Berk’s signature storytelling style invites students to actively learn beside the text’s “characters” who share their influential experiences and developmental milestones. Students are provided with an exceptionally clear and coherent understanding of child development, emphasizing the interrelatedness of all domains—physical, cognitive, emotional, and social—throughout the text narrative and in special features. Focusing on education and social policy as critical pieces of the dynamic system in which the child develops, Berk pays meticulous attention to the most recent scholarship in the field. Berk helps students connect their learning to their personal and professional areas of interest and their future pursuits as parents, educators, heath care providers, counselors, social workers, and researchers.
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Berk has published widely on the effects of school environments on children’s development, the development of private speech, and most recently, the role of make-believe play in development. Her research has been funded by the U.S. Office of Education and the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. It has appeared in many prominent journals, including Child Development, Developmental Psychology, Merrill-Palmer Quarterly, Journal of Abnormal Child Psychology, Development and Psychopathology, and Early Childhood Research Quarterly. Her empirical studies have attracted the attention of the general public, leading to contributions to Psychology Today and Scientific American. She has also been featured on National Public Radio’s Morning Edition and in Parents Magazine, Wondertime, and Reader’s Digest.
Berk has served as research editor for Young Children and consulting editor for Early Childhood Research Quarterly. Currently, she is an associate editor of the Journal of Cognitive Education and Psychology. She is a frequent contributor to edited volumes on early childhood development, having recently authored chapters on the importance of parenting, on make-believe play and self-regulation, and on the kindergarten child. She has also written the chapter on development for The Many Faces of Psychological Research in the Twenty-First Century (Society for the Teaching of Psychology), the article on social development for The Child: An Encyclopedic Companion, the article on Vygotsky for the Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, and the chapter on storytelling as a teaching strategy for Voices of Experience: Memorable Talks from the National Institute on the Teaching of Psychology (Association for Psychological Science). Berk’s books include Private Speech: From Social Interaction to Self-Regulation, Scaffolding Children’s Learning: Vygotsky and Early Childhood Education, Landscapes of Development: An Anthology of Readings, and A Mandate for Playful Learning in Preschool: Presenting the Evidence. In addition to Infants, Children, and Adolescents, she is author of the best-selling texts Child Development and Development Through the Lifespan, published by Allyn and Bacon. Her book for parents and teachers is Awakening Children’s Minds: How Parents and Teachers Can Make a Difference.
Berk is active in work for children’s causes. In addition to service in her home community, she is a member of the national board of directors and chair of the central region advisory board of Jumpstart, a nonprofit organization that provides early literacy intervention to thousands of low-income preschoolers across the United States, using college and university students as interveners. Berk is a fellow of the American Psychological Association, Division, 7: Developmental Psychology.
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