There seem to be two common and somewhat related issues taking place when it comes to the development and learning of young children.
1. People are looking for a short cut or the "magic" program or device that will develop a child's brain.
2. There is a major focus on pushing young children to learn more academics at earlier ages.
Of course this is all well intentioned. Everyone's goal is for children to be successful in school and in life. But, if this is the focus and desire for children, it is essential that all the knowledge science is providing for us is used for the bases of the experiences children are having everyday.
I find it amazing that due to technological advances, we now understand the developing brain better than ever before, and in many cases just the opposite of what is needed most is occurring for too many children.
It took too long for it to happen, but I am thrilled that the, Your Baby Can Read program has been shut down. The Federal Trade Commission filed false advertising charges, and the company is no longer in business. The Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood is making headway in these critically needed efforts. Read also about the wonderful TODY (Toys Oppressive And Destructive to Young children) Award for the Vinci Touchscreen Mobile Learning tablet that is marketed as good for helping babies learn.
This quote from the article from Peggy Sissel-Phelan, Ed. D. (a Brain Insights Advisory Board Member) is terrific:
“It’s likely to convince parents that they are doing something positive for their babies when that couldn't be farther from the truth. People don’t know that without human attention, babies won't develop normally, much less optimally. They will, however, learn how to push the buttons to make the screen react. Rats can do that!”
Additionally, it is wonderful that money is being refunded for purchases of, Baby Einstein videos. All of these products have been marketed to say they are good for early brain development, when these are not the optimal way for a child's brain to develop.
This is precisely why I created, Brain Insights. I have a deep desire to make REAL brain development common knowledge and easily understood. My passion is to share all that really IS best for children. This is also exactly why I created, The Brain Development Series. These unique packets provide the information and ideas for busy adults to be able to provide what their child really needs. I knew the marketing made it confusing for parents to know what is best, so I wanted to help... and wanted to provide the information in an incredibly easy to use format.
When presenting at a conference in Las Vegas, a concerned mother shared her story about her son. The boy had just turned 3 and had started a new preschool. When picking him up at the end of the day the mother noticed his worksheet (I am stressing the word worksheet here!) was not up on the bulletin board with the others. This woman asked the teacher about it. The teacher then held up the paper and stated, "His is not up because it is incomplete." It had in red marker the word, Incomplete and a red :( sad face drawn on it! The paper was one where he was to trace and then freehand write the letter E several times. This is not appropriate learning or expectations for a child of this age. He should be playing and exploring and experimenting rather than sitting still and trying to write on a worksheet.
We need to do all we can to ensure that every child is getting all that is really beneficial for their growing brains. This happens through real interactions with real people and real objects.
At the same conference I met Kathy Gruhn, the enthusiastic creator of My Baby Compass. These wonderful resources help adults know what is appropriate for children at each age, birth through age 7.
We do not expect a newborn to crawl, a 2 month old to ride a bike, or a 6 month old to play the guitar. We do not expect those things because we know babies are not developed enough at those ages for those skills or activities. It is the same for academics and a young brain. We should not be pushing babies to read and 3 year olds to write. These are not the experiences they should be having to support the healthiest brain connections for later learning and life skills. Children need every adult in their life to have appropriate expectations. This can happen through understanding the basics of early brain development.
With heartfelt thanks,
And most especially.... the children thank you!!
The Brain Development Series provides parents with the information and fun ideas children want ALL adults to know!
In English or Spanish