Your child’s school season is in full swing by now. Another year of getting the little ones ready for the year & with our busy stressful lives, another year of pushing our little ones out into the world.
We are talking to parents with toddlers and all the parents to be.
Are the children we send out truly prepared? Most people don’t have time to think of it this way but preparation for the 1st day of school starts far earlier then the first day a child walks into a classroom. It begins all the way back at birth and parents are the child’s first and most important teacher and the home is a child’s first classroom.
Neuroscientists have long ago been able to demonstrate that between birth/conception and age 3, a child’s brain undergoes an impressive amount of development. It doubles in size in the first year, and by age 3 it has reached 80 percent of its adult size. This development occurs in the primary areas of the senses, language and math, emotions and logic, and memory and awareness. These are some of the most important supplies needed for school and learning.
You are your child’s first teacher, caring for and educating can be both challenging and rewarding for parents. During early childhood, babies’ brains are being programmed for the learning they will do for the rest of their child, teen and adult lives & everything they do during the first three years of life affects their behavior, personality, emotional stability & ability to learn. The exact same as you dear parent reading these words. You underwent the same process of conditioning through your parents.
Brain development is extremely sensitive to environmental influence and the quality and dynamic variety of the physical environment are very important factors. A more stimulating environment produces more complex and stronger brain connections or synapses.
This is extremely important because synapses are what allow a child’s brain to learn. As an adult feeds, holds, touches and talks to the child, messages are sent to their brain non-stop. The babies brain is essentially always on, just like ours.
A toddler learning to climb stairs is a good example. The child likes to repeat things — like climbing stairs. A caretaker talks to the child and offers guidance, but the child is feeling what the stair’s texture is like, they are working on balance, and they are focused on what needs to happen to get to the next step.
The more and more the child practices, the better they can climb. The brain connections happening during this process become stronger. Infants and toddlers exposed to healthy, varied and responsive environments show significantly more complex brain functioning into their teenage years than children who did not have these experiences.
A negative social environment can activate hormones in ways that negatively affect children’s brain functioning, including their ability to learn and their memory.
So what is necessary for the child’s brain to develop properly?
All children need and deserve the best start in life, including dependable, emotionally responsive and nurturing parents and caregivers, economic stability, quality childcare, nutrition and healthcare and a varied and responsive language environment in which children are exposed to a wide vocabulary and are read to every day.
An average child will be exposed to 1,251 positive or encouraging words in an hour, whereas a child living in poverty will be exposed to less than half with 616 positive or encouraging words per hour.
This “word-gap” could have a negative impact on the child’s ability to keep up with their peers when they do enter school. They have heard thousands and thousands of fewer words than the child they are sitting next to.
Children should be provided with a consistent learning environment that includes developmentally appropriate toys, play and challenges — these toys do not need to be expensive.
The benefits from healthy brain development are tremendous. A child who is given the opportunity of a healthy and nurturing environment that encourages mental development is more likely to have a higher IQ score with better cognitive and language skills.
He or she will adjust to and learn easier in school and not repeat a grade or be assigned to a special education program. He or she will be emotionally competent and well-adjusted, able to reason, problem solve and to control violent impulses.
This is the child who is truly ‘ready’ for school.”
The ParentingandBabies.com Team