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A Greenhouse for the Mind

The Sonia Shankman Orthogenic School has won worldwide recognition for its treatment of emotionally disturbed children. The school and its continuing work at the University of Chicago have been chronicled in Bruno Bettelheim’s now classic books Love Is Not Enough (1950), Truants from Life (1955), The Empty Fortress (1967), and A Home for the Heart (1972).
A Greenhouse for the Mind continues the story of the school, focusing on how its teachers and counselors create an educational environment in which children will want and be able to learn. Jacquelyn Seevak Sanders worked closely with Bettelheim for thirteen years as a counselor and assistant principal and since 1973 has been director of the Orthogenic School. She offers her interpretation of Bettelheim’s vision of a healing world for children, as well as her own ideas and new perspectives from the last decade.

In a warm and anecdotal style, Sanders relates the experiences and overarching theoretical principles that have shaped the school and its curriculum. She describes how the staff, schedules, and physical appearance of the school have been developed to create a stable and safe place to learn; how teachers confront their own emotional vulnerability; how the staff accepts the children themselves while disciplining unacceptable behavior; and how the attention of the inattentive can be gained. She chronicles the successes and setbacks of the staff in developing a curriculum that includes reading, science, and physical education, and she exemplifies the school’s principles and practices through a story of an imaginary student’s educational development.

In addition to her experience at the Orthogenic School, Sanders has worked with teachers at all levels from nursery schools to universities, and in A Greenhouse for the Mind she passes on what she has learned about educating difficult children—principles that have been helpful to both disturbed children in a unique setting and more typical children in ordinary settings. Her attention to the role of emotions in the learning process adds an often neglected dimension to traditional cognitive and instructional approaches.

176 pages | 5.50 x 8.50 | © 1989

Education: Pre-School, Elementary and Secondary Education

Psychology: Developmental Psychology

Table of Contents

1. A Place to Grow
2. A Philosophy (Psychology) in Practice
3. Discipline (Does It Have to Hurt?)
4. A Place to Learn
5. The Art of Being an Understanding Teacher
6. Attracting the Attention of the Inattentive (A First Step to Learning)
7. Rebecca and How She Learned to Read
8. Empathy (The Heart of the Enterprise)

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