Radio Times

Modern Childhood and the Brain

December 12, 2011


Hour 2

In the effort to give kids a leg up in life, parents bombard them with educational toys, rush them to chess, fencing, and piano lessons, and place them in preschool programs that stress academics in the earliest years. But is any of this stuff really good for kids and what does it do to their growing brains?  Psychologist GABRIELLE PRINCIPE has written a new book on the subject. In it she writes, “If you wanted to design a way of life that was exactly counter to the needs of developing brains, you would invent something like modern childhood.” Principe is an associate professor and chair of the Department of Psychology at Ursinus College and the author of Your Brain on Childhood: The Unexpected Side Effects of Classrooms, Ballparks, Family Rooms, and the Minivan. She talks with Marty about the disappearance of good old fashioned play in kids’ lives.

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