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You Are Your Child's First Teacher: What Parents Can Do with and for Their Children from Birth to Age Six

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Nowadays parents are bombarded by any number of approaches about how to be with their children. YOU ARE YOUR CHILD'S FIRST TEACHER introduces a new way of understanding the human being so that parents can be best equipped to serve as their own children's best teachers. Chapters include: Caring for the Newborn, Helping Your Toddler's Development, The Development of Fantasy Nowadays parents are bombarded by any number of approaches about how to be with their children. YOU ARE YOUR CHILD'S FIRST TEACHER introduces a new way of understanding the human being so that parents can be best equipped to serve as their own children's best teachers. Chapters include: Caring for the Newborn, Helping Your Toddler's Development, The Development of Fantasy and Creative Play, Nourishing Your Child's Imagination, Rhythm and Discipline in Home Life, Readiness for School, and more.


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Nowadays parents are bombarded by any number of approaches about how to be with their children. YOU ARE YOUR CHILD'S FIRST TEACHER introduces a new way of understanding the human being so that parents can be best equipped to serve as their own children's best teachers. Chapters include: Caring for the Newborn, Helping Your Toddler's Development, The Development of Fantasy Nowadays parents are bombarded by any number of approaches about how to be with their children. YOU ARE YOUR CHILD'S FIRST TEACHER introduces a new way of understanding the human being so that parents can be best equipped to serve as their own children's best teachers. Chapters include: Caring for the Newborn, Helping Your Toddler's Development, The Development of Fantasy and Creative Play, Nourishing Your Child's Imagination, Rhythm and Discipline in Home Life, Readiness for School, and more.

30 review for You Are Your Child's First Teacher: What Parents Can Do with and for Their Children from Birth to Age Six

  1. 4 out of 5

    Marissa Morrison

    I skipped the first chapters, which are about birth and babyhood. There's some interesting stuff here about the importance of play, but also a lot of speculative mumbo jumbo. For instance: "The dreamy state of early childhood is an essential element in the healthy formation of the physical body during the first seven years. The intellect is crystalline and hardening in its effect. When it is engaged prematurely, it can inhibit the proper development of the physical organs and the unfolding of th I skipped the first chapters, which are about birth and babyhood. There's some interesting stuff here about the importance of play, but also a lot of speculative mumbo jumbo. For instance: "The dreamy state of early childhood is an essential element in the healthy formation of the physical body during the first seven years. The intellect is crystalline and hardening in its effect. When it is engaged prematurely, it can inhibit the proper development of the physical organs and the unfolding of the fluid emotions." In equally nutty passages, the author cautions against reading more than one book to a child per sitting, claiming it's bad for the soul, and recommends telling children on their birthdays that they came down to earth over the "rainbow bridge," because "the young child is still very connected to the spiritual world."

  2. 4 out of 5

    Jenny

    Full of insights and ideas for parenting young children. Some of the Steiner-based stuff gets a little "woo-woo" for me, but it's easy to skip over it and take the rest. Great recommended-reading lists at the end of each chapter. Full of insights and ideas for parenting young children. Some of the Steiner-based stuff gets a little "woo-woo" for me, but it's easy to skip over it and take the rest. Great recommended-reading lists at the end of each chapter.

  3. 4 out of 5

    Bird

    I love the premise behind this book, but the execution didn't work for me. There's too much touchy-feely/woo-woo/philosophical weirdness going on. There's quite a bit of talk about religion/spirituality, which isn't my cup of tea, and which I don't think was at all necessary in this book. And some of the author's ideas are just wacky. She claims you should never read more than one book to a child at a time, even if they want you to, because it's not good for their soul. Yes, you read that right. I love the premise behind this book, but the execution didn't work for me. There's too much touchy-feely/woo-woo/philosophical weirdness going on. There's quite a bit of talk about religion/spirituality, which isn't my cup of tea, and which I don't think was at all necessary in this book. And some of the author's ideas are just wacky. She claims you should never read more than one book to a child at a time, even if they want you to, because it's not good for their soul. Yes, you read that right. Apparently reading more than one book will damage your child's soul. Parents everywhere, take note. I can see the psychiatrist's offices overflowing with children whose parents read *gasp!* multiple books to them in one sitting! She also believes that parents should basically ignore their children during toddlerhood. She says that toddlers need to be free to explore on their own without parents shadowing their every move and talking constantly to them. I definitely think those things can be overdone, but many studies have shown that the number of different words a child hears each day has a direct correlation to how successful they will be in school. And I'll never believe that children with these seemingly indifferent parents are as happy and well-adjusted as those with parents who actually get down on the floor and play with them. I gave it two stars instead of one because I think the author does a good job of capturing the wonder and magic of early childhood. I've always felt that the first few years of a child's life are such a special time, and the author clearly feels the same way, and that enthusiasm spills over into her writing.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Gail

    If you hadn't gathered this by the description or other reviews, this is a book based on the Waldorf principles. Turns out there are a lot of elements of the Waldorf approach that I really like. Parts of it seem a bit much, but overall there are many things I agree with like simplifying life, minimal material items, emphasizing pretend play, encouraging music and art, not pushing children to excel beyond their years, giving them time to be children, no TV/computer for little ones, no silly "enri If you hadn't gathered this by the description or other reviews, this is a book based on the Waldorf principles. Turns out there are a lot of elements of the Waldorf approach that I really like. Parts of it seem a bit much, but overall there are many things I agree with like simplifying life, minimal material items, emphasizing pretend play, encouraging music and art, not pushing children to excel beyond their years, giving them time to be children, no TV/computer for little ones, no silly "enrichment" classes for preschoolers. I will definitely be implementing parts of this, and the rest of it was definitely worth consideration. It inspired me to think of aspects of development not touched on in other books (such as a child's spiritual development). I didn't appreciate her random, unrelated to the rest of the book comments against immunization in the last chapter, but perhaps that is because of my own pro-immunization stance. She does have great lists of books for further reading at the end of each chapter, which I plan to utilize. Great book for an introduction to Waldorf parenting/education.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Stacey Miner

    The title and description of this book are entirely misleading. I don't know exactly what I expected going into it, but I can tell you what I did not expect. I didn't expect to be reading a 370 page advertisement for Waldorf schools. There was some useful information, tips and tricks, mixed into it all, but for the most part I felt like I was reading a spiritualist's guide to figuring out how to pay for private preschool for your children. At first everything seemed dry and scientific, but then The title and description of this book are entirely misleading. I don't know exactly what I expected going into it, but I can tell you what I did not expect. I didn't expect to be reading a 370 page advertisement for Waldorf schools. There was some useful information, tips and tricks, mixed into it all, but for the most part I felt like I was reading a spiritualist's guide to figuring out how to pay for private preschool for your children. At first everything seemed dry and scientific, but then suddenly you're plunged into a theistic story of where babies come from and how they're somehow still connected to the spirit world until they become adults and forget or something asinine like that. I wasn't sure if I was reading a Christian viewpoint or a New Age Neo-Pagan Native American viewpoint half the time, or both. Good thing I borrowed it from the library and didn't waste any money on it.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ashlyn Hunt

    The Rudolph Steiner philosophy is sublime, serene, magical . . . conducive to a utopian existence - of which we do not exist. I want so much for my toddler to be separated from the social media that our western culture harnesses. But in all reality, it's utterly impossible to detach him exclusively from television or any other media outlet that doesn't promote pure, unadulterated goodness. You Are Your Child's First Teacher was well written, and I embrace Rahima Baldwin's standpoint with the utm The Rudolph Steiner philosophy is sublime, serene, magical . . . conducive to a utopian existence - of which we do not exist. I want so much for my toddler to be separated from the social media that our western culture harnesses. But in all reality, it's utterly impossible to detach him exclusively from television or any other media outlet that doesn't promote pure, unadulterated goodness. You Are Your Child's First Teacher was well written, and I embrace Rahima Baldwin's standpoint with the utmost respect. I learned a great deal from her kind and insightful words. And I will aspire to fulfill as many of her rational, obvious, and completely truthful guidance. Because everything she said makes perfect sense. But again, in this modern age of perseverance and success, I hope that I can wield the most protective and secure foundation that I can for my son. Maybe not a carbon copy of her ideals, but I do believe it can be possible with a strong, loving family. There is some great advice and tips in this book on instilling strength in spiritually and harmonious aptitude in a toddler. But quite frankly, or at least in my scope of reality, not all of her beliefs seem possible.~AH

  7. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    While some of the parenting info in this book made a lot of sense (toddlers need a schedule, etc.), some of it was so many deviations off the bell curve it shocked me. Don't read more than one book to your child per day (even if they ask for more), don't teach your child about anything--wait until they ask you about things they see, don't allow your toddlers to take part in playgroups, music appreciation classes, sports and movement classes. So many don'ts! But apparently they recommend telling While some of the parenting info in this book made a lot of sense (toddlers need a schedule, etc.), some of it was so many deviations off the bell curve it shocked me. Don't read more than one book to your child per day (even if they ask for more), don't teach your child about anything--wait until they ask you about things they see, don't allow your toddlers to take part in playgroups, music appreciation classes, sports and movement classes. So many don'ts! But apparently they recommend telling your child a story about how they were an angel coming over the rainbow bridge when they were born. What?!?

  8. 4 out of 5

    Bobbie Greene

    One of the most indispensable child development books on my shelves! Not only did Dancy pack this text full of useful information about development, there are also suggestions for activities and a seemingly endless list of resources for further research or exploration (toy companies, etc.). Through this book, I was also introduced to Waldorf education, and am now employing many of the concepts in our own home: spending time exploring and appreciating nature, using as many natural-resource toys a One of the most indispensable child development books on my shelves! Not only did Dancy pack this text full of useful information about development, there are also suggestions for activities and a seemingly endless list of resources for further research or exploration (toy companies, etc.). Through this book, I was also introduced to Waldorf education, and am now employing many of the concepts in our own home: spending time exploring and appreciating nature, using as many natural-resource toys as possible, honoring a child's independence during play, teaching through imitation rather than instruction, using song and dance especially during transitions, and so many others! I cannot say enough good things about this book! It even deals simply with discipline in boiling it down to how many discipline issues can be prevented through predictable routine: if a child knows that he takes a bath every night after dinner, there shouldn't be a fight over whether a bath will happen. He just knows to expect it. Advice like this has been wonderful for my family, and I've even recommended the book to a few friends who have gained a lot of tips from it. I won't loan out my copy, though! I refer to my notes in it too often!

  9. 4 out of 5

    Mary

    I am in the middle of this book, and am finding that I want to underline, dog-ear, and discuss something on every page! I am new to learning about the different educational theories, and this is the first book from a Waldorf perspective that I've read. There is so much valuable information- some highlights for me have been: -having 'rhythym' in daily life- not strict scheduling, but a flexible predicatablilty to the days that help give kids structure, and help keep the household running more smo I am in the middle of this book, and am finding that I want to underline, dog-ear, and discuss something on every page! I am new to learning about the different educational theories, and this is the first book from a Waldorf perspective that I've read. There is so much valuable information- some highlights for me have been: -having 'rhythym' in daily life- not strict scheduling, but a flexible predicatablilty to the days that help give kids structure, and help keep the household running more smoothly. -common sense wisdom on breastfeeding and sleep arrangements- it spoke to me because there are so many extremes in parenting books when it comes to these topics- this is neither a cry it out nor a 'co-sleep for years even if you don't get any sleep yourself, or you're a horrible parent' type book. It advocates responding to your baby and child and breastfeeding, but finding an arrangement that works for all in the family. -The part on the different temperaments is facsinating! -And of course, lots of good info on the developmental stages and imaginative ways to help your chlid blossom, without the use of lots of expensive classes or plastic toys.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Rebecca

    I have been curious about Waldorf education and wanted to get a flavor for it without going directly to the Rudolf Steiner primary writings. I learned that a lot of the philosophy is similar to what I already do, I'm just not as extremist about it. I have two renewed goals after reading this book, (1) instead of purposely doing chores when the children are otherwise occupied, to do them with or at least in front of the kids, so that they can either "help" me or at least learn to respect letting I have been curious about Waldorf education and wanted to get a flavor for it without going directly to the Rudolf Steiner primary writings. I learned that a lot of the philosophy is similar to what I already do, I'm just not as extremist about it. I have two renewed goals after reading this book, (1) instead of purposely doing chores when the children are otherwise occupied, to do them with or at least in front of the kids, so that they can either "help" me or at least learn to respect letting me do my work, and (2) removing some automation from my life. For example, spreading dough, grating cheese, and assembling pizza togeher is much more fun and rewarding than grabbing one from the freezer or (gasp) ordering one.

  11. 5 out of 5

    Kate

    I read this book a long time ago, and it shaped a big part of my parenting....I am rereading it now and still love so much of its wisdom. It's preachy (as are all parenting books) but I continue to pick and choose little nuggets to help with day-to-day life with the children I read this book a long time ago, and it shaped a big part of my parenting....I am rereading it now and still love so much of its wisdom. It's preachy (as are all parenting books) but I continue to pick and choose little nuggets to help with day-to-day life with the children

  12. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    Whoa, kooky. The first two chapters had some good information, but after the rainbow bridge, I was done.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Jocelyn

    DNF at page ~160, about halfway through. It's great parenting advice interspersed with advice that is strange (babies have to wear a soft hat their entire first year to protect the fontanelle), even stranger (you should never read more than one book in a sitting to a child lest you ... destroy their soul?), or bad generalizing from one study done 50 years ago (most learning disabilities are due to not crawling enough as a baby). I only started reading reviews of the book halfway through, but I w DNF at page ~160, about halfway through. It's great parenting advice interspersed with advice that is strange (babies have to wear a soft hat their entire first year to protect the fontanelle), even stranger (you should never read more than one book in a sitting to a child lest you ... destroy their soul?), or bad generalizing from one study done 50 years ago (most learning disabilities are due to not crawling enough as a baby). I only started reading reviews of the book halfway through, but I wish I'd done it earlier since they told me the last chapter has parts that are anti-vaccine. I could have saved myself reading the first half of the book, too.

  14. 4 out of 5

    Brieanna

    I absolutely loved this book! I have read a few books on parenting, but this one spoke to my heart. As a self-funded, college-educated young woman, it is hard to say to yourself and society, "I want to be at home with my child" or even, "I want to prioritize my child". And do what, waste all of my talents and my education?! As women, we "fought" so hard to have equal rights to the point that we deny our natural maternal urges...and it's nice to hear someone say there is no better role model for I absolutely loved this book! I have read a few books on parenting, but this one spoke to my heart. As a self-funded, college-educated young woman, it is hard to say to yourself and society, "I want to be at home with my child" or even, "I want to prioritize my child". And do what, waste all of my talents and my education?! As women, we "fought" so hard to have equal rights to the point that we deny our natural maternal urges...and it's nice to hear someone say there is no better role model for your child than Y-O-U. I love her wisdom, insight, and suggestions for a day at home with a child. I enjoy the fact that she touches on lifestyle a lot and how in our "ready-made" society, we have few chores left to do at home--so we think if we stay at home with our child, it has to be a day centered around entertaining the child. She suggests going about your business and chores and involving your child. The home environment is very important to a growing child, what is yours like? She touches on family support, and basic development of babies into small children, and the VERY simple things that children really need. She has FANTASTIC recommendations for all of the stages (up to age 6 or 7 I think), toys, activities, etc. This book was a great reminder that we should trust our maternal urges, and realize you don't have to overwork yourself to fulfill a child's material needs, especially at such a young age. More than another noisy plastic toy, your child needs you! I will definitely be reading this one over and over and giving it to friends who also have children and like to read.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Sarah

    I rated this book four stars based on what I got out of it, which I will mention following. However, there is a lot of other topics, principles, viewpoints, etc of which I do not agree or really think are unimportant. I will not go into that but just disclosing that I tend to overlook the things I could criticize about Many books. What I did like about this book is her explanations about how toddlers learn - through their bodies, motion and imitationThis is very applicable to me right now and was I rated this book four stars based on what I got out of it, which I will mention following. However, there is a lot of other topics, principles, viewpoints, etc of which I do not agree or really think are unimportant. I will not go into that but just disclosing that I tend to overlook the things I could criticize about Many books. What I did like about this book is her explanations about how toddlers learn - through their bodies, motion and imitationThis is very applicable to me right now and was such a good reminder/eye opener about the way to teach and play with my two year old. As well as giving me insight to why he behaves the way he does. Just what I needed to read at this point in my life.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    A great Waldorf inspired classic. This book will reassure you as a stay at home parent that the first three years are crucial, and that you should trust mother's intuition. If you are wondering what you should be doing all day, it is full of gentle suggestions about how to integrate your child into your family's lifestyle, by using everyday chores as teachable moments. It emphasizes reading, nature hikes, and other gentle, healthy ways of parenting. I get tired of people rushing their 2 years old A great Waldorf inspired classic. This book will reassure you as a stay at home parent that the first three years are crucial, and that you should trust mother's intuition. If you are wondering what you should be doing all day, it is full of gentle suggestions about how to integrate your child into your family's lifestyle, by using everyday chores as teachable moments. It emphasizes reading, nature hikes, and other gentle, healthy ways of parenting. I get tired of people rushing their 2 years old into academic preschools so that they can get ahead. This book is a nice antidote to that mentality.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Melissa

    This book was recommended by Hank's Waldorf teacher...it is a parenting book based in part on Ruldolph Steiner's philosophies...but it isn't too extreme in its "Waldorf-ness". Rahima Baldwin Dancy happens to live in Boulder and runs a childcare/preschool program here-- but this book is considered one of "the books" for Waldorf parenting, and with good reason; it follows a really developmentally appropriate approach to nurturing the inner life of young children (i.e. does not push extreme early a This book was recommended by Hank's Waldorf teacher...it is a parenting book based in part on Ruldolph Steiner's philosophies...but it isn't too extreme in its "Waldorf-ness". Rahima Baldwin Dancy happens to live in Boulder and runs a childcare/preschool program here-- but this book is considered one of "the books" for Waldorf parenting, and with good reason; it follows a really developmentally appropriate approach to nurturing the inner life of young children (i.e. does not push extreme early academics, cultivating genius, etc.), the power of play, the power of routines, etc. I think it would make a good base of knowledge for any parent.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Ariana Norgren

    I liked this book overall. A lot of the information (particularly about infant care) seemed a bit obvious, but there was a lot of interesting ideas as well. This book was largely influenced by the work of Rudolph Steiner, whose writings form the basis for Waldorf Schools. I appreciate the strong emphasis on art and music, as well as a belief in minimizing TV watching and respecting children's natural development. I had some difficulty with some of the more metaphysical beliefs regarding incarnat I liked this book overall. A lot of the information (particularly about infant care) seemed a bit obvious, but there was a lot of interesting ideas as well. This book was largely influenced by the work of Rudolph Steiner, whose writings form the basis for Waldorf Schools. I appreciate the strong emphasis on art and music, as well as a belief in minimizing TV watching and respecting children's natural development. I had some difficulty with some of the more metaphysical beliefs regarding incarnating children, but I am interested enough in the aforementioned positive points to do more reading on Waldorf Schools.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lex

    Loved some of the ideas in this book, especially rhythms, simple toys, and encouraging creativity. While I prefer the Montessori philosophy to Waldorf, I think everyone can take some great ideas from this book. I read it when my daughter was a newborn, and it really helped me fit her into my daily life as opposed to trying to entertain her all the time. That being said, this book is geared towards stay at home parents, which I am lucky enough to be, but I think it would be hard to use a lot of t Loved some of the ideas in this book, especially rhythms, simple toys, and encouraging creativity. While I prefer the Montessori philosophy to Waldorf, I think everyone can take some great ideas from this book. I read it when my daughter was a newborn, and it really helped me fit her into my daily life as opposed to trying to entertain her all the time. That being said, this book is geared towards stay at home parents, which I am lucky enough to be, but I think it would be hard to use a lot of the advice if I wasn't. The book lost points with me because I feel it has an element of guilt tripping for parents who work and can't have another relative watch their kid.

  20. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    This book was hard to for me to get through, but I took a lot of notes and it really was a wealth of information. I dont't agree entirely with the philosophy or spiritual side of the Waldorf method, but I appreciate the play-based approach to education and the slow growing up process at Steiner emphasizes. I liked be idea of utilizing rhythms into our days, creating peaceful and unhurried environments and offering creative and in maintains play for my boys. I'll definitely be returning to my not This book was hard to for me to get through, but I took a lot of notes and it really was a wealth of information. I dont't agree entirely with the philosophy or spiritual side of the Waldorf method, but I appreciate the play-based approach to education and the slow growing up process at Steiner emphasizes. I liked be idea of utilizing rhythms into our days, creating peaceful and unhurried environments and offering creative and in maintains play for my boys. I'll definitely be returning to my notes on this book as I create more schedule and rhythm in our home this net year.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Bax

    Pros: Lots of excellent information about the stages of early childhood & good practical advice on the most effective way to engage them. I liked all the Rudolph Steiner/Waldorf School stuff. Cons: Presents some dumb crap in an IMHO misguided effort to be 'balanced'. Overall, an interesting and informative read and the stupid stuff is easily ignored. Pros: Lots of excellent information about the stages of early childhood & good practical advice on the most effective way to engage them. I liked all the Rudolph Steiner/Waldorf School stuff. Cons: Presents some dumb crap in an IMHO misguided effort to be 'balanced'. Overall, an interesting and informative read and the stupid stuff is easily ignored.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Bethany

    There is some wonderful information in this book, interspersed with pseudo-scientific nonsense. No vaccines, rosy blankets, helpful fevers? Ridiculous.

  23. 5 out of 5

    Rosie Ellen

    Really interesting and thought provoking, just soooo dry. Took me forever to get through although I did read one chapter twice by mistake...

  24. 5 out of 5

    Abby

    Insight into the Waldorf approach to early childhood education, with a focus on at-home instruction. I appreciated some of the principles, particularly Dancy’s rather feminist emphasis on how skewed and unnatural we have made modern motherhood, and the Waldorf focus on daily and seasonal rhythms in a peaceful home. The two-star review, though, is for the rushed structure, the overreliance on other authors (quotes David Elkind exhaustively, and a lot from Simplicity Parenting, which I loved, and Insight into the Waldorf approach to early childhood education, with a focus on at-home instruction. I appreciated some of the principles, particularly Dancy’s rather feminist emphasis on how skewed and unnatural we have made modern motherhood, and the Waldorf focus on daily and seasonal rhythms in a peaceful home. The two-star review, though, is for the rushed structure, the overreliance on other authors (quotes David Elkind exhaustively, and a lot from Simplicity Parenting, which I loved, and which was a far more helpful book to me personally), and for the anti-vaxx stance (!) and authors endorsed toward the end of the book. There is a lot of kookiness to the Waldorf approach (e.g., fevers from measles can unlock a new spiritual state in your child!) and to Rudolf Steiner’s worldview that really turns me off. Hard pass on that stuff, but I like some of the values espoused here.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Stephanie Evans

    I read this book six years ago and it remains one of my favorite fundamental parenting books.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Stacey

    Along with 'Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child', this is now my top go-to parenting book. At least until my children are seven years old. I took so much away from this book! These are the main things that stick out in my mind: 1. The whole chapter on interpreting your children's art was fascinating. Absolutely insightful! I love being able to "read" Joseph's scribble now, and it gives me a peek into his inner world and soul. 2. Young children experience everything with their whole bodies and are n Along with 'Healthy Sleep Habits, Happy Child', this is now my top go-to parenting book. At least until my children are seven years old. I took so much away from this book! These are the main things that stick out in my mind: 1. The whole chapter on interpreting your children's art was fascinating. Absolutely insightful! I love being able to "read" Joseph's scribble now, and it gives me a peek into his inner world and soul. 2. Young children experience everything with their whole bodies and are not able to cognitively separate feelings and emotions. That is why there is constant movement with a two year old. 3. Children need to be in nature and surrounded by natural things (things= toys, fabrics, food etc). They are still very spiritual beings, finding their place in the wordly world, so any connection that they can have to life-forms is good. 4. Play is very important in the first six years of life. Imaginative play, to be exact. Children need the freedom to grab a cloth and pretend that it's a cape, a rug, a bed, or a hat. They should have few interruption from adults during imaginative play. 5. Rhythm in the home is also very important. Children thrive on schedules. It gives them a feeling of safety, comfort, and confidence. 6. I always questioned TV-watching for children under the age of two, but my reasons were: "They can't possibly understand what is going and follow the story the way adults do." and "The constant screen/scene switching back-and-forth has got to be bad for their one-track minds." Turns out, I was right, but I also learned from this book...it's not only what is ON the TV, it's about what the child is DOING while watching TV. If you've ever seen a young child staring at a screen, most likely their posture is bad, their eyes are fixed in an unblinking gaze, there is very little movement, and their mouth may be hung half-open. Their natural state at this age is movement! They are not using their brains during television, it is a distraction from more brain-engaging play and pretend. 7. Children go through a period where their main form of play is imitating or being involved in what the parent does around the house. Joseph likes to watch me cook. He loves to pretend to clean, and sort. He loves to water his plants or take out the compost. This, right now, is more enriching to him than sitting and playing with trains. So I try to be more open-minded about including him in the tasks that I am doing. The book was great. I outlined a lot and have already incorporated some of the things I learned with Joseph. I've created a daily rhythm for us, which he has responded really well too thus far. And I'm trying to be less involved in his play so as not to hinder his imagination.

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jessica

    This book took me exactly 1 year to read. By the title I was expecting a book about education in the Pre-K years from the parental perspective. Unfortunately (for me) that is not what this book is about. This book is really about applying the Steiner/Waldorf approach to parenting younger children. Overall, it had a few of good points scattered throughout and many points I agreed with, mostly in the first half. However, the points I disagreed with made this book difficult to read and digest, and c This book took me exactly 1 year to read. By the title I was expecting a book about education in the Pre-K years from the parental perspective. Unfortunately (for me) that is not what this book is about. This book is really about applying the Steiner/Waldorf approach to parenting younger children. Overall, it had a few of good points scattered throughout and many points I agreed with, mostly in the first half. However, the points I disagreed with made this book difficult to read and digest, and caused me to get frustrated and stop reading. For example: * Wrap your child in cotton wool and never concern them with 'adult' problems - e.g. don't let them watch the news or answer a question about AIDS or drugs. * When a child asks a question, don't give them the most correct answer, but instead provide a mystical and/or dumbed-down answer - e.g. the 'Rainbow Bridge' myth * Extra-curricular activities, such as swimming lessons, are mostly pointless, and, at worst, harmful. * Screen exposure is bad in its entirety, and there are no benefits or advantages to computer literacy before the ages of thirteen or fourteen. * Avoid providing enhanced educational opportunities to a bright or gifted child, because 'when it [the intellect] is engaged prematurely, it can inhibit the proper development of the physical organs and the unfolding of the fluid emotions.' (p 259) As you can probably tell, many of these wishy-washy recommendations aren't based in facts and science, but on an ideology: the Waldorf ideology. When Dancy did provide a source for the above points, it tended to be sparse and cherry-picked, or (surprise) Steiner himself. Ultimately, I'm all for play-based learning, reducing screen exposure, simplifying family life and routines, and acknowledging developmentally-appropriate and informed limits for children in regards to parenting choices, but I think this book (or should I say, the Waldorf approach) goes too far with many of these principles, and in fact many of the unfounded recommendations promoted are condescending to, and insult the intelligence of, children. That just isn't my parenting style.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Ardyth

    You know, this is a book I didn't think I needed to read. How many parenting and early childhood philosophy / how-to books are necessary? And my son is three, so I figured I'd spend most of the time feeling guilty about my mistakes. But a friend loaned it to me, and I need to return it soon, so I buckled down... Happy to say I was wrong. This is not a guilt book! It's not a spend-all-your-money-on-learning-materials book! In fact, it can be summed up pretty well by a phrase straight out of a Tar You know, this is a book I didn't think I needed to read. How many parenting and early childhood philosophy / how-to books are necessary? And my son is three, so I figured I'd spend most of the time feeling guilty about my mistakes. But a friend loaned it to me, and I need to return it soon, so I buckled down... Happy to say I was wrong. This is not a guilt book! It's not a spend-all-your-money-on-learning-materials book! In fact, it can be summed up pretty well by a phrase straight out of a Tarantino movie: Be cool, baby. Yes, there are lots of suggestions about singing, wet-on-wet artwork, rhythms of the day, eliminate devices for littles, etc. But these are details. Here's a sample: "It is necessary and appropriate to correct children's behavior - to insist on what I have come to call "right action". But you can't expect young children to remember what they're supposed to do the next time! It is necessary to repeat right action over and over again with EXTERNAL EQUANIMITY. Understanding that we need to correct actions in the present moment without any hope of the young child's remembering it tye next time can help us to keep our own tempers and to model the right behavior over and over again. Firmness permeated by love provides the child with the kind of guidance he needs to grow from baby to adult." (emphasis mine) External equanimity! That breath between receiving an input and responding. Lots of wise folk speak to this - Viktor Frankl, Stephen Covey, Sun Tzu, assorted Zen masters. Even my own mom. :) What this book taught me, something no other parenting book has managed, is to step back and breathe. Be cool, baby. Just be cool.

  29. 5 out of 5

    mairead

    For the most part I found this so calming and encouraging. Now and then, a sentence would strike a defensive nerve with its approach, but for the most part it just gave me ideas and inspiration. Takeaways: *children are young only once (time later) *change child's pattern with love and awareness *working towards rhythm *LEARNING THROUGH IMITATION AND MOVEMENT *discipline: first acknowledgment, then right action *talk in a quiet voice, stick by what you say, repeat it if necessary, actually MOVE with For the most part I found this so calming and encouraging. Now and then, a sentence would strike a defensive nerve with its approach, but for the most part it just gave me ideas and inspiration. Takeaways: *children are young only once (time later) *change child's pattern with love and awareness *working towards rhythm *LEARNING THROUGH IMITATION AND MOVEMENT *discipline: first acknowledgment, then right action *talk in a quiet voice, stick by what you say, repeat it if necessary, actually MOVE with your child *recharge etheric/life energy through sleep, artistic activity, and meditation *"what shall i do with this opportunity for love?" *the power of Yes, And *whenever possible, state the positive *"guilt takes you out of the present moment, which is where your child lives and where you need to SEE AND ACT CLEARLY RIGHT NOW" *importance of children seeing parents doing housework or crafts with hands -- "child needs to be able to SEE A LIFE in order to imitate it" *songs *household rhythms *do little things with great love *value homemaking through attention, awareness, and creativity *remember your child's basic goodness (your child is not trying to annoy you) *recommended art supplies *further resources to read *"We must pay attention to the quality of our emotions when we are around and young children and to the quality of our movements." *"Being with young children often requires more being than doing." (Will check journal to see if more to add)

  30. 4 out of 5

    Talea

    i really loved this book! There are many good ways to encourage creativity and develop your child's awareness of self and world inside this paperback edition. Many parenting books out there are not as self aware as I found this book to be. I don't subscribe to labels upon myself, but it attachment, hands-free, technology limited parenting sounds like you, then this is the book to read! Many of the things discussed were concepts that I had thought to exist in childhood development, but it was gre i really loved this book! There are many good ways to encourage creativity and develop your child's awareness of self and world inside this paperback edition. Many parenting books out there are not as self aware as I found this book to be. I don't subscribe to labels upon myself, but it attachment, hands-free, technology limited parenting sounds like you, then this is the book to read! Many of the things discussed were concepts that I had thought to exist in childhood development, but it was great to read that my mother instincts were right on the money! Science better be getting behind that mother's intuition because most times, we do know what is best for our children regardless of what the so called "experts" have to say! It challenged me as a parent most of the time, but we can't be perfect parents, we can only do the best that we can do. A note of caution, this author does not come across like there is only one good way, butI can see how many things could be taken the wrong way and feel offensive, like we're bad parent for letting out kids watch television at an early age or that we've ruined them for live by putting them into preschool or kindergarten. It's best to read this book with an open mind, realising that we are all doing the best we can with the information we've been given.

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