The teach-them-younger trend

“Do you ever wonder what your baby is thinking?” asks FasTracKids, an organization specializing in educating children as young as 6 months old.

FasTracKids features a program dedicated to teaching these infants how to communicate through sign language. Approaches include creative play, movement and song, all geared toward signing with a child, leading to a larger vocabulary at any earlier age. FasTracKids claims that at 12 months, a child educated through its program will be saying 200 percent more words than a child not educated via the program (about 18, compared to six).

The trend is based primarily on a 2007 National Institutes of Health study that showed training in sign language could improve infants’ early communication skills. That study was focused more on infants lacking in vocal communication; nearly 10 years later, the trend has opened into the full child-care industry as new parents look for every early educational advantage.

To boost proponents of the trend, Emory University released a study showing babies are capable of problem-solving and reasoning at just 10 months old. More opportunities to mold the early brain.

Millennial influencers are already buying in. Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, arguably the most famous millennial influencer, posted in December 2015 that he was reading his newborn daughter Maxima a 2013 book called “Quantum Physics for Babies.” He said he was joking, but still admitted he’ll be reading Max “World Order” by Henry Kissinger.

Point made: No age is too young for your child to get ahead of other children.

TRENDPOST: The push to educate children at a younger age will grow as millennials become parents and seek to prepare their children for science, technology, engineering and math, or STEM, initiatives and Common Core standards that now dominate American public schools. As an example, baby sign-language classes are taking place in small cities such as Corpus Christi, Texas, and Lake Tahoe, Nev. Small cities, especially, are where millennials are settling. This is a true trend for the next five to 10 years. 

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