I call it Comfortable Exposure
Have you noticed that every generation seems to be a little smarter than the last? No, I’m not saying old people are dumb, don’t start getting offended. No, for example in my early childhood I learned things that in my parent’s day were more advanced. Technology had advanced, society had advanced, so I learned about things at an age my parents didn’t. I’ve noticed now that 5 year olds are using tablets and iPhones that I can barely use without a few days of learning the ins and outs of, and they are using it like it’s (literally) childs play. Then (I know it’s fiction, but it gave me the idea) I noticed that on Star Trek kids were learning at 7 or 8 about concepts that we would today be learning in college. It made me realize that comfortable exposure to something, exposing your child to advanced thoughts and ideas as if it’s normal every day stuff, will help them grasp broader concepts and ideas.
I try it on my two kids, more so with my 3 year old girl than with my 6 year old boy (I didn’t think of it until last year) and it seems to be working incredibly. Kids love to hear you talk, they love to ask questions, so talk to them and answer their questions. My 5 year old loves volcanoes and knows about pyroclastic flows and plate tectonics, and I give him as much information as I have on any subject he asks about (Google helps) and he soaks it up. I treat it like it’s nothing abnormal to know, no big deal, and he absorbs it 100x better than when he goes to school and they treat it like it’s some big thing to learn certain subjects. My 5 year old was doing math before he started kindergarten and started “learning his numbers”.
My 3 year old watches as I teach my son to read, help him with his homework, and do math and talk about science with him. She’s learning it as fast as he is, I’m betting that by the time she hits kindergarten she’ll be at a 3rd-4th grade level.
Basically, I have no way of testing, I’m not some professor of early education and childhood development, but I say give it a try. Go out of your way to expose your kids to more advanced concepts and ideas, if they show interest in something cram their heads with as much information as humanly possible. You’ll get surprises. Like my 3 year old somehow knows that there is a difference between the tubes that digest and where baby’s come from (We tried to tell her mommy ate a seed, and she says “No, you would poop it out, those are different tubes”). Kids can absorb information you may just pass over if you expose them to it.
It makes me wonder, just how much is learning tied to the subconscious mind? They say kids can absorb more information faster in their earliest years, could subconscious exposure then be more beneficial than sending them to school to memorize test answers? ANyway, it can’t do anything to hurt, so expose your kids to as much information as you possibly can, and they will benefit.