Chapter 7 - The vital years

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The vital years

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parents put children in a pastel environment. And this for baby is a disaster. The baby needs to see contrast, needs to see outlined shapes and images, needs to see black-and-white contrasts.
  "If you put him in a room of pale pinks and pale blues, it's like putting him in a world where there's nothing to see - so he can't see it."
  Or take taste. Doman says it is one of the most neglected senses. "In the normal course of events, a baby in his first few months of life would probably taste only two things: milk and vomit. Now that's not a very interesting taste variety! So we encourage our mothers to introduce some variety: a little taste of lemon or orange or nutmeg."
  And sound: "Mothers intuitively speak in a slightly louder, clearer voice to babies - and that's great," says Doman. "And it's even better if you constantly tell baby what's happening: saying, 'Now I'm dressing you,' 'I'm putting your right sock on,' 'Now I'm changing your diaper.'"
  Playing soothing background music is also recommended. It's significant that youngsters in the Pacific islands of Polynesia, Melanesia and Micronesia almost invariably grow up with the ability to sing in harmony - an almost perfect sense of pitch. Every Polynesian also seems to be a natural dancer. Every New Zealand Maori seems to be able to sing in perfect tune. Again, experts will tell you it's because of what they did well before they went to school. They grew up in a culture where singing and dancing play a major part. And they patterned all that information in the vital early years.
  In a similar way thousands of three- and four-year-olds around the world can now play the violin - many in their own orchestras - thanks to programs pioneered by Japan's Shinichi Suzuki.

3. Build on the five senses
 
  As an infant gets older, many parents feel it's even easier to encourage learning through all the senses - because you see the instant feedback.
  In Learning Through Play, Marzollo and Lloyd stress that children learn from experiences that are concrete and active. "For a child to understand the abstract concept of 'roundness', he must first have many experiences with real round things. He needs time to feel round shapes, to roll around balls, to think about the similarities between round objects, and to look at pictures of round things. When children are at play, they like to push, pull, poke, hammer and otherwise manipulate objects, be they toy trucks, egg cartons or pebbles. It is this combination of action

 

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