The Best Education For Young Children: Interaction With Other Humans
Scientists are studying the rapid way children learn during the first few years of life, and learning that imitation and interaction with others are key to this kind of learning, said University of Washington researcher Andrew Meltzoff in a recent talk at at Whitman College:
“Meltzoff described the complex learning that occurs in the early years of life, or first 5 years, as almost magical. ‘The first 2,000 days are incredibly important for the rest of their lives,’ he said. His research has shown that even children as young as 1, without the need of spoken language, can replicate simple gestures, like putting an object in a cup, after it is demonstrated to them. ‘Human beings learn what to do, and what not to do, by watching others,’ he said. The way children learn—by copying—is enhanced by strong, positive interactions with the adults they encounter daily.
Meltzoff used his research findings to illustrate how critical it is to provide good, quality early learning to children. He emphasized the value of teaching by demonstrating, stating children and humans in general learn best when they are replicating what they are shown. ‘Everything we’re learning is that the social brain “turns on” other aspects of learning,’ he said.” (Read more here.)
So warm, responsive care for young children is incredibly important. Children learn far better from other humans than they do from any toy, video or other “educational” product.