It is too critical to not have this idea become one of the foundations of “the new education” (what shall we call the conversation once it’s changed?)
The idea is this: that education starts at birth. We need to broaden the concept of education from the restrictive traditional one of “passing along data/information”. If this is all that we do with education and schools then we will not (are not, have not been) prepare people to live their lives in the world. Isn’t this the goal of education? How can it not be?
Once we’ve “got” the idea that education is much bigger, broader, and deeper than the simple and narrow understanding of education as “acquiring information about important stuff” , then we’ll grasp that education starts at birth. Education is all that we do in our waking hours. The child from birth is learning at a phenomenal rate without any external guidance. Nature wants to live and flourish, right? You have to pick this up and run with it.
EVERYTHING that this newborn does amounts to LEARNING, and it doesn’t stop – never. Sounds easy, simple, yes. Yet, there is no shortage of clever parents who would agree with this abstraction all the while doing things with their child that teach them something completely unhelpful, because learning happens all the time, from birth. These clever parents have no idea, it seems, that their interactions with their children, their policies and practices all have an effect: their child is learning stuff that these parents would actually rather not have them learn. They just have no awareness that they are teaching them this stuff. Often it’s dependency-creating stuff: we’re getting ready to go somewhere and the child has forgotten something that they will need (clothing item, food, something). Out of a desire to avoid a meltdown, avoid being inconvenienced themselves somehow, just feeling bad for the child.. or some other reason, the parent finds a way to “fix” the situation. Doesn’t matter how clever the approach is, the result is that they have “saved” the child and what the child has learned is that “things will work out somehow. I don;t have to pay attention, think carefully, plan…..”. Necessarily this is what they are learning. NOT a good life skill.
You can TALK about whatever you want with the child to try to still have them learn the right thing in this situation but they won’t. You learn by doing, there’s no way around that, from day 1.
So- let’s find a way to get this info out there. Let’s work to change part of the conversation so that people understand that learning starts at birth, and what that truly means.