The principal task of childhood

According to Robert Sylwester, “The principal task of childhood is to discover how the world works. The world of 21st-century children is far more complex than that of their forebears: It now encompasses parallel natural and electronic environments and the cultural issues that emerge out of them. Most adults are reasonably [-p.148] informed about the basics of our natural environment, and so they can introduce them to children, but many adults have a limited understanding of the recent biological and electronic developments that will play increasingly important roles in the adolescent and adult lives of 21st-century children.
This limited understanding thus becomes an important issue for parents and educators who must guide a child’s introduction into such developments. …the best way for juveniles to begin the mastery of anything is to simply play with it, to explore what it can and can’t do and then to seek any needed further information from those who have it.” (pp.147-148)

“…childhood focuses on understanding how the world works, and adolescence focuses on determining how best to respond to the challenges we confront.” (p.149)

“the increased global connectivity made possible by electronic media adds importance to a childhood introduction to the basics of the universality and differentiation of human life.” (p.151)

We now live in parallel natural and electronic environments, but humans have always lived in parallel factual and fictional environments. [It is truly important] for children to become grounded in the alternate reality of the arts.” (p.151)

“An elementary education bereft of the arts thus isn’t an appropriate 21st-century education. It sells childhood short, and it doesn’t provide a responsible transition into a productive mature life.” (p.152)

Ref: (italics in original; emphases in blue bold mine) Robert Sylwester (2013) A Child’s Brain: Understanding how the brain works, develops, and changes during the critical stages of childhood. Skyhorse Publishing: New York


About backyardbooks

This blog is a kind of electronic storage locker for ideas and quotes that inform my research... literary research into fiction for young adults (with a special focus on New Zealand fiction). Kiwis are producing amazing literature for younger readers, but it isn't getting the academic appreciation it deserves. I hope readers of this blog can make use of the material I gather and share by way of promoting our fiction. Cheers!
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