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Starting early key to developing ‘tiny happy people’

“A chatty child is a happy child”“Tiny Happy People”

Although the United States has many useful sites for parents raising children from birth to age 5, the British might have one upped us with the new site supported by the BBC called “Tiny Happy People.” The web and Instagram sites are free and can be easily found by Googling “BBC Tiny Happy People.” Katherine, Duchess of Cambridge, calls the site “gold dust” for parents.

Starting now

According to the British educational researchers and experienced educators themselves, “Most parents believe children who start behind will catch up within a year or two — but that is not the reality. Students who are one to three years behind typically make a year’s worth of growth each year, just like all students. The bad news is they are still one to three years behind their grade level.”

The researchers and educators explain that closing a learning gap once a child begins school is costly and difficult because the children need “to achieve their typical year of academic growth plus another year of growth to catch up by even a single level. The data is clear.” All children can and will improve, but may never catch up to their classmates. And this has a lifelong impact. These children will need extra attention by parents and teachers.

Gold dust

The “Tiny Happy People” site includes hundreds of researched evidenced-based fun activities, videos, articles and quizzes for new parents, grandparents and other child care providers. All easy and fun activities nurture children’s language right from pregnancy. Even if you are starting to work with communication and language a bit late, the researchers say, “Start today.”

Here is one example from the BBC teaching videos. Dr. Michelle Peter explains that gently touching and talking to babies is a great way to help support development. Interact with babies to develop a nice bond. They like a soft slippery blanket edge. Skin-to-skin hugging is reassuring because they can smell you and hear your heart beat.

Look at them at a close range because vision is still developing and they need to see things at a close range. Take this opportunity to make faces. They will mimic you. Smile and coo. Waltz and hum. Talk to them. They need to hear the range of language sounds they are learning. If you don’t know what to say, sing or read the many hardbound or cloth books that are brightly colored with reds and yellows. Say and read rhyming nursery rhymes and poems. They are a scaffold for conversation. Language and touch stimulate babies’ senses. They like to communicate with you and are born ready to learn and love.

For more, see grandparentsteachtoo.blogspot.com; wnmufm.org/ Learning Through the Seasons live and podcasts since 2009; Facebook and Pinterest.

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