I am amazed by the number of news stories on children's brain development and the powerful role that play has in a child's development - its wonderful to see and hear. I heard Sam Wang and Sandra Aamodt on Fresh Air today, and Dr. Wong made a statement that I would love to see written in the sky or everyone to see.
"There are windows of opportunity during which the ground is most fertile - things that developmental biologists call 'sensitive periods', when its really the best time to learn a particular thing. And its important to be mindful of the fact that children become ready at different times for different things."
If there is one thing I want to communicate to parents, this is it. It does not matter that one three-year-old is writing the first letter of their name and another one is writing their whole name and another is not interested in making marks on paper at all and another just scribbles. It doesn't matter that one four-year-old likes to try and read the words in a familiar book by saying the words and patterns they remember from a read-aloud and another child makes up a totally random narrative using the pictures as cues and another child does never chooses to look at books independently. We can encourage children, but we cannot change what they are ready to do, especially in the early years. Why rush?
Wand and Aamodt's book, Welcome to Your Child's Brain, seems to be about the importance of social-emotional development in the early years over the push for early academics, and although I haven't read the book, that is an idea I can agree with.
Listen to the interview on Fresh Air :