The Parent and Educator Resource Central collection started in 2018, with an initial grant from the Illinois State Library. In addition to books and kits at Lincoln Library, the PERC collection also offers downloadable and online resources.
All of the materials in the PERC collection meet one of three criteria:
- Instructional material for teachers and parents
- Behavioral material with practical applications
- Educational philosophy with practical applications
General parenting, family health, family planning, pre-natal, and educational topics that don’t have immediate practical application can be found in non-fiction on the second floor.
New & Notable
Free to Learn
Our children spend their days being passively instructed, and made to sit still and take tests—often against their will. We call this imprisonment schooling, yet wonder why kids become bored and misbehave. Even outside of school children today seldom play and explore without adult supervision, and are afforded few opportunities to control their own lives. The result: anxious, unfocused children who see schooling—and life—as a series of hoops to struggle through.
In Free to Learn, developmental psychologist Peter Gray argues that our children, if free to pursue their own interests through play, will not only learn all they need to know, but will do so with energy and passion. Children come into this world burning to learn, equipped with the curiosity, playfulness, and sociability to direct their own education. Yet we have squelched such instincts in a school model originally developed to indoctrinate, not to promote intellectual growth.
To foster children who will thrive in today's constantly changing world, we must entrust them to steer their own learning and development. Drawing on evidence from anthropology, psychology, and history, Gray demonstrates that free play is the primary means by which children learn to control their lives, solve problems, get along with peers, and become emotionally resilient. This capacity to learn through play evolved long ago, in hunter-gatherer bands where children acquired the skills of the culture through their own initiatives. And these instincts still operate remarkably well today, as studies at alternative, democratically administered schools show. When children are in charge of their own education, they learn better—and at lower cost than the traditional model of coercive schooling.
A brave, counterintuitive proposal for freeing our children from the shackles of the curiosity-killing institution we call school, Free to Learn suggests that it's time to stop asking what's wrong with our children, and start asking what's wrong with the system. It shows how we can act—both as parents and as members of society—to improve children's lives and promote their happiness and learning.
A Little Bit of Dirt
Dandelion Bubbles, Rain Drums, Seed Bomb Lollipops and more!
Bursting with creative hands-on outdoor science and art activities, A Little Bit of Dirt is full of motivation to get outside and explore. Whether you're investigating the health of your local stream, making beautiful acrylic sunprints with leaves and flowers, running an experiment with your backyard birds, or concocting nature potions, you'll be fostering an important connection with nature. The engaging activities encourage the use of the senses and imagination and are perfect for all ages. Discover more about the natural world waiting just outside your door!
How lessons from kindergarten can help everyone develop the creative thinking skills needed to thrive in today's society.
In kindergartens these days, children spend more time with math worksheets and phonics flashcards than building blocks and finger paint. Kindergarten is becoming more like the rest of school. In Lifelong Kindergarten, learning expert Mitchel Resnick argues for exactly the opposite: the rest of school (even the rest of life) should be more like kindergarten. To thrive in today's fast-changing world, people of all ages must learn to think and act creatively --and the best way to do that is by focusing more on imagining, creating, playing, sharing, and reflecting, just as children do in traditional kindergartens.
Drawing on experiences from more than thirty years at MIT's Media Lab, Resnick discusses new technologies and strategies for engaging young people in creative learning experiences. He tells stories of how children are programming their own games, stories, and inventions (for example, a diary security system, created by a twelve-year-old girl), and collaborating through remixing, crowdsourcing, and large-scale group projects (such as a Halloween-themed game called Night at Dreary Castle, produced by more than twenty kids scattered around the world). By providing young people with opportunities to work on projects, based on their passions, in collaboration with peers, in a playful spirit, we can help them prepare for a world where creative thinking is more important than ever before.
Today millions of kids are stuck in a world that doesn't respect, support, or embrace who they really are—these are what Deborah Reber is calling the “differently wired” kids, the one in five children with ADHD, dyslexia, Asperger’s, giftedness, anxiety, sensory processing disorder, and other neurodifferences. Their challenges are many. But for the parents who love them, the challenges are just as hard—struggling to find the right school, the right therapist, the right parenting group while feeling isolated and harboring endless internal doubts about what’s normal, what’s not, and how to handle it all.
But now there’s hope. Written by Deborah Reber, a bestselling author and mother in the midst of an eye-opening journey with her son who is twice exceptional (he has ADHD, Asperger’s, and is highly gifted), Differently Wired is a how-to, a manifesto, a book of wise advice, and the best kind of been-there, done-that companion.
On the one hand it’s a book of saying NO, and how it’s time to say no to trying to fit your round-peg kid into society’s square holes, no to educational and social systems that don’t respect your child, no to the anxiety and fear that keep parents stuck. And then it’s a book of YES. By offering 18 paradigm shifts—what she calls “tilts”— Reber shows how to change everything. How to “Get Out of Isolation and Connect.” “Stop Fighting Who Your Child Is and Lean In.” “Let Go of What Others Think.” “Create a World Where Your Child Can Feel Secure.” “Find Your People (and Ditch the Rest).” “Help Your Kids Embrace Self-Discovery.” And through these alternative ways of being, discover how to stay open, pay attention, and become an exceptional parent to your exceptional child.
Create a Culture of Kindness in Middle School
Practical, research-based lessons for middle school educators to teach students pro-social attitudes and behaviors to prevent bullying.
Create a Culture of Kindness in Middle School focuses on positive and pro-social attitudes and behaviors that build a respectful and compassionate school environment, while also addressing the tough issues of prejudice, anger, exclusion, and bullying. Through role-playing, perspective-taking, sharing, writing, discussion, and more, students develop the insights and skills they need to accept differences, resolve conflicts peacefully, stop bullying among peers, and create a community of kindness in their classrooms and school. Based on survey data gathered by the authors from more than 1,000 students, the book’s research-based lessons are easy to implement and developmentally appropriate. Digital content includes student handouts from the book.
Middle School Matters
A counselor and popular Washington Post contributor offers a new take on grades 6-8 as a distinct developmental phase--and the perfect time to set up kids to thrive.
Middle school is its own important, distinct territory, and yet it's either written off as an uncomfortable rite of passage or lumped in with other developmental phases. Based on her many years working in schools, professional counselor Phyllis Fagell sees these years instead as a critical stage that parents can't afford to ignore (and though "middle school" includes different grades in various regions, Fagell maintains that the ages make more of a difference than the setting). Though the transition from childhood to adolescence can be tough for kids, this time of rapid physical, intellectual, moral, social, and emotional change is a unique opportunity to proactively build character and confidence.
Fagell helps parents use the middle school years as a low-stakes training ground to teach kids the key skills they'll need to thrive now and in the future, including making good friend choices, negotiating conflict, regulating their own emotions, be their own advocates, and more. To answer parents' most common questions and struggles with middle school-aged children, Fagell combines her professional and personal expertise with stories and advice from prominent psychologists, doctors, parents, educators, school professionals, and middle schoolers themselves.
Teachers and administrators will learn how to create the respectful, trusting relationships with families necessary to build the educational partnerships that best support children's learning. The book will cover the mindset and core beliefs required to bond with families, and will provide guidance on how to plan engagement opportunities and events throughout the school year that undergird effective partnerships between families and schools.
Identifying Gifted Students
The newly revised Identifying Gifted Students: A Practical Guide is aligned with both the updated National Association for Gifted Children (NAGC) Pre-K 12 Gifted Program Standards and the NAGC and The Association for the Gifted, Council for Exceptional Children (CEC-TAG) professional development standards. This book is relevant in any state or setting that intends to meet these national standards and uses multiple assessments to identify gifted students within an increasingly diverse population. Designed for practicing professionals such as teachers, counselors, psychologists, and administrators, Identifying Gifted Students addresses definitions, models, and characteristics of gifted students; qualitative and quantitative approaches to assessment; culturally fair and nonbiased assessment; and how to evaluate the effectiveness of identification procedures. In addition, the book provides a complete summary of all major assessment instruments, including scoring information, reliability, and validity.
The Caring Child
"We live in a self-centered world, despite the call from employers and thought leaders for more cooperation and compassion. Empathy, or the ability to understand other people's thoughts and emotions from their point of view, is a vital component of cooperation and necessary in our increasingly diverse world. "The Caring Child: Raising Empathetic and Emotionally Intelligent Children" pulls together the latest research from positive psychology to provide parents specific tools to help their children develop healthy empathy and emotional intelligence. Presented in an easy-to-read, conversational style, the book uses a combination of evidence-based strategies, real-world examples, and role-playing scenarios to provide parents with the tools needed to develop these important skills. With specific strategies to address diverse populations and LGBTQ youth, "The Caring Child" is the must-read resource for anyone dedicated to cultivating a more compassionate world"--
Help your child cultivate real, lasting confidence! In Kid Confidence, a licensed clinical psychologist and parenting expert offers practical, evidence-based parenting strategies to help kids foster satisfying relationships, develop competence, and make choices that fit who they are and want to become.
As parents, it’s heartbreaking to hear children say negative things about themselves. But as children grow older and begin thinking about the world in more complex ways, they also become more self-critical. Alarmingly, studies show that self-esteem, for many children, takes a sharp drop starting around age eight, and this decline continues into the early teen years. So, how can you turn the tide on this upsetting trend and help your child build genuine self-esteem?
With this guide, you’ll learn that self-esteem isn’t about telling kids they're “special.” It’s about helping them embrace the freedom that comes with a quiet ego—a way of being in the world that isn't preoccupied with self-judgment, and instead embraces a compassionate view of oneself and others that allows for both present awareness and personal growth. When kids are less focused on evaluating and comparing themselves with others, they are freer to empathize with others, embrace learning, and connect with the values that are bigger than themselves.
You’ll also discover how your child’s fundamental needs for connection, competence, and choice are essential for real self-esteem. Connection involves building meaningful and satisfying relationships that create a sense of belonging. Competence means building tangible skills. And choice is about being able to make decisions, figure out what matters, and choose to act in ways that are consistent with personal values. When children are able to fulfill these three basic needs, the question of “Am I good enough?” is less likely to come up.
If your child is suffering from low self-esteem, you need a nuanced parenting approach. Let this book guide you as you help your child create unshakeable confidence and lasting well-being.