Maggie Dail, M.A., Learning Specialist
In 1972, Dr. Raymond S. Moore co-authored an article in Harper’s Weekly entitled, “The Dangers of Early Schooling.” Dr. Moore and his wife, Dorothy, wrote, Better Late Than Early in 1975. School Can Wait was published in 1979 – authored by Dr. Moore and four other people. Dr. Moore explains one of his big concerns regarding early reading instruction in Homegrown Kids in 1981:
Leading eye researchers – ophthalmologists and optometrists – insist that prolonged looking at books, near objects, or even confinement in a room without enough opportunity for distant vision often cause “myopia,” abnormal nearsightedness. Young children are normally farsighted but being forced to adjust at too young an age to near objects over a period of months and years actually causes the immature eyeball to be wrenched out of shape. Anxiety is believed also to contribute to this abnormality.” (p. 192)
Physical therapist and founder of The Institutes for the Achievement of Human Potential in Philadelphia, Glenn Doman and other contributors, have produced a series* of books:
How to Teach Your Baby to Read (1963 and redone in 2006)
How to Teach Your Baby Math
How to Give Your Baby Encyclopedic Knowledge
How to Multiply Your Baby’s Intelligence
How to Teach Your Baby to Be Physically Superb
How to Teach Your Baby to Swim
How Smart is Your Baby?
What to Do About Your Brain-Injured Child?
* Books available: How to _________________ – Neuroconnexions Store
If one can judge a book by its title, they represent opposing philosophies of education. Is this really the case? Taking a closer look will reveal otherwise.
For one thing, Moore introduces that section “Taking Time with the Senses” from which the above quote with this on page 191: “We advise that you not rush your child into formal learning before he is ready.” He goes on to talk about the development of the different senses. Doman and the neurodevelopmental approach certainly do not advocate early “formal learning” as in a school setting. Further, they do think about the child’s development when presenting information. In the next articles in this series, you will read find instructions for how to prepare the material your baby will read. Doman was aware of the development of the eye. He did not advocate teaching babies to read with regular print, but appropriately sized print. Learning Specialists using the neurodevelopmental approach discourage extensive “screen time” and encourage extensive outside play.