Testing and technology has become a mantra in American schools, reaching down as far as kindergarten and preschool as politicians and policymakers aim to ensure that our country has a competitive edge in today's information-based economy. But top educators and child development experts are battling such reforms. Here, educators, neurologists, and psychologists explain how the high-stakes testing movement, and the race to wire classrooms, is actually stunting our children's intellects, blocking brain development and sometimes fueling mental illness. These experts, including a Pulitzer-Prize nominee, explain why play is not a luxury, but rather a necessity of learning.
This book also spotlights a program at Yale University that, in response to the dearth of play in preschool curricula, emphasized learning through play for youngsters. Children who participated scored significantly higher on tests of school readiness. In addition, an internationally recognized expert explains why--in striking contrast to U.S. policies starting academics in preschool--several European countries are raising the age when they begin formal schooling to 6 or 7.
SHARNA OLFMAN is Clinical Psychologist and Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology at Park Point University, where she is also the founding director of the annual Childhood and Society Symposium. Olfman is the editor of the Childhood in America book series for Praeger Publishers. She is a partner in the national Alliance for Childhood, a group of academics, professionals, teachers, and parents who work together to raise and remedy concerns about children's welfare in light of current cultural trends.
Experts from across disciplines join forces here to focus attention on current American culture and the devastating effects it is having on its children. From children developing surprising physical maturity and sexual awareness at younger and younger ages, to those estranged when television and computer screens replace family time, and those warped by national junk food/fast food habits bringing an explosion of obesity and diabetes among boys and girls, this book takes a harsh look at the results of American social norms. It highlights the damage being done by governmental policies, including inadequate parental leave, a minimum wage that is not a living wage, unregulated day care, and a public education system that delivers inferior education to poor children. A call to action, this is a work from some of the best known child experts nationwide. Every person who has or cares about a child--or the future of U.S. socity-- will find this of interest.
Most experts writing about childhood address issues from their own particular perspective. This work draws together a team of top scholars from across fields. They connect the dots in engaging and clear essays. Altogether, they demonstrate that the problems facing children today come from an underlying crisis of adult values, and they suggest that individuals must join forces to turn back this crisis.
Tom Brokaw of NBC Nightly News once said of the American icon Fred Rogers, "Mister Rogers was an ordained minister, but he never talked about God on his program. He didn't need to."
Eight years before his death, Fred Rogers met author, educator, and speaker Amy Hollingsworth. What started as a television interview turned into a wonderful friendship spanning dozens of letters detailing the driving force behind this gentle man of extraordinary influence. Educator? Philosopher? Psychologist? Minister? Here is an intimate portrait of the real Mister Rogers.
The Simple Faith of Mr. Rogers focuses on Mr. Rogers' spiritual legacy, but it is much more than that. It shows us a man who, to paraphrase the words of St. Francis of Assisi, "preached the gospel at all times; when necessary he used words."
Over the past 15 years, there has been a 300 percent increase in the use of psychotropic medications with girls and boys under the age of 20, and prescriptions for preschoolers have skyrocketed. A stellar group of authors from across disciplines explains this increase, questions the causes, and presents disturbing thoughts regarding this phenomenon as they describe the risks it creates for children. While there are certainly extreme cases where drugs are the only option, medication rather than psychotherapy and counseling has become the first choice for treatment rather than a last resort.
The experts who joined forces for this book take an in-depth look at the conditions that have led to drugging our children, and stress how emotional, social, cultural, and physical environments can both damage and heal young minds. The so-called medical model, one maintaining that psychological disturbance is genetic and thus requires medication, is challenged in this volume. Contributors range from a pediatrician who has testified before Congress and been featured in a Time magazine cover story, to a top child psychiatrist who is an official for the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, along with a well-known child psychiatrist, psychologists, environmentalists, and a public policy consultant. This is riveting reading for all who care about the youngest members of society.
Among other issues, this work looks at controversy over whether psychiatric medications are safe or effective for children--and what little we know about their effect on still-developing brains--as well as the role of corporate interests in the increased use of psychotropics for children. Chapters address the role of environment in both causing and curing disorders more and more often diagnosed in our youngsters: from ADHD, depression, and anxiety to eating disorders. The core questions addressed by this sage group of contributors are these: Why are so many children being diagnosed with psychiatric disturbances and given drugs? Why have drugs become the first treatment of choice to deal with those disorders?