The Importance of Early Learning
Toddler age (1 to 2 years) is probably one of the most difficult stages for parents or caregivers. Baby is growing up and has new powers and abilities to explore! Preschoolers (3 to 4 years) are of course more competent than toddlers in their physical skills and abilities, but they are also nearly always ready and happy for any attention and input you can give them.
The importance of early education can hardly be emphasized enough. It’s now an accepted fact that a child learns more than half of all that he will learn in his lifetime by the time he’s five years old. So it is important to begin teaching your little ones early and to teach them the right things during those first formative years.
Every single day is important, because learning new things every day is the main “occupation” of small children. They can usually learn a lot more with a parent’s guidance than if they are just left to figure things out for themselves. Motor skills, a wide range of practical skills, and language learning are the main areas to focus on.
Small children should not be overburdened with tedious scholastic preparation, but a surprising amount of groundwork and preparation for later learning can be done in these early years. They should not be forced to learn something they don’t want to learn—but you will find that there is very little that they do not want to learn about. They seem the most happy and contented when they are busy learning. They are such educational enthusiasts, in fact, that they can soon wear their tutor out!
Make it Fun, Make it Lively!
In order to capture and keep a little child’s attention, you have to put everything you’ve got into what you’re doing. The best teachers are those who make learning fun. Whatever children enjoy learning is what they will learn the quickest and the best. Great teachers are idea people who inspire children with a desire to learn. They have a knack for turning every situation into a learning activity so pleasant and enjoyable that the children almost beg to learn.
We parents may not be all that gifted, but there is a lot we can do. Children like to be kept busy. They like to do things, but they sometimes have a hard time thinking up things to do. So we have to continually think up new ways to channel their energies into productive endeavors. We have to have animation; we have to have enthusiasm—lots of action, lots of motion, and lots of sound effects! We have to really illustrate and put a lot of meaning and interest into what we’re teaching!
Excerpted from the book "Keys to Toddlers and Preschoolers" by Derek and Michelle Brooks. © Aurora Productions. Used with Permission.