When Parents Lead, Children Succeed

B2W Radio - Part 1: Preparing for Quality Life Long Learning Begins at Birth

B2W Radio - Part 1: Preparing for Quality Life Long Learning Begins at Birth

Elane V. Scott
Rick Stephens
Featured Guest:
Janet Doman

What so ever it is you learn first about something, is what stays with you the longest. - Glenn Doman, founder or Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential

Dear Valued Stakeholders,

Never in the history of our world has the need for large numbers of bright, articulate, resourceful people with great critical thinking capabilities been more important. The looming question is, whose job is it to prepare them?

Join us today and listen as our guest, Janet Doman, Director of the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential, talks with Rick Stephens and me about how today’s parents can successfully begin the preparation of children for physical, intellectual and social challenges they will face in the future, right from birth.

For those of us who have the privilege of producing this show every week, we value the opportunity to feature people whose ideas are not merely interesting, but life changing. Janet Doman is such a guest. Her expertise about what babies need to thrive is based on over 5 decades of evidence gathered by IAHP researchers and scientists who have observed and worked with children from all over the world. We parents all know that our children, as adults, must be prepared for challenges, problems, and opportunities that do not exist today. Furthermore, many of those same challenges and problems were not even imagined when we were small and our parents were doing their best to prepare us for the future. However, whose job is it to develop the critical thinking skills our children will need and when should this teaching begin?

Many schools have been called upon for years to focus more on this area of teaching. But, the following summary of an article that appeared in the May 15, 2009 National Education Agency’s morning update called “The Opening Bell,” does not suggest that this loose approach has yielded the results we need.

Most Educators Do Not Understand the Importance Of Critical Thinking, Author Says The Des Moines Register (5/15) features an interview with Tony Wagner, the co-director of the Change in Leadership Group at the Harvard Graduate School of Education and author of the book, The Global Achievement Gap: Why Even Our Best Schools Don't Teach The New Survival Skills Our Children Need - And What We Can Do About It. In the book, Wagner asserts that "the seven survival skills...all students should master are critical thinking and problem solving; collaboration across networks and leading by influence; agility and adaptability; initiative and entrepreneurship; effective oral and written communication; accessing and analyzing information; and curiosity and imagination." Those skills, he says will help teach "students how to think." When asked why the push to teach critical-thinking skills has not "taken hold" in schools, Wagner said, "Most teachers, parents, and employers don't understand the importance of critical thinking." Some contend that critical thinking is too fuzzy. Therefore, it is not tested. If it's not tested, it's not going to be taught."

Blaming schools for students’ poor ability to problem solve is not a curriculum issue. This skill develops and matures from infancy when babies, youngsters, adolescents and young people are faced with demanding, life challenging problems to solve, not just paper problems. Without a mandate in life to stretch and apply what a person has learned, critical thinking is hard to develop.

It was my one week at the “How to Multiply Your Baby’s Intelligence” course at the Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential, that made me realize how important my role was as a mother. I learned that the way I chose to meet the needs of a growing infant affected it forever. It was axiomatic that the mother is the child’s best teacher. This was not a romantic notion, but the reality of nature giving specific drives and instincts to her to care for her child and make it ready for when it must be on its own. In society, daily talk about children and education typically centers on schools being the place where children learn what they need to function well. Yet, children are not in formal school settings more than 12% of their time. It is in their community and being among families and friends that dominate what children will learn and build their worlds around.

The question about how to help today’s children prepare well for tomorrow means we must re-examine the way we measure what we call education success. We must think as much about the process of developing children as we do about the developmental goals. Janet Doman, challenges us to do just that. Using words that show deep and profound respect for the infant and young child, she warmly shares stories drawn from the worldwide experience of an organization whose different members have traveled around the globe to study and understand the growth and development of children, many from the moment they were born, through their adult lives. The work of the Institutes, begun by her father, Glenn Doman, and carried on by her and her brother, Doug, is awe inspiring and legendary.

It is with great excitement and pride that I am able to share this first segment of our two-part interview on the potential of children to grow, develop critical thinking skills, and successfully meet the yet unknown demands of tomorrow, beginning at birth. Please join us.

Elane V. Scott

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