Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Should I be teaching my two year old son the alphabet to make sure he is not going to fall behind other kids?

Guest post by Deborah McNelis, owner/Brain Insights

You are obviously a very caring parent that wants to do all that is best for your son. However sometimes it is difficult to know what is the best direction isn’t it?  It is wonderful to share with you that brain science can help. Due to a wealth of brain research we now know the way children learn best.

I am going to begin by asking you a few questions as I lead to clarifying what is going to help your child learn in the most optimal way.

M  Z  @  Y  X  Q  R  #  W * G  L  D T

Does the above have meaning to you? What if I asked you to say it out loud repeatedly? Would that help you know what it means? Maybe you could sing as you say the names of the letters and symbols. The repetition and singing will likely help you be able to memorize this sequence of letters and symbols. But, in the end will you have learned anything?

Frequently two, three, and four year old children are encouraged to do this type of activity and it is called learning. When children of these ages are saying or singing A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L …. there is no meaning to a young child.

Children can do it, but there is no REAL learning taking place. As adults we understand that these are letters and they represent sounds and they create words. But, to children these letters are abstract.  

The brain learns with real objects first. Then as higher areas of the brain develop, the brain is able to think and learn about things that are not experienced directly with the senses. 

The same is true when flash cards are used with young children. Children just memorize and repeat back words on the cards, but there is no real learning taking place. 

Think of a child that is looking at a flash card with the picture of an orange and the word, ORANGE  printed below the photo. With the repetition of a parent saying orange when showing the picture, the child will learn to say, "orange". 

Now, compare the difference of a child seeing a photo on a card to a child holding, smelling, and tasting a real orange while hearing the word "orange" .. .. (and other words like juicy, sweet, soft, and round). It is easy to see that a child would make MANY more brain connections through experiencing a real orange. It really is simple.... REAL learning for young children happens through real experiences.

So for you to help your child learn best all you need to do is provide fun interactive experiences.  Through opportunities to explore, touch, taste, smell, hear, poke, pound, pour, manipulate, and throw children directly experience and learn about the world. This is real learning and this is what developing brains need most.

For REAL brain development activities ideas to use in everyday life go to www.braininsightsonline.com With Brain Development Packets you can learn the very easy way to provide what your child needs … even during your busy everyday life!

Deborah McNelis,  MS -Education
Deborah is an author, speaker, educator and parent. Her passion is to achieve the best possible outcome for all children and make brain development common knowledge.
As an Early Brain Development Specialist and owner of Brain Insights, Deborah is the award winning author of, The Brain Development Series. She has been seen in several publications, heard on numerous radio shows, and receives rave reviews for her enlightening and engaging presentations. Deborah is overjoyed with the response to all that her company provides due to her passion to create awareness of the critical importance of the early years.
In addition to the brain series she has also created a brain packet called Naturally Developing Young Brains. Deborah has additionally created the Love Your Baby App, a valuable newsletter, the Early Childhood Brain Insights blog, and the BRAIN Initiative. Her newest initiative helps entire communities, “Create Great Connections”. Her goal through this work is for everyone to gain an understanding of early brain development, it’s impact, and the ways we can all easily make a REAL difference.

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