One Point for Dora 

I’m a strong believer that exposure is one of the greatest methods of teaching young children. In my classroom not once have a ever shown a flash card or drilled a number chart or abc chart. For young children, I believe exposing them to letters and numbers through books, writing and environmental print is the best way to teach them. I’ve seen the progress with three, four and five year olds year after year, but today I was truly amazed in my own home.

It’s been quite a while, about 10 years to be exact, since I’ve had a baby/toddler in the house. MJ recently turned 18 months and is truly a lover of books, and has been for some time. Sometimes she wants to be read to, and other times she prefers to explore her books on her own. She has quite a library of board books.

Today as my hubby and I sat nearby, MJ turned the pages of one of her books. “Five, six” she said. She has recently started saying a few numbers, which I’ve been delighted about, but when I looked over I noticed she was pointing to those numbers on the page. As we stared on in amazement she pointed to a few other numbers in “Dora’s Christmas Counting” book and said their names. I quickly grabbed my phone to record, but having just learned to say “cheese” when she sees a camera on her makes it difficult to catch her in action. Later she pointed out numbers on her high chair. Again-amazed.

MJ only knows numbers through books that we’ve read. Today, I was amazed that her 18 month old brain remembered not only what the numbers looked like, but was and to use her newly formed speech to say the corresponding words.

As a teacher, I was ecstatic. I constantly tell parents at conferences what a difficult skill number & letter recognition can be for young children. Imagine looking at strange symbols or words in a foreign language and you’ll start to get the idea. It’s hard,  but I truly believe exposing letters and numbers in ways that are meanful to children is most appropriate.

Each day MJ shows us something new she’s learned-a new word, animal sound etc., and each day we’re delighted by her new knowledge and emerging personality, but today as her mom and first teacher, I was excited by the affirmation that what we’ve been exposing her to is entertaining and educating her at the same time.