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The art of saying yes and no

SELF-ESTEEM AND SUCCESSFUL EARLY LEARNING. By Rosemary Roberts. Hodder Stoughton Pounds 8.99. - 0 340 62049 8

Much has changed in children's lives over recent years and many would say that children have also changed.

Self-Esteem and Successful Early Learning is part of a series offering practical advice on the care and education of children from birth to the age of eight. It applies to parents, teachers and nursery nurses.

The theme of Rosemary Roberts's readable book is the importance of children's self-esteem and she illustrates the power adults wield over this and other areas of child development. Each chapter contains two sections, story and comment.

The stories are told by Joanne, a teenage girl living with foster parents and their children, Lily and Joe. This setting offers the opportunity to examine relationships in families and the growth of understanding not only in the children but even in the parents themselves. The stories illustrate themes familiar to all families and cultures, such as temper tantrums, sibling rivalry.

As we follow Lily and Joe, the reader finds support for theory, practical suggestions and strategies for dealing with situations at home, at nursery and in school. A refreshing strain of common sense runs through the book, though I found Mum a little too good to be true!

Rosemary Roberts stresses the need for a balance between freedom for growth of independence and limits and responsibilities. "Say 'yes' as often as you can", she advises, "and when you say 'no' mean it." Gerry Mills Gerry Mills is head of West Park infants school, Wolverhampton

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