Einstein Never Used Flashcards How Our Children Really Learn--and Why They Need to Play More and Memorize Less

Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D., and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Ph.D., with Diane Eyer, Ph.D.

Rodale Books




320 Pages



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After decades of research, scientists and child development experts have come to a clear conclusion: Play is the best way for our children to learn. Experts have found that children who are prematurely pushed into regimented academic instruction display less creativity and enthusiasm for learning in later years, and that children who memorize isolated facts early in life show no better long-term retention than their peers. However, children who learn through play develop social and emotional skills, which are critical for long-term success.

Somewhere along the line, this important book argues, we've gotten off track by stressing academic products and programs to our preschoolers. Thankfully, Hirsh-Pasek and Golinkoff have a simple remedy—go play—for our children that is based on overwhelming scientific evidence from their own studies and the collective research results of child development experts.

Einstein Never Used Flash Cards goes beyond debunking the myths spread by the accelerated-learning industry. Parents, educators, and other readers will find a practical guide to introducing complex concepts through smart, simple, and loving play. For every key area of a child's development (speech, reading, math, social skills, self-awareness, and intelligence), this study aims to show how a child's mind actually learns. The book also offers useful exercises—40 in all—that are meant to highlight childrens' emerging skills and while helping them prepare for tomorrow.


Praise for Einstein Never Used Flashcards

"An elegant summary of what mind and brain science can tell us about child development and learning. The reasonable and reassuring implications the authors draw from this research provide a much-needed corrective to the hype and distortions all too prevalent in the popular media. Finally, the truth!"—John T. Bruer, Ph.D., President of the James S. McDonnell Foundation and author of The Myth of the First Three Years

"Parents eager to know what to do—and even more important, what not to do—to help their children discover and take advantage of their hidden talents will find this well-written book a treasure trove of information and advice. A trustworthy parenting resource from two highly respected scholars!"—Linda Acredolo, Ph.D., professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and author of Baby Signs and Baby Minds

"Although parents know that the early years are learning years, just what that means has been confusing—until now. Einstein Never Used Flash Cards makes practical sense of the vast number of technical studies and the hyperbole of advertising claims. It explains in clear, compelling, and scientific terms how learning really takes place. This book is a must-read for parents, grandparents, teachers, caregivers, pediatricians, and policy makers—in other words, all those who care about (and for) the next generation of children."—Ellen Galinsky, president and cofounder of the Families and Work Institute in New York City

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D., and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Ph.D., with Diane Eyer, Ph.D.

  • Kathy Hirsh-Pasek, Ph.D., is a member of the psychology department at Temple University, where she directs the Infant Language Laboratory and participated in one of the nation's largest studies of the effects of child care. The mother of three sons, she also composes and performs children's music.

    Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, Ph.D., is the H. Rodney Sharp Professor in the School of Education at the University of Delaware, where she holds a joint appointment with the departments of linguistics and psychology and directs the Infant Language Project. She has also been a recipient of the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship and is the mother of a son and a daughter.

    Together, Hirsh-Pasek and Golinkoff were featured on the PBS Human Language series and are the co-authors of How Babies Talk.

    Diane Eyer, Ph.D., is a member of the psychology department at Temple University and also the author of Motherguilt and Mother-Infant Bonding.