Friday, October 19, 2012

Teach Your Baby by Genevieve Painter (Simon & Schuster, 1971)

I found this old early-learning treasure in the free pile at the library (!), and I thought you guys would be interested in some excerpts.

Teach Your Baby by Genevieve Painter (Simon & Schuster, 1971)

p. 14

"In average homes, most parents act similarly during the first year. According to Burton L. White, Harvard's Preschool Project Director, it is during the baby's second year that the behavior of parents begins to differ widely from one family to another. He claims that a toddler's curiosity, his zest for learning and grasp of language, all lead the effective mother to speak to the baby and try to satisfy his now more sophisticated needs. However, to other mothers the grown of the baby only means that he may endanger himself and thus will require more attention and care from her. In large families of small dependent children, the mother is likely to concentrate on keeping the baby out of the way.

"From the studies of the Harvard research team, it is obvious that the child of the mother who is able to provide a variety of experiences and who is able to play with and teach her child in a calm manner is most likely to do well emotionally and intellectually in infancy and in nursery school, not to mention later in school."

Background of the Program in This Book

pp. 15-16

"In 1963 I became interested in the field of special education at the university level, particularly in the problems of non-learning children in school. I had already worked in the Community Child Guidance Centers in Chicago, and for three previous years in therapeutic recreation. Both of these experiences pointed toward the correction of specific educational problems in nursery school and kindergarten through remedial play activities prior to school. Along with other researchers, I was alarmed at the number of children who arrived at nursery school at age three or four, at kindergarten, and at first grade unable or unwilling to learn what teachers tried to teach.

"At about this time I was invited to develop and supervise an educational research program undertaken by the University of Illinois and funded by the United States of Education. Our research was divided into two phases. In the first, professional teachers entered the child’s home for an hour a day for a year. The object of both phases of the research was to determine whether babies who were tutored for a year would show significant IQ increase over those who had no tutoring.

“In the first phase, two professional teachers and I began simply by playing with babies in their homes, much as a mother might do. However, we applied psychological principles of infant development, aiming for the most effective method of teaching the things we considered necessary to the baby’s success in future schooling: use of their senses, of their bodies, particularly their hands; use of language; ability to solve problems; picture comprehensions, etc.

“The thirty babies selected for the program were eight- to twenty-four-months-olds, healthy, and normal in IQ. They were tested and randomly assigned to two groups--those to be tutored, called the experimental group, and those not to be tutored, called the control or comparison group. At the end of a year of tutoring by professional teachers, the experimental group were found to average ten points higher in IQ than the control babies, whose IQs remained at the level of the previous year.

“In the next year, mothers were trained in the educational activities and child-rearing methods used by the professional teachers in the previous year. These mothers then began to teach their own babies, ages five months to twenty-four months. Mrs. Erladeen Badger, who had trained the mothers, made home visits and was impressed to see the babies working happily with their mothers for as long as an hour. At the end of the year, the babies who had been tutored by their own mothers averaged sixteen points higher in IQ than the control babies who had received no special tutoring.

“There were differences more obvious than IQ scores between both groups of experimental children and the control children. The children of the experimental groups were more alert and were able to do many more things. A teacher or a parent taught each experimental child who to use his hands and body, and stimulated his imagination, his ability to reason, to abstract and to make associations, etc. The children were encouraged to feel that they are capable of learning and of doing many more things; therefore, they were willing to learn and to work, and they were also willing to perform for the text examiner--they were 'motivated' to work.

“The child’s capacity to learn or his potential is not a fixed quantity. If his environment is active and stimulating, his capacity or potential is greatly increased.”