Super-Nature is taught in school classes.
For small after-school groups, we recommend
Helen Doron English for Children
There is no genetic code that leads a child to speak English or Spanish or Japanese. Language is learned. We are born with the capacity to make 40 sounds and our genetics allows our brain to make associations between sounds and objects, actions, or ideas. The combination of these capabilities allows the creation of language. Sounds come to have meaning. The babbling sound "ma - ma - ma" of the infant becomes mama, and then mother. In the first years of life children listen, practice, and learn. The amusing sounds made by toddlers practicing language is really their modeling of the rhythm, tone, volume, and non-verbal expressions they see in the people around them.
Language - with all of its magnificent complexity - is one of the greatest gifts we give our children. Yet, we so often treat our verbal communication with children in a casual way. It is a misconception that children learn language passively. Language acquisition is a product of active, repetitive, and complex learning. The child's brain is learning and changing more during language acquisition in the first six years of life than during any other cognitive ability he or she is working to acquire.
This learning process is made easier for children when adults become active participants in the process. Adults help children learn language primarily by talking with them; when a mother coos and baby-talks with her child, when a father listens to his 3-year-old relating a story, and when a teacher patiently repeats instructions to an inattentive child.
A child's language skills are directly related to the number of words and complex conversations they have with others. In order to learn the relationship between sounds and objects- a child must hear. And then make the association between the sound and what it symbolizes. If a child hears few words, if a child is rarely read to, sung to, or talked with, she or he will not have normal language development. Children growing up in verbally and cognitively impoverished settings have speech and language delays.
Children also need to engage in listening exercises. We often forget that language is both receptive and expressive. It is essential that children don’t just mimic, but listen and effectively process what they hear. Then they can begin to learn the importance of listening to the other children so that not only language learning can take place, but the fine art of communication and social interaction as well.
Excerpts from writings by Bruce D. Perry, M.D., Ph.D., Houston, Texas