It seems to me that many parents faced with a bright preschooler, seeing that their child is bright, begin to push with academic information…namely reading lessons. Now the child isn’t asking for reading lessons- that’s just what you do when you have a bright child.
I’m submitting, for your consideration, a different scenario, asking first the question, “What makes a child bright?” Isn’t what makes a child “bright” his wonderful powers of observation and thirst for the answers to absolutely everything in the universe? Of course reading and the rest of the 3R’s are certainly tools to help in the future quest for knowledge but there is a point when each child is ready for such lessons. For some children it might be older four, but often for others it is five and for a few, even six or more! Just because a child is observing and inquisitive and excruciatingly excited about the world around him, doesn’t necessarily mean the time is right to begin his formal education! Unfortunately many parents who push a very young child into academics before his time find that their child’s “brightness” has fled, along with his desire to enjoy studies.
It has been my experience that a child who is self driven is exactly that-SELF driven. He is one of the very few who practically teaches himself to read, who, left to his own devices keeps little notebooks with childish drawings of hundreds of different bugs, who listens to someone playing music and figures out how to play by himself with little help. Yet, in our original scenario most three year olds don’t beg for lessons-there is no child interest, it’s just what the parents think they should do.
Instead of rushing into the academic mode with the really young ones, let’s shine up their brightness in other ways. Let’s expose them, through great literature, to wonderful places, peoples and adventures. Let’s take them on nature outings (that can be a walk around the block!) to zoos, to museums, to our friends’ homes and their friends’ homes, or
camping, and listening to varieties of music. Think about a three year old with a loving, patient father’s time, learning to put a worm on a hook and catching that little fish! Oh rapture! Oh joy! Oh hugs! Even if there are no fish to be had that day, the fact that dad gives his important time to a small person is just as wonderful! I think it means much more to the wee children than their performing some recitations. In all these ways and more, let’s give these young ones as much treasure of variety as we can find and they will embrace all the opportunities to learn vast amounts of knowledge-even before they learn to read. These are the things that will truly intrigue them and cause them to shine even brighter! When their maturity levels and physical levels are ready for the academics, they will joyfully go up like Roman candles and those candles can shine with a light that is truly bright!