Published here with permission from The MOORE REPORT INTERNATIONAL - January/February 2003

The Moore Foundation, Box 1, Camas, WA 98607

Questions and Answers

"A Toddler's Best Tools"

by Ellen Dana

Q. My son will be 3 in April and I have been very interested in not only home schooling him, but in your Moore Foundation. I have been aware of the Moore Foundation for years, long before I had a child. Now that he is getting closer to 3 years of age I would really like more information on what your foundation offers as it's best tools for a toddler boy. I understand that every day is a learning experience for him and I try to be a big part of that, but any help would be appreciated.

A. Your biggest source of help right now will be from two of the Moores' books; Better Late Than Early and Home Grown Kids, and my book, Learning to Read From Nature's Pages (Available at the Foundation.) In the first you will find reasons for not hurrying the child, or being concerned about his book learning right now; the second will give you appropriate activities for each age up to 7 or 8.

Remember that what you are doing right now is observing his development. This is not "teaching time," and will not be teaching time for several years yet. There is nothing wrong with occasionally seeking to awaken an interest in something, but to go beyond that "teasing" toward some type of interest is not necessary and can turn into something you don't want--pressure to perform.

Your job is to stand on the sidelines and observe; to take him into the back year to watch the ants, the beetles, the squirrels, etc. You're the one to taxi him to places of interest to observe what isn't available in your backyard--the zoo, the park, the beach, etc. (We used to think of them as simple family outings for fun, because we loved to see the look on the little one's face the first time they saw a giraffe or an elephant!) We didn't think of any of this as "hurrying up to educate the child" but rather as fun interaction and normal family life.

I have no idea how fast your child will develop and what he will need during this time before he is 6-8. However, if you will read to him from a variety of books, seeking to find those that have realistic art work to accompany true stories and nature information, you will be on the road to meeting his needs. If you will start thinking about the content of those books, you may discover that some are Bible, some are social studies or history, and some are science (nature.)

The first most important thing you can do for this little one is to be consistent when you give a command, making sure he obeys you on the first request, and that he knows what "NO" means. The second most important thing is to teach him how to work. He can fold wash cloths (who cares if they are crooked!?), pick up toys, take silverware out of the dishwasher, help set the table, help clear the table, and feed the dog--if that's not too complicated. Remember this: "If you want your child to be a diligent student one day, teach him now to do physical work with all diligence."

The Moore Formula Manual has a section on preschoolers, as does our catalog. If you get the Manual now, you will be able to start right, at the bottom of the ladder, with helps for all age brackets. The items listed will help you know what kinds of books and videos you should look for at the library and in teaching stores.