My Aunt and Uncle are Sc.ient.ologists. They moved to the US fifteen years ago or so to teach at a Sc.ient.ology school out in the northwest. I didn't really know much about the teachings of that 'religion' until we went to visit them a couple of years ago. They gave us a tour of the school, and explained some of the theory and practice of how they go about teaching the children.
It's a very self-directed method of study. Each unit has a packet that the kids work through - reading about the topic at hand, and then using various media to demonstrate understanding. For a history topic, for example, the child would read a chapter, then perhaps make a series of clay models of the seminal events. We watched some of the kids at work, they all had their dictionaries out as they were doing their reading, and had all kinds of tools at their disposal for creating their models. Once the unit is complete, the child takes a test, when they are ready for it. If they don't get 100%, they have to go back and repeat the lesson until they do.
I thought that it was an interesting method of education. I may not agree with everything they were doing, and it certainly won't work for all children (in my opinion), but I did feel that they had some worthwhile ideas.
So, when my uncle sent me a little pamphlet called "Children" from the sci.ent.ology book collection, I figured it couldn't hurt to give it a read. And truly, I do think that it had some points worth considering. For example, a lot of people will say to a child "you're fine, you're okay" when they fall down and hurt themselves. The sci method suggests instead asking the child what happened, and having them tell you a couple of times, asking questions about the incident, until they feel better and are able to move on. I can see the reason behind that - we don't actually know how the child feels, and telling them they're fine (in effect, you're silly for crying) is in some ways belittling their experience. Another example - letting the child do whatever he/she would like to with their toys, including breaking them. Why should we impose our methods of play, our strictures, on our child? If they want to play so hard with a toy that it gets broken, why not? Again, we are teaching the child, by not letting them truly own their toys, that they are not in control, not in charge.
Towards the end of the pamphlet, there's a little section on baby care. I read through this too, even though it was for babies much younger than Ant is now. I got to a part that was talking about what to do if your baby is crying. It suggests that if the baby has just been fed, so you know it's not hungry, has been changed, has had a nap so you know it's not wet or tired, that you should look for other reasons that it might be crying.
Like a pin, or a piece of coal in the crib.
Yes, you read that correctly. I was so surprised I almost fell out of the chair. I figured that it must be a really old pamphlet, published in the 1850's or something like that (yes, I know that Sci.en.tology didn't start until the mid-twentieth century or so). So I checked the copywrite date. 1994 and 2000!!!! The only thing I can think is that someone was playing a huge joke. Or trying to see how many people would actually read the pamphlet.