Wednesday, October 8, 2008
Baby reading at 12mth old. So when can I start for my child?
It was a battle between nurture and nature. Does the brain develop according to a set of defined limits set by the genes or does intellectual stimulation affect the development and growth of the brain. The studies are still going on but since Beth Lucy Wellman’s* time in 1940’s, there have been more and more studies to support the theories that it is intellectual stimulation that ‘Turns on” the synapses in the brain. Once ‘on’, these pathways or synapses continue to work and get stronger throughout a lifetime. It is also assumed that these synapses if not ‘turned on’, are eliminated. Basically, the brain operates on a use it or lose it basis.
It is pretty complicated how it all works in the brains but to simplify it. The brain is made up of neurons, or brain cells, which connect to one another through synapses. when the brain is developing, the millions of neurons are ‘switched on’ by individual electrical currents. If two neurons are coupled, but they are not electrically active together, then those synapses are pruned or lost*. This is how experience literally wires the brain.
What does that mean for parents?
It means that the former years of life are very important for getting the brain set up for learning. Many experts believe that the most important years of a child’s development are those before school age. Fifty percent of the ability to learn is developed in the first four years of a child’s life and another thirty percent by the age of eight. There is a lot of emphasis placed on parents to talk and read to their children. Equally important is that the children are provided with different learning experiences each time. Information and the method of delivery should be tailored to the needs of the child with visual, verbal and written information available to be absorbed