Every parent wants his or her child to do well in life. Most parents
know that what a child learns before they enter school is just as
important to future success as what they learn in school.
The problem as I see it, occurs when parents enthusiasm for helping
their child succeed gets mixed up with trying to teach them things
before they are developmentally ready.
Reading is a good example. Few children are ready to read before
the age of six. Just because your child can recognize his name or
points to the golden arches and says "MacDonalds", does not mean
he or she has the skills to decode words at this time. In their
natural concern to help their child, many parents try to push ahead
their child's timetable for learning. This is usually done to prove
to themselves and their friends and family just how advanced their
offspring is. In rare cases, this may be true but most children
need their preschool years for building brain connections.
Learning to problem solve, make connections between things, noticing
likes and differences, learning to put things in order are the important
things for preschoolers to be learning. These pursuits help children
grow the circuits in their brains thus giving them the foundations
for future learning. Don't waste your child's precious preschool
years trying to jump start his learning. Give him the foundations
now that will grow his mind so that he will be able to reach his
full potential later on.
When you have the urge to push your child ahead, just remember
the story of the little boy and the butterfly.
One day a boy found a challis (a butterfly cocoon) hanging from
a tree. He was anxious for the butterfly to come out, so he decided
to help him along. He carefully peeled back the layers of the cocoon
and encouraged the butterfly to come out. But when the butterfly
went to spread his wings, they only opened partially. The butterfly
tried to fly off but couldn't because his wings had not been allowed
to develop properly - in their own time.
In a young child's life, the first five years should be like a
challis, a safe warm place where they are allowed to develop at
their own rate, so that when they finally go off to school, they
will be ready to fly!