I am currently reading “You Are Your Child’s First Teacher: What Parents Can Do With and For Their Children from Birth to Age Six” by Rahima Baldwin Dancy. It’s been quite inspiring. Someone recommended it to me recently when I was inquiring about the Waldorf model of education.
Yes, that’s right… I was discussing different models of education that can be used in the home school. I know, I know… my kiddo isn’t even three months old yet! I’ve been a student of the methods ever since high school, though, when I stumbled across Sonlight’s curriculum while helping my mother order books. I tried to convince her to allow me to complete their English Literature core for my senior year, but alas… I was turned down.
Nevertheless, the idea of literature-based curricula fascinated me. From there, I came across Ambleside Online’s list of books, which are based on Charlotte Mason’s method and philosophy of teaching. Charlotte Mason? Who was that? I read more. I was intrigued! I am still determined to get my hands on her writings, although my library system apparently lacks scope in this area. *sigh*
I tucked those interests aside for the most part, occasionally dusting them off for a quick view, but for the most part ignoring them until I came across a discussion of Waldorf on the parenting forum I frequent, DiaperSwappers. (Yes, they talk about cloth diapering there. How did you know?) It seemed to have a lot of similarities to Charlotte Mason on the surface, so I figured more research was in order. My book budget being what it is (fairly nonexistent), I hit up my library system. They had the book!
Mind you, some of the philosophies are a little “New Age” for my tastes, but I am not sure if that is a reflection on the author (midwives can be a little New Age-y sometimes, y’ken?) or on Steiner, the developer of the Waldorf method. I suppose when I get my hands on some of the recommended reading, I will figure that out.
There was something that I found to be rather amazing, though, and I just had to share it as testimony to the wonders of the human body and its Creator.
Recent studies have shown that babies are remarkably perceptive and discerning. Newborns have been shown to such more frequently in response to hearing their mother’s voice, showing that learning/recognition is going on even within the womb. And babies only four days old can distinguish one language from another: French babies sucked much more vigorously when they heard French instead of Russian, and Russian babies did just the opposite.
There are approximately 6,000 languages in the world, and your newborn is equally fluent in all of them! But she quickly learns to distinguish between phonemes (distinct speech sounds) that she hears around her, and between six and te months grows oblivious to foreign phonemes while staying attuned to whatever sounds the speakers around her are using. By twelve months, an infant’s “auditory map” in the brain will have been formed. She will be unable to pick out phonemes that she has not heard thousands of times because no clusters of neurons will have been assigned the job of responding to that sound.
- Chapter Three, “Growing Down and Waking Up”
I suppose it’s rather unscientific of me to say so, but for lack of a better term… isn’t that cool?
You’ll probably see a review of this book on here at some point, but I’m only on chapter eight of thirteen at the moment, so that will have to wait.
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