A recent article in the NY Times provides a refreshing look at how children under the age of five learn. It’s no surprise to our Success By 6 supporters that “babies and very young children know, observe, explore, imagine and learn more than we would ever have thought possible,” but the article also underscores the importance of developing pre-K programs that aren’t loaded with focused, planned learning and results-based testing.
This approach may work for children over the age of 5 or so. But babies and very young children are terrible at planning and aiming for precise goals. When we say that preschoolers can’t pay attention, we really mean that they can’t not pay attention: they have trouble focusing on just one event and shutting out all the rest. This has led us to underestimate babies in the past. But the new research tells us that babies can be rational without being goal-oriented.
Want to learn more about what United Way and Success By 6 are doing to ensure that Central Texas kids are ready for their first day of school? Go to unitedwayaustin.org/sb6