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You Are Your Child's First Teacher,…
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You Are Your Child's First Teacher, Third Edition: Encouraging Your…

by Rahima Baldwin Dancy

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This book is worth reading but can be maddening. Some of the advice within is among the best I've read (insightful, human-development based, so practical, and so "true") and will stay with me and my parenting. Yet as a solid, definitive commentary on "enouraging your child's natural development from birth to age six" it falls short in disappointing and bizarre ways. One, the book begins with a certain flow, then deteriorates on its own rambling path at the end, so that after birth through three is covered in depth, it never specifically get to ages 3 through 6 in the same way. Two, the basic premise and set of assumptions that the book seems to start with are not carried through in a cohesive way through the end of the book, so the reader is left trying to figure out how the dots are supposed to connect in many places. Three, most of the author's ideas are founded in Waldorf education/the ideas of Rudolph Steiner and there are lots of random references to "Steiner's indications" (which, if you know anything about Waldorf/Steinerism strikes me as some sort of doublespeak) without ever establishing for the reader, why this person and his philosophies from a century ago are the end all and be all of childrearing. They pop out without any context or without, in my mind, any proper modern science or theory to back it up. The section on art is most revealing of this in its intense focus, for example, on specific ways, colors, and paper for painting and using beeswax rather than clay for modeling. Unfortunately, these shortcomings of the book are in line with unanswered criticisms (as far as I can tell) of Waldorf education (why the cult-y vibe, doublespeak, and institutionalized veiling of Steiner's spiritualism and custom-built cosmology?, etc.). The author is clearly a gifted writer, thinker, and educator who cares deeply about children and has a lot of important things to say, but I felt too distracted by the Waldorfian mysteries within. As far as I can tell, most of the ideas espoused can stand on their own...and should. Leave out the rest or move it to an appendix and properly label and introduce it. ( )
  FranklynCee | Jun 3, 2013 |
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Baldwin offers new ways for parents and educators to enrich the lives of children from birth to age six. This new and revised edition features updated resources and additional information on discipline, early childhood programs, toilet training, using home life as curriculum, and more.… (more)

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