Promotional interventions from outside are not necessary; a somewhat “normal” environment in which people speak and there is space to move around is quite sufficient. These skills are part of a person’s maturation that follows a biologically determined plan.
But human development is two-pronged. In addition to the maturation, the development comes into play, which is dependent on experience. This ensures that children find their way in their respective surroundings.
Geographically – from the desert to the Arctic. Cultural – from the child of South American corn farmers to the offspring of Japanese computer experts. And also socially – as an only child in a millionaire family or as the sixth son of a single parent without a job. In this area of development, funding and targeted learning are possible in moderation.
The effect of such courses is rather low: Even without PEKiP, children learn to crawl and walk. And a three-week vacation at the seaside allows a water-shy elementary school child to get to the same swimming level as his classmate, who has been spending every Saturday morning in the pool since the third month of life.
The focus of such activities should be the fun of the time that children and parents spend together.
It becomes problematic when there is competition between the parents in such courses or when pressure is built up – whether consciously or unconsciously. Who can turn around alone? Who is taking the first steps? This can particularly unsettle parents, whose babies may be a little slower in their development.
Kindergarten children sharpen their senses, discover their bodies and feelings, experience the environment and have to learn to find their way in a group. That alone is a large and important program that is more crucial for “success in life” than acquiring your first computer skills as early as possible or learning a foreign language.
Foreign languages already in kindergarten?
The topic of foreign languages in preschool age has been a controversial topic for years. It has been scientifically proven that children of this age find it particularly easy to learn a foreign language. To do this, however, the child must always be present and also grasp the child emotionally.
This works very well for parents with two different mother tongues who consistently speak to their child in one language. The Spanish teacher who comes to kindergarten on Thursday afternoons, on the other hand, can hardly do more than arouse some interest in the language.
Even a bilingual kindergarten in which an educator speaks English consistently cannot guarantee language learning success. If English is not present as an active language at home, what is learned is quickly forgotten. And if the child has no emotional attachment too the educator has and maybe even rejects it, it will find no pleasure in the language.
In the opinion of many pedagogues, reading, writing and arithmetic are also not part of the regular kindergarten program, but should be reserved for school.
In the long run, it makes no difference whether a child learns these skills at the age of five or seven. This knowledge can usually be acquired quickly and easily later.
Older children as role models and teachers
Studies show that children learn particularly well from older children and that they are taught the social skills.
Psychologists have observed that older children who play with younger ones unconsciously build “development bridges”. The younger ones have to “stretch and stretch” physically, emotionally and mentally in order to cope with them.
And older children also benefit from playing with younger ones. They are more creative and design simple games that they have mastered for a long time and are actually no longer interested in, suddenly more imaginative.
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