Edith Peisach is the director of Baby Stars, an award-winning early childhood program in south Florida. David Lawrence Jr., for whom an endowed chair position in early childhood studies has been established here at the University of Florida, has said that Baby Stars is among the best mother-child programs he has seen. Edith recently volunteered for an interview with the writer of this website to discuss her program as well as to offer advice that she believes is important for all parents of young children to know.
The Baby Stars program is based on interactive, multisensory activities that are specifically designed to key in on vital areas of young children's brain development. Parents are encouraged to engage their children in a variety of sensory experiences throughout the day as part of natural routines. For example, parents can encourage their children to smell things around the house such as perfume and fruit. She recommends starting children with puzzles early (at about 18 months). Talk about the puzzle while you do it with your child.
Since children need to hear words nearly 500 times to really learn them, Edith recommends that parents look at their children while talking. Make eye contact and speak slowly and clearly. Spend a lot of time with books. Reading in various pitches will help to get and keep your child's attention. To encourage vocabulary development, take time to talk about the pictures.
The Baby Stars model is currently franchised into three countries with negotiations ongoing to expand the program throughout Florida. Some of the programs offer mommy and me classes, others offer childcare only, and some offer both. Edith has designed her own toys to use with young children. They will be available for purchase soon at her website.
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