Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Binary Logic

For the last few weeks, my three year old daughter has been offering similar thoughts to me. It has taken me a while to put my finger on exactly what she's exploring. But the other day when we were on our way to the ice cream shop I finally figured it out. As we drove down the neighborhood street, we passed historical-looking houses. She said, "Look at all those houses. We don't live in those houses." And when we turned into the parking lot and then a parking space adjacent to the neighborhood ice cream store she offered, "We parked in this spot. Now no one else can park here."

If I didn't write Preschool Engineering I probably would have just shook it off. She is, after all, a three year old who talks incessantly about all sorts of things. But my training is as an electrical engineer and something was resonating with memories of some ancient coursework...she was exploring logic.

Logic Gates

This and that, that or this, not the other thing. I guess learning logic begins at a very early age. Mom and Dad being at home together means something different from Mom or Dad being around. Mom and Dad but not brother means something else. No doubt, each social scenario has different emotional connotations to it for a young child. So I suppose it makes sense that young children spend some time making sense of permutations of how stuff combines or doesn't.

And as I write this I am thinking about how logic underlies so much preschool learning. Color learning, cooking, bathtub play all have AND, OR, or NOT aspects to them. Red AND blue make purple. Water OR milk loosen the pancake batter. Baby doll NOT rock floats. Truly, it is unbelievable the capacity and rate at which a playful child can learn!

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