Chapter 7 - The vital years

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The vital years


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and concreteness that makes play so effective as an educational process."

4. Use the whole world as your classroom
  Turn every outing into a learning experience.
  You can search for shapes
  "They're all around you," say Marzollo and Lloyd. "Point them out to your child and soon he'll point them out to you." Circles, such as wheels, balloons, the sun, the moon, eye glasses, bowls, plates, clocks, coins. Rectangles, such as doors, windows, apartment houses, cereal boxes, books, beds and delivery trucks. Squares, like paper napkins, handkerchiefs, windows and tabletops. Triangles, like rooftops, mountains, tents, Christmas trees and sails.
  You can see opposites everywhere
  And this is a great way to learn words - by association: if a ball goes up it must come down. So do seesaws at the park. Lights go on and off, doors get open and closed, night turns into day.
  Every supermarket trip is a learning journey
  Before you shop, ask your youngster to help you check through the refrigerator and pantry to see what you need: for your infant and the rest of your family. Then in the supermarket, the search is on: to find what the child wants and talk about where it comes from. But again, make it a game: "See who's first to see the cornflakes."
  Learn to count with real things
  Start with the things your child can touch: "This is one spoon; and these are two spoons." Then make it a natural fun game: "You've got one nose but how many eyes? You've got one mouth but how many ears? And how many fingers?" Involve him as you set the table for two, three or four people. Let him count the money at the shopping counter.
  Make it fun to classify
  As we've already discussed, the brain stores information by association and patterns. So start the process early. On laundry day, perhaps, he can sort socks into pairs, shirts for ironing, shirts for folding and storage.

5. The great art of communication
  Language, of course, is a unique human ability. And infants learn by listening, imitation - and practice. So talk to them from the start. Tell


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