Set a Strong Foundation for Your Children Early by Monica M. Jones
I read an amazing article recently about a study that found that quantity not quality makes all the difference when developing your child’s vocabulary. This study also made a discovery that rich families talk to their children more than poor families.
After working at a preschool for poor kids, University of Kansas graduate student Betty Hart and her professor, Todd Risley realized, even though they did not see the limitations of the children and only focused on their potential, these children had a much smaller vocabulary compared to their wealthier peers across town. Hart and Risely worked tirelessly for years to expand the vocabulary of these 4 year olds, but they were not successful. They later realized that they weren’t getting to the kids early enough.
In oder to answer the question on how early you need to get to kids to set a strong developmental foundation (in regards to vocabulary), they targeted early education and headed a study that recorded the first three years of 40 infants’ lives. It took them nearly 10 years to transcribe all of the tapes that were eventually fed into a computer analysis. The results were worth the long research process. Hart and Risely discovered amazing differences between rich families and poor families.
One of the most astounding differences was that the average child in a welfare home heard about 600 words an hour versus a child in a professional home who heard 2,100. Astounding! According to the study, by the time a child reached the age of 4, children in professional homes heard an average of 48 million words addressed to them while children in poor welfare families heard only 13 million. The educational gap is very large between these two groups, but can it still be closed or at least brought closer together?
My conclusion: Set a strong foundation early!!! Interact with your children as often as you can. Make it a point to be a part of their development. What are your thoughts on the educational gap? How often are you talking to your children?