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Learning for a Preschooler

By Inderbir Kaur Sandhu, Ph.D

Q: My son Joseph is 3 and 1/2 and he learns very quickly. He is currently reading above a 1st grade level with words. He can count objects of up to 12-15 and can spell quite a few words like zoo, car cat, hat and moon. He also recognizes many words and knows shapes, all basic colors and all body parts. He does ask a lot of questions like, "Where did you buy those pants?", "Sears", "Why did you buy them is sears?", "because they were on sale", "Why were they on sale?" ...etc. He asks questions about the answers I give him. He reasons and bargains with me and has a cute sense of humor.

He also had a language delay and still does but more so in the area of pragmatics of language which is much better that 6 months ago. I tell him something 2x he gets it. I could probably sit down and teach him the clock in 1 or 2 weeks with out a lot of effort. Not sure which way to go with education and social life. He is currently in a regular preschool five days a week from 9 - 11:30 am and an art class once a week. Any suggestions are welcomed.

A: Despite having language delays, Joseph appears to have learnt very quickly and it would just be a matter of time for him to catch up and even be ahead of his peers. His ability to learn quickly and ask questions may well help him in his learning journey and perhaps place him in advanced classes.

Therefore, it looks like you are indeed on the right track and doing the right thing, so there isn't much to worry about. It is also good that you are taking it easy and not pushing him to learn as that helps his intrinsic motivation which I believe is what keeps him going. You may want to introduce new challenges to him, perhaps things that are not taught at his school, field activities, exploring and introduction to the world of knowledge (books and other reading/audio/visual materials).

If he is interested in art, you may want to bring him to an art museum to appreciate art work and in the process, you can actually build his knowledge while explaining such work. Pay attention to all his questions, answer them, laugh at his humor and enjoy his company. I believe he will grow to be a fine boy. However, you need to put in some effort on your side to help him enjoy learning by exposing new and challenging environments. You may also want to read past issues on similar activities for preschoolers.


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