Save the Children’s report (Lighting up Young Brains) states that a child’s early years are a ‘critical opportunity for the brain to develop key skills’. Toddlers’ brains are twice as active as adults and form connections at twice the rate of grown-ups. Unfortunately, a poll of parents by Save the Children revealed nearly half (47 per cent) had low expectations of their children’s ability to learn. Parents reckoned their children would know 100 words by their third birthday. In fact they could and should have nearer 600 words. ‘On average, a child’s vocabulary expands from 55 words at 16 months, to 225 words at 23 months to 573 words at 30 months’ (Goswami 2015)
Good early language development has been shown to be closely related to changes in the development of the brain. Language skills help children to develop a range of cognitive skills that are crucial for their development.
‘Parents, though, do not recognise the importance of learning in the early years’, Save the Children added. Its polling showed that 61 per cent of parents – and 68 per cent of fathers – felt that school was the most important period in a child’s learning.
Gareth Jenkins, Director of UK Poverty for Save the Children, said: ’Toddlers’ brains are like sponges, absorbing knowledge and making new connections faster than any other time in life. We’ve got to challenge the misconception that learning can wait for school. If a child starts their first day at school behind, they tend to stay behind.’
We can help your toddlers learn language skills before primary school through our programme with nursery schools. Read more about this here.