Monday, September 3, 2012

What Your Toddler/Preschooler Should or Could Know, According to Engelmann's Give Your Child a Superior Mind

I learned in blogging school that provocative posts get the most clicks! So, just to needle my dear readers, allow me to circle back to Engelmann's Give Your Child a Superior Mind (1965). As promised in my last post, here is his list of various rules and "what your preschooler should know by milestone X" statements. There may be others but these are the ones I noted and marked on my first pass through the book.

Note: I do not endorse these assertions, I just find them fascinating and uniquely, crazily blunt, because setting academic standards for the 0-5 set is considered verboten in contemporary society. Do with them what you will, and by that I mean: Enjoy the added awareness, please be nice to your kids, and don't you dare stress about this stuff! Amen.
  • By the time the child is 34 months old, he should know his capital letters perfectly.
  • By the time the child is 3 years old, he should be able to identify all of the small letters except b, d, p and q.
  • The child should know all of the more obvious colors thoroughly by the time he's 3.
  • Introduce relation some time after the child is 2½ years old. Begin with the prepositions in, on, next to, behind, over, under, around and between.
  • The child should learn to count to ten by the time he is 30 months.
  • [At three to four years old], the child should spend about half an hour a day on formal material. His reading lesson should last 10 to 15 minutes. Other lessons, which should be handled more casually than reading, consume another 15 minutes.
  • We suggest purchasing at least four simple books. The child should read each of them at least twice before his fourth birthday.
  • By the time the child is 4, he should have a sight vocabulary (words he can recognize without help) of about one hundred words and he should read very hesitantly.
  • One body of knowledge should be required [for five-year-olds]--facts about the human body (the name of bones and muscles, the functioning of the various body systems).
Also, just because I have it in front of me, here's the text from the dustjacket:

About the authors: Siegfried Engelmann, a Research Associate at the Institute for Research on Exceptional Children at the University of Illinois, specializes in developing material and courses for preschool-age children. He is the author of two concept-comprehension tests and has developed a number of programs for culturally disadvantaged, deaf, mentally retarded and gifted children. Mr. Engelmann has served as a preschool consultant to the states of New York and Pennsylvania. Therese Engelmann, who has degrees in psychology and law, helps develop and test teaching techniques. She also studies various learning problems confronting the preschool child.

Front and back flap: Give Your Child a Superior Mind is a programmed, step-by-step guide--how to increase your child's intelligence. If you are a parent, or a prospective parent, this may well be the most important book you will ever read! Based on the Engelmann's extensive practical experience with preschool-age children, Give Your Child a Superior Mind is the expression of a new philosophy of teaching. But more than this, it is a complete course in itself, giving lessons, examples, experiments and guidelines for each age group, from the eighteen-month-old infant (who must be taught such concepts as shape and direction) to the four- and five-year-old (who can be handling algebra and geometry with practiced ease). The rules are simple and easy to follow, the method is one of logic and common sense, rooted in the games, the play, the everyday life of the home. If you have ever helped your baby grasp an object, told him it is a ball, described it to him as round, you have given him the first lesson. For by giving your child, from the beginning, an active and realistic environment in which learning is an extension of the activities you share, you are taking the first step to giving your child a superior mind. In the words of the authors: "The purpose of this book is to give conscientious parents a program with the confusion, doubt and uncertainty removed--a program that tells what to do and say, what mistakes the child will probably make, what long-range effects to expect, a program based on facts, not on theories."

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