World Changers, there is not a week that goes by without a parent asking, “should my toddler know colors, numbers, and letters. When should it be mastered? Should I use flash cards? Are they behind?”
I am going to spend today’s post to give you the nitty gritty about ‘colors, letters, and numbers.’
First things first…let’s break down what numbers, letters, and colors represent.
First words are representative of your sugars environment. The inventory aligns with meeting their wants and needs. It expands to commenting, labeling, protesting and asking questions. This type of language is considered abstract. We rely on learning abstract language first because this is what we need to get through life. Without abstract language, we miss out on learning how to advocate for our wants, needs, tell stories, make request, ask questions, comment on the world around us and participate in conversations.
This is why first words are typically “mama” or “dada” because our little one’s understand that those names get the job done!
Think of it like this…I can ask you for a cup of water in 3 different ways:
“May I have some water?”
“I’m thirsty, can I have some water?”
You can probably think of 50 other ways to make request for water and other items. Why? Because abstract language allows us to take nouns (person, place, and thing) and manipulate words around it to get our needs met.
In contrast, when we think about letters, numbers, and colors, we think “concrete learning” or “concrete skills.” These are the concepts that will never change. No matter how many times you see “red” it will always be “red.” Now, you may be able to manipulate the words around the concept of “red” but that label will never change. We don’t require concrete language to get through life. We rely on concrete language to prepare us for the various concepts and ideas we will learn when entering school.
Are these concepts important, YES! Should you worry about teaching them to your child? Maybe?
Let me explain why…no matter what concrete skills we acquire, they will never be a substitute for using language to get through the day. It will never help us make a friend, talk about the clouds in the sky, express pain, empathy, happiness, and the list goes on. Your sugar needs abstract language to get through the day. Your sugar needs abstract language to get through life.
Don’t believe me…think about it like this…if I ask my sugar “what would you like for lunch,” and the response is “blue,” than we are in big trouble.
If your ask “how was your day” and the response is “D,” than we have a big problem.
You see, society has taught us that our sugars need to be ahead academically in order to thrive in school. Unfortunately, this is not necessarily the case. We don’t need our sugars to have preacademic skills absent of the ability to communicate their thoughts and ideas clearly and confidently. It is not enough for your sugar to pass classes, but fall apart when asked a simple question.
We have to be wiser than this World Changers. Abstract learning is the true key to our sugars success and there is no substitution for that. There is nothing more important than knowing as a World Changer that our sugars have the foundation to navigate through life. The building blocks of abstract language provide that foundation for them-not teaching letters, numbers, and colors.
Now, if you have a sugar whose mastering milestones, than by all means, please go the extra mile and teach them concrete language. Help them make those associations because they are important at a certain point in time. However, I cannot emphasize enough that concrete language only should come after you see your sugar navigating abstract language like a boss!
If you find yourself having difficulties connecting with your sugar in a way that moves from concrete to abstract language, start here:
1. Shy away from asking questions during play. Narrate what they are doing. If the truck is going up, than describe that in simple language “up, up, up” or “truck up” or “truck go up.”
2. If you find your sugar is responding by labeling colors, letters, or numbers, talk about the object or attach a name to the object.
a. “Red car go”
b. “Push car…1, 2, 3”
3. Start commenting on things in your environment.
a. “Look at the stars, how beautiful”
b. “Aw…baby sad. She’s crying.”
These are a few tricks and tips that can help you get started on the right path. If you feel like…”Cherina, I still don’t know if I have the right tools in my belt. I need more help.” There’s no shame in getting a second set of eyes on the job! Remember, we are a community. I am known to ask a million questions…sometimes more than once. Reach out to me for a consultation and I would be more than happy to provide some personalized tips and tools that meet the needs of your family.
Until the next time World Changers! Take Care, C