I met with a very interesting woman today, Sharon Easterling, Executive Director of the Delaware Valley Association for the Education of Young Children. She is extremely knowledgable on the subject of preschool education. One of the things Sharon stressed was how much children learn simply from being with their parents.
Every moment you spend with your child is a learning opportunity, even in the car. Today, so many cars are equipped with video capabilities, that kids have become accustomed to watching TV from the backseat, instead of enjoying a window to the world. It disturbs me when technology gets in the way of what might otherwise be natural teaching moments. I am all for technology and believe that children can learn enormous lessons from computers and television. I just urge parents to use those technologies to enhance their learning, not replace it.
Take Jordan. She was struggling to learn basic concepts including her numbers, colors and shapes. My teaching partner and I met with her mother and suggested that she help reinforce these skills at home. For example, when riding in the car, her mother could point out a traffic light and ask Jordan what color it is. At a traffic sign she could talk about its shape. They could play ‘I Spy’ to find different colored cars, or numbers on buildings. They could seek out construction vehicles, which almost always turn kids on. The list goes on and on.
Jordan’s mother sighed, looked us in the eye, and said, “But then I’d have to turn the television off.”