While it may strike some people as odd that such a thing needs research support, it has been shown that talking to children from the moment they are born, even prior, has an effect on their language development.
The research demonstrates that children need to be spoken directly to, not just placed in a language-rich environment. It is possible that the reason for this has to do with “affect” – the emotional component of learning. When you are spoken to you know that the other person is engaging directly with you and the brain responds to this in a meaningful way. So, once again we have evidence for the personal touch in learning. The work of Dr. Andrew Meltzoff (http://journalsconsultapp.elsevier-eprints.com/uploads/articles/pedia5.pdf and http://www.scmp.com/lifestyle/family-education/article/1499201/its-never-too-early-children-learn-second-language-say ) some years ago showed that foreign language acquisition depended on live, personal interaction with the foreign language speaker. If the same person was “live” on a monitor the effect was as if the child had no exposure to the foreign language at all.
All of this research serves to add to the pile of research that has been building the research-based case for Montessori Education. This approach to education is a developmental one that allows children to develop at their own pace and places them in environments where they construct their own knowledge. Lessons are presented very personally and directly, not in large groups or in whole-class situations. The latter are much more like the infant only hearing words spoken but not sensing that they are directed at them. Thus, in both cases learning is minimized.
Montessori Education remains the only approach to learning that understands and respects the way that people learn, from early childhood onwards.
Read about the new research here: