Early Childhood Education: The Power of the Letter "S"

The problem with exposing your child to lots of different early development programs is that you never know which ones are working for you and which ones aren’t.  Then again, when you’ve only got the one child (or two), the idea is to exposed him to as much as you can possibly get your hands on and hope that something sticks.  Because by the time you figure out what’s working for them, it’s usually quite a ways down the line.

For instance, I started Gavin on Sign language when he was about five months.  When I didn’t really see any results, my enthusiasm flagged and I gave it up.  It wasn’t until months later that he started to sign words I’d taught him that I realised he had been absorbing it all.  I picked up the Sign language again and gave it more effort but who knows what we could have achieved if I had kept going on during those months when I initially stopped.

Similarly, last night, I was reading about some of the achievement of Shichida kids from the Shichida program.  Suddenly, my precocious and advanced toddler seems like just an average kid.  If friends and family think that Gavin’s advanced now, I wonder how much more I could have helped him developed if I had just investigated Shichida a little more when I first heard about the program back when Gavin was about a year old.

Anyway, this blog post isn’t supposed to be about regrets.  Nor is it even supposed to be about having the most precocious toddler.  It’s about discovering what works…

For someone who originally did not intend for her son to start watching TV until he was at least 2 years old, I certainly crumbled in my resolve early.  Then again, Gavin’s keen interest in Thomas and Friends was the reason why he learned his colours and numbers so early.  There was no mistaking the fact that he would say “Percy” when he was referring to the colour green during the early days of learning all about colours.  For instance, he would say, “Percy” and point under the chair and when I checked under the chair, I would find the green crayon had rolled underneath it.  So although Gavin started watching TV early, it didn’t look like it affected him too much in terms of development.  If anything could be said, it appeared to have a positive effect on his development.

When Gavin displayed a keen interest in watching “WordWorld“, I was delighted.  I even went out to buy him the DVD series.  If Thomas and Friends had been useful from an educational standpoint, then surely WordWorld – which was designed with education in mind – would be even better.  I convinced myself that WordWorld was actually good for Gavin to watch because he would be learning how to recognise words.  Just in case you aren’t familiar with WordWorld, it is a TV program where all the objects and characters are created out of letters.  You can see what I mean in the picture below – house is made out of the letters “h-o-u-s-e” and dog is created out of the letters “d-o-g”.

Everything in WordWorld is made out of letters with the intention of teaching children how those objects appear in its written form.  Sounds educational enough, doesn’t it?  Well, I don’t know if the children will actually really recognise the fact that the dog is made up of the letters “d-o-g”, but they definitely do learn something.

When we were in Baskin Robbins having ice cream one day, Gavin pointed to a word on the board and said, “It says cakes, Mummy! S means there are lots of cakes!”  So he recognised the word “cakes” and the fact that the addition of the letter “s” meant that there was more than one.  There was an episode of WordWorld where Duck learned the power of the letter “s”.  By adding “s” onto the end of a word meant you would have more of that word.

In case you’re wondering if Gavin could have learned the rule of plurals somewhere else, I think the evidence that he learned it from WordWorld was cemented by his statement, “Just like on WordWorld!”  Now I don’t feel so bad buying all those WordWorld DVDs for him…

Published by Shen-Li

SHEN-LI LEE is the author of “Brainchild: Secrets to Unlocking Your Child’s Potential”. She is also the founder of Figur8.net (a website on parenting, education, child development) and RightBrainChild.com (a website on Right Brain Education, cognitive development, and maximising potentials). In her spare time, she blogs on Forty, Fit & Fed, and Back to Basics.

2 thoughts on “Early Childhood Education: The Power of the Letter "S"

  1. Thank you for your sharing. I personally don’t really like it – WORDWORLD. No doubt it was creative with colourful cartoon character but I found that the WORD “embedded” in the character is not that clear -cut to be recognise immediately.


  2. Yvonne – yes, I agree it is not easy to see the words in some of the characters. I think the lessons are more in the featured word that they teach for the episode. For instance, in the episode about the letter “s”, the emphasis was that adding an “s” makes the word mean more than 1. And when they “build a word”, they teach how to spell the word and read the word which is quite clear what it is and what it reads.


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