So much emphasis is placed on language skills, which is considered amongst the basic yet most crucial health consideration for a successful life. Studies have shown that people with larger vocabularies tend to be more successful than those without. Parents are caught up in the hype, rushing to get their children in the best pre schools to insure their place in the best universities. Of course education is important to the health of an individual, doctors and lawyers can afford better health care because they have larger salaries than a high school dropout. Poverty affects health and the quality of life even in a country such as Canada, which has a universal health care system.
Some parents are so concerned about giving their babies a language head start that they are buying educational videos. The University of California, Riverside, tested 88 babies using the Walt Disney Baby Einstein series for experimentation. They did not find any proof to substantiate that the group who received the video had actually learned any new words or learned at a faster pace then the control group who did not receive the instruction. The 35-minute video focused on 30 common household words.
The researchers said the gains the babies who saw the DVD made were age appropriate gains common to developing language skills over the six-week testing period.
Other research points to children whose parents used the infant educational videos often scored lower on a vocabulary test than other children of the same age.
There are three hypotheses on why this may happen. The first is that these videos may actually impair language development in some way. The second hypothesis is that parents who sit their children in front of the video may be relying too much on the video to be doing the work, when they should be engaging one to one with their babies and teaching them communication and language skills. The third hypothesis is that the infants are too young to understand what they are watching.
Montrealers like parents all over North America are concerned giving their babies the best head start in life. There are daycares, and different early education and head start programs to enhance the social, motor, emotional, and language skills of young children.
For information about head start programs in Montreal contact:
Terry at (514) 937-5351 local 248 or by email at [email protected]