This book's central message is that parent and teachers contribute profoundly to the development of competent, caring, well-adjusted children. In particular, it argues that adult-child communication in shared activites is the wellspring of psychological development. These dialogues enhance language skills, reasoning ability, problem-solving strategies, the capacity to bring action under the control of thought, and the child's cultural and moral values. The author explains how children weave the voices of more expert cultural members into dialogues with themselves. She also offers concrete suggestions for creating and evaluating quality educational environments - at home, in child care, in preschool, and in primary school - and addresses the unique challenges of helping children with special needs. Parents, Berk writes, need a consistent way of thinking about their role in children's lives, one that can guide them in making effective child-rearing decisions. Awakening Children's Minds gives us the basic guidance we need to raise caring, thoughtful, intelligent children.
Laura E. Berk is Distinguished Professor of Psychology at Illinois State University. She is a leading authority on early childhood development and education, with more than thirty years of research experience and numerous publications, including three popular texts and articles in publications such as Psychology Today and Scientific American. She lives in Normal, Illinois.