - to play with them and discuss what's going on in their world - is the best thing parents can do for their children's minds and emotional development to guarantee future success." TEACHING MATH pg 57 "the very best way to learn about numbers is to manipulate objects, line them up, compare sets, and so on." pg 58 "Playing the game of War is math at its best... We need not be concerned about being "educational" with our children; all we need to do is follow their lead and play games they love that foster mathematical curiosity." pg 59 "With experience and play, mathematical skills blossom. Our job is simply to recognize the teachable moments in every day." TEACHING READING pg 99 "The most important thing you can do for your child is to make reading fun - not work." The true building blocks for learning are: vocabulary, storytelling, phonological awareness, and deciphering the written code. pg 122 "We need to be our children's reading partners and mentors. We need to recognize that experiences like being read to, drawing, scribbling, and engaging in lots of dialogue are what our children require to be able to read... Your job is to make reading fun and engaging." pg 122-125 1. Make reading a part of your life - and your child's. 2. Create an environment that is rich with literacy materials. 3. Start a conversation. 4. Try out some word games. 5. Engage in dialogic reading. a. "reading aloud to children is the 'single most important activity' for ensuring success in learning to read. ...Asking the child to consider alternative outcomes, relate what's on the page to his own experiences, and talk about the sounds and the letters encountered is much more effective than just plain reading aloud." 6. Make reading fun! INTELLIGENCE pg 138 "Learning in context is the key to intelligent learning." pg 150 "how can we create children who love to learn? ...we need to be encouraging, not critical. We need to praise the strategies they use to solve a problem, rather than their intelligence. This implicitly says to children that with the right approach, they can do most anything." SENSE OF SELF pg 176 "Praising children for effort keeps them at the task; praising children for intelligence makes them give up!" pg 177 "The way to make children learn to persevere is to rave about their strategies, their perseverance, their concentration, and their follow-through. ...Praising intelligence to create academic self-esteem turns out to be one of the biggest myths around!" PLAY pg 240 "Let us open up our homes to play and let us schedule activities around play rather than squeeze play around our activities." pg 242 qting Jane Brody, "Toys are best seen as tools of play.... Toys should be used as an adjunct to interactions between parent and caretaker, not as a substitute for an adult's participation in the child's play." pg 242 "Part of joining in requires that you give yourself permission to be a kid again and to see the world from that point of view." pg 242 "Parents who are good at being play partners don't tell children what to do or constantly ask questions or hint to children about the way to play the game."

  5. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Dude, I just love this team. I read, and really liked, their follow-up Becoming Brilliant , which, like this text, emphasizes play-based learning and just chilling the f out about toddlers as the conclusions of a lot of child development research. This book, written almost a decade earlier, is a little out of cultural date; during the 90s and early 00s, there was a lot more the LeapFrog-style "kiddie education" push going on, and a lot of Einstein Never Used Flashcards is about how you don't n Dude, I just love this team. I read, and really liked, their follow-up Becoming Brilliant , which, like this text, emphasizes play-based learning and just chilling the f out about toddlers as the conclusions of a lot of child development research. This book, written almost a decade earlier, is a little out of cultural date; during the 90s and early 00s, there was a lot more the LeapFrog-style "kiddie education" push going on, and a lot of Einstein Never Used Flashcards is about how you don't need to buy stuff to teach your kid. The mode has changed since then--talking plastic toys in Spanish, English and Mandarin are out of favor, while $20 open-ended "playsilks" and $40 wooden hand-paintined nesting gnomes are in. I know this because ,I have had both of these on my Amazon wish list for months. It's possible that the Golinkoff/ Hirsh-Pasek team have won the toy battle. But... My kid's preschool, as charming as it is with natural materials, still has a strong academic bent. Kids do a lot of worksheets and the cheery songs they sing are almost all about phonics. (Not my kid--as long as she's not potty-trained, she is blissfully able to paint and play through 2 hours twice a week. I mean the full-time, pre-K kids.) Play has still not won the day. The team behind this book actually go into a lot of developmental research to support the idea that you aren't ruining your kid if you just sing little silly rhyming songs (they recommend the "Banana-fanna-fo-fanna" song by name) instead of going hard into phonemes. I started listening to this book at my customary 1.3x speed, but had to slow it down because of all of the research they kept referencing. There's enough "now you try it at home" pull out boxes that it's probably worthwhile to read this book in print rather than audio, but I admit that some of the "try it at home" made me a little anxious, too, though.It's hard, especially in child development popularizations, to avoid blurring the line between prescriptive and descriptive--if a child naturally develops X ability at Y months, should testing the child at Y-1 months be considered just a curiosity for the parent, or is to pushing the kid towards X greatness? The authors might be trying to give you some low-stress alternatives to the flashcard world, but the constant talking and stimulating your kid comes across a little like the very thing they say they are trying to avoid: the "you have to do this or your kid will never succeed."

  6. 4 out of 5

    Danielle

    Every parent and teacher of children ages 6 and under should absolutely read this! The authors give information on brain science, child psychological development and how those things explain learning styles and behavior. Excellent research done for this book!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    I wanted to read this book because there is SO MUCH pressure put on new parents to do more, teach more, have kids succeed faster and earlier than ever before. I knew all along that play was how children learned and dealt with their world, but it was nice to be reminded of that with such a well written book. The authors go into good detail about various studies with how children learn, the certain stages that they should be learning things, and the importance on just letting kids learn. They do m I wanted to read this book because there is SO MUCH pressure put on new parents to do more, teach more, have kids succeed faster and earlier than ever before. I knew all along that play was how children learned and dealt with their world, but it was nice to be reminded of that with such a well written book. The authors go into good detail about various studies with how children learn, the certain stages that they should be learning things, and the importance on just letting kids learn. They do mention in the end that they are not saying to ignore your kids, or don't teach them anything, but rather that we should be simply engaging with them, allowing them to discover things naturally and also guided by us. Kids don't need flash cards to learn math, they need experiences where they get to actually work with numbers, with sorting, with counting. We don't need to drill them on their ABC's, we need to sit and read with them daily. A great book for any parent (or educator!) for easing anxiety on how children learn.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

    I nearly completely agreed with this book. I often find myself wondering if I'm doing enough to teach my kids. With all the products you can buy you feel like if your child is not reading by 2 they are already behind and you are a bad parent for not buying and teaching it to your child. This book directly takes on such falsities and gives examples of study after study of why the power of play is more important than anything. It also explains through research and study (as if common sense weren't I nearly completely agreed with this book. I often find myself wondering if I'm doing enough to teach my kids. With all the products you can buy you feel like if your child is not reading by 2 they are already behind and you are a bad parent for not buying and teaching it to your child. This book directly takes on such falsities and gives examples of study after study of why the power of play is more important than anything. It also explains through research and study (as if common sense weren't enough) of raising your own child and just being with them. Leaving daycares and the likes to parent and teach our children is bringing forth a generation of children believing they are always behind and constantly striving for the interaction they have lacked. I highly recommend this to every mom wondering if she's a bad mom because she doesn't have scheduled "scissor time" every Wednesday or something.

  9. 4 out of 5

    jacky

    I thought this book was going to be preaching to the choir, but I instead got a lot out of it. I learned tons about child development in terms of math, emotions, socialization, and pretend play. Many behaviors I see in my kids right now were explained. I enjoyed that research was heavily used but the writing style remained very readable. The only part I disliked was the last chapter, which seemed repetitive. I'd call this a must read for all parents of young children. I walked away with some mix I thought this book was going to be preaching to the choir, but I instead got a lot out of it. I learned tons about child development in terms of math, emotions, socialization, and pretend play. Many behaviors I see in my kids right now were explained. I enjoyed that research was heavily used but the writing style remained very readable. The only part I disliked was the last chapter, which seemed repetitive. I'd call this a must read for all parents of young children. I walked away with some mixed feelings about my parenting. I felt good that I don't over structure the kids' time or press on them too many overtly educational toys. But, I also felt like I could be engaging in their play far more than I do. And, it brought up new concerns for me about the structure of the local public preschool.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Moriah

    "When we understand what really does matter to children's development and how myths mislead us, we can feel more relaxed as parents and educators and can easily ensure that our children are intellectually stimulated and socially competent" (p. 268). "The pervasive myth in our achievement-oriented society that child's play is a waste of time is linked to the hype that parents must boost their children's intelligence. So we overschedule our children and give up on the values that we know, deep down "When we understand what really does matter to children's development and how myths mislead us, we can feel more relaxed as parents and educators and can easily ensure that our children are intellectually stimulated and socially competent" (p. 268). "The pervasive myth in our achievement-oriented society that child's play is a waste of time is linked to the hype that parents must boost their children's intelligence. So we overschedule our children and give up on the values that we know, deep down, are important. Intelligence gets a big boost from play, yet the idea that enhancing a child's intelligence must be work has become the new gospel" (p. 215). If you feel pressured to make sure your preschooler is being sufficiently "educated," then read the whole book. If you already feel that preschoolers will get most of the education they need from lots of time for free play, then you can just read the last chapter--if you're short on time and don't want to read the whole thing. These ladies go with the argument that the media looks for good sound bites from research developments, and then much of what is sound scientific data is distorted by the media and those wanting to make money off parents' desires to have their kids be the best and brightest they can be. The negative result is that kids don't develop the creativity and drive that is needed to be truly successful. They get trained to only look for one right answer. The authors do a nice job of presenting popular ideas, discussing the specific reasearch that prompted those ideas, pointing out what the actual findings were and where the distortion comes from, and explaining how kids learn specific skills (language, literacy, math, social, etc.) just by regular interaction. One other interesting thing about the book is that it has "Discovering Hidden Skills" sections throughout that tell you how to do little experiments with your kids at different ages to see where they are in their natural development. Anyone with kids has probably noticed these developments without really realizing how advanced their kids are becoming.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Helene Uppin

    "Play is learning" is the mantra here and as someone researching learning, I agree 100%. No need for expensive monofunctional "educative toys", ball dancing or soccer courses for 3 yrs, teaching letter names on worksheets for 4 yrs olds, flash cards to learn names of the species etc. In fact, if anything, formal instruction makes young children more anxious and they tend to lose the ability to amuse themselves ("I'm bored, daddy!"). Talking with your child, allowing them ample free play, experie "Play is learning" is the mantra here and as someone researching learning, I agree 100%. No need for expensive monofunctional "educative toys", ball dancing or soccer courses for 3 yrs, teaching letter names on worksheets for 4 yrs olds, flash cards to learn names of the species etc. In fact, if anything, formal instruction makes young children more anxious and they tend to lose the ability to amuse themselves ("I'm bored, daddy!"). Talking with your child, allowing them ample free play, experiencing the world as it happens in authentic contexts, leting them lead their lives (yes, bashing kitchen utencils to make funby sounds, collecting rocks and leaves in the park, and wanting to read the same books over and over again never letting you fibish a single sentence without a question or a comment it is) is what gives them insight, makes them curious and gives them skills necessary to be succesful in school too (although, I personally dont think this should be an aim in itself). Common sense and preaching for the choir for educational scientists, I guess. But a calming and informative, fact based approach to an anxious well meaning parent. It also introduces some of the most influencial developmental theories by Piaget, Võgotski, so it might be a good read for any kindegarten teacher who wants to go back to the basics theoretically. P.S. like any other book about child development from USA it makes you wonder how it has got sooo messed up there.... I was shocked by the authors suggestion to check whether their child care professionals are not smoking in the room where children play or watch TV with children the whole day. How is this even a theoretical option?! Wow. Also, Estonia, the big "PISA success" doesnt expect children to read before 6-7yrs. General development and so called pre-reading skills are so much more important before 7. Please let that sink in. And most importantly - do let them play.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Adriane Devries

    Einstein Never Used Flash Cards attempts to debunk the modern myth in education and child-rearing that more knowledge, and faster, is better. Despite scientifically proven milestones of development, we as a society have in essence been rushing children past childhood and into our own “hectic, hurried, frenetic, and feverish image.” The urge to produce verifiable results in schools has thrown true learning, and the enjoyment thereof, out the window. Instead, teachers are now forced to “teach to t Einstein Never Used Flash Cards attempts to debunk the modern myth in education and child-rearing that more knowledge, and faster, is better. Despite scientifically proven milestones of development, we as a society have in essence been rushing children past childhood and into our own “hectic, hurried, frenetic, and feverish image.” The urge to produce verifiable results in schools has thrown true learning, and the enjoyment thereof, out the window. Instead, teachers are now forced to “teach to the test,” forcing rote fact-learning that leads to stressed-out, bored, anxious, and even depressed students. Children cannot help but to learn, that is what they do best, and need only the proper stimulation and facilitation, not force-fed flash card of the presidents of the United States, or every spare moment filled with organized enrichment activities. They learn concepts best within their own surroundings—with play, both free and guided, serving as the best teacher. Einstein’s quote says it well: “Play seems to be the essential feature in productive scientific thought—before there is any connection with logical construction in words or other kinds of signs that can be communicated to others.” This book has the potential to liberate those who parent out of defensiveness and fear, and to replace these with the enjoyable collaboration of raising emotionally and intellectually intelligent contributors to society.

  13. 4 out of 5

    The Yearling House

    An excellent book, based on research in child development. It explains why too many structured activities can actually be detrimental to your child and why children do not need to develop and learn faster and earlier! What children need is actually a lot of time for just good old fashioned, unstructured play, with toys like blocks, puzzles, clay, beads and simple household objects. What they don't need are electronic song and dance toys, "learning laptops", flash cards, and DVD's that teach "rea An excellent book, based on research in child development. It explains why too many structured activities can actually be detrimental to your child and why children do not need to develop and learn faster and earlier! What children need is actually a lot of time for just good old fashioned, unstructured play, with toys like blocks, puzzles, clay, beads and simple household objects. What they don't need are electronic song and dance toys, "learning laptops", flash cards, and DVD's that teach "reading"or an activity every day of the week. When to read: During pregnancy. Each chapter explores how children learn skills like language, maths, social skills, literacy through play and explains the research behind it. "Discovering hidden skills" are some fun easy to do experiments to see where your child is on the normal development spectrum and be amazed at your child's internal drive for development and learning. Overall, a great book, which needs some time to read. It is a must read in today's age of "pushing" children to develop "faster" and bombarding them with too much too soon!

  14. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    Highly recommend this book to all parents who are concerned about whether or not their young children are going to learn enough. The short answer is - yes, if you let them play and play with them. No Leap Frog or flashcards required. All in all, a very freeing book for me. It makes me more comfortable in our "preschool isn't necessary" opinion and in our determination to limit the number and kind of toys that our kids have. Plus, there are lots of fun exercises to do with your kids at all age le Highly recommend this book to all parents who are concerned about whether or not their young children are going to learn enough. The short answer is - yes, if you let them play and play with them. No Leap Frog or flashcards required. All in all, a very freeing book for me. It makes me more comfortable in our "preschool isn't necessary" opinion and in our determination to limit the number and kind of toys that our kids have. Plus, there are lots of fun exercises to do with your kids at all age levels to see what developmental levels they've achieved - not to test your kids but to observe the way their mind is developing. Really cool.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Ellyn

    I read this book for my summer Infant/Toddler Development class and really enjoyed it. The authors use child development research to show that all children really need is adults who love them, care about them, play with them, and give them the opportunity to explore at their own level and pace. Too many high pressure activities will only result in the loss of children's natural love for learning. Very wise and an important message for the middle class parents of today's young children to hear!! I read this book for my summer Infant/Toddler Development class and really enjoyed it. The authors use child development research to show that all children really need is adults who love them, care about them, play with them, and give them the opportunity to explore at their own level and pace. Too many high pressure activities will only result in the loss of children's natural love for learning. Very wise and an important message for the middle class parents of today's young children to hear!!

  16. 4 out of 5

    Daniel

    Confirms what I had thought about 'being a kid' and playing Much is learned in 'play' and we (adults) do much damage to children by tightly scheduling their time, children learn better in 'unstructured' play and all things are best learned in context Recommend to all parents, parents know the right learning method, but they (the parents) feel that their children are in competition and they feel that they can give their children a 'leg-up' by structuring their education Confirms what I had thought about 'being a kid' and playing Much is learned in 'play' and we (adults) do much damage to children by tightly scheduling their time, children learn better in 'unstructured' play and all things are best learned in context Recommend to all parents, parents know the right learning method, but they (the parents) feel that their children are in competition and they feel that they can give their children a 'leg-up' by structuring their education

  17. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I really enjoyed this book. Children are NOT little adults and shouldn't be treated as such. Nor should we try to live vicariously through them by forcing them in activites. They should play. And have positive family relationships. And in the end, they will be academically successful because they are happy and happy children learn best. And happy children make for happy adults which makes for a better society. I really enjoyed this book. Children are NOT little adults and shouldn't be treated as such. Nor should we try to live vicariously through them by forcing them in activites. They should play. And have positive family relationships. And in the end, they will be academically successful because they are happy and happy children learn best. And happy children make for happy adults which makes for a better society.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Maeve

    The authors examine the current parenting pressures to create intelligent, multi-talented, prodigy children through rigorous academia, and argue that instead young children should be engaging in conversation and play. Throughout the book, Hirsh-Pasek and Golinkoff provide scientific studies that support their argument for play. In addition, they provide prompts and activities that can easily be done at home to facilitate play and teachable moments in context. If you are rushed on time, you can r The authors examine the current parenting pressures to create intelligent, multi-talented, prodigy children through rigorous academia, and argue that instead young children should be engaging in conversation and play. Throughout the book, Hirsh-Pasek and Golinkoff provide scientific studies that support their argument for play. In addition, they provide prompts and activities that can easily be done at home to facilitate play and teachable moments in context. If you are rushed on time, you can read the "Bringing the Lessons Home" section that ends each chapter...it's a quick summary of all the salient points.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Erica

    This book's message--that kids learn through play and unstructured free time--resonated with me. That said, I could have used less repetition and less description of study after study. This book's message--that kids learn through play and unstructured free time--resonated with me. That said, I could have used less repetition and less description of study after study.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Barry

    An excellent book for new parents or people in early childhood education. Very useful explanations of how children develop with many practical ways or activities that parents or educators could use to encourage or gauge the behaviors that we want from our children. Highly recommended!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Chloe

    Must read!

  22. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer DeJonghe

    The authors of this book (both with PhDs in psychology) make the case that the best way for babies and children to learn is through free and undirected play. They argue that math, reading, and language skills are naturally acquired through play and that context-based, experiential learning is superior to formal instruction for young children. The authors argue against the development of many types of so-called educational toys and television programs, and also advise against flash cards, drills, The authors of this book (both with PhDs in psychology) make the case that the best way for babies and children to learn is through free and undirected play. They argue that math, reading, and language skills are naturally acquired through play and that context-based, experiential learning is superior to formal instruction for young children. The authors argue against the development of many types of so-called educational toys and television programs, and also advise against flash cards, drills, rote learning and the push toward academically focused preschools. In addition to being huge proponents of free play, the authors stress the critical importance of reading to children, paying attention to their social development, and praising them on effort rather than achievement and ability. The authors distill hundreds of academic studies on child development in order to bolster their arguments, and do so in a readable, friendly way. Overall I liked reading this book; it helped make me more secure about some of my own parenting decisions, and made me re-think a few things as well. The book was a bit drier and slower to read than the book Nurtureshock (which I also really enjoyed), but is arguably less gimmicky and more solidly researched. As a parent I really liked the sections in the book called “discovering hidden skills” where the authors gave you little games that you can use with your child to demonstrate the things that they had talked about in the previous section. These activities were often fun helped illuminate the very developmental stages children go through, so you understand more why rushing things really doesn’t do any good. I would recommend this book to any parent, childcare provider or preschool teacher, or anyone curious about the way they themselves learned as a child.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    I first read this book five years before I became a parent, so I wanted to revisit it before my son got too old to try out any of the learning experiments. The premise is that children learn best when they learn through play — they retain a love of learning, learn things in context, and are able to apply their learning across multiple situations in a way we just don't see with adult-structured, rote learning. The authors share a variety of research studies to illustrate their points and provide I first read this book five years before I became a parent, so I wanted to revisit it before my son got too old to try out any of the learning experiments. The premise is that children learn best when they learn through play — they retain a love of learning, learn things in context, and are able to apply their learning across multiple situations in a way we just don't see with adult-structured, rote learning. The authors share a variety of research studies to illustrate their points and provide helpful guidelines for how parents can "scaffold" their children's learning without controlling it. There are also the aforementioned experiments where you can see whether your child has reached a particular learning milestone, not as a way to evaluate them but simply as a way to witness the changes in their mind. The writing itself is not great — there are a number of jokes and analogies that are corny at best and nonsensical at worst. Also, the book was written 15 years ago when No Child Left Behind had just become a thing, so there's a lot of (not inaccurate) doom-saying about Bush's misguided approach to education assessment. But if you can get past that, I think the content and the overall message of the book are good and worthwhile. I feel like we've already implemented much of what's discussed in this book, but it will likely become more relevant as our son gets older and structured activities become more common among his peers. The authors provide a nice framework for evaluating whether an activity will feed into a child's natural interest or will quash their intrinsic motivation for exploratory learning. I would recommend this book to any parent, but especially one who is feeling the pressure to find the "right" products and activities to give their child a leg up in school — this book will help you calm down.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Melitsa

    Was very excited to read this book after hearing the author talk about it in a recent parent Podcast. It did not disappoint. Lots of factual information to sink your teeth into. I particularly like the easy to read style; the studies & authors mentioned, so you can look them up yourself. The book sets forth clearly the case for advocating early years play and how to play with your child. Most people may think- well that's easy but trying to strike a good balance against the marketing companies i Was very excited to read this book after hearing the author talk about it in a recent parent Podcast. It did not disappoint. Lots of factual information to sink your teeth into. I particularly like the easy to read style; the studies & authors mentioned, so you can look them up yourself. The book sets forth clearly the case for advocating early years play and how to play with your child. Most people may think- well that's easy but trying to strike a good balance against the marketing companies its amazing how many ideas we have that need to be challenged or at least reexamined. This book gives you food for thought, dispels myths and most importantly examples of how to do it another way. The teachable moments section gives lots of ideas to try or reflect on with your own child. The most important section is on play towards the end of the book. If you are not scientifically minded or enjoy evidenced based books then skip to that section to see immediate and worthwhile things you can do without having to spend lots of money just time. It's a valuable book to read and reread again to bolster you family values and examine how your children learn through play. I'd recommend it to parents and soon to be parents as an alternative to all the hype that's out there with regards to electronic toys and hurrying our children. This book is certainly not a cure all but it does give another side to a neglected debate about how our childrens' play now will have major ramifications in the future. An empowering read.

  25. 5 out of 5

    Emily Mellow

    Refutes, as the title suggests, the need for educational materials and programming to strengthen the brains of our offspring. What they need is the ability to explore, to question and experiment, right? One thing they did say though, that surprised and stuck with me all these years, is that higher intelligence is consistently linked with kids who grew up with more toys. They thrive with variety? At first you would think it's a class thing, but they take that into account when they come up with t Refutes, as the title suggests, the need for educational materials and programming to strengthen the brains of our offspring. What they need is the ability to explore, to question and experiment, right? One thing they did say though, that surprised and stuck with me all these years, is that higher intelligence is consistently linked with kids who grew up with more toys. They thrive with variety? At first you would think it's a class thing, but they take that into account when they come up with the numbers. I read this when I was first pregnant, and reading that changed my philosophy about toys. I had been determined to keep it as simple as possible, to not have a bunch of toys piling up at every holiday etc... but, well, I feel more inspired to play with my kids when I don't have to play the same thing constantly. So maybe that's the reason for the statistical difference. It's funny too, as a three year old Loki was so excited to have all the baby toys pulled out, and constantly finds new ways of playing with them. They never grow out of them, with a little imagination. Sadly, this makes me think we will always have a house dominated by toys, but whatever.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Geoffrey

    The first chapter or two was slightly slow going to me, but as they started to talk more about the learning process and the studies, it got markedly more interesting. I would have liked them to supply more information about the studies they cited, explaining the findings and the methodology in a little more detail. It felt a little like I was expected to take the studies as an appeal to authority rather than have the findings backed up with additional detail. That said, I found the information to The first chapter or two was slightly slow going to me, but as they started to talk more about the learning process and the studies, it got markedly more interesting. I would have liked them to supply more information about the studies they cited, explaining the findings and the methodology in a little more detail. It felt a little like I was expected to take the studies as an appeal to authority rather than have the findings backed up with additional detail. That said, I found the information to be helpful, and I believe I could do my own due diligence on the studies. The writing was reasonable, although not as compellingly readable to me as What's Going On In There?. Worth reading, particularly if you're questioning the value of the current craze for child classes and educational toys.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Andria

    The book's main message is: Children learn naturally through play, so there is no reason to go crazy for the latest "educational" toy, program, or class to try to give your kid the edge over everyone else's kid. The authors really want to encourage parents to value childhood as a distinct period in their kids' lives, to take time to BE with their children instead of rushing them from place to place, to stop trying to make them geniuses from birth but rather let them develop naturally and accept The book's main message is: Children learn naturally through play, so there is no reason to go crazy for the latest "educational" toy, program, or class to try to give your kid the edge over everyone else's kid. The authors really want to encourage parents to value childhood as a distinct period in their kids' lives, to take time to BE with their children instead of rushing them from place to place, to stop trying to make them geniuses from birth but rather let them develop naturally and accept that play is going to be the only way that children will learn all that they need to know (at this stage anyway) in order to be productive members of society. Interesting child development studies cited.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Leandra Cate

    I read a lot of parenting books and a lot of them make me groan and roll my eyes. This was yet another one of the groaners. I feel like they set up a strawman at the center of their thesis: the parent who is furiously ambitious and schedules every second of their child's time. Ok, where are these people? Granted, I don't move in wealthy circles, but I have never met anyone who so overschedules their child that there is no free play time. I have, however, met a lot of parents who over-TV their ch I read a lot of parenting books and a lot of them make me groan and roll my eyes. This was yet another one of the groaners. I feel like they set up a strawman at the center of their thesis: the parent who is furiously ambitious and schedules every second of their child's time. Ok, where are these people? Granted, I don't move in wealthy circles, but I have never met anyone who so overschedules their child that there is no free play time. I have, however, met a lot of parents who over-TV their child to the point that there is no creativity. That seems like a more significant cultural problem than all these damned parents trying too hard to make their children successful! It's a silly book that I think only distracts from the real problems of parenting.

  29. 4 out of 5

    Mallory

    I totally agree that PLAY=LEARNING and that my little kids need and benefit more from pretending, exploring and being with ME--than being shuttled to scheduled activities, sitting through academic lessons and being drilled by "educational" toys. I am all onboard with emotional intelligence (EQ) being more important than IQ, and that basically the most important thing you can do is to read books with your child--for the fun of it! I do admit that about 2/3 in, I got a little bored reading all the I totally agree that PLAY=LEARNING and that my little kids need and benefit more from pretending, exploring and being with ME--than being shuttled to scheduled activities, sitting through academic lessons and being drilled by "educational" toys. I am all onboard with emotional intelligence (EQ) being more important than IQ, and that basically the most important thing you can do is to read books with your child--for the fun of it! I do admit that about 2/3 in, I got a little bored reading all the supporting stories and study summaries--especially when I already fully agreed with the points being made. I mostly skimmed the rest.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    The best way for babies and children to learn is through free and undirected play. I'm just not sure why the authors need an entire book to say that. I didn't finish the book because now that I have a baby, my reading time is constantly in a tug-o-war with sleep time. I also felt like as much as the authors tried to convince me not to use flashcards to teach "ball", instead play with an actual ball, they were trying to sucker in parents to read an entire book when a simple essay would have done The best way for babies and children to learn is through free and undirected play. I'm just not sure why the authors need an entire book to say that. I didn't finish the book because now that I have a baby, my reading time is constantly in a tug-o-war with sleep time. I also felt like as much as the authors tried to convince me not to use flashcards to teach "ball", instead play with an actual ball, they were trying to sucker in parents to read an entire book when a simple essay would have done the trick. Obviously it's us "overparenting" sorts who are reading these books anyway.

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