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These resources help to guide our work at Nurture Outdoor Kindergarten, and we hope they will help you as well.


What We're Reading

Emotional Intelligence

by Daniel Goleman

Everyone knows that high IQ is no guarantee of success, happiness, or virtue, but until Emotional Intelligence, we could only guess why. Daniel Goleman’s brilliant report from the frontiers of psychology and neuroscience offers startling new insight into our “two minds”—the rational and the emotional—and how they together shape our destiny. Through vivid examples, Goleman delineates the five crucial skills of emotional intelligence, and shows how they determine our success in relationships, work, and even our physical well being. What emerges is an entirely new way to talk about being smart.

The Hurried Child

by David Elkind

Dr. David Elkind eloquently calls our attention to the dangers of exposing our children to overwhelming pressures, pressures that can lead to a wide range of childhood and teenage crises. Internationally recognized as the voice of reason and compassion, Dr. Elkind shows that in blurring the boundaries of what is age appropriate, by expecting — or imposing — too much too soon, we force our kids to grow up far too fast. Dr. Elkind shows parents where hurrying occurs and why and what we can do about it.

Why Love Matters

by Sue Gerhardt

Why Love Matters explains why loving relationships are essential to brain development in the early years, and how these early interactions can have lasting consequences for future emotional and physical health. This book draws on the latest scientific research, covering recent findings in genetics and the mind/body connection. Sue Gerhardt focuses in particular on the wide-ranging effects of early stress on a baby or toddler's developing nervous system. When things go wrong with relationships in early life, the dependent child has to adapt; what we now know is that his or her brain adapts too. The brain's emotion and immune systems are particularly affected by early stress and can become less effective. This makes the child more vulnerable to a range of later difficulties such as depression, anti-social behaviour, addictions or anorexia, as well as physical illness.

Unconditional Parenting : Moving from Rewards and Punishments to Love and Reason

by Alfie Kohn (Book/DVD)

Alfie Kohn is as well known for his lectures— passionate, thought provoking, and funny— as he is for his writings. His knack for blending stories and studies has the effect of making complicated concepts easy to understand—and controversial ideas impossible to dismiss. In this Book or DVD, one of Alfie Kohn’s lectures is captured. In it he explores how most advice for parents begins with the question “How can we get kids to do what they’re told?”— and then proceeds to offer various techniques for controlling them. In his landmark book Unconditional Parenting—and in this talk based on that book—Kohn begins instead by asking “What are our long-term goals for our children?” It follows that we need to work with them rather than doing things to them, in order to reach those goals. Kohn argues that punishments (including time-outs) and rewards (including positive reinforcement) may sometimes produce temporary compliance, but they do nothing to help kids grow into responsible, caring, ethical, happy people. Moreover, he suggests that permissiveness is less worrisome than a fear of permissiveness that leads us to over-control our children. Kohn concludes with ten important guidelines to help viewers reconnect to their own best instincts as parents.

How To Talk So Little Kids Will Listen : A Survival Guide to Life with Children Ages 2-7

by Adele Faber, Julie King

This book deals with struggles familiar to every parent, relative, teacher and childminder. How do you respond to the toddler who won't brush his teeth? The preschooler who pinches the baby? The child who throws everything she can reach? It's hard to be a young child. It's hard to be an adult responsible for that young child. And it's really hard to think about effective communication when the toast is burning, the baby is crying and you're exhausted.This book will help readers do just that. Organised according to everyday challenges and conflicts, and including real-life examples and the series' trademark cartoons, this book is a survival manual of communication tools, including a chapter that addresses the special needs of children with sensory processing or autism spectrum disorders.

Parent Speak: What’s Wrong with How We Talk to Our Children — and What to Say Instead

by Jennifer Lehr

Children, even the youngest ones, are not dolls or pets; they are human beings, more intelligent than most adults realise. In this often witty, always highly engaging book, Jennifer Lehr helps us think about how to talk to and with these small humans. We recommend it for all new parents, and also for relatives, early educators, and anyone else who interacts with young children.

Talking with Children About Things That Matter

by Sheila Kitzinger and Celia Kitzinger

A bestselling author of books on childbirth, and her daughter, a psychologist, have together produced this book on helping parents to answer their children's most difficult and disturbing questions. Their research for this book involved interviewing hundreds of mothers with different backgrounds and beliefs, and exploring with them the values and standards we communicate to our children through words, associations and behaviour.

It's Okay Not to Share

by Heather Shumaker

Drawing on the work of child psychologists, paediatricians, educators and so on, in this book Shumaker gets to the heart of the matter on a host of important questions. Hint: many of the rules aren't what you think they are! The rules in this book focus on the toddler and preschool years - an important time for laying the foundation for competent and compassionate older children and then adults.

A Free Range Childhood: Self-Regulation at Summerhill School

by Matthew Appleton

Established by A.S. Neill in the 1920s, Summerhill is one of the most famous schools in the world. Its radical philosophy of education has led to constant conflict with the educational establishment. Matthew Appleton was a houseparent at Summerhill for nine years. In this book, Appleton provides an insightful account of his years as a houseparent at the school.

How Children Learn

by John Holt

This enduring classic of educational thought offers teachers and parents deep, original insight into the nature of early learning. John Holt was the first to make clear that, for small children, learning is as natural as breathing." In this delightful yet profound book, he looks at how we learn to talk, to read, to count, and to reason, and how we can nurture and encourage these natural abilities in our children."

Loving Learning

by Tom Little, Katherine Ellison

The longtime head of Park Day School, Tom Little embarked on a tour of 43 progressive schools across the USA. In this book, his life's work, he interweaves his teaching experience, the knowledge he gleaned from his trip, and the history of Progressive Education. As Little and Katherine Ellison reveal, these educators and schools invigorate learning and promote inquisitiveness by allowing the curriculum to grow organically out of children's questions-whether they lead to studying the senses, working on a farm, or re-creating a desert ecosystem in the classroom. We see curious students draw on information across disciplines to think in imaginative yet practical ways. Becoming good citizens was another of Little's goals. He believed in the need for students to learn how to become advocates for themselves, from setting rules on the playground to engaging in issues of social justice in the wider community. Using the philosophy of Progressive Education, schools can prepare students to shape a vibrant future in the arts and sciences for themselves and the nation.

Free to Learn

by Peter Gray

In Free to Learn , developmental psychologist Peter Gray argues that in order to foster children who will thrive in today's constantly changing world, we must entrust them to steer their own learning and development. Drawing on evidence from anthropology, psychology, and history, he demonstrates that free play is the primary means by which children learn to control their lives, solve problems, get along with peers, and become emotionally resilient. A brave, counter-intuitive proposal for freeing our children from the shackles of the curiosity-killing institution we call school, Free to Learn suggests that it's time to stop asking what's wrong with our children, and start asking what's wrong with the system. It shows how we can act,both as parents and as members of society,to improve children's lives and to promote their happiness and learning.

Beyond Discipline: From Compliance to Community

by Alfie Kohn

Using examples of real teachers dealing with common behaviour problems, Kohn explains why classroom management approaches that rely on rewards and punishments actually prolong behaviour problems. This book describes how creating democratic learning communities is more effective than coercing children into complying with teachers’ expectations.

How to Talk So Kids Can Learn

by Adele Faber, Elaine Mazlish

Using the unique communication strategies, down-to-earth dialogues, and delightful cartoons that are the hallmark of How to Talk So Kids Will Listen & Listen So Kids Will Talk, Adele Faber and Elaine Mazlish show parents and teachers how to help children handle the everyday problems that interfere with learning. This breakthrough book demonstrates how parents and teachers can join forces to inspire kids to be self-directed, self-disciplined, and responsive to the wonders of learning.

Owl Babies

by Martin Waddell & Patrick Benson

A book about separation.

Your Body Belongs to You

by Cornelia Spelman & Teri Wiedner

In simple, reassuring language, the author explains that a child's body is his or her own; that it is all right for kids to decline a friendly hug or kiss, even from someone they love; and that you can still be friends even if you don't want a hug now.