Here’s an idea from the farthest frontier of today’s brain science: learning is a social act. Learning is not something that happens inside of a single isolated brain; it happens between people. For children, learning happens within loving and trusting relationships. Recent research finds that speaking to children is not as important as speaking with them. CoAuthor is designed to help you dedicate space and time for this kind of learning to happen between you and your child.

Young children are developing foundational capacities that will support their learning for the rest of their lives. Relationships, language, reasoning and symbolic representation form the base for academic work and lifetime problem-solving. CoAuthor helps children build all four of these foundational capacities as they engage in thinking with you.

Connecting with others and building relationships is a natural part of the human experience…. But it is also a skill that we need to learn. Relationship skills like empathy, collaboration, negotiation and constructive conflict resolution are keys to success in school, work and life. Your child will practice these skills with CoAuthor, both in the interactions with you and in the various templates that encourage social thinking.

Learning how to talk, and to listen, is a key achievement of childhood. Language skills allow us to share ideas with others and to absorb new information, and verbal language skills transfer to literacy skills as children begin formal schooling. CoAuthor invites your child to practice talking and listening about all kinds of ideas, and invites you to write down your child’s words to help them make that connection from spoken to written language.

Reasoning means figuring things out, and organizing information mentally. Children reason about cause and effect, about quantities and qualities, and about solving problems that matter to them, like when it will be their turn to use the red cup. All that reasoning forms the basis for later learning in the sciences, history, engineering….. and for solving real life problems like what to do when the car won’t start. CoAuthor templates provide many opportunities for your child to reason with you about questions that interest them, and for you to support and extend that reasoning.

Symbolic representation, the ability to make one thing stand for another, starts when a child decides to call you on their banana-phone. It progresses through drawing and writing to metaphors and algebra. CoAuthor templates are built with space to practice symbolic representation through storytelling as well as drawing and labeling.

Creativity. Problem solving. Persistence. Cooperation. These are not ‘inborn’ traits but habits of the mind that can be acquired in early childhood. And they are acquired when children have positive experiences with beloved adults where these traits are encouraged and supported. CoAuthor’s templates and tips are intentionally designed to help you nurture these desirable mental habits in your child. For example, you’ll encounter tips that help you tailor the way you praise your child’s work to encourage them to persist or to be creative.