Children are born with much more intelligence than we credit them. We assume that because they cannot talk, i.e. articulate thoughts in verbal communication, they are incapable of thinking. “Thoughts must be verbalized before they can exist or legitimately be called thoughts,” we say. In fact, babies begin to exercise intuitive and mental abilities at birth. Some researchers believe intuition functions while the baby is still in the womb.
Babies begin to exercise intuitive and mental abilities at birth.
A baby’s perception develops as he becomes increasingly aware of light and movement around him. With his five senses, which become operational from birth, he gathers information. His mind begins processing input—sorting, categorizing and synthesizes data into increasingly complex images. It is not by chance he recognizes familiar objects and people. Deliberate movements emerge, the result of rudimentary critical thinking.
We parents cannot contain our excitement when our baby utters his first word. Perhaps initially he is only mimicking us, but from birth his mind takes note of the sounds coming out of our mouth. Intuitively, he recognizes an appropriate response is expected. His mind sifts through his memory bank to find a matching audible. No match.
Deliberate movements and sounds are the result of rudimentary critical thinking.
He pays careful attention to our speech, even when we think he’s not listening. He practices his expanding catalog of new sounds. We coax him to talk. One day, he looks intently into our eyes and clearly articulates ”ma-ma!”
Our outburst of joy and parental pride does not go unnoticed. The emotion, followed by a gush of praise and love, is registered in his memory. It feels good and becomes a strong motivation to recreate the process in order to experience the reward again. His little mind is already climbing the ladder of learning.
So, when does learning actually begin?
We don’t realize how much is ‘uploaded’ into our unborn children while they are still in the womb.
A mother physically nourishes the developing embryo through the umbilical cord. But a little body is not all that is emerging. The foundation of emotional well-being, self-esteem and desire to live is laid in the womb. The soul and mind of the little person forming inside is also being nurtured…
- by cultivating positive emotional responses to situations and people encountered during the day,
- by smiling and laughing often,
- by listening to good music and singing,
- by reading aloud and telling stories,
- by creating secure, wholesome family relationships,
- by expressing love, acceptance and greatness to the unborn child,
- and especially, as the husband and father is involved.
We don’t realize how much is ‘uploaded’ into our unborn children while they are still in the womb. Fortunately, our Father in Heaven compensates our short-coming with His grace.
After the baby is born…
1. Add to the above curriculum lots playtime, unstructured and structured, as much as possible outdoors. Curiosity and imagination, important components of learning, are developed during play.
Playtime provides constructive parent-child interaction and spontaneous parent-guided learning.
2. Conversation is another important addition to the ‘early learning’ curriculum. Converse with your child as you would with any other person. ‘Baby-talk’ is cute, but unnecessary. It is the sound of your voice that delights your infant, whether the sound is ‘goo-goo’ or actual words. Remember, that little brain holds much more intelligence than you think! As you discuss things intelligently and your child listens wide-eyed and mouth agape, realize he is absorbing more than you realize. When he begins to talk, you will be amazed at the vocabulary ready on his tongue as he communicates thoughts and feelings.
Respect the intelligence of your child with intelligent conversation.
3. Involve your child as much as possible in what you are doing, even if he sits in the stroller nearby watching and listening. Again, you will be surprised by the learning taking place.
My grandson was not yet 1 year old and could neither walk nor talk. He watched intently as I fixed a ply-board barricade across the doorway of his veranda play area to keep him from crawling outside. Satisfied he was safely contained with his large-size lego blocks, I returned to my work.
Not much time passed when my wife called. She pointed to the doorway. There was my grandson, pulled up into standing position with a toy screw driver in hand working at a screw that held the barricade in place!
Having watched me use the tool only once, he was able to recognize the toy replica in his lego set and figure out what to do with it! My grandson is not a genius—he’s a normal, curious, super-active boy. At that moment, I realized that…
Children are much more intelligent than we give them credit!
Image courtesy tuelekza / FreeDigitalPhotos.net