Head Start programs for infants can improve or inhibit their future success and performance in school. Pushing too hard too early can have serious negative implications later in life. I have seen many children freeze with anxiety and nervousness when reading or tackling new tasks due to early parental pressure to learn and perform early. We must provide opportunities for early learning that send pleasant signals to feed the brain. Any task that sends out tense or painful signals will take the child away from learning.

The best head start program that parents can offer their baby is one that engages the child in learning in a natural cycle, appropriate to their level of brain development. If the brain is miswired early in life from important startup programs, it can seriously inhibit your learning and success. The best way to develop a child’s vocabulary is by reading and talking regularly. A child’s vocabulary level upon entering school will either help or greatly hinder his understanding.

The vocabulary and words a child knows when entering school determines how well they will understand what the teacher tells them. Your child’s personal vocabulary level will feed or frustrate his understanding and comprehension of concepts.

From my knowledge as a teacher, once a child starts having trouble or falling behind in class, they have to work very hard to keep up. Most of the time, the gap widens and it is very difficult to recover. Reading to baby early helps develop this level of vocabulary so that you have a great opportunity to have a good foreknowledge of your world and are ready to understand your instructors at school. The simplicity of regularly reading to baby or toddler is that it is not the toys in the house that will influence their future success. It is the words in their minds that are valuable to learn.

A child’s reading ability affects his entire report card, as reading is truly the heart of education. Knowledge of almost all school subjects is derived from reading. You need to be able to read the science experiment, you need to be able to read the math problem, you need to be able to read the questions on your tests to understand the assignments.

Many people think that the best way to build a baby’s vocabulary is simply to talk a lot. While this is still wise and advisable, many people overlook the impact that reading can have on baby vocabulary. In fact, conversation is proven to be inferior to print and reading when it comes to building vocabulary. It is the least common and weirdest words that we use when we speak or read to the baby that effectively build their vocabulary and, consequently, strengthen their reading.

Children’s books and even picture books are known to use a significantly higher rate of rare words than those spoken in everyday language at home. To expose the baby to weirder words to build their vocabulary, we must read to them. By this we do not mean reading the encyclopedia. Just read books that interest them and are enjoyable.

Vocabulary and prior knowledge are the key prerequisites before starting school. Parents should read to their baby regularly and consistently and talk frequently. Remember that babies and children learn more from their parents. Simply put, the best Head Start programs parents should consider for their baby are not workbooks, exercises, or skills programs.

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