Re: DSM: How to properly guide?

Mike Sadofsky (
Fri, 15 Dec 2000 16:16:25 -0500

I had just "tossed" a bunch of documents from my desk when I
paused and read this reply. One of the documents I "tossed"
was a press release from Purdue University describing
professor Daniela Corbetta's work with infants and
toddlers. One sentence summarizes her findings.
"I think these studies show strong evidence that development
is not continuous, which is an important idea that has been
tossed around by experts in the field for quite awhile, but
until now we haven't had any data to explain where
developmental discontinuities came from,." Corbetta

Lucy Mahaffey wrote:
> Hi Cindy,
> My experience with my five year old daughter leads me
> inexorably to the conclusion that it isn't going to
> happen any other way *but* naturally. In other words,
> every time I notice that she's mastered a skill (like
> writing all the letters of her name), I get all
> excited and try to lead her on to what I perceive as
> the next step (i.e. putting them in the right order).
> My efforts generally just roll right off her back, I
> get the message and cut it out, and a few weeks or
> months or a year or so later, she's doing whatever it
> was I was so worried about, usually without any help
> from me anyway.
> I've had this experience so many times, you'd think
> I'd just get it, but it's one thing to believe in the
> theory of trusting your children, and apparently
> entirely another to really be able to do it
> consistently. There's always one more level, one more
> facet of life I hadn't contemplated applying it to.
> Well since I'm writing, I'll introduce myself to
> everybody -- I'm Lucy, and I've been lurking on this
> list for a month or two. My daughter started
> kindergarten this fall and she and I both hate it. I
> was ranting about it to my neighbor Lee a couple of
> months ago, and somehow during the course of that
> conversation we realized that we both wanted to start
> a Sudbury school here in Berkeley. So I'm wading my
> way through the Starter Kit and trying to figure out
> what I'm going to do with my one-year-old while I take
> on this insane project.
> Looking forward to lots of productive debates,
> Lucy
> --- CindyK <> wrote:
> > Hi Everyone,
> >
> > I have a question about not getting involved. My
> > daughter just turned 4 last Saturday. For the last
> > two months she has had an explosion into letters
> > just as Maria Montessori predicts of 4 year olds. I
> > left her alone and only helped her when she asked.
> > In the beginning I had tried to 'teach' her but I
> > quickly found out that that was not what she wanted.
> > Since I have left her alone, she has been learning
> > just fine. I am actually very pleased and surprised
> > at her progress. The problem is that when she
> > writes her name she just places all the letters on
> > the page. She doesn't put them in order. Actually,
> > she writes them in the order that she learned them.
> > The t will go in the middle of the page, then the i
> > next to it, the e is usually on the other side of
> > the t, the a and the k get squished in on the sides.
> > Then she proudly announces that she has written
> > Katie. I love to see her so happy with herself.
> > Lately I have found myself wondering if I should
> > make more of an effort to get her to put them in
> > order. I have explained to her that for people to
> > read her name it has to be in the correct order on
> > the page. I have her name written and hung up as an
> > example. I have pretty much left it at that.
> >
> > So my question is: Do I just leave her alone and
> > she will eventually figure it out. Two months ago
> > she couldn't write the letters at all, maybe two
> > months from now she will put them in order -
> > naturally. Or do I make more of an effort to
> > 'teach' her the order? There is a school of thought
> > that says not to let children make mistakes like
> > this because the first impression is the strongest.
> > In other words, if I don't get her to write it
> > properly from day one, that first impression may
> > lead her to relapse into poor spelling when she's
> > stressed. I don't know.
> >
> > Any comments? I'd much appreciate them. I feel
> > like I want to just let it happen naturally and I am
> > experiencing the great amount of trust it takes to
> > do just that.
> >
> > By the way, Katie is at home with me, not at school.
> > I kept her home as I think it's absurd for 3 year
> > olds to go to school. :) I hope to set up a Sudbury
> > School that she could benefit from.
> >
> > Thank you all.
> > CindyK
> >
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