What is Early Learning Early Teaching Doman Method Glenn Doman

What is Early Learning?

What is Early Learning Early Teaching Doman Method Glenn Doman

What is “early learning”?

I’m not sure where the nickname came from, but it stuck. More than likely, it was a spinoff of the “early reading” movement where most of us started out – that is, teaching our kids to read well before school age, or, “early readers”.

But, we we call ourselves “early learning parents”, and often refer to our kids as “early learners”.

While it is a term sometimes used to refer to any learning that happens in the “early years” (usually age 0-5 years or so), this is what we mean by it:

What is Early Learning

Age Appropriateness Re-evaluated

Early learning proponents believe that there is not developmentally inappropriate content, but rather developmentally inappropriate teaching methods.

For example, common “wisdom” says that phonics is much too abstract for a 1-year-old. Multiplication is much too complicated for a 2-year-old. Algebra is much too difficult for a 5-year-old. But early learning proponents believe it is more about the teaching method than the content.

Example: letter sounds

Usual teaching method (kindergarten or first grade):

Listening to a teacher talk and explain
Filling out worksheets, tests, practice problems; lots of writing and “busywork” involved
Drilling the concepts over and over until child can prove mastery
Lots of sitting still, quiet listening, focusing

Exposure to same content in a way that is appropriate for a 1-year-old:

Showing a baby 1-5 foam letters at each diaper change
Being playful, excited, and cheerful as you say the letter sounds
Being very brief – only spending 5-10 seconds on it

Do you see the difference? The second example is how I taught my baby his letter sounds, and he learned them quickly and easily before a year and a half old.

Just because it is “usually” taught at age 4 or 5 or 6, doesn’t mean it was “too difficult” for him. He learned letter sounds with the same ease that he learned, “The cow says ‘moo'” or, “This is a ball.”

What is Early Learning?

Damien (12 months old) learned all his letter sounds very early with just a few seconds a day of playful interaction

“Teaching” Little Ones

Early learning proponents believe that you can teach a very tiny child virtually anything by using methods that are appropriate for very young children.

What are those methods?

1. Exposure versus teaching

Teaching usually involves giving the student information, drilling the information, then testing to make sure they understand.

Exposing a child to information involves stress-free, pressure-free, demand-free knowledge giving, often times incorporated into daily routines and everyday conversations.

2. Being joyful, playful, and enthusiastic

Learning is viewed as an exciting game, not a chore.

3. Being very, very brief

Only spending a few seconds at a time showing the information.

4. Being clear and straightforward

Giving your child facts (not abstractions) that are clearly presented, easy to see (large print and pictures), and extremely straightforward. Also, avoiding over-explaining things by being as precise as possible.

What is Early Learning

Damien, age 3, doing some addition

Tiny Kids are Capable and Intelligent

Ok, so maybe if you expose your child to concepts in a playful, laid-back way, it’s not going to damage them. But are they really going to be able to understand much?

False Stereotypes

Society has stereotyped little kids as these dumb, incompetent little creatures that don’t know anything about anything.

But neuroscience has taught us that tiny children are extremely observant, precocious, and adaptable. They are keen problem solvers and rabid language learners. They come into the world with an incredible amount of built-in understanding of the way things work, and are absorbing new information about the physical world, the social world, and the language world at a truly mind-boggling rate.

Linguistic Geniuses

Consider also a tiny child’s almost miraculous ability to learn a language (or multiple languages!). They effortlessly learn all the vocabulary, grammar, inflection, tone, and native pronunciation of a language without a single lesson.

For an adult to learn a language as well as the average 4-year-old, they require hundreds of hours of lessons, study, and practice. Yet toddlers do it without ever being taught.

This tells us that very young children are:

Absorbing information from their environment at an amazing rate
“Geniuses” at figuring out rules (in the case of language, grammar rules)
Intuitive, capable, and intelligent

What is Early Learning?

Aria, 6 months old, clapping & giggling over number sense cards

Tiny Children are Interested in Learning

Adults have categorized anything that is “academic” as “boring” and “difficult”. But babies aren’t born with this bias, and toddlers and preschoolers almost never have it.

They find learning country flags just as interesting as learning zoo animals.

They find singing about presidents just as exciting as singing about “Little Bo Peep”.

They find playing with math concepts just as fun as playing with jigsaw puzzles.

They find learning letter sounds just as intriguing as learning farm animal sounds.

They find reading history stories just as enjoyable as reading fairy tales.

And as many early learning parents have found, they often enjoy the “academic” play more than they do the “typical kid stuff”.

What is Early Learning?

Damien, age 3, swinging on a rope to build hand, wrist, & upper body strength (necessary for writing development)

Creating a Development-Enhancing Environment

Besides giving your child information, many early learning parents also seek to create a developmentally-enhancing environment that helps their child naturally develop, learn, and build the foundation for other skills.

This can be things like building play equipment that helps your child develop the hand, wrist, and upper body strength necessary for writing. It can also mean things like creating a great home library collection where your child has access to books, or making sure that your home is full of language-building conversations.

It can also mean things like providing lots of colorful, high-contrast pictures for your newborn to look at to help them grow their vision so that they can see earlier and be able to sooner enjoy books, picture cards, and word cards.

What is Early Learning?

Looking at word cards is no different than looking at board books. It’s just as stress-free and just as interesting.

So in summary, early learning means:

  • Exposing your child to lots of interesting subjects in a gentle, playful way
  • Believing that your child can learn and wants to learn
  • Creating an environment that naturally helps your child learn, develop, and build foundational skills

It may not be for everyone, but many parents (and children) have found a great deal of joy, pleasure, and adventure in learning and discovering many beautiful, interesting, and worthwhile things together.

6 Comments

  • Ms. A. June 2, 2015 at 1:57 am

    Wow, I love it! Thanks for making and maintaining this website! Its very good explanation of what EL is about and how the EL parents view EL!

    I’m curious, do you ever get push-back from people who just don’t like you teaching your kids the way that you do?

    Reply
    • domanmom June 2, 2015 at 10:43 am

      Thank you! Honestly, I have learned to be very private about my early learning with my kids. I don’t talk about it at all with my family and friends. Very early on, I learned that most people aren’t nearly as excited about it as you are, and are often downright negative and think you’re crazy. So after being hurt from people not understanding, I really only talk about it online with other likeminded families. So I haven’t gotten any negative comments in a long time (Well, except on YouTube. YouTube commenters are the worst).

      Reply
      • Ms. A. June 20, 2015 at 1:16 am

        Yes, YouTube is…ugh! YT is probably The Worst for unchecked anonymous cruelty. Don’t let those hateful people get to you, they aren’t worth the time of day, honestly.

        (Fortunately?) I have learned the hard way but very early that people are very close minded, negative and ignorant about EL–and very determined to stay that way. Anytime that I have spoken about or mentioned EL to anyone-everyone from childless friends to expectant parents they have strong visceral reactions and almost always against the very idea. As if I recommend setting the baby on fire.

        Anyway, sorry for always pestering you with questions, feel free to ignore me if you don’t want to answer but I’d love it if you were able to share some insight into the “game plan” but I’m sure that your family is having a busy summer.

        Do you have any ideas about the path that Damien and Aria will take? How does the path that you *want* for D and A differ from the path you *wanted* for H when he was younger? Do you find that with time your EL goals/ambitions have shifted? Do you intend to put Damien in school when he reaches school age? (K or 1st?)

        I can’t wait until you get the AfterSchooling site online–I’ve been following you for years so I’m always curious what it looks like when these EL kids “transition” to elementary stage and later.
        Do you find that PS is a good fit for Hunter at this point or would you have preferred to continue HSing him full time? Do you still feel a desire for the Early College route for Hunter?

        Anyway, I’ll stop here before I embarrass myself any further, but in case you can’t tell, I’m a huge fan! I love what you are doing with your kids and you are such an inspiration. Everyday I want to be a better student of life and I know that if one day, I’m half the mom that you are then I’ll be able to say that I’m proud of the type of mother that I am.

        Reply
  • ptmomma July 7, 2015 at 10:49 am

    Thank you for sharing your insightful approach to EL! I love it! I also love the addition chart you have pictured. Know where I can find one?

    Reply
  • hema March 10, 2016 at 3:07 am

    thanks alot doman mom for sharing

    Reply
  • Steven Bhardwaj September 2, 2017 at 10:33 pm

    Great summary! Fun illustrations! 😀 😀

    Reply

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