We all know children are constantly learning but we often do not realise that the first three years are the most important years for development. A babies brain has billions of brain cells, many more than they have at the age of three, and twice as many as they have as an adult and research shows that beginning education early is the best way to maximise intellectual growth. Now I am not talking about pushing children to read and write at a young age as we know that teaching children ideas when they are not ready or interested will only turn them away from their natural love for learning. I am talking about ensuring a child’s brain is stimulated in appropriate ways to ensure brain development.
Brain connections are made when stimulated and then reinforced. Connections that are made are deemed unnecessary by the brain and they disappear. As we grow older more and more of these connections are deemed unnecessary. If the environment a child is in is enriching they create more connections leading to better learning, memory and emotional and physiological responses. Research shows children with little play and touching developed brains 20 – 30 % smaller than normal.
- Music shapes children’s brains and enhances their ability to learning. Children exposed to classical have been shown to develop skills in logical and abstract thinking and grasp concepts easier such as mathematics because the same area of the brain is stimulated.
- The learning in the first three years lasts a life time. Children who have enriching early years have been shown to have higher IQ’s and function at a higher level in later life.
- Intelligence depends on the number of brain cells and the number of brain cell connections.
- A newborn has 100 billion brain cells and by the time they are 18 months they will have up to 1000 trillion connections. If these are not used repeatedly they will be eliminated. This process continues until puberty when the brain wiring is complete.
- A child’s brain will pick up repeated sounds in a language quickly and a young child can easily pick up more than one language.
- A child needs touch (sensory stimulation) to develop. This releases important growth hormones.
- Visual stimulation such as colours, faces and light also is essential to brain development as it promotes motor dexterity and strengthens relationships.
- The most important thing you can give your child is quality time. Your touch, smell and voice are all great tools to help your young child’s brain development.
Stay tuned for great activities to help enhance your child development.