In the past 30 years we’ve learned that babies and young children know more and learn more than we would ever have thought possible.
Philosophers and psychologists, even the great Swiss child-development theorist Jean Piaget, once thought that babies and young children were irrational, solipsistic, illogical and amoral — unable to take the perspective of others or understand cause and effect. But new scientific techniques have taught us that even the youngest infants already know a great deal about objects, people and language, and learn even more. In fact, they have implicit learning methods that are as powerful and intelligent as those of the smartest scientists.
They can unconsciously do complicated statistical analyses and their everyday play turns out, remarkably, to be very much like a set of scientific experiments. And I, at least, think that they may actually experience the world more vividly than we do.