Prejudice Is Learned

Children younger than three have already acquired the specific prejudices of their parents.

Monash University’s Associate Professor Kerry O’Brien said the findings indicate anti-fat prejudices are socially learned and children are picking up on them at a younger age than previously thought.

The anti-fat sentiments of the children studied had a “high correlation” to their mothers expressing those attitudes in a questionnaire carried out with the research.

“…the child’s mind can acquire culture at a much earlier age than has been generally supposed.” Attitudes, dispositions, preferences, everything that is culture is absorbed by the child from her environment.

The Babies Are Listening

Wah Wah.

When the researchers examined the children three years later, they found that children who had a larger oral vocabulary at age 2 were better prepared academically and behaviourally for kindergarten, with greater reading and maths achievement, better behavioural self-regulation, and fewer acting out or anxiety-related problem behaviours.

And if the child has a vocabulary at age two, they must have absorbed all these words before they were two.

“Externally he seems to be making no progress, but all of a sudden he says a word. Then for a long time he uses only two words, and seems discouragingly slow to go any further… Within a space of three months, the child who was almost dumb, learns to use easily all the varied forms of the noun, suffixes, prefixes and verbs. And, in every child, all this occurs at the end of the second year of his life.” — Dr. Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind

Goo Goo

Ga Ga.

Psychologists at the University of York found new evidence that specific language used by mothers to talk to their babies can help their child to understand the thoughts of others when they get older.

The child is sensitive to language even “in the mysterious period which follows immediately after birth.” — Dr. Maria Montessori, The Absorbent Mind

(Yes it’s not a fancy cover like the other publications, but in my opinion this is the best edition available). [Montessori, M. (1988) The Absorbent Mind. (C. Claremont, Trans.) Oxford, England: Clio Press. (Original work published 1948)]