Wouldn’t it be great if there was a proven way to help our children learn things early? Or would it? What is our aim with this? Is it to give our child a headstart at school, to make us feel we have done all we could, or to give children more time to learn other things later?
Starting a child early, especially if not done appropriately, may not give them an advantage that they can maintain. This may lead to negative feelings in the parent about their child not achieving goals at the rate anticipated by their impressive early start.
Starting a toddler with flashcards is very time-consuming. It certainly can be entertaining, but there may be an alternative to early learning tools. Early Childhood sources tell me that the current thought is still that reading aloud to your child is the best preparation for starting to read at school. Studies show that there is a huge difference in adjusting to school between those children who had few books at home and those who had a home library and were read to regularly. It appears to be fine to use flashcards, but it’s also important to engage the child in reading – for example going to the library, choosing a book, learning how to turn the pages and to read from left to right. Regarding other types of learning tools, could the child achieve a similar outcome with a real-world experience, such as visiting the zoo (rather than using animal flashcards)?