This is a subject where truth and honesty must come first before protocol and diplomacy. Think about it! How many preschoolers screen or censor what they want to say?
This is my story. After returning to college to finish what I started, I had decided to change from an elementary education degree to an early education degree for the same reason that so many others do – because there’s probably something you can do to make a difference in someone’s life if it’s done early enough.
I began my certification course almost as soon as I began a paid teaching job. One of the first things taught in teacher training was that teachers of toddlers and preschoolers were required to omit, or basically eliminate the use of negations such as no, not, don’t, can’t and shouldn’t when teaching, guiding or disciplining children. What was most astonishing about this mandate for communicating with young children was that whatever other techniques or teaching methods were being used the cognitively correct® method was mandatory because of an irrefutable and little known fact. Young children are unable to hypothesize. In other words, young children lack the capacity to reason or make conclusions and therefore it is unrealistic and unfeasible for them to make informed decisions on their own.
This understanding rang a bell in my head and I intuitively felt that there was more reasoning and purpose to this required technique than meets the eye. I also felt that this was something that could be immediately applied even without any formal teacher training.
I returned to work with a commitment to implementing this technique and experienced profound changes in more than just how I communicated with my students, I experienced some pretty nifty changes in myself, too. The first and most impressive, but lasting experience was that whatever guidance and commands I dispensed needed to be designed around the children’s needs for development rather than my personal conveniences or issues. For me, this began what I felt could be the formula for actually devising a plan that could change the legacy human development from early childhood on. Here was the key for me to make a real difference and change the lives of generations.
While I was elated about this education-changing and life-changing technique, I was even more elated as I anticipated the imminent release of a credible educator’s manual on the power and purpose of using positive language as the theme to design a major make-over of conventional education from the bottom up. I waited, I searched it out, searched out this source with a vengeance and still never came.
What I did discover was that there was plenty of material on toddlers, babies, the elementary school years and the teenage years of development. There was also material on how to improve your skills as a teacher in all areas of development. Additionally, there existed mounds of material on the separate areas of development for preschoolers, and even more about problems that crop up in the preschool years. But to my amazement, there was nothing that explained how to acquire a proficiency in this most important language technique, how this technique influenced the preschool development years and the most baffling to me was – where is the material on only preschool development and all of the preschool functions together? This was a curious finding because by then I had discovered that all preschool functions are so closely tied together that they literally and functionally inseparable. Surely, someone else had figured this out and written about it!?!
In the following years, I continued work with children in various capacities, nannying, tutoring, etc. Everywhere I went I heard people speaking with their children and what did I hear being used most for disciplining, guiding and teaching? – “no, not, don’t, can’t, shouldn’t…”
It was during this time that another intuitive thought plagued me: The true purpose for using this ‘positive language’ was to cultivate a dialect that communicated abilities instead of inability. We should be speaking in a language that matches our natural design, the language of the “Knowledge of Potential”.
Once I realized that, I was stuck. There was never going to be a way for me to ignore the constant use of negations I hear everywhere I go, especially when listening to conversations between adults and children. What was even more disturbing once I understood this “Knowledge of Potential” was that I noticed how the liberal use of negations did exactly the opposite. This ‘opposite’ language I describe as “The Knowledge of Guilt” and it produced a constant stream of communication that was based on consequences, disadvantages and impossibilities. How this came to be viewed as a natural way of communicating and learning, I will leave to historians.
What became clear to me was the legacy of limited human development that is passed on through language – the way we’ve been cultivated to “think” and “feel.” What stirred me the most was the idea that if we can shift language in the early years of development, we can create a stream of generations that learn the universal laws of fulfillment – naturally – in the early stages in life.
It was time to put the 2’s and 2’s together. There’s so much material available for adults about how to self-improve and the type of phrases and language needed to reach goals and tackle personal issues. National early education boards have established requirements for positive terms and phrases without the use of negations, yet the logic and purpose of creating a ‘dialect’ for teaching young children who are still the image of pure, natural human design had continued to be elusive. This undiscovered dialect put a huge gap in the stages of human development. It seems so plain and logical that it is unnecessary to wait until children reach adulthood to learn a language proficiently and fluently when the natural way to learn a language well and articulately is to learn it when we are young.
That is how I looked at all these variables and came up with the equation of cognitively correct® language that parallels the natural design for learning and that it should be learned and spoken in the formative years to prevent the kind of breakdown and conflict that is similarly experienced by a computer when you try to program it with a language that its design finds impossible to translate.
This is the beginning of a campaign to make cognitively correct® knowledge into common knowledge. There are a lot of refinements to still make along the way and we are dedicated to keeping up with them. This campaign is for anyone and everyone who is actively involved in preschool development and the advocacy issues that need to be addressed in early education standards.