Hot Lunch SMART-E After School SCEF District

Parent Updates

  • Follow us on

Friendship Corner with Laura Macfarlane

Date: April 10, 2011 Author: admin Categories: Parent Updates

This year at Brittan Acres, many staff members are participating in a book discussion group. Our year-long reading focus is Mind in the Making: Seven Essential Lifeskills Every Child Needs by Ellen Galinsky. If you are not familiar with this book, read on for a brief description.

“Galinsky has spent her career observing and analyzing how children learn. Collaborating with top researchers in the science of childhood brain development for the past decade, she identifies seven life skills that help children reach their full potential and unleash their passion to learn. Each of seven chapters focuses on one skill, most of them involved with the executive (or management) function of the brain, such as focus and self-control, communicating, and critical thinking. Galinsky urges parents to instill in their children a grasp of different kinds of knowledge to best tap inborn sense and foster self-motivation. The big message is simple: teaching children to think may be the most important thing a parent can do.” (Publishers Weekly, Apr. 2010)

Throughout the book, Galinsky identifies ways that parents and teachers can promote these essential lifeskills. Here are a few of the ideas shared in the book.

Communication – To promote the skill of communication which includes both written and verbal along with literacy, parents can do many things including

  • Have books at home and read regularly to your children.
  • Have pencils, paper and crayons available and encourage children to write.
  • Model literacy by engaging in regular reading. Newspaper, books or magazines.

Making connections – Galinsky encourages readers to think about times when learning comes alive, when we see connections among different facts findings or concepts. To promote this lifeskill, parents and teachers are encouraged to:

  • Play board games with your children. Notice how many connections you are making. For instance, the number on the spinner stands for a rule – how many spaces to advance. Each space on the board stands for one number, etc.
  • Allow opportunities for your child to have pretend play and build on their interests. The adults role is guide rather than to boss. As a guide you elevate the level of play by following your child’s lead and talking about whatever is interesting to your child.
  • Play Hide-and-Seek with your child. This promotes a space sense which is an element of making connections.
  • When driving, allow older children to navigate with maps, GPS, and for younger children, narrate your route for them. Think of all the connections that are being promoted in this activity.

If you want to know more about this interesting research, check out the “Mind in The Making” website.