Some time back, I started reading a new book titled “Bright from the Start“. Written by Jill Stamm, Bright from the Start promises to show you “the simple, science-backed way to nurture your child’s developing mind from birth to age 3”. The information is supported by research observing the developing minds of children using brain scans. Stamm highlights her stance in the whole spectrum of early childhood development within the first few pages of the book. It was interesting to note that she repudiates many of the early childhood education programs which she labels as the “edutainment” industry. Although she does not specifically list these programs, it is clear she is referring to many of the educational DVDs created specifically for babies.
According to Stamm, the development of a child’s brain and the prediction of future success depends less on “academics” and more on critical factors, such as whether he loves his babysitter, how often he listens to bedtime stories, etc. In other words, you can take all these early childhood educational programs and throw them out the door. According to Stamm, the research shows that:
- What babies need is simpler than you might think.
- But they need it more consistently and earlier than it is often provided.
- These early care requirements are within every parent’s ability to provide regardless of resources.
- In fact, they are as easy to learn as ABC – the cornerstones of what a bright, happy baby or toddler needs are Attention, Bonding, and Communication.
Does that mean I should toss out my collection of TweedleWink and Signing Time DVDs? I don’t think so. I think Stamm highlights some very important points in the development of the infant brain, but I don’t think it negates the usage of early childhood educational resources. In fact, I think the information she offers helps us utilise those resources more effectively.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to how you interact with your child in those critical first three years of life that can shape your child’s brain for the rest of his life. Stamm provides some very practical advice on what parents can and should do with their babies. If I read it right, it is all about interaction with your baby. The more interaction, the better. Who’s to say that that interaction cannot include teaching your baby how to read or how to do math? As long as you are both enjoying each others’ company and having fun, I think the end justifies the means.
However, if you don’t want to go the early childhood education route or if you just want to cover all your bases, you can follow Stamm’s advice on what to do with your baby in terms of attention, bonding and communication – more about these soon.