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Early Education, the parental role

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Little kids have minds like sponges.  Here are some things infants figure out in their first year of life.  All of them are totally non-exceptional, ordinary things all babies learn.  On the other hand, they are truly amazing accomplishments.

In their first year of life, children learn to make their wishes known, to reach out and grab anything that strikes their eye, to bang on things to create a pleasing sound, to say a few words, to crawl, creep or perhaps even start to walk.  Apparently by the end of that year, they understand nearly everything we say even if they are not advanced enough to repeat it.  Think of it—all that in 12 short months.

In this modern day, parents are helped in the early education department by television programming that teaches children letters and their sounds.  I have watched some of these programs with my grandchildren and I know that they enjoy the shows as much as they learn from them.  In addition, nearly every toy has a dual purpose of entertainment and education.  Toys played with by infants under the age of six months have bright lights and clear voices that state the names of colors, shapes and letters.  The result is that there are some children in every pre-school and kindergarten who already know all of the letters of the alphabet and have even begun to read.  

This process can of course be helped along by parents who read to the children and teach them to love books. Learning to read is fundamental to every other thing your child will ever learn.  It is a foundation to process other information and to build upon.  The children of today will need to have the ability to use and improve upon the ever rising levels of technology, so it is our absolute duty to help them get off to as good a start as possible. 

 With all the teaching aids in the main stream of entertainment and toys this is almost a cinch, but in addition to reading, there are still other things you can do to help.  From the moment you have a baby, you should interact with him as much as possible.  Never just feed him, watch him as he eats and smile when he looks at you.  Talk to him in a pleasant way so he learns to enjoy the sound of your voice.  Mimic his gurgles and squeals so that he will begin to learn that communication occurs through language.  Place educational toys within his reach and join him in his pleasure at the lights and sounds they create.  Pretty soon you will see that he absolutely loves to learn.  Since it’s necessary to know a lot in the world of today, that’s a very good thing.

Edwina Williams

Read more articles, stories and poems by Edwina Williams at:

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1 comment to Early Education, the parental role

  • It’s truly a miracle isn’t it? In the space of a year our children grow from helpless little bundles to curious, characterful little people. And you are right, we shouldn’t underestimate the impact we can make on their education and learning. Put another way, if we don’t get involved with our babies in this way, who knows what we’ve prevented them from becoming?

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