How young is too young for science?

Tori - posted on 07/25/2012 ( 2 moms have responded )

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My daughter will be 2 in a month, and it's scary how fast she's learning things. She can count to fourteen, knows her alphabet, even recognizes a few written words. It seems like she's fascinated with everything, from bugs to cars. One of the things that's really gotten me thinking lately are her tv-time choices.

TV time consists of us sitting together and navigating through Netflix together on my partner's xbox; I pick a show, and she points to the small picture of the episode she wants to see, and we watch together. I talk to her about what goes on on screen - repeat big words and say what they mean, etc.

Well lately she's been wanting to see a lot of space.
Today she watched Yo Gabba Gabba's space episode, and she seems particularly thrilled with the sun, moon, and planets. Every time she sees a black (or dark) background with white (or light) spots or dots on it, she declares "space!"

This got me thinking about getting her a telescope when she's old enough, and THAT got me thinking, when exactly IS "old enough" for stuff like that? I mean, if she shows an interest in something, and she is supervised and can be gentle with the equipment, why wait till she's a certain arbitrary age?

I'm not trying to say I'm going to force her to use something like a telescope if she doesn't -want- to, just saying why shouldn't I make the tool available as soon as I'm able to, and when she seems like she'd like to see the real "space!", she can. I did that with her drawing too; soon as she could pick up a crayon and figured out what it did, I started giving her paper to draw on and let her do her thing, and the only direction I give is that when she wants to color, it goes on paper, not on the wall :P

I worry, though, about the line between letting her follow her interests, and her only showing interest in things because it gets positive responses from her parents. I also worry that by having her learn too much too soon, she'll get too far ahead of her peer group in school, and that's a whole 'nother can of worms.

I'd love to hear some thoughts on this from other parents out there :)

2 Comments

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Denikka - posted on 07/25/2012

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If she's interested and capable, I say why not.
My son has been obsessed with dinosaurs forever (he's 3.5 now). We started with plastic models and the Land Before Time movies (not the first one, but 2-13).
I started out thinking that the first LBT was going to be too scary for him, that he wouldn't understand and he'd be scared of the documentary type movies etc.
But I've always encouraged him to be independent and do things that he's capable of, so one day, I thought I'd see how he did with a documentary about dinosaurs. We watched an episode of Walking With Dinosaurs...and he LOVED it!!
He may not understand all the technical stuff, but he's learning the names of the dinosaurs, learning what they eat, etc.

I've really come to the conclusion that if a child is capable of doing something, they want to do it, and it's safe for them to do, why stop them? What do you gain by preventing them from doing something they want to and can do? Nothing really.
If she's interested in space, I absolutely say go for it. Feed that interest and love of learning as much as possible! Don't worry about her surpassing her peers. You can always homeschool or supplement her at school learning with extras at home.

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