Credit: Arthur Rothstein / Library of Congress
It’s not hard to see thein education. Students from lower-income backgrounds on average and are from college than their higher-income peers. But this gap doesn’t just appear when kids reach adolescence. It stretches back to the early years of a child’s life, according to author , co-director of the Temple University Infant and Child Lab in Philadelphia. She says by the time children turn three years old, you can already observe a “dramatic” gap between those from lower-income and middle-income families. We talk with her about how this sets the foundation for future learning, and the best ways parents - and the government - can help kids progress.
- Back in 2003, found that kids from lower-income families hear about 10 million words by the time they’re 3 years old, whereas those from families with higher incomes hear closer to 40 million.
- Hirsh-Pasek points to the “conversational duet” as a good way to interact with children. Instead of talking at them, a duet means talking with kids. She says this provides a better boost to their language skills than merely throwing language at them.
- Some creative techniques have worked to encourage such conversation. In one study, Hirsh-Pasek found that hanging signs in supermarkets — like “I’m a cow, I have milk. What comes from milk?” — encouraged more dialogue between kids and parents.
- Last fall, Hirsh-Pasek co-authored a study called She found that kids have a harder time learning from parents who are distracted by devices.
- How can Silicon Valley address the education gap? Google is adding in rural areas, allowing kids to learn over long morning and afternoon routes.
- Children in France will be heading to the classroom even earlier. On March 27th, French President Emmanuel Macron announced children , down from the current age of six.
- If you’d like proof of Hirsh-Pasek’s parenting success… for writing the lyrics to La La Land.