Friday, March 9, 2012

My Toddler Learns Her Alphabet

It's amazing how toddlers learn so fast, how they can quickly grasp new things and store it in their memory reservoir—the brain. My daughter just learned to identify each letter of the alphabet. She also knows what animal (mostly) represents a particular letter. I had been teaching her the ABCs, but not consistently. The teaching session was on and off. Sometimes once a week or none at all. We bought her a set of alphabet foam playmat because she likes to step on colorful things. With this learning tool, she does not only enjoy what she's doing, but also stimulates her mental learning skills. Unfortunately, she preferred to take off every piece of the puzzle and put them back together. She likes to tinker things, so after we laid and connected the puzzle on the floor, she got so busy taking the puzzles apart and fasten them back together. I decided to just put the puzzle in a box but didn't put them away just in case she wants to play with them, it's within her reach. Whenever I remember, I'd take out every letter from the box and ask her what I have in my hand. Some she knew, some didn't.

My assertive learner.

Primary Tool in Learning Her Alphabet

Lately, she was entertaining herself with her toy laptop most of her playtime. She'd even take it with her when she goes to the toilet. She was hooked up to the toy. Her laptop is a V-tech Write n Learn Touch Tablet which we gave her  as a present last Christmas. She was more interested in scribbling when she first got the toy. It comes with a stylus pen that allows her to do "free draw." By that time, she loved to make various strokes with the pen, then showing to us what she did, and telling us what shape she drew. She enjoyed doodling more than learning the ABCs. But not until recently.

It was very surprising for me that after a few days of spending most of her time playing the touch tablet toy, she finally memorized and learned all the letters of the alphabet. The huge plus of her learning the ABCs are the things that represents a specific letter. Where she got most of them? Her toy laptop! Usually with letter "A," we'd tell her that A is for apple. But if she's asked, she'd say "ant." Another not-very-common words you hear for letters are "X-ray fish" for X, "vulture" for V, "jaguar" for J, "urchin" for U, "fox" for F, "panda" for P, to name a few. All of this information she got are from her toy. I am very happy that of the many toys we got for her, we didn't waste a single dime with this one. I am so glad that we bought it for her. It helped a lot with her learning the basic education.

License to Learn

I have a relative who said that she didn't have to learn her ABCs until she's in kindergarten. But hey, "if she can learn now, why not?" I replied. She has all the right to learn. She's got these impressive skills, the tools, and the guidance. My toddler didn't learn her ABCs because I forced her. She acquired "most" of the knowledge through her own exploration, curiosity, and assertiveness. I never "pushed" my daughter to learn things that will be taught in school. I am not a "tiger mom." Had I been insistent of her learning the alphabet, I bet she already knew it since we introduced to her the ABC wooden puzzles. As what I said, toddlers have these amazing learning skills. If guided accordingly and given the right educational tools, they will never stop to blow our minds of what they can do.

A Mother's Accountability

I am my daughter's very first teacher. She gets her first education from me, be it related to school, values, discipline, religion, etc.. I am responsible of what she will learn, how, and what she becomes. When it comes to things that she can learn in her school age, I have the freedom and ability to nurture her young mind the basics. What I can do is teach her the fundamental things that I have knowledge about and let her free, innocent, capable mind explore and discover. The shadow of my guidance will abide her.

Enjoying Regular Toddler Life

My daughter enjoys a normal toddler life at her stage right now. She plays a lot of times with her toys (educational or pretend-play), watch some TV "educational" shows, spend time with other toddlers once a week, and of course, gets ample time, attention and love from us, her parents. She gets occasional "sweet treats" for rewards, but most of the time, for no special reason at all—just giving in to the request of a very adorable, sweet, "little thing."

When it comes to learning new things specially school-related matters, we are there to guide her, not coerce her. As long as we can provide her the foundational tools that she can use to help the nourishment and development of her very young, but growing, adventurous, inquisitive mind, we definitely will do.

Well YES, I am quite proud that my two and a half year old daughter already knows her English alphabet.

"Tell me and I forget. Show me and I remember. Involve me and I understand." - Chinese Proverb

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