It is with joy and a bit of sadness that my youngest daughter crosses the threshold from age one to age two. While she will always be “my baby”, I don’t have a baby anymore.
When I think about the amount of gains she has made over the course her two little years, I can’t help but analyze how much she has surpassed my goals for her. At birth she was this tiny little person barely capable of identifying her own basic needs for nourishment or sleep much less communicating those needs. Now, not only can she tell me she’s hungry, she lets me know she wants “yogurt and oatmeal” and weighs in on her preference to sleep in “mommy’s bed” over her own. In comparison, I have done nothing in the past two years to even come close to this amount of growth!
Even with my own great understandings of child development, she never ceases to amaze me. As a brand new two year old, she is demonstrating mastery of academic achievers equivalent with that of a four year old. For example, she can recognize her letters, spell her 8 letter name, count to 15 and identify those numbers, and knows her birth date.
But what makes her any farther ahead than any other child? Nothing.
She is an organically sound child from a family that values education. I take her to preschool every day, have meaningful conversations with her, read to her, all the things that almost every other working mother does every single day.
Are there other children performing at this outstanding level at this age? Absolutely!
So what makes the academic and developmental achievements of this child above the norm? Simply put, as a society we have not set our expectations of the early years high enough. The bulk of America still considers the preschool years as “the baby years” despite the enormous amount of research identifying this period as “use it or loose it” critical time.
Not only are the youngest members of our society highly capable, they enjoy the challenge of learning with a wonder and awe that is immeasurable. I witness it each and every day.
It is high time we increase our expectations of learning standards and bring those standards to fruition in an economically effective manner. Numerous studies show the time in a child’s life to effect the largest amount of change are in the early years and there is no time like the present.
Enjoy the journey, the future is in our hands!