Here’s some very recent research results showing the long term benefits of early learning, reported by The Guardian newspaper (UK):
Farah’s results showed that the development of the cortex in late teens was closely correlated with a child’s cognitive stimulation at the age of four. All other factors including parental nurturance at all ages and cognitive stimulation at age eight – had no effect. Farah said her results were evidence for the existence of a sensitive period, early in a person’s life, that determined the optimal development of the cortex. “It really does support the idea that those early years are especially influential.”
Andrea Danese, a clinical lecturer in child and adolescent psychiatry at the Institute of Psychiatry, King’s College London, said … that this kind of research highlighted the “tremendous role” that parents and carers had to play in enabling children to develop their cognitive, social, and emotional skills by providing safe, predictable, stimulating, and responsive personal interactions with children.
It’s a bit of a pity that the study only started on the children when they were 4. Do we need to wait for another 20 years for science to do another longitudinal study to prove what we already witness ourselves all the time – that early learning for babies and toddlers will also have a long term beneficial impact?
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KL Wong is the Founder and CEO of BrillKids, and also father of Felicity, aged 6. He can be contacted at KL(at)brillkids(dot)com.