Einstein Never Used Flashcards,
by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff
with Diane Eyer
Sub-Title: How Our Children Really Learn--and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less
Awards: Winner, Best Psychology Book, Books for a Better Life Award 2003
Size: approximately 15 x 23 cm
In this book, two highly credentialed child psychologists offer a compelling indictment of the growing trend toward accelerated learning. It's a message that stressed-out parents are craving to hear: It's okay to play! In fact, letting tots learn through play is more than just okay - it's better than drilling academics! After decades of research, scientists and child development experts have come to a clear conclusion: play is the best way for our children to learn.
- Children who are prematurely pushed into regimented academic instruction display less creativity and enthusiasm for learning in later years.
- Children who memorize isolated facts early in life show no better long-term retention than their peers.
- Children who learn through play also develop social and emotional skills, which are critical for long-term success.
Somewhere along the line, we've gotten off track by stressing academic products and programs to our preschoolers. Thankfully, Dr. Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Dr. Roberta Michnick Golinkoff have a simple remedy for our children that is based on overwhelming scientific evidence from their own studies and the collective research results of child development experts.
Einstein Never Used Flash Cards goes beyond debunking the myths spread by the accelerated-learning industry. Parents and educators will find a practical guide to introducing complex concepts through smart, simple, and loving play.
For every key area of a child's development (speech, reading, math, social skills, self-awareness, and intelligence), you'll understand how a child's mind actually learns. The authors 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.
(Please see the Reviews, Table of Contents, and short video of an interview with Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, below.)
About the Authors:
Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D., is a professor in the psychology department at Temple University, where she directs the Infant Language Laboratory and participated in one of the nation's largest studies of the effects of childcare. She also composes and performs children's music. She currently lives in Ardmore, PA.
Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Ph.D., directs the Infant Language Project at the University of Delaware, where she holds a joint appointment with the departments of linguistics and psychology. Together, she and Dr. Hirsch-Pasek were featured on the PBS Human Language series and are the authors of How Babies Talk. She currently resides in Wilmington, Delaware
Diane Eyer, Ph.D., is a member of the psychology department at Temple University and is the author of Motherguilt and Mother-Infant Bonding. She resides in Bucks County, PA.
From Publishers Weekly: "Authors and child psychologists Hirsh-Pasek, Golinkoff and Eyer join together to prove that training preschoolers with flash cards and attempting to hurry intellectual development doesn't pay off. In fact, the authors claim, kids who are pressured early on to join the academic rat race don't fair any better than children who are allowed to take their time. Alarmed by the current trend toward creating baby Einsteins, Hirsh-Pasek and Golinkoff urge parents to step back and practice the "Three R's: Reflect, Resist, and Recenter." Instead of pushing preschoolers into academically oriented programs that focus on early achievement, they suggest that children learn best through simple playtime, which enhances problem solving skills, attention span, social development and creativity. "Play is to early childhood as gas is to a car," say Hirsh-Pasek and Golinkoff, explaining that reciting and memorizing will produce "trained seals" rather than creative thinkers. Creativity and independent thinking, they argue, are true 21st-century skills; IQ and other test scores provide a narrow view of intelligence. The authors walk parents through much of the recent research on the way children learn, debunking such myths as the Mozart effect, and pointing out that much learning unravels naturally, programmed through centuries of evolution. Although the research-laden text is sometimes dense, parents will find a valuable message if they stick with the program, ultimately relieving themselves and their offspring of stress and creating a more balanced life." (Copyright 2003 Reed Business Information, Inc.)
From Parenting magazine: "Any mom who's ever fretted over the magical '0-3' window for learning (who hasn't?) can sigh a big sigh of relief, thanks to Einstein Never Used Flash Cards. This get-real guide, from two mothers who are also developmental psychologists, explodes over-hyped education myths and tells you why relaxing and reclaiming your child's childhood is the best way to nuture his growing mind."
From Library Journal: 'Reviewing decades of developmental research, [the authors] dispute the effects of accelerated learning on children reported by the media and recommend that children be left to develop curiosity on their own (much like Einstein and other intellectuals) rather than through 'canned' academic programs. Parents will better comprehend each of the significant areas of development - math, reading, verbal communication, science, self-awareness, and social skills - and get a grasp of what is scientifically proven to help children learn and grow. Highly recommended."
"A valuable message ..." -- Publishers Weekly
"Don't waste your money on flash cards, high-tech toys, and computer programs designed to teach your child how to read, write, and add. The advice in this book will do more to help your child to grow up to be happy, healthy, and smart than anything you can buy in an educational toy store. A tour de force, and a much-needed wake-up call for today's parents." - Laurence Steinberg PhD, Distinguished University Professor of Psychology at Temple University, and author of You and Your Adolescent
"A real gem! The authors provide a timely and much-needed corrective to recent overblown claims about children's development. A must-read for parents, teachers, and policy makers." - Ross D Parke PhD, past President of the Society for Research in Child Development, Director of the Centre for Family Studies at the University of California, and author of Throwaway Dads
"This easy-to-read book is outstanding. Modern-day parents are under pressure. They have an avalanche of information. But whom can they trust? This book provides a road map. It separates the evidence from the hype. It describes scientific discoveries about child development and child-rearing in a way that is both accessible and accurate. To parents, the book says, "Trust yourself," and it describes what children need (play) and what they don't (flash-card tutorials) to maximise their potential. Parents everywhere are asking for the information in this book. It is enthralling and ever so timely." - Andrew N Meltzoff PhD, Co-Director of the Centre for Mind, Brain, and Learning at the University of Washington, and co-author of The Scientist in the Crib and Words, Thoughts, and Theories
"Beyond excellent. You won't panic while reading this book! You know how it goes. You hear another mommy in the playgroup or a mutual friend talk about how they are teaching their one-year-old to read or how their toddler just got in to the spanish immersion pre-school and you feel that twinge of guilty panic, wondering if you're doing what is right to make your child as smart as possible. This book is INCREDIBLE and will calm you down and help you realize what is truly important: children do not learn from boring drill-and-kill experiences. They learn from play and enjoyable reading.
My favorite quote from this book is "Put away your credit card and get out your library card". That is the theme of the whole book. The authors explian why most expensive "educational" toys MAKE your children play with them a certain way and don't allow for creativity so they should not be the only toys your child has. (You can have them! They simply suggest you also have creative toys like dolls, blocks, dress up, kitchen & tool sets or Legos.) They go on to explain that access to toys like these encourage unstructured, imaginative play that help children learn about numbers, physics, geometry, the world and their feelings.
This book tackles our most pressing questions, like how we will teach our children to read before pre-school and how we will teach them the concept of number symbols standing for actual quantities of items. Moreso, they explain to parents exactly how children learn and that parents are not the sole architects of the perfect baby brain. Mother nature has already created a brain that loves to learn and drilling children with flash cards or worksheets can kill a love for learning that is naturally there.
As you can tell from the title of the book, flash cards and demanding, there's-only-one-right-answer educational toys are a fairly new trend but geniuses have always existed. Most intelligent people in the past were allowed to play and leisure read freely - and experiment with things around them - which contributed to their intelligence the most. Parents reading to children and free play are a must! (By the way, I have a psychology degree and I learned in college that children under 1 cannot really see words well unless the letters are FOUR INCHES TALL! Even better if the words are red, not black, to attract the eye to focus. No flash cards look like this! Two year olds still need three inch letters. Adult print is simply too small for their developing visual pathways to read! How bored and agitated would you be looking at small, blurry letters all day? It's like a constant eye-chart test set at 20/10!)
I loved this book and nearly every paragraph is supported by research completed all over the world on child development. The back of the book organized the cites and references by chapter so you can look in to the research if you want to arm yourself with facts! In fact, I have talked so positively about this book, my friends are lining up to borrow it and I'm encouraging everyone to buy their own copy because you will want to keep this one on-hand. I'm buying one for the gal that lives up the street that just won't quit talking about how "smart" and "advanced" her one year old is because she buys educational toys exclusively!
Honestly, you're going to find the answers you are looking for about how to both encourage creativity and teach the fundamentals your children need for Kindergarten. If nothing else, it will assure you that a relaxed, unstructured play day at home is one of the best things you can do for your child!" - Bargain Savvy Mom (from Amazon)