A preschool director draws on decades of experience in this debut parenting guide.
Sinsheimer, who founded the First Step Nursery School in 1977, has witnessed countless scenarios of parents and teachers interacting with children. This book compiles many in an anecdotal manner, interspersing them with the author’s expert commentary. The children range in age from newborn to adolescent, though most are preschoolers. They can be shy or rambunctious, insecure or rebellious, bullies or bullied. In one example, a teacher helped a creative but short-tempered 4-year-old boy realize the consequences of his angry outbursts, and arranged for him and two other boys to practice playing nicely together. The child eventually learned to “express his feelings in an appropriate way, to listen to the ideas of others, and that it was all right to create his world and share it with others.” Sinsheimer covers an impressive number of child development topics, including the struggle for independence, sibling rivalry, and gender identity. She advises readers on appropriate discipline, developing children’s talents, coping with learning disorders, and even how to handle holidays. The book also addresses such weighty topics as divorce, abuse, and the concept of death. The author’s overall strategy is simple but brilliant: Let the stories make the points. Many other writers dispense parenting advice by talking at readers, but Sinsheimer seems to converse with them while offering realistic scenes that teach clear, vital principles. The stories are entertaining as well as instructive, and many parents will relate to specific characters and situations. Sinsheimer encourages and empowers readers to be “experts in their child’s life,” and she boldly prods them to action. The chapters are neatly organized, but the addition of section headings within them might have made it easier to scan the material.
A powerful tool for parents and educators.