Demystifying the Preschool Years
a book by Nancy Schulman and Ellen Birnbaum, published by Alfred A. Knopf


Publishers Weekly
Practical Wisdom for Parents: Demystifying the Preschool Years Nancy Schulman and Ellen Birnbaum. Knopf, $24.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-307-26354-4

Practical Wisdom for Parents: Demystifying the Preschool Years
Nancy Schulman and Ellen Birnbaum. Knopf, $24.95 (336p) ISBN 978-0-307-26354-4
Schulman and Birnbaum, early childhood educators and directors of the 92nd Street Y Nursery in New York City, have distilled their extensive knowledge to create this indispensable primer for parents of preschoolers. Starting with the premise that parents today face more pressures than ever, the authors admit that getting a child into preschool can be an angst-ridden hurdle. The “atmosphere of competitiveness” is one of the most significant changes they’ve witnessed during their combined 59 years in the field, with as many as 10 applicants for every available space at some of the more prestigious preschools, and a formal application and interview process that makes parents understandably anxious. The authors note that there are many viable preschool choices that will provide youngsters with an opportunity to access the five core learning experiences of preschool: separation, being part of a group, socialization, independence and routines. The first section is devoted to the preschool experience, and the authors gently guide parents through an average day, covering such topics as how to deal with separation issues or how to react when a preschooler comes home with a drawing that resembles a brown blob. Ample attention is given to the etiquette of play dates and sundry mysteries of the preschool universe. Discussions of bedtime, meals, discipline, toilet training combine to make this a practical and comprehensive resource. (Aug 07)

Thursday, December 20, 2007
Parents Agree: 92nd Street Y Books Are Winners

Erika Jurney of Momsational has high praise for Practical Wisdom for Parents: Demystifying the Preschool Years by Nancy Schulman and Ellen Birnbaum of the 92nd Street Y Nursery School:

Can I say again how I wish I had this book 5 years ago? For example, in the How to Choose a School section, there are notes about elements you may want to watch for when visiting the schools in person.

There’s a chapter called “What is Preschool?” and it isn’t a fluff piece—it actually tells you in depth what to expect from a typical day at a typical daycare. And they don’t stop at age 3, the advice and tips will take you through preparing for Kindergarten and beyond.

Written by the Directors of the 92nd Street Y Nursery School in New York City, Nancy Schulman and Ellen Birnbaum, these two women clearly have not only a wealth of knowledge at their fingertips, but the organizational skills to present it clearly and without condescension.

Early Praise for Nancy Schulman and Ellen Birnbaum’s
Practical Wisdom for Parents:

“All four of our kids are 92nd Street Y Alumni, so we’ve long benefited from the calming wit and considerable wisdom of Nancy Schulman and Ellen Birnbaum. There’s nothing as wonderfully dynamic and dizzying as life with a preschooler—Nancy and Ellen’s insights and advice have helped us to not only survive each of our children’s journeys, but also truly savor them. Do yourself, your family and your child a favor: read this book.”
—Tracy Pollan & Michael J. Fox

“This sparkling gem is the best book of its kind that I have ever seen. Just as the title promises, the book overflows with practical wisdom, specific tips and techniques that parents and teachers can not merely appreciate but actually use and use every day. Schulman and Birnbaum obviously both know little children inside-and-out and love them through-and-through. Their book is a gift to all who share their love and want to do the best in caring for our most valuable and vulnerable citizens, our children.”
—Edward Hallowell, M.D., author of The Childhood Roots of Adult Happiness

“If you ever wished your child had come with an instruction manual, this is it! From picking a school to figuring out morals, to dealing with every developmental issue, Schulman and Birnbaum have covered all of the topics you need to know about (and didn't know who to ask or trust). Practical Wisdom for Parents offers great insights, useful tips, and the most thoughtful advice out there. If you are looking for a book to help you get through the tricky preschool years and come out with great kids, this book is a must read.”
—Jane Buckingham, author of The Modern Girl's Guide to Life

“Nancy Schulman and Ellen Birnbaum are two of the most wise, experienced and creative people in child education. Whether helping you to make the most of your child's wondrous strengths or being able to help them deal best with a vulnerability, Nancy and Ellen use their unique expert abilities to help your child to be their best selves. This is a must read for every parent.”
—Gail Saltz, Clinical Associate Professor of Psychiatry at The New York Presbyterian Hospital and NBC’s Today Show contributor

Practical Wisdom for Parents provides parents the building blocks they need to guide their children through those key developmental preschool years. Refreshingly straight forward, Schulman and Birnbaum give advice on everything from picking preschools to teaching your children manners. This is an essential reference for every parent.”
—Harold S. Koplewicz, M.D, Founder and Director of The Child Study Center, New York University School of Medicine

“This is the best book about raising preschool children that I have ever read. You will read and re-read it many times. If you want to know why it is so important to spend ‘down time’ with your child, if you want to know how to ask the question ‘How was school today?’ and actually get an answer from your child, read this book.”
—Michael Thompson, PhD, co-author of Raising Cain

website: Judith Motzkin
Author photos: Elena Seibert