Monday, April 26, 2010

Great New Resource for Parents: Mind in the Making

If you had to name 7 essential skills that you wanted to instill in your child that would benefit them throughout their life, what would be on that list? I hadn't really thought of this until I recently ran across a new book that's just been released called "Mind in the Making: Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs." Here are the 7 skills discussed in the book:

1. Focus and Self Control – children need this skill in order to achieve their goals especially in a world that is filled with distractions and information overload.

2. Perspective Taking – children who can figure out what others feel and think are less likely to get involved in conflicts.

3. Communicating – children need to be able to determine what they want to communicate and how. This is the skill teachers and employers feel is most lacking today.

4. Making Connections – children who can make unusual connections are more creative and can go beyond knowing information to using information well.

5. Critical Thinking – children need to be able to search for reliable knowledge to guide their beliefs, decisions, and actions.

6. Taking on Challenges – children who can take on challenges instead of avoiding or simply coping with them will do better in school and in life.

7. Self-Directed Engaged Learning – lifelong learners can change as the world changes in order to reach their full potential.

The author, Ellen Galinsky, is a well-respected researcher in family and work issues. Although I haven't read the book yet, it sounds fascinating. She has brought together the work of some of the best child development researchers in the field to compile a "handbook" of sorts for parents. This book (much like the goal of this blog) is designed to take some of the best child development research and distill it down into a usable format for parents.

I recently heard a podcast with the author and one of the things she mentioned was how she noticed while interviewing children that many seem to have lost that spark of the desire to learn that all children are born with. I could really relate to this as I remember seeing this also while visiting schools as part of a previous job. This is sad because any of us who have very young children know that they are naturally curious and want to learn anything they can. Through Mind in the Making, Galinsky hopes to give parents concrete ideas for helping their kids keep that spark of learning throughout their entire life. This skill, along with the others outlined in the book, are helpful not only for kids' school experience but for their career and personal lives.

Along with the book, Mind in the Making will also have online videos, a vook (video book) and learning modules available for teachers and parents. What a great set of resources!
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