Updated: Jan 7
Children under the age of 5 should be playing and interacting with the world at their developmental level. They should not be forced to read, write, code, or memorize math facts or the periodic table at this time.
Will they learn and memorize?
Sure. Children may have the capacity to parrot-learn these disciplines at a very young age, but realistically, they are not developmentally ready to comprehend what they are learning or where/how it all fits in their worlds.
I get it. You think you are doing them a favor by having them memorize daunting facts while their minds are still fresh and so ready to learn. Besides, it must be very impressive in kindergarten interviews and makes for great material for social media bragging. But, I promise you, it doesn't do very much for your child beyond that.
Like dressing your toddler in a suit and tie or wedding dress. Maybe cute, might get a lot of attention, but it does not make them CEOs and brides, does it?
Even if there is an occasion for them to dress up or if they enjoy dressing up like that sometimes, to them the whole experience is a "game" and eventually, they will grow out of these clothes and move on. Unless you have a picture of the event, they will forget all about it shortly after. The same thing happens with forced memorization that is out of a young child's developmental zone. They will impress you one day and then move on and forget it. Out of context learning does that.
The best way to support your young child is to let them play and discover. Follow their interests, not the current job market.
When children interact in their own way with the world around them, they will probably reach the same learning that we are forcing into their growing brains anyway, but their way will be much more productive and fruitful long term.
We want the best for our children. We want them to learn the most, grow the strongest, and shine the brightest with their success. I want that for your child, too!
Our role as parents is to open doors to learning and exploration. The best way to do that at this age is to let them play. Play outdoors, indoors, pretend play, explore their surroundings, run, jump, dance, and climb. The more we interact with them and add to their developmentally appropriate learning experience, the better. Bonus points for reading to them, asking for their help around the house, playing board games, singing, or dancing with them.
Truth is, we don't know what their world is going to look like, so it doesn't make sense to prepare them prematurely for our world.
When we allow children to grow appropriately and fill their developmental space, they grow on solid learning grounds and confident foundations. They are ready to accept the understanding and application of complex and abstract concepts. That's how we raise resourceful problem solvers, critical thinkers, resilient, creative minds that are ready to succeed in their environment when they grow up, however that looks.
That's very different from memorizing facts or performing "grownup tricks" out of context before the age of 5 just so we can check that box.