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Book Review: Child of our Time: Early Learning

A detailed look at how children learn, from when they are babies up to early school years

Posted: 25 March 2008
by Louise Rogers

Child of our Time: Early Learning by Dr Tessa Livingstone

Written by an expert, so feels authoritative
The science is quite scientific, so feels quite highbrow
Features: A detailed look at how children learn, from when they are babies up to early school years
Price: £14.99
Contact: Random House

We all know that babies learn fast, and we probably don’t realise just how much we’re helping them along just by doing perfectly normal things every day. And it’s perfectly natural for all parents to want to enhance the learning process, help it along and help their children fulfil their potential. This book aims to help us do just that.

Using a combination of science (neurology, genetics, sociology and psychology) and personal experiences, Dr Livingstone, herself a mother of two, guides you through the learning process and the crucial developmental stages, dispensing sensible advice that’s relevant and easy to follow. She is the creator of BBC1’s 'Child of our Time' series, a 20-year longitudinal study of 22 families, all of whom had a baby in the year the project began. Now in its tenth year (though the children were all born about 8 years ago, in 2000), the series has generated much research as well as providing viewers with a fascinating insight into how all aspects of life can influence the people we eventually become.

Starting with how we learn, and on into motivation, memory and thinking, the book concludes with strategies for coping with school – this may seem a long time off, but preparation now could prove beneficial. There are lots of activities for children of all ages (and some for parents), and the case studies chosen are particularly illuminating. It does not shy away from using technical language (would you know what physical-kinaesthetic-tactile style was? I didn’t), but everything is clearly explained without dumbing down.

The ThinkBaby verdict

A really useful tool in that endless search for who our children really are and how we can best encourage them
Usefulness: 4/5
Readability: 4/5

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