Now let’s look at language learning. Learning a language for a young child is, it seems to me, the most difficult and demanding learning project any human being ever accomplishes. Even learning to read is a no brainer compared to learning to understand language and speak it.  

The first obstacle is to get what language actually is

Our values, the ones that we intentionally attempt to teach our children, may well be learned in ways we don’t notice. I'm not thinking so much of of things like "be nice," "be good", "clean up", etc., but what are we saying and doing about what we (automatically and generally) tend to focus on. You know ... what I like or don't like, what I want or don't want ... and how we use these to get others to do what we want

This post is in response to my deep concern about the nature of our politics, our values, and our learning (and lack of it in some important areas). I feel I am taking a risk in writing this (I'm afraid right now as I type), but this something that people who know me best both appreciate and feel frustrated or judged by - though there is no personal judgement from my end. And it definitely relates to parenting - relating to our children in an honest and supportive ways.

We have grown up and been educated in a culture that appears to us to value what we know, what we have "learned," and to disregard or hide what we don't know

What is reading? Here is a story from my kindergarten class:

On the first day of the year, my assistant and I sat on the floor with our 16 students, most of whom had attended our pre-k program. We introduced ourselves to whatever degree was comfortable, and everyone relaxed. When I introduced myself, I included telling my class why I do what I do (and it isn't exactly teaching as we know it from our school experience, so I avoid the term teach and teacher. See post on Why Stop Teaching?). I said I am come here to this class because I really enjoy having fun, learning, and being with other people who are learning new things and like to play. And I wouldn't do it if that weren't happening. Then I said that we would be learning about a lot of things, and that what they were interested in was even more important than what I was interested (though one of the things that I was interested in is what they were interested in). Then I had the following conversation and demonstration (which, by the way, is what teaching means - show and tell, only!).

I started with: "One of the things we are going to learn about is reading

In Part 1 we discussed how and how much young children learn when allowed to explore it, focusing on the physical "stuff" and their relationship to it - when allowed to explore it.

Next, let’s think about what young children learn about social living in the world successfully - in their view.  Of course they have no idea what success in the world is except, in some way ...