Have you ever noticed that spark in a young child’s eye when they’re learning something new? There’s an excitement to their discovery, a satisfaction in learning, something to take pleasure in, a palpable exhilaration. On the flipside, why is it that this spark, this love of learning we so easily recognize in young children, seems to diminish as they progress through school, grade after grade? What is it that we’re doing wrong, learning should be fun right? What should parents and teachers do differently? How can we fan the flame of learning in all children to create passionate, life long learners?
These are just the few of the questions posed to readers in Ellen Galinsky’s new book Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs. Out in the world today there are a lot of behavioral and developmental research studies that clinically describe what’s happening during a child’s growing years. The problem however is that this information often feels inaccessible to everyday moms and dads. What’s great about Ellen’s book Mind in the Making is that it makes the inaccessible accessible. Each chapter is filled with carefully selected and easy to understand research that consistently shines a light on what’s going on with your growing child. Sprinkled throughout these findings are recommendations from the author on how to grow that spark and stories from everyday parents that share similar concerns and their successes related to helping their child thrive.
Last week I had the pleasure of meeting Ellen at a gathering to discuss her work in New York City’s Teachers College at Columbia University. During the event, Ellen was interviewed onstage by Lisa Guernsey, another fantastic author who wrote the book Into the Minds of Babes: How Screen Time Affects Children from Birth to Age Five (360KID interview with Lisa about her book, video) The pairing of these two authors together for the event was excellent and a video of the conversation can be enjoyed below. During the presentation, Ellen not only shared many of the insights she has written about in her book, she also presented another dimension of her journey through carefully captured video recordings of researchers describing their studies. There are many compelling observations described through these videos for parents to learn about and use in daily interactions with their child. One video in particular is a “must watch” if you are unfamiliar with “The Marshmallow Experiment,” a study that looks at the internal conflict four year old children struggle with when offered one marshmallow they can eat now or instead two marshmallows they can eat later. This experiment is technically referred to as a study in delayed gratification and you can enjoy the discovery of this experiment (as a newly refreshed life long learner through reading Ellen’s book) in the interview below. Enjoy!