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Questions from the KHT Montessori Classroom… Nurture Shock

05 August

Questions from the KHT Montessori Classroom…

This week in one of the KHT classrooms we have been reviewing a chapter in the book written by Po Bronson, NurtureShock. The 10th chapter talks about why parents are spending billions every year on all types of gimmicks and videos in order to “jump-start” their infants’ language skills. Instructor Karen says, “I know this is a ‘hot’ button issue for a lot of us. Today, we will review information to help us start to understand how scientific information has been interpreted in ways that might not be the ‘best’ for children. Then, we will look at this issue from a Montessori point of view.”

A student posted this comment:

This post really hit home with me, as a brand new mom. I was brought up that as kids you played outside and used your imagination. My sister and I very rarely were allowed to watch television except for here and there during the school week and maybe an hour of cartoons on Saturday mornings. I grew up during the time that video games were exploding on the market and my parents stood firm and never bought us one as they truly believed what a lot of this chapter discusses- that babies (and children) learn so much more and develop so much greater with human interaction. On a side note, I do think that if a child does watch television, for example they are watching a program about animals, that it should be real animals not cartoon ones. I have encountered many students that do not know what certain animals actually look like except in cartoon form.

Instructor Karen replied:

Years ago it was a “new” thing where educators and parents thought that children would learn better and easier and have more fun if a cartoon or fun puppet were attached to learning shows on television. What this did was make so that children were conditioned to “respond” to only this type of education…and they felt everything else was “boring.” Also, these shows changed from one screen and one subject quickly and children developed a “short” focus and ability to stay with something for longer than a minute. So, sadly, many of our children developed “learning disabilities/challenges” that they would never have had except for the conditioning that resulted from the educational programing. Today, there are many choices that don’t do this…but the need for a young child to just sit and watch “education” on television is really not important. I am not against children watching some television, but we need to be very responsible about what they are viewing and why they are watching and we need to be able to discuss what they watch with them.