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Awakening Children's MindsHow Parents and Teachers Can Make a Difference$
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Laura E. Berk

Print publication date: 2001

Print ISBN-13: 9780195124859

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195124859.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM OXFORD SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (oxford.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Oxford University Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in OSO for personal use. date: 03 March 2021

A New View of Child Development

A New View of Child Development

Chapter:
One A New View of Child Development
Source:
Awakening Children's Minds
Author(s):

Laura E. Berk

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/oso/9780195124859.003.0005

In my three decades of teaching university courses in child development, I have come to know thousands of students, many of whom were parents or who became parents soon after completing my class. I also served on boards of directors and advisory committees for child-care centers, preschools, elementary schools, and parent organizations. And my research continually drew me into classrooms, where for countless hours I observed and recorded preschool and school-age children’s activities, social interactions, and solitary behaviors, in hopes of answering central questions about how they learn. As a byproduct of those experiences, parents repeatedly approached me with concerns about how to foster their child’s development in the early years. Their fervent questions, at times riddled with doubt and anxiety, revealed that creating optimum learning environments for young children at home—and ensuring their access to development-enhancing experiences in child care, preschool, and school—have become mounting parental challenges. Consider the following problematic situations that parents recently raised with me: • Bob and Sharon, parents of a 4-year-old: Our daughter, Lydia, could recite her ABCs and count from 1 to 20 by age 2 1/2. When we looked for a preschool, many programs appeared to do little more than let children play, so we chose one with lots of emphasis on academics. To me, Lydia’s preschool seems like great preparation for kindergarten and first grade, but each morning, Lydia hates to go. Why is Lydia, who’s always been an upbeat, curious child, so unhappy? • Angela, mother of a 4-year-old and 6-year-old: My husband and I have demanding careers and need to bring work home in the evenings. I’ve read that it’s the quality of time we spend with our children that’s important, not the quantity. We try hard to give Victor and Jeannine our undivided attention, but they’re often whiny, demanding, and quarrelsome. Many times we end up sending them to their rooms or letting them watch TV, just to get some peace after a long day. What’s the best way to create quality parent–child time? • Talia, mother of a 7-year-old: My son Anselmo, a first grader, constantly asks us to help him with his homework.

Keywords:   Amygdala, Behaviorist approach, Cognitive development, Expert advice, Flextime, Job sharing, Maternity leave, Neurons, Parental role, Quality time

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