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Author Topic: The Great Debate - Teaching our kids so early  (Read 22513 times)
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KL
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« on: June 05, 2008, 03:10:20 AM »

I'm glad to announce that we recently added a massive article on what I believe to be the biggest debate about early learning there is - Is it too early to be teaching our kids?

Here are the things you will often hear:


"Poor kid! Why are you forcing them at such an early age??"

"Just let babies be babies!"

"Teaching them so early is not natural, and you will harm them by trying to do so!"



Maddy, our BrillBaby Editor, has now written up a piece on this very subject.  We wanted to make sure that we cover both sides of the argument, so we've tried to set out all the opposing views so that those views are fairly represented.  Here is the article:

http://www.brillbaby.com/intelligence/against/index.php

Of course, because we here are all firm believers of early education, there is inevitably going to be some element of bias.  However, we would love to open up the debate and if anyone feels we have not covered anything, or certain views have not been fairly represented, then please let us know and we will have them added into the article.

I believe that ultimately, the one thing we all have in common is that we all want the best for our children, so let's all bear that in mind!

What are your views on this subject?  Have you also been hearing that from people you know?

KL

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nhockaday
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« Reply #1 on: June 05, 2008, 03:54:20 AM »

I am going to school for child psychology so I know how much infant stimulation and learning can help mold a young one's brain and body. I started out playing classical music, reading stories and using babyplus before my son was born. Now I read to him, I'm starting to sign and use this program. I also let him watch a baby einstein every once in a while b/c, although there are not many words on them, they do have stimulating music and images. I do not tell everyone what I am doing or done just to avoid the questions or arguments. I figure when my kid is older, making good grades, loving to learn and having a vast array of knowledge, people will wonder what I did to encourage him. I just want him to have every opportunity in life. I really don't care what people think; that's why I don't share with many. And you know, I don't force anything on him. He's like a little sponge already at 6 months, and he loves the interaction with me when I am doing these activities with him. If you start to teach them early, they look at it like playing. They don't what learning is; they just know that you're doing something with them that catches and holds their attention. Then when they get older, learning's just natural and they like it.

I look forward to reading the article....

« Last Edit: June 05, 2008, 04:04:06 AM by nhockaday » Logged

"While we try to teach our children all about life, our children teach us what life is all about."

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« Reply #2 on: June 10, 2008, 03:40:42 PM »

Dear KL,

I loved this article, but I still have a lingering question; some people say that teaching early harms the children not from the point of view that they would hate it later on but from the point of view that it will actually damage their brain development, or push them too early...

How true / false is that?

Noha

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Maddy
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« Reply #3 on: June 11, 2008, 10:23:59 AM »

Hi Noha

Good question! The possibility of something called neurological "crowding" is mentioned by Kathy Hirsh-Pasek and Roberta Michnick Golinkoff, the critics whose points I address in the "Teaching will harm the child" and "Teaching is pointless" articles. However, I haven't been able to find any data to back up the hypothesis, so it appears to be just that - a hypothesis.

To explain what it means, Professor Huttenlocher (a pediatric neurologist at the University of Chicago) is quoted as saying, "One has to consider the possibility that very ambitious early enrichment and teaching programs may lead to crowding effects and to an early decrease in the size and number of brain regions that are largely unspecified and that may be necessary for creativity in the adolescent and adult."

So this would appear to exist as a theoretical possibility. As far as we know however, no parent has so far been able to damage their child's brain through teaching them at a young age Wink And if you were going to stuff your child's brain so full of knowledge as to risk neurological crowding, then I doubt very much that you would be following the cardinal rule of making sure every lesson is a joyful experience.

I think it would be safe to assume that if your child is enjoying her lessons, then you are not damaging her brain! big grin

Maddy

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nohayo
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« Reply #4 on: June 11, 2008, 10:42:02 AM »

 wub Thanks sooo much Maddy for that great answer smile It makes so much sense!! I'm glad to know it is just a theory, because I am inclined towards early learning (obviously!) and this just rests my consience about it !

 big grin

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teresa
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« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2008, 07:05:19 AM »

As everyone said, I believe we all want to give the best to our kids. I think as an adult, we are being brain washed into a concept that "learning is painful", and therefore "forcing" a baby to learn is "evil"! When my parents saw me showing flash cards to my kids, they still say that I don't have to teach them so much at this early age. They said the most important thing is for the kids to be healthy, happy and stress free... and they think I am giving them STRESS!

I agree that being healthy and happy is important, but I disagree that teaching baby will make them unhappy. To the little ones, learning is like playing. My 19 months old son enjoys doing anything together with me, including his learning. He likes  flash cards (DVD or real one) so much that he will ask me for it! It also builds up his confidence along the way. He really enjoys showing off his knowledge by speaking out what he sees now. This is just so much fun for him.

Moreover, learning can be done in many ways. My kids learn a lot every time they go for a trip. They have so much stimulations when they go to a new place and meet new people. Each time we see them grow smarter (especially my daughter - every time she come back from a trip, her language skills just take another big step forward!). Isn't it so much fun in their learning life?

Parents take a very important role because they are the role model. If they take learning as a painful thing to do, the kids will pick it up. If they enjoy and think it's fun while giving lessons to the kids, the kids will surely enjoy it!

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