How Babies Learn
Prior to the twentieth century, most people thought babies were passive observers of their world, with no choice and no desire but to sit around and wait for things to happen to them. As philosopher and psychologist William James described, it, the world of the newborn was thought to be a whirring buzz of confusion. No one thought babies had any way of dealing with this tumult, and certainly no way of making sense of it. Due to advances of many areas of study, we now know that the opposite is true. Babies are active participants in their world – experimenting with it, learning how things work in it and creating their own interpretation of it. We also know that babies come into the world with a surprising capacity to make sense of what they see, hear and touch; they’re prepared to expect certain things in their environment, such as the face of a loving dad or the voice of an adoring mom. In other words, babies are born to learn.
All this exploration and experimentation adds up to learning, that not-so-gradual process where your baby takes in information from his experiences and turns it into a meaningful sense of reality. It’s a magical time. Your baby begins his first year responding to the world through reflex actions, and ends it making conscious decisions about how to react. He move from recognizing almost nothing he sees to having an understanding of much of what is going on around him. Best of all, he progresses from making faces because he is hungry, to smiling at you because he has learned that you will make him feel good.