|We need to spread the word that the earliest weeks matter!|
Many thanks to Saroj Ghoting, Early Literacy Consultant (and popular workshop presenter) for pointing out the interesting results of a Zero to Three parent survey. Major points are summarized here, and the full report is here.
The information reported here shows that there is definitely a need for us to share information with parents and caregivers about critical development periods for infants and toddlers! Below, I'm basically quoting a post Saroj made on an ALSC listserv:
The time of most rapid brain development occurs during the first 3 years. While 63% of parents identified this correctly, more than 34% said that the time of most rapid brain growth is 3 to 5 years, a significant underestimation of the importance of the earliest years. Parents overall consistently underestimate just how early children can be affected by some critical experiences:
- When asked at what age the quality of a parent’s care has a long-term impact on a child’s development, 50% of parents said this begins at 6 months or older, 57% of parents say it begins at 3 months or older. It starts at birth.
- When asked to identify the age at which children can begin to feel sad or fearful, 42% of parents say one year or older, and 59% of parents believe it begins at 6 months or older. In fact, this happens as early as 3-5 months.
- Nearly half of parents think that reading to children starts to benefit long-term language development about a year and a half later than it actually does: 45% say the benefits start at 2 years or older. In reality, benefits begin at about 6 months.
- 34% of parents believe that talking to children starts to benefit their language skills at a year old or later, and 63% of parents say the benefits of talking begin at 3 months or older. In fact, it begins at birth.