A look inside the minds of young children shows how we can better nurture their abilities to think and grow.
Adults easily recognize children’s imagination at work as they play. Yet most of us know little about what really goes on inside their heads as they encounter the problems and complexities of the world around them. In The Intellectual Lives of Children, Susan Engel brings together an extraordinary body of research to explain how toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary-aged children think. By understanding the science behind how children observe their world, explain new phenomena, and solve problems, parents and teachers will be better equipped to guide the next generation to become perceptive and insightful thinkers.
The activities that engross kids can seem frivolous, but they can teach us a great deal about cognitive development. A young girl’s bug collection reveals important lessons about how children ask questions and organize information. Watching a young boy scoop mud can illuminate the process of invention. When a child ponders the mystery of death, we witness how children build ideas. But adults shouldn’t just stand around watching. When parents are creative, it can rub off on their children. Engel shows how parents and teachers can stimulate children’s curiosity by presenting them with mysteries to solve.
Unfortunately, in our homes and schools, we too often train children to behave rather than nurture their rich and active minds. This focus is misguided, since it is with their first inquiries and inventions—and the adult world’s response to them—that children lay the foundation for a lifetime of learning and good thinking. Engel offers readers a scientifically based approach that will encourage children’s intellectual growth and set them on the path of inquiry, invention, and ideas.
Combining insight, scientific acumen, and exquisite narrative, The Intellectual Lives of Children allows readers to peer into the minds of infants, toddlers, and preschoolers as they explore and learn in everyday moments, emphasizing what constitutes real learning.
Weaving together personal observations and experiences, findings from psychological experiments, and powerful organizing concepts, Susan Engel has written a remarkable book. Whether you are an educator, parent, or simply a curious reader, you will come to see, hear, and understand children in new ways.
A fascinating read for parents who wonder, simply, what is my child thinking? Why do they love collecting? Where did that idea come from? A celebration of children’s innovation and sense of wonder.
Who knows what problems our children will need to tackle, but we adults can help them along by asking questions and unlocking possibilities from their earliest days. Susan Engel’s enchanting mix of academic studies and astute observations of children figuring out how their world works makes for an engrossing, illuminating read. Any parent, teacher—anyone who loves watching children question, explore, and wonder—will want to read this guide to stoking children’s ‘intellectual fires.’
- 240 pages
- 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 inches
- Harvard University Press
From this author
Sorry, there was an error adding the item to your shopping bag.
Sorry, your session has expired. Please refresh your browser's tab.