I thought I would start today's post dispelling some of the myths about Early learning. For a lot of people in can conjure up images of their own childhood learning experiences particularly in school being forced to sit down and learn stuff that we had no interest in or was just a plain waste of time. Or it conjures up images of little children being drilled all day with flash cards and no time to play and discover for themselves.
All of these could not be further from the truth. Teaching babies to read and do maths or anything like that the golden rule is lessons are not to last longer than 5minutes and are not to take up your day allowing you and your baby to play together and discover together, and lets face it between feeds/sleep/nappy changes and getting everything else done 5min is probably about all most parents have (I know I do.)
We all know what it feels like to have things forced upon us NONE OF US LIKE IT and that includes babies and toddlers. I used to flash my DD word cards 3 times a day and she would just look away and find a spot on the wall to look at, so I stopped. If she was not enjoying it then I didn't want her learning experience to become a time she hated with me rather a time she loved with me. I found other ways to teach her that she enjoyed and I enjoyed to. If you are going to embark on this journey....
Then RULE 1: The learning that occurs between you and your child must be fun and joyous for the both of you and never forced. (THIS IS THE GOLDEN RULE)
RULE 2: Lessons must be kept short and can be made longer as the child gets older and attention span increases. Little children's brains are incredible things and they don't need to be drilled over and over again because they learn at 10times the rate that we adults do.
RULE 3. If your child does not respond to flash cards try other methods like pinning up words around the house (the word kitchen in the kitchen) and when bubba is on your hip point to the word from left to right (So they learn how to read the word) There is no wrong or right way to teach as long as you follow rule no 1 you can't really go wrong.
RULE 4. Don't continually test your child. They will show you what they know when they are ready and it will come as a great surprise to you to. I made this mistake and learnt the hard way. They hate being tested all the time a question like what does that sign say? every now and then is okay, but if it everyday they will grow to hate lessons with you and will purposely get the question wrong. Give them the information and trust the fact that they do understand far more than you think.
There has been a lot of controversy about teaching young children to read and do math and so on and so on. Alot of people believe that children can't learn to read or are unable to math. I have seen it first hand not only with my own child but with many many parents posting videos of their young children reading and doing maths on You Tube. Many 'experts' have condemmed flash cards and DVD programmes for the under 2's. All I can say is that as a parent I have seen this work first hand and I know my daughter is not any more different than any other two year old except she can read. And yes she can comprehend what she is reading. While she is not reading books yet she certainly is enjoying reading signs and pointing to things and reading them out. There is always a big hug and a kiss when she achieves something in reading and her effort is always praised.
I could write all day about Early Learning as I am so passionate about it but I am also aware that as a parent we don't have all day to read. Please feel free to post any questions or comments below. Would love to have your opinion.
Tomorrow I will start with Sign Language, and why it is such a fabulous teaching tool.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post.