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Are Young Kids Smarter These Days?

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A youngster works a computer tablet. (CBS)

A youngster works a computer tablet. (CBS)

Vince Gerasole Vince Gerasole
Vince Gerasole serves as a general assignment reporter for CBS 2...
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(CBS) – Is your little junior reading at three and speaking another language by four?

There’s no doubt our kids seem to be exposed to more information earlier in their lives, but are they smarter?

CBS 2′s Vince Gerasole went to school to find out.

For these 5-year-olds at Evanston’s Barbereux School, Vincent Van Gogh’s “The Starry Night” is up for discussion.

Andy Warhol’s colorful pop art is also on the table.

When asked if the room of young students is really taking it all in, teacher Aliza Studnitzer says with a big grin and a twinkle in her eye: yes.

Later, when we spoke with a few of the students ourselves, we found she was not exaggerating.

The pre-schoolers and kindergarteners told us Pop Art pops out at your eyes; that leaves are green because they are making food. They could even hum a few bars from their favorite piece by Bach.

Teacher Patrick Blades says in some ways kids are smarter. What they really have, though, is a broader knowledge of the world.

That broader knowledge at an earlier age may be making a difference.  It coincides with a 3 to 5 point increase in IQ scores each decade since the 1930s.

Now, in our high-tech age, seemingly smarter younger kids are popping up nationwide.

“Children are not smarter, because intelligence is not that kind of commodity in us that we can somehow increase its size,” says Dr. Gillian McNamee, a child development specialist with the Erikson Institute.

McNamee says knowing more at an early age won’t tell us if children are smarter or if they’ll have a greater capacity to learn in the long run.

“Earlier is not better,” she says.

Mom Tessa Bediz sends her children to a school like Barbereux because she appreciates the earlier intellectual stimulation, but she knows that’s only one of the building blocks to intellectual development.

A word about IQ tests now.  Yes, they have increased over the past 70 years, but that may also be a reflection of how we’re just used to taking more tests, not necessarily smarter than our grandparents.

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