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Continuum Concept Reviews and Notable Quotes

To my amazement, the continuum concept is what I am working with. I sat right down and read it with mounting interest. It is a most remarkable book.

I realize that over the years I have slowly been ganging up on this concept. But I haven’t come as far as Jean Liedloff has. In all of our writings I feel we have not come to a central core which is the continuum concept. We have especially met resistance from parents. Something tells me they will listen to this.

Frances Ilg, MD
The Gesell Institute, New Haven, Connecticut

A child who has been given genuine affection can get along better than someone who has never had it. Therefore, if a person craves or “is greedy for” affection, this is always a sign that he is looking for something he has never had and not that he doesn’t want to give up something because he had too much of it in childhood.

Alice Miller
Psychoanalyst, author of Thou Shalt Not Be Aware, For Your Own Good, and Drama of the Gifted Child

It is always, without exception, better for a child to figure out something on his own than to be told — provided, of course, as in the matter of running across the street, that his life is not endangered in the learning. But in matters intellectual, I admit no exception to this rule. In the first place, what he figures out, he remembers better. In the second place, and far more important, every time he figures something out, he gains confidence in his ability to figure things out... A veteran teacher not long ago summed it up beautifully. “A word to the wise,” he said, “is infuriating.”

John Holt
Educator, and author of Learning All the Time (from which the above quotes were taken), as well as How Children Learn, How Children Fail, Freedom and Beyond, Instead of Education, Never Too Late, Teach Your Own, and numerous other books on learning.

If we want our children to grow up happy, there is little doubt that the experience of the first few months and years is crucial. An infant who receives what he ... deserves during this period is likely to acquire an unshakable sense of his own lovability and worth which will see him through most of the reverses of like without too much difficulty.

Secure in himself, he will become more independent more quickly than the baby who has been trained to wait and yell. My belief is that in the years to come, we shall ensure that mothers with newborn babies are given time to do what ought to come naturally.

Miss Liedloff has a message for her times. I hope it will be widely read and taken seriously.

Anthony Storr, MD
The Sunday Times (London)

It is a very grave mistake to think that the enjoyment of seeing and searching can be promoted by means of coercion.

Albert Einstein

Other than improvements in health and nutrition, there is little difference between a baby born thousands of years ago in a cave and one born last week in a high-tech hospital birthing suite. Our great advances over thousands of years have been in changing the environments that infants are born into, not the infants themselves.

This is an important point, and one that is missed by many professionals responsible for children’s well-being. For example, a common way of thinking among some primary educators today is that the 1990 model first-grade brain is more advanced than the 1960 model and that children today can learn concepts in the first grade that would have been second- or third-grade concepts a generation ago. On the surface, it makes sense. We humans have learned a lot in the past 30 years. But it is the information that has changed, not the learning equipment. It’s advanced software, not hardware.

David and Barbara Bjorklund
Authors of college textbook, Looking at Children

Jane Goodall says that the most important insight she has gained in her entire career observing chimpanzees is the evidence of the effects of early infant care.

(submitted by a reader)

“Over 30 years, I have had the opportunity to watch infants grow up,” says Goodall. “Those with supportive, affectionate mothers grew up to be confident, high ranking, and assertive. Those mothers that were rejecting and nervous tended to produce offspring that were jumpy and that had difficulty entering into calm, relaxed relationships. Humans can hide the effects of small traumas of early life, but you can see them clearly in a chimp.”

Eugene Linden
From National Geographic, March 1992, “Apes and Humans”

Dr. Jay Belsky, a psychologist at Pennsylvania State University, has reversed his 1978 claim that day care is acceptable for young children and that psychological tests show no difference between children of employed and non-employed mothers. He now states that day care for young children can lead to “insecure-avoidant attachment in infancy and heightened aggressiveness, noncompliance, and withdrawal in the preschool and early school years.” Dr. Belsky has publicly expressed remorse over having misled parents on this crucial issue.

Jan Hunt, Journalist