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Book Review

by Deborah McNelis  BrainInsightsonline.com  

Aug 1 2017

The First Five Years is a book that will be priceless to anyone (parents, grandparents, early childhood professionals . . . ) who interacts with children in the early years. Nancy Tracey very clearly explains the critical importance of the years from 0 – 5  and the types of experiences that have the most positive impact. The combination of both valuable explanations and meaningful ideas toward well-being of all children makes this book significant to the field of early brain development. This book is obviously written from a knowledgeable mind and a very caring heart.

~ Deborah McNelis, M.Ed Founder of Brain Insights and author of, The Brain Development Series  www.BrainInsightsonline.com

The First Five Years

Foreword by Sheree Fitch

This book is a gift.
 A gift to every parent who reads it. A gift for the children in their lives.

Inspired and inspiring, this book is not just a labour of love, but also one woman’s soul and spirit and passion laid bare.

Nancy Tracey told me about her hope for this book many years ago. She had a vision then and she has a vision for the future and the wellbeing of children we need to listen to now.

Each page, filled with insight and experiential wisdom, has tenderness behind the truths she is sharing.

Part poet and storyteller, Tracey the researcher weaves her information into a useful and engaging narrative. If I could, I would bottle this love, this instruction, and this prayer of a book and give it to every parent in the world.
Thank you Nancy, I hope your words in this book travel far and reach those who need it most.

It takes adults like you who love children as you do to create a village of understanding—and some day, a world where all children can be safe, healthy and whole.
– Sheree Fitch
literacy advocate and award winning poet/author, including the 2011 CBA LIBRIS AWARD for Young Reader’s Book of the Year (Pluto's Ghost).

 Excerpt from Foreword by Dr. J. William LaValley

. . . What if there was a guiding manual for understanding the healthy physical, mental, emotional, social, and environmental choices faced by parents [and caregivers] during the first five years of their children’s lives? There is — and this book is that.

Author Nancy Tracey’s passion for healthy and wise parenting and bringing up loving, compassionate children gives us a magnificent resource for our families and our communities.  As a medical doctor, specializing in Integrative & Complementary Medicine in both Nova Scotia and Texas and founding president of the Canadian Complementary Medical Association, I read Nancy Tracey’s manuscript with great interest. My first impression was: “People won’t just read this book, they will use it!”

Nancy Tracey’s background as a Primary/Kindergarten teacher places her in an important and relevant position. She realizes that upon entering school, children already point toward various degrees of potential success and wellbeing.  She also recognizes that brain development and physical growth occurring throughout early childhood affect the child’s entire life. By combining current research and valuable knowledge gained as a Primary/Kindergarten teacher, this timely and commendable resource enables parents to prevent many common problems associated with undesirable environmental exposures. It also assists parents and caregivers in optimizing health and successful outcomes by protecting and nurturing the preschool child during this important period of development.

The First Five Years: Nurturing Your Child’s Ability to Learn is a wisdom book for parents [and care-givers]. It contains profound and practical lessons that teach them to recognize and engage in the ever-changing opportunities to nurture, love, teach, and share meaningful experiences with their children.
Author Nancy Tracey provides wise and loving insight into the opportunities and effects of parenting. She covers vital subject material including health-giving nutrition, and environmental exposure management for children. She delves deeply and broadly into numerous aspects of development including learning styles, emotional intelligence, behaviour, and early literacy. She gives us a clear, concise, and compassionate framework for being better, smarter, kinder, healthier, and more mature parents. . . .
Each of us can enrich our lives and the lives of our children (and their children, and their children…) through reading, reflecting, and sharing the powerful and practical information in this manual for healthy [caregiving and] parenting.
Accept the gift Nancy gives us in this book and give it with gratitude to others. You, your child, your family and your community will be rewarded greatly.

– J.William LaValley MD focusing on Integrative and Complementary Medicine.
Austin, Texas, USA

Praise for The First Five Years

Blurbs                                                                                                     
The home is a child’s first school. It is where children learn to talk, to walk and to interact with others. We are now beginning to understand just how important these early years are and the impact on a child’s overall development. If home is a child’s first school, then who are a child’s first teachers? Most naturally they are the parents and primary caregivers! However, when children are born, parents soon discover there are no foolproof guidebooks or manuals to follow. The First Five Years pays respect to the important role parents play during this critical period in a child’s growth and provides much needed information and support for parents and caregivers. This book encourages parents to slow down, take a breath, and thoughtfully consider the emotional, social and intellectual needs of the young child. Nancy Tracey has written a timely and much-needed book that recognizes how essential it is for our children and our world that children grow in an environment that supports the growth and well-being of the whole child...                                                                                    
– Dr. Jane Baskwill, PhD. (Education) Faculty of Education Mount Saint Vincent University, author of many professional/children’s books including Yes, but…if they like it they’ll learn it!, (Co-authored) Pembroke 2007 and Peace is a promise, Mondo 2003.


In her book, Nancy, beautifully, and appropriately, describes a child as ‘a story unfolding', and offers sage advice to ensure that as each child’s story does unfold, it does so in the most caring and nurturing way. Through the sharing of current research on child development, and her own experience, as a loving mother and teacher, she gives us a vision for the first five years of childhood, and how we must be vigilant and mindful of the environments that our children live and grow in. This is a book for 21st century parents, as well as for teachers and anyone else who deals with children, in their early and formative years.        
–Deb Graham, Ed.D Assistant Professor Faculty of Education, St. Francis Xavier University.


In a society where we are bombarded with tons of options, and ‘new-and-improved products and methods’, one can become dizzy trying to keep up with and make informed decisions about what we eat, what we do, and how we shape our lives.  Raising and nurturing children in our vibrant environment can be confusing and exhausting. It is easier than ever to make decisions regarding our children with the ‘best intentions', but resulting in having a negative impact on their welfare.  It is important to remember that just because we CAN, doesn't always mean that we SHOULD.  In The First Five Years, Nancy Tracey offers a holistic approach to nurturing children from pre-birth through the first year of school. Her book is chock-full of important information and wise suggestions for caregivers of young children, which helps sort through the clutter of our highly complex social world and environment.                                                                   
–Marion Leier, MEd. part-time instructor for Acadia University. _______________________________________________________

Tracey offers a moving account of how to prepare children for school. Her ideas reflect an integration of her personal experience, professional training, and life philosophy. Readers with young children will benefit from many of her ideas.
-Dr. Pat Crittenden Ph.D. developer of the Dynamic Maturational model (DMM) of attachment and adaptation, Chair of International Association of the Study of Attachment (IASA) and author of Raising Parents: Attachment, Parenting and Child Safety.