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on 27 March 2017
An incredible book to read in dribs and drabs (If I didnt have a break my head would explode it's so jam packed full of information) this is a great read. The book came quick in good packaging.
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on 21 March 2017
This book is brilliant
I call it the bible
I did my degree using this book and doing mynMA and still using it
It is so interesting and very easy tonread and understand
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on 27 March 2017
Brilliant book, bought for extra reading alongside my degree. Fascinating.
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on 11 September 2017
A shocking but inspiring read. Makes me keen to protect the essence of childhood more
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on 25 March 2017
A must read book for anyone taking care of or working with children. Teachers habe been telling us this for years but did we listen? Act now, before it is too late. Set your child up to achieve greatness not to fail.
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on 12 September 2017
Very interesting read, not quite finished but looking forwards to the rest of it
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on 4 August 2017
Great book helped my assignment.
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VINE VOICEon 9 March 2007
I was tempted to begin by saying that anyone who reads this book probably doesn't need to, but maybe there are parents out there who would find it useful. Parents who sense that something is wrong with childhood, but can't put their finger on it and would like some clues as to where to begin putting it right. Simple measures like taking the TV out of children's bedrooms, and aiming for the 'authoritative' (as opposed to 'authoritarian') style of parenting. This is a fairly authoritative book, anyway. Sue Palmer has done a lot of research. She puts her views and advice across in a readable style. For those who find it a bit skimpy there are plenty of references at the end of each chapter for further reading and web sites to visit. It's a bit of a rant, and I felt it was getting rather repetetive towards the end (hence only four stars), but Palmer does put her case across very convincingly, and I for one wouldn't disagree with her. I certainly wouldn't write her off as being illiberal or old fashioned, despite her yearning for 'old fashioned' values and advocacy of greater state support for parenting. Not sure about the 'mind the gap' section at the end of each chapter. These sections were supposedly intended to relate the advice in the main body of each chapter to the lives of the poorest families in western societies, but I thought they were a bit unnecessary and slightly sinister. As someone who brought up children twenty and more years ago, now has grandchildren, and works with children and families, I could relate to this book, and thought it full of good advice and ideas. Anyone could benefit by reading it, but it is aimed primarily at parents of young children. I hope that lots of them will read it, and put the advice into practice. As it says at the end of the book, 'We might even be in time to save the world.'
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on 12 April 2007
Sue Palmer is an experienced writer and broadcaster on children's education. This very useful book makes a strong case for some traditional values. Our children need to develop focus, self-restraint and empathy; they need to learn to do as you would be done by; and they need presence, not presents, parents who listen and talk to their children. She recommends real food, less of sugar's empty calories and more fish oil, eaten at family meals; play and exercise; bedtime routines; and protecting children from advertising (Sweden bans advertising to under-12s).

In Finland, a teacher of nursery children must have a master's degree. Britain, on the cheap, uses poorly-qualified, even unqualified, staff, not just in nurseries but increasingly in primary and secondary education too. Our children from age five are subjected to tests and targets: our 11-year-olds are bottom of the league for enjoying reading. In Sweden and Finland, formal education starts at seven: they are top for literacy and have smaller gaps between rich and poor and between boys and girls.

But it is not just a matter of deficient parenting skills, or of a defective educational system. Why do these happen? Our competitive, long-hours, rat-race, culture is harming our children - and our adults too! When both parents have to be out working to make ends meet, the whole family suffers. As Ms Palmer says, we need family-friendly economies, not economy-friendly families.

And there is the vital matter of inequality, which, unfortunately, she does not treat in this book. Britain has the third biggest gap between haves and have-nots among the 24 OECD countries; the USA has the biggest. We have the second highest child death rate; the USA has the highest. The others in the bottom six - New Zealand, Australia, Ireland and Canada - also have the `Anglo-Saxon' model of unfettered free markets.

Researchers from Dundee University recently pointed out, "There is a very strong association between income inequality and under-five mortality among the wealthier OECD countries. Within this group the highest child mortality figures are to be found in those `Anglo-American' countries which attracted criticism in 1993 in a Unicef study on child neglect. Since 1960, the relative ranking, based on increasing under-five mortality, of these countries has markedly worsened relative to the others." [David Collison et al, `Income inequality and child mortality in wealthy nations', Journal of Public Health, published online 13 March.] In 1993, we were 15th, we are now joint 22nd. This decline happened equally under Conservative and Labour governments.

Perhaps our whole social model is wrong. Perhaps we should stop looking to the USA's failed social model. We do need to change things and as she writes, "Nobody ever changed anything by sitting around bemoaning the status quo."
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on 19 May 2006
An interesting book because it brings together so many aspects into one place. It's not rocket science, but the results of so many ill effects coming together for children is startling. The only aspect of the book I disliked was her division of parents into 'educated' and 'un-educated'.
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