Is Praise Good for Children?

Martha believes that good parenting includes paying attention to her children and praising them. It is important for their self-esteem. Mary disagrees. She tells the story of how, at the age of 19, after dropping out of college her daughter said: “Everyone says I’m smart, but I don’t feel it.” She blames her habit of praising her.

What do you think? What do you do? Is Praise good for children, or is it bad?

And now, we are

into a new year.

Let’s

Be

New

In it.

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Stop and Admire Your Work

Teachers and parents work for love. Something deep inside us, a motive we often take for granted, drives us to commit a part of our lives to children. We don’t take a test to determine if we have the requisite set of talents and abilities to do well at this, and we would be the first to tell you that when we started we didn’t have the skill set. We just take on the challenge our genius told us it was ours to take on.

Sheryl, the latest addition to my honor role of educators, told me her story last month. Continue reading

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Children Are Whole People

Months ago in some online comment Janet Lansbury wrote:

“Maybe it’s because I was encouraged by a mentor (infant specialist Magda Gerber) to view babies as whole people from the get-go, not my projects, not reflections or extensions of me, their emergent personalities never felt like my responsibility.”

That babies are whole people is actually a revolutionary idea and one that I hope takes hold in the hearts and minds of all those who care about not just babies but children and their education. Unfortunately, acting as if children are incomplete adults is still the dominant way, and ignores the fact that adults are incomplete, too.

Children when they enter kindergarten have already logged upwards of 43,800 hours of practice mastering the world. Continue reading

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Five Tips for Teachers (and Parents)

One day Iliana (age 6) seemed to want to strike up a conversation as she was leaving school with her Mom.

“Goodbye, Mr. Rick.”

“Goodbye, Iliana.”

“You’re the principal.”

“That’s right. I am the principal.”

“You are in charge of everything.”

“That’s right.”

”You can DO anything you want.”

At that point I realized I was in a different conversation—not the usual pleasantries in which mutual affection is communicated, but a conversation with substance. Continue reading

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