Beyond Intelligence

Beyond Intelligence - Review by Valley Family Fun

Beyond Intelligence: Secrets for Raising Happily Productive Kids

By Dona Matthews and Joanne Foster

In a perfect world, each child’s well-being is paramount. He aspires to achievement and fulfillment, and he gets the guidance, nurturing, and support he needs to realize his aspirations. He grows up surrounded by a positive peer group, and learns to manage negative influences and difficult feelings. He experiences challenges and learning opportunities in a range of areas, sometimes working collaboratively with others. His knowledge continues to grow, and his interests continue to deepen. He works on the edge of his comfort zone, constantly stretching his mind in directions he finds exciting. His confidence develops as he sees himself achieving successes in areas that he values. (p 225).

This is the premise of a new book, Beyond Intelligence by Dona Matthews and Joanne Foster. Both women are highly qualified in the field. Dona has a Ph.D. In child development and has worked with children, families and teachers for over 20 years. Joanne has a Doctorate of Education in human development and applied psychology.

Together, they have years of experience helping families, schools and educations.

All of this makes them experts when it comes to raising happily productive kids!

Beyond Intelligence is a book for parents and educators that looks at how we can help create environments that are conducive to learning.

Each of the 10 chapters is about a different concept related to developing your child’s intelligence. Concrete examples from their case files are used, and backed up with research in the field.

Topics include:

What is intelligence?

How do we measure it?

Intelligence and creativity

Decision making about schooling

Raising Children to Thrive

Overall, I really enjoyed reading Beyond Intelligence. I have a degree in psychology, so naturally gravitate to these types of books. I also have two boys who are incredibly smart and have a love of learning. I, of course, want to keep this passion alive and help them to thrive as adults.

By reading this book, it confirmed a lot of things that I am already doing with my kids, and convinced me that I should keep along the same path.


I also learned a few new things. Here are the highlights:

1. A newer way to look at intelligence is about doing intelligent things in certain situations, rather than being exceptionally smart.

2. Praising children for being smart is actually detrimental to their learning. Instead, praise them for what they accomplish through practice, study, persistence and good strategies.

3. You cannot predict a child’s potential achievement. Learning is a gradual, open-ended process, and an individual’s potential cannot be accurately measured, much less predicted.

4. There are 9 recorded types of intelligence including spatial, linguistic, logical/mathematical, bodily, musical, intrapersonal, interpersonal, naturalistic and existential. Not everyone is intelligent in all areas. People thrive in different areas of intelligence. EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT.

So, what can we as parents do to best support the development of our children’s intelligence, creative, resilience, character and well being?


Here are a few things that I learned:

1. Expose children to many kinds of opportunities for playful exploration, both on their own and with others

2. Let children discover and become themselves while you provide steering assistance when the road gets twitsty.

3. Don’t over schedule or over program your child.

4. Don’t entertain them when they are bored. Give suggestions, but ultimately let them come up with ideas themselves.

When you do the best you can do to support and encourage development, you maximize the likelihood that their abilities will emerge in their own time.

The most common theme that I picked up on was to be a role model.

“I can’t tell my children to reach for the sun. All I can do is reach for it myself.”

Model an interest in continuing education, in problem solving, in taking challenges.


You are the best example for your child.

I highly recommend picking up a copy of Beyond Intelligence and think about how you can apply the ideas in your family. You will find yourself growing as well!

Enter to win a copy of Beyond Intelligence by Dona Matthews and Joanne Foster! Enter daily until the draw date of October 9th. Pick up/delivery in the Annapolis Valley.



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