Tune In by paying attention to what your child is communicating to you.
Talk More with your child using descriptive words to build his vocabulary.
Take Turns by encouraging your child to respond to your words and actions.
On this page of Zero to Three’s website, you can see a map of a baby’s developing brain and visualize how critical language acquisition happens for infants and toddlers. At the child development center we support, children 18 months and older can enroll. At this age, the children are gaining their receptive language skills (hearing and understanding the meaning of words) and their expressive language skills (speaking). Around 24 months, many children can say about 50 words- but then a word explosion occurs and children begin combining words: “more milk”.
Dr. Suskind goes on to say that babies are not born smart, they are made smart by their parents and caregivers talking with them. The more we build a child’s brain with language, the more neural connections are formed, and thereby, a stronger foundation is created for the child to learn more each day.
The more that we ignore or dismiss the vital importance of a child’s language acquisition, the further behind a child will be – and will continue to be each academic year: if you start out ahead, you stay ahead, and if you start out behind, you stay behind. For all the children and families at the development center, we use this research to inform our practice and perspective on education and empowerment. We stress the importance of baby talk, and that language and communication are free and infinite resources available for their children.
One word at a time, we’ll work to close the word gap- and all the other ‘gaps’ (academic, economic, etc.) associated with it.