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Reading (Book excerpts)

Reading (Book excerpts) Reading (Book excerpts)

(The two-sided mind)
Linda V. Williams : Teaching for the two sided mind - University of Berkeley
"Western culture tends to look at the mind and the body as two different entities. In its view, thought belongs to the mind, and action as well as perceptions are the attribute of the body. However, the sensory and motor systems are equally part of the brain and the body and their successful development is essential to cognitive handling.

Information reaches us through our sense organs; they transmit to us what we know of the surrounding world. Therefore, they are the source of abstract thinking.

Vision, audition, kinaesthetic sense form the basis of the process of learning. Recent research in neurology has revolutionised our understanding of the mental mechanism.

We know now that the two hemispheres of the brain function in a totally different way. The left hemisphere organises linear area, analytical thinking; the right hemisphere rules the defining of spatial and summarising thinking.

It is essential to balance intellectual capacities to make awake all the cognitive and creative abilities of the learner. […]. Multi sensory learning is a priority in preschool years."

Gallahue, David L: Understanding Motor Development in Children - New York: Wiley, 1982
"The movement activities engaged in by children play an very important role in the development of their psychomotor, cognitive, and affective abilities. Children are involved in the important and exciting task of learning to move effectively and efficiently through their world. They are developing a wide variety of fundamental movement abilities, enhancing their physical abilities, and learning to move with joy and control. Children also learn through movement. Movement serves as a vehicle by which they explore all that is around them. It aids in developing and reinforcing a variety of perceptual-motor and academic concepts. It also serves as a medium for encouraging affective development in which effective and efficient movement contributes to enhancing a positive self-concept, wholesome peer relations, and the worthy use of leisure time through constructive play.

Educators and parents are beginning to realize that reciting the alphabet, being able to count to 100, writing one's name are not the important learning tasks for young children. Readiness for learning is a state of developmentally integrated maturity rather than the ability to memorize isolated facts…"

Brazelton T. Berry: Infants and Mothers, Differences in Development
"Inner forces that propel an infant from one stage of development to next are:
(1) a drive to survive independently in a complex world; (2) a drive toward mastery, made evident in the observable excitement that accompanies each developmental step; (3) the drive to fit into, to identify with, to please, and to become part of his environment. The first force comes with the child and is constantly being fed by the second, his own delight in mastery. The third falls to the mother and father to nurture. It constantly surprises me how early an infant picks up cues from his environment that lead him to 'want' to become a part of it. That he can sense the climate around him is by bow well known. But the fact that he is able to tune in and out when stimulation is appropriate or inappropriate to his particular state of the moment or to his stage of development can be reassuring, exciting discovery for his parents. He can choose what he needs from his environment, as long as someone gives him something to choose from."

Brazelton T. Berry - Infants and Mothers, Differences in Development
"Much of the complex behaviour we use later in our human development is anticipate in early infancy in the form of reflexes. After they appear, they may go underground and, with a lapse of tome, return as controlled, voluntary behaviour. Walking is an example of this. Long after the newborn's walk reflex has disappeared, it reappears in the voluntary controlled, complex act of walking. […]
There is a reflex present at birth that is a response to having the head turned to one side or the other. This is called the 'tonic neck reflex' or T.N.R. when a baby's head is turned to one side, and even when he turns it himself, his whole body may arch away from the side to which his head is turned. The arm on the face side extends, the other arm flexes in a fencing position, and the leg on the face side may draw up in flexion. This reflex may be used in conjunction with several of the others we have mentioned, such as the Moro and the extension of the head in prone, to assist the baby in delivering himself from the uterus. The T.N.R. influences behavior for several months after delivery and helps him to learn to use one side of his body separately from the other."

(Motor Development)
Gallahue, David L: Understanding Motor Development in Children - New York: Wiley, 1982
"The movement activities engaged in by children play an very important role in the development of their psychomotor, cognitive, and affective abilities. Children are involved in the important and exciting task of learning to move effectively and efficiently through their world. They are developing a wide variety of fundamental movement abilities, enhancing their physical abilities, and learning to move with joy and control. Children also learn through movement. Movement serves as a vehicle by which they explore all that is around them. It aids in developing and reinforcing a variety of perceptual-motor and academic concepts. It also serves as a medium for encouraging affective development in which effective and efficient movement contributes to enhancing a positive self-concept, wholesome peer relations, and the worthy use of leisure time through constructive play.

Educators and parents are beginning to realize that reciting the alphabet, being able to count to 100, writing one's name are not the important learning tasks for young children. Readiness for learning is a state of developmentally integrated maturity rather than the ability to memorize isolated facts…"

(Infants and Mothers)
Brazelton T. Berry: Infants and Mothers, Differences in Development
"Inner forces that propel an infant from one stage of development to next are:
(1) a drive to survive independently in a complex world; (2) a drive toward mastery, made evident in the observable excitement that accompanies each developmental step; (3) the drive to fit into, to identify with, to please, and to become part of his environment. The first force comes with the child and is constantly being fed by the second, his own delight in mastery. The third falls to the mother and father to nurture. It constantly surprises me how early an infant picks up cues from his environment that lead him to 'want' to become a part of it. That he can sense the climate around him is by bow well known. But the fact that he is able to tune in and out when stimulation is appropriate or inappropriate to his particular state of the moment or to his stage of development can be reassuring, exciting discovery for his parents. He can choose what he needs from his environment, as long as someone gives him something to choose from."

Brazelton T. Berry - Infants and Mothers, Differences in Development
"Much of the complex behaviour we use later in our human development is anticipate in early infancy in the form of reflexes. After they appear, they may go underground and, with a lapse of tome, return as controlled, voluntary behaviour. Walking is an example of this. Long after the newborn's walk reflex has disappeared, it reappears in the voluntary controlled, complex act of walking. […]
There is a reflex present at birth that is a response to having the head turned to one side or the other. This is called the 'tonic neck reflex' or T.N.R. when a baby's head is turned to one side, and even when he turns it himself, his whole body may arch away from the side to which his head is turned. The arm on the face side extends, the other arm flexes in a fencing position, and the leg on the face side may draw up in flexion. This reflex may be used in conjunction with several of the others we have mentioned, such as the Moro and the extension of the head in prone, to assist the baby in delivering himself from the uterus. The T.N.R. influences behavior for several months after delivery and helps him to learn to use one side of his body separately from the other."

(Parenting)
Dr D Siegel/M Hartzell: Parenting from the Inside Out (2003)
"Parents can accept their child's invitation to slow down and appreciate the beauty and connection that life offers each day. When parents feel pressure in their busy lives, they may often feel strained to keep up all the details of managing family schedules. Children need to be enjoyed and valued, not managed. We often focus on the problems of life rather than on the possibilities for enjoyment and learning available to us. When we are too busy doing things for our children, we forget how important it is to simply be with them. We can delight in the opportunity to join with our children in the amazing experience of growing together. Learning to share in the joy of living is at the heart of a rewarding parent-child relationship.

When we become parents, we often see ourselves as our children's teacher, but we soon discover that our children are our teachers as well. Through this intimate relationship our past, present, and future take on new meaning as we share experiences and create memories that greatly enrich our lives together."

Dr D Siegel/M Hartzell: Parenting from the Inside Out (2003)
"Memory is the way the brain responds to experience and creates new brain connections. The two major ways connections are made are the two forms of memory: implicit and explicit. Implicit memory result in the creation of the particular circuits of the brain that are responsible for generating emotions, behavioural responses, perception, and probably the encoding of bodily sensations. Implicit memory is a form of early nonverbal memory that is present at birth and continues throughout the life span.[…]

After the first birthday the development of a part of the brain called the hippocampus establishes a new set of circuitry that makes possible the beginning of the second major form of memory, explicit memory. There are two components of explicit memory: semantic, or factual, memory, which becomes available at around a year and a half of age, and autobiographical memory, which begins to develop sometime after the second birthday.[…]

The unique feature of autobiographical memory is that it involves a sense of self and time. Autobiographical memory requires a part of the brain to mature sufficiently, around the second birthday, to allow this form of recollection to occur. This part of the brain is called the pre-frontal cortex because it is at the very front of the front part of the highest lay of the brain, the neocortex. The prefrontal cortex is extremely important for a wide range of process, including autobiographical memory, self awareness, response flexibility, mindsight, and the regulation of emotions. These are the very processes that are shaped by attachment. The development of the prefrontal cortex appears to be profoundly influenced by interpersonal experiences. That is why our early relationships have such a significant impact on our lives. However, this important integrating part of the brain may also continue to develop throughout the life span, so we continue to have the possibility for growth and change."

Dr D Siegel/ M Hartzell: Parenting from the Inside Out (2003)

"When we are being fully present as parents, when we are mindful, it enables our children to fully experience themselves in the moment. Children learn about themselves by the way we communicate with them. When we are preoccupied with the past or are worried about the future, we are physically present with our children but are mentally absent. Children don't need us to be fully available all the time, but they do need our presence during connecting interactions. Being mindful as a parent means having intention in you actions. With intention, you purposefully choose your behavior with your child's' emotional well-being in mind. Children can readily detect intention and thrive when there is purposeful interaction with their parents. It is within our children's emotional connections with us that they develop a deeper sense of themselves and a capacity for relating."

Dr D Siegel/M Hartzell: Parenting from the Inside Out (2003)
"Children challenge us to remain flexible and to maintain emotional equilibrium. It can be difficult to balance flexibility with the importance of structure in a child's life. Parents can learn how to achieve this balance and nurture flexibility in their children by modeling flexible responses in their own interactions. When we are flexible, we have a choice about what behaviors to enact and what parental approach and values to support. We have the ability to be proactive and not just reactive. Response flexibility enables us to consider another's point of view. When parents have the ability to respond with flexibility to their children, it is more likely that their children will develop flexibility as well."

Dr D Siegel/M Hartzell: Parenting from the Inside Out (2003)
"To 'feel felt' requires that we attune to each other's primary emotions.[…] The mirror neuron system is the new finding in in humans a particular kind of neuron directly likes perception to action. […] In this way, mirror neurons reveal that the brain is able to detect the intention of another person. Here is evidence not merely for a possible early mechanism of imitation and learning, but also for the creation of mindsight, the ability to create an image of the internal state of another's mind. […]

Interwoven with another is through the sharing of the surges of energy that are our primary emotions. When children feel positive sensations, such as in moments of joy and mastery, parents can share these emotional states and enthusiastically reflect and amplify them with their children. Likewise, when children feel negative or uncomfortable sensations, such as in moments of disappointment or hurt, parents can empathize with their feelings and can offer a soothing presence that comforts their children. These moments of joining enable a child to feel felt, to feel that she exists within the mind of the parent. When children experience an attuned connection from a responsive empathetic adult they feel good about themselves because their emotions have been given resonance and reflection."

(Families)
Stephen R. Covey: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families (1997)
"The interesting thing is that, like it or not, you are a model. And if you're a parent, you are your children's first and foremost model. In fact, you cannot not model. It's impossible. People will see your example - positive or negative - as a pattern for the way life is to be lived.

As one unknown author so beautifully expressed it:

  • If a child lives with criticism, he learns to condemn.
  • If a child lives with security, he learns to have faith in himself.
  • If a child lives with hostility, he learns to fight.
  • If a child lives with acceptance, he learns to love.
  • If a child lives with fear, he learns to be apprehensive.
  • If a child lives with recognition, he learns to have a goal.
  • If a child lives with pity, he learns to be sorry for himself.
  • If a child lives with approval, he learns to like himself.
  • If a child lives with jealousy, he learns to feel guilty.
  • If a child lives with friendliness, he learns that the world is a nice place in which to live.
If we are careful observers, we can see our own weaknesses reappear in the lives of our children. Perhaps this is most evident in the way differences and disagreements are handled. [..] Parents have been scripted by their parents…who have been scripted by their parents in ways that none of the generations may even be aware of.[…] How important it is for us to realise that our day-to-day modeling is far and away our highest form of influence in our children's lives!"

Stephen R. Covey: The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Families (1997)
"Habit 1: Be Proactive
Becoming an Agent of Change in Your Family

Habit 2: Begin with the End in Mind
Developing a Family Mission Statement

Habit 3: Put First Things First
Making Family a Priority in a Turbulent World

Habit 4: Think "Win-Win"
Moving from "Me" to "We"

Habit 5: Seek First to Understand…Then to Be Understood
Solving Family Problems Through Empathetic Communication

Habit 6: Synergize
Building Family Unity through Celebrating Differences

Habit 7: Sharpen the Saw
Renew the Family Spirit through "Traditions"

(Emotional Needs)
Dr Vicky Flory: Your child's emotional needs (2005)
"The seven key emotional needs of children are:
1.    To have a secure attachment;
2.    To receive help with emotional regulation;
3.    To receive support;
4.    To have a sense of belonging;
5.    To feel loved;
6.    To feel your approval; and
7.    To have a clear understanding of expectations, routines and boundaries"

Dr Vicky Flory: Your child's emotional needs (2005)
Emotional needs for babies:
  • "Your baby's emotional needs in the first year are constant.
  • Her two main needs are to form a secure attachment relationship and to receive consistent and prompt help with regulating her emotions.
  • Babies who have their emotional needs met are in a better position to develop good emotional health in toddler hood and beyond".
"Emotional changes in the toddler years:
The child is more likely to experience:
  • An increase in anger and frustration;
  • More intense negative emotions;
  • Tantrums when overwhelmed by negative emotions;
  • Rapid changes in mood;
  • A drive to do things for himself (and anger if his plans are thwarted)".
Emotional needs from one to four years:
  • Help with regulating their emotions;
  • Secure attachment;
  • To receive understanding about their drive to be independent.
(Do not Disturb)
Deborah Jackson: Do not disturb - 1993
"Given time and space, children are capable of a great deal more than we might imagine. In our hurry to get places, we may bundle small children into car seats or pushchairs, and consequently imagine that they are unable to walk very far. But Maria Montessori reminds us that even small children can walk long distances by themselves:

"The child under two is well able to walk for a mile or so, and also to climb. Our impression that a long walk is beyond her comes from making her walk at our pace. But the child is not trying to 'get there' - all she wants is to walk. And because her legs are shorter than ours it is we who must go at her pace…"

The point Montessori uncovers her is crucial to an understanding of a child's concept of time. There is not goal-orientation, no fixing on the future, or the results of his actions. There is only now, and what-he-happens-to-be-doing. The adult hurries because she wants to complete a task, and to achieve this within a certain time limit. The child is engrossed in the moment, and will not respond to pleas of 'Hurry up!' They mean nothing to him. If he does learn to hurry, he is merely mimicking a form of adult behaviours in order to please his parent. This behaviour will soon become ingrained as his way of interacting with the world. The timeless quality of childhood is thus easily destroyed. […]

We push our children, and we push ourselves. This is a plea to stop all the pushing, to be as kind to ourselves as we wish others were to us. Not to disturb the profound well of life that springs within each child. And to go with the flow."

(Learning)
Dr L. Bradway: How to Maximize Your Child's Learning Ability (1993)
"Throughout our lives, we learn by absorbing and using different bits of information from the world around us. Researchers and education often make reference to "visual," "auditory," and "kinesthetic" or "tactile" learners, depending on whether the subjects in question most often rely on their eyes, their ears, or their sense of touch. However, I've found it simpler to use the terms "Lookers," "Listeners," and "Movers" to describe the way the children in my practice learn best.[…]

It's also important to remember that learning patterns aren't always clearly defined and may be found in combination with other styles, as in Looker-Movers or Looker-Listeners. […]

What type of learner are you, the parent?[…]

And, what of the parent and child with different learning styles?[…]

From the very start, it's natural for parents to typically (though unconsciously) offer their children the types of stimulation they enjoy themselves.[…]

And the child's reaction?[…]

Depending on your learning style and hers, you see, the playthings and activities you've been offering you child may be either what she naturally craves or what she instinctively ignores. But even when your attempts at interacting seem unappreciated because they don't happen to reinforce your child's inborn learning style, persistence on you part will encourage her to 'stretch' in areas vital to her overall development."

Note: Follow up leaflet will explore the characteristics of each style.

Dr L. Bradway: How to Maximize Your Child's Learning Ability (1993)
"Lookers are visual learners who rely on the sense of sight when absorbing information. They are naturally drawn to sights of familiar objects, and quickly pick up on and remember visual cues like motion, colour, shape, and size. Most Lookers have excellent eye-hand coordination, with an inborn tendency to look at something and quickly put their hands to work to show what they've learned about it. In fact, most Lookers excel at all fine motor activities - activities that involve both the eyes and the small muscles, such as those in the fingers.[…] Because Lookers tend to ignore other types of stimulation in favour of the sights around them, however, they must work at developing their language ability, their social skills, and their full-body coordination.

Listeners are auditory learners, with a preference for sounds and words over information taken in by either sight or touch. Since stimulation to the ears translates into spoken language, Listeners tend to be early talkers and possess very elaborate vocabularies. […] it's not unusual for them to lag behind their age mates in area commonly associated with the senses of sight and touch: namely, visual and motor skills.[…]

Movers are tactile (or kinaesthetic) learners, preferring hands-on learning through both touch and movement. The information that Movers take in through the sense of touch translates into gross motor movement - large-muscle activity involving the arms, hands, legs, and feet.[…] But their continued focus on the physical, often to the exclusion of sight and sound stimulation, typically lead to language delays and classroom difficulties."

(Your Child's Growing Mind)
Dr. Jane M. Healy: Your Child's Growing Mind (2001)
"Each child must build individual networks for thing; this development comes from within, using outside stimuli as material for growth. Most babies give explicit clues about what kind of input is needed and let you know when it's overpowering or not interesting anymore. Explaining things to children won't do the job; they must have a chance to experience, wonder, experiment, and act it out for themselves. It is this process throughout life, that enables the growth of intelligence. Babies come equipped with the "need to know"; our job is to give them love, acceptable and the raw material of appropriate stimulation at each level of development. Your own common sense, augmented by current knowledge, is the best guide."

Dr. Jane M. Healy: Your Child's Growing Mind (2001)
"Parents can demonstrate interesting ways to play with new things. Slowly moving objects fascinate the baby, building visual connections as well as knowledge about space. If you talk softly about the toy at the same time, you begin the long, slow process of linking auditory and visual input. Learning to focus on more than one sensory modality requires both neural maturation and practice.
A variety of patterns is important: contours, horizontal and vertical lines, shapes, sizes, and colors, for example. During the first six months visual feature detectors are forming which will later enable the child to discriminate such complex patterns as alphabet letters or numerals when there is a good reason for learning them. Moreover, through such sensory experience, the child begins to form rudimentary concepts such as "alike or different", "pleasant or unpleasant". […] it appears likely that vivid contrasts, brighter colors and geometric shapes may turn on an infant's visual systems more effectively. It is important to view crib mobiles or other visual stimulators from the baby's perspective rather than from the adult's - they should be interesting, distinct, and not too complex. Combining interesting color contrasts with feelable textures, such a crocheted materials, may help integrate sensory experience - in this case, looking and touching."