Author: Evans, Barbara
Date published: August 1, 2012
Book review: Helping children reach their potential The Genius of Natural Childhood: Secrets of Thriving Children Sally Goddard Blythe Hawthorn Press (2011) £14.99 ISBN: 9781907359040
For a new generation of parents this book aims to highlight why free movement, music, dancing, stories, and rhyme are such an intrinsic part of children developing to their full potential. The term 'natural childhood' is a reference to this process starting pre-birth and working through the early years. Acknowledgement is made that in a technological, risk-averse age many parents are not aware of the importance of this process.
The book provides practical support, photos and musical examples to enable confidence in providing opportunities from birth onwards. However, the author goes further, discussing convincing arguments from research about why these areas are so important. Links are made between music and language, the use of poetry and fairy stories in teaching moral messages, and movement in achieving sensory integration.
The author also examines other countries' approaches to supporting the early developmental stages. There is a focus on Finland, where less emphasis is given on more formal types of education in children under six years but, in complete partnership with parents, children are able to develop through playing, movement, exploration and selfexpression. A causal link is made between immature physical skills and low achievement in children under six.
Each section of the book ends with a summary of the benefits to the child. This book is easy to read, both as a whole or in short chapters, as the need arises. I thought this was an excellent book and I would thoroughly recommend it for parents and professionals.
Community Nursery Nurse, Hinckley and Bosworth Community Hospital, Leicester