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Preface Introduction Chapter 1 Plasticity and Potential: What Early Childhood Educators Can Learn from Educational Neuroscience Chapter 2 Ten Key Facts About How the Brain Develops Chapter 3 Nurturing the Brain and Body: Nutrition and Movement Chapter 4 Cultivating Optimism: How Positive Emotions Support Learning Chapter 5 Playing with Language: The Power of Conversation and Reading Aloud Chapter 6 Thinking, Creativity, and Problem Solving Chapter 7 Addressing Risks to Healthy Development Conclusion Glossary References
Donna Wilson, PhD, is an educational and school psychologist whose work in cognitive education focuses on areas including cognition in the classroom, metacognition, attention, memory, motivation, and approaches and strategies to improve teaching and learning for students of all ages. Donna is an adjunct professor and lead developer of graduate programs with a major in Brain-Based Teaching with the Abraham S. Fischler School of Education at Nova Southeastern University and Head of Academic Affairs for the Center for Innovative Education and Prevention. Her passion is for empowering educators with the resources they need to help all learners reach more of their unique potential. Marcus Conyers is an author and international speaker on innovating, learning, leading, and developing 21st century competencies. His global perspective has been honed by his work in 30 countries and in statewide initiatives with the Florida Department of Education. He has led a National Association of Elementary School Principals summer conference and was keynote speaker for a conference of the South African Principals' Association. Marcus serves as Director of Communications for the Center for Innovative Education and Prevention, a not-for-profit organization with the mission of "empowering potential across the life span." He is passionate about ensuring that all children experience opportunities to flourish in the first five years and beyond.
This book crosses the research, theory, and practice divide because it supplies seminal and current research from neuroscience at an understandable level and links this to everyday strategies teachers, parents, and caregivers can use to make a difference in children's lives. Key are the authors' use of cognitive assists, the recurring AEIOU model based on the learning cycle, and the simple animal stories that help children learn to be the boss of their brains. This book captures what is known from neuroscience, reminds the reader of the importance of caring adults, and reminds each of us to celebrate and respect diversity. When the authors say readers will be energized and inspired by this book, they are correct. Once I started reading the book, I could not put it down. -- Debby Zambo, PhD, associate director of the Carnegie Project on the Education Doctorate (CPED), professor emerita, Department of Leadership and Innovation, Arizona State University Flourishing in the First Five Years is a must-read for those who have significant interactions with young children. Parents, teachers, and caregivers can benefit greatly from this excellent book grounded in principles of learning and enhanced by numerous strategies for practical application in the home and in the early childhood classroom. This is an encouraging and optimistic book that offers hope for the future generation of learners. Knowledge of the critical importance of the first five years for optimal development has been acknowledged for decades, but Wilson and Conyers take this salient fact to another level with their explanations of the malleability of the brain during this time and with specific ideas of how to maximize and unlock the potential within each child. The authors provide creative and practical strategies that can easily be implemented by parents, teachers, and other caregivers. -- Marcia Stewart, professor of education with expertise in early childhood education, Lipscomb University Donna and Marcus put all the pertinent research together with high-quality early childhood practices to create a guide for parents, teachers, and educators everywhere. I especially like the examples using animals for storytelling. The storytelling lessons on 'hard-to-teach' topics become real and relevant to children. The book is an excellent summary of what a young teacher needs to get started as well as an excellent guide for the veteran teacher who is always learning. Once again, Donna Wilson and Marcus Conyers have provided a must-have book for all people who work with young children. -- Sarah Sprinkel, director of elementary education/Florida services for Florida virtual school and city commissioner, Winter Park, Florida Flourishing in the First Five Years is an enjoyable book to read, and I think it would be a valuable tool for any parent or educator who is interested in exploring the connection between current brain research and child development. The authors' writing style and use of real scenarios for applying strategies help make these concepts understandable. I love the way they have intertwined the cognitive assets into this text. Parents and teachers may need reminders that young children can and do learn beautifully. Our job is to provide the environment and encouragement for that learning. -- Karen Sinclair, director, First Congregational Church weekday preschool and kindergarten, Winter Park, Florida The first five years are the most sensitive and impressionable years, and Flourishing the First Five Years can help parents and educators make a head start. It is a must read! -- Regina Cabadaidis, preschool/kindergarten teacher at S.D. Spady Elementary School, Delray Beach, Florida