Free classes stress importance of early talking

SOUTH BEND Did you know the first three years are the most important in a child's life? Research continues to prove that early education is key in cognitive development. That's why a group in South Bend is helping parents learn the importance of interaction with their children at free classes.

Talk with your baby classes start Wednesday at the Robinson Center. The non-profit organization aims to provide free education and materials to parents, grandparents and caregivers.

"Talking with your baby, as simple as it sounds, is not happening enough with parents," said the program coordinator, Kris Arizmendi.

Babies learn vocabulary from talking at an early age. In fact, children in talkative families, who use affirmative commands and full sentences early on, have the ability to learn 30 million more words than children in non-talkative families.

"By 3 years old, your brain has tripled in size," said Arizmendi. "It is constantly growing new neurons."

Arizmendi continued, "you are born ready to learn, and a child has an opportunity to learn as much as you are giving them. They are sponges, and they are soaking it up. It's up to us as parents, or as grandparents, care providers, to really offer that to them."

Participants who attend all five classes will get a $10 gift card to Wal-Mart. Attendees also receive 8 free books and other materials. To learn more about the program, visit the Talk with your baby website.

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