Online Q&A with Ellen Galinsky, author of Mind in the Making: The Seven Essential Life Skills Every Child Needs
Ellen Galinsky responded to questions and comments during an online event from September 27–October 4, 2010. Read the
questions and the author's responses below!
For almost ten years I worked with top researchers in early childhood development, filming their experiments and studying their results in a collaborative effort to bring the science of early learning to families and the professionals who work with children. The research findings point to seven life skills that will help children reach their full potential in school, the workforce, and life.
The seven skills are:
- Focus and Self Control – children need this skill in order to achieve their goals, especially in a world filled with distractions and information overload.
- Perspective Taking – children who can figure out what others feel and think are less likely to get involved in conflicts.
- Communicating – children need to be able to determine what they want to communicate and how to do it (this is the skill teachers and employers feel is most lacking today).
- Making Connections – children who can make unusual connections are more creative and can go beyond knowing information to using information well.
- Critical Thinking – children need to be able to search for reliable knowledge to guide their beliefs, decisions, and actions.
- Taking on Challenges – children who can take on challenges instead of avoiding or simply coping with them will do better in school and in life.
- Self-Directed Engaged Learning – lifelong learners can change as the world changes in order to reach their full potential.
Mind in the Making explains how children learn these skills and how we can help them through everyday activities, such as playing “Simon Says” in a new way—for example, by doing the opposite of what the leader is doing (to practice self control).
The exclusive NAEYC Study Guide is designed to connect the research and the lessons provided in Mind in the Making to your teaching practice. It can support discussions with families in your program about ways they can use the book’s suggestions to promote children’s learning and development at home. It also can support individual self-study and reflection.