When Do Children Start Learning
Before I start sharing some of my learning activities, I thought it might be a good idea to cover the topic of “when do children start learning”.
In my opinion, coupled with the experience I had with my children, I believe that learning starts even before a child is born. But since you probably won’t put a lot of stock in what I believe, I searched the Internet and found some studies that have come to the same conclusions about when children start learning.
I’m not going to spend a lot of time going over all of the research I have found. I do think it is important to share a couple of links with you so that you can see what studies have found. Once we understand when learning begins it will help us understand when we can start the educational process with our children.
In an analysis done by Stephen M. Maret, Ph.D., he states that verbal communication from the mother to the fetus, results in earlier talking, independence and better concentration after birth.
Another good article that refers to several studies done with fetuses is “A Peek into Fetal Memory: Learning in Utero” by Mark Earley.
*** update 1/10/13 A new report just posted January 3, 2013 on WebMD: Babies Listen and Learn While in the Womb
Now that we see that science says children start learning when they are still in the womb, it helps us understand that it is never too soon to start exposing them to learning activities.
The earlier we start exposing children to different learning activities, the less pressure and the more fun we can have with them. If you start reading to an infant and talking about colors or numbers (or whatever concept you are introducing) you can simply have fun with it and don’t need to put pressure on them because they are too young to expect them to master the concept.
But My Child Is Older
Don’t worry, if your child isn’t an infant. Children are like sponges. Take advantage of their natural curiosities and turn them into fun learning experiences. Not sure how to do that? I’m here to help you with that.
Experiences With My Children
As I said earlier, I believed that children started learning in the womb so I started a certain “learning” activity even before they were born. I wanted my children to be able to recognize their father’s voice. Since he worked all day and he wasn’t the one carrying the child around inside him, I wanted some way for him to connect with his unborn child. I had him read a children’s storybook onto a tape recorder. Then when I would sit down or lie down to rest, I would put a headset against my stomach and run the tape. We had a very interesting experience at the birth of our oldest daughter that made me believe that this technique had helped. She had just been born and the nurses had taken her aside to clean her up and get her vitals. She was upset and screaming at the top of her lungs. My husband couldn’t get to her to touch her because the nurses were working on her but he walked near her and simply said, in a sweet, new daddy voice, “What’s wrong honey?” At the sound of his voice she immediately quit screaming. I was surprised and pleased.
I took little board books with me to the hospital and started reading to my children right away. If I remember correctly the books were about colors and shapes. I always wanted to stay ahead of what they SHOULD know so I could keep it light and fun. I wanted my children to feel successful once they got into school. I didn’t want them to feel pressured or always struggling to keep up.
At the same time, I wanted them to enjoy their childhood and not feel like they were in school even when they were at home. I wanted to make learning fun for my children and I want to help you do the same for yours.