Child-Led Learning

Child-Led Learning

You have probably heard of those reading programs that are supposed to teach an 18-month old baby to read.  They have become very popular with parents who want their children to be advanced, intelligent and able at younger and younger ages.  My reaction when I heard of them was, “Let’s let our kids be kids a little while longer.”

Sure, having a child who can read early may be something to impress other parents with, but what does it really do for our kids?  Do they have more successful careers later on?  Are they more articulate or, more importantly, happier?  My first inclination would be to believe that no, they are not. 

Early childhood should be spent naturally exploring the world at a pace that is comfortable for the child.  I can guarantee you that no 18-month old child wakes up one day and thinks, “Boy, my life sure would be better if only I knew how to read.”  Perhaps we parents should be exploring our true motivations in wanting our kids to rush into things like reading and writing.

Instead, perhaps a more successful way of teaching is to wait until the child shows signs that they are ready.  This age will be different for every child, because each one learns and matures differently.  By waiting until they indicate they are ready, we give them a greater chance of success and allow them the opportunity to enjoy learning for the sheer joy of knowing something new, instead of learning because we think they should know.

Kids grow up too quickly these days.  Gone are the unscheduled, free days of simply exploring life and enjoying the little things.  Schedules, activities and busy lifestyles are forcing our kids to have too much responsibility and not enough time being kids.