While consistent routines, good nutrition and quality parent-child interaction time are important, the value of outdoor motor play should be noted, as it leads to positive outcomes. While it may seem counterintuitive, children’s brains are in a better state to focus and pay attention when they engage in running, jumping, bouncing, swinging, climbing, spinning and other movement activities. Physical activity leads to greater learning opportunities.
Prolonged activation of the stress response in children can have damaging effects on the development of the brain. The stress hormones that flood the brain during prolonged stressful periods can affect the development of brain cells and connections between them, the size of certain brain areas and, ultimately, development of healthy brain architecture. Because these brain areas are important for learning, memory, and emotional processing, prolonged exposure to stress can lead to problems with thinking, memory, and emotional processing as well as increased risk for later health problems.
Music education is also known to provide benefits across the curriculum. A recent meta-analysis of 25 experimental studies using music education and music therapy activities to teach reading skills showed a significant correlation between music and reading ability.
Yet despite our efforts and knowledge, many believe that they and their kin lack musical talent. How has this happened?
One obvious benefit is enabling children to communicate with wider populations. Being bilingual also brings many other benefits, including more creative thinking and better meta-linguistic knowledge, which actually helps kids do better on reading readiness tests.
Not only that, one study suggests that multilingual kids are less likely to have negative stereotypes, leading them to have more diverse friends.
And don’t forget better job opportunities as well – research shows that bilinguals average 5 percent to 20 percent more pay than their monolingual peers!
For young children, play is the means through which they access the world around them. Play is how they learn how things work, how to get their needs met, how to interact with others, and all of the concepts and skills they need to learn.
For you as a parent, play is your passport, the entrance to building a supportive, nurturing relationship with your child. You provide your child with food, clothing and shelter to meet your child’s basic care needs. But what do you provide to meet your child’s developmental needs?
At the University of Oregon’s Brain Development Laboratory, we study attention in children as young as 3 by measuring the brain’s response to sounds as we ask children to shift their “spotlight” of attention from one side to the other. Shifting this spotlight of attention markedly changes the brain’s response to events in the environment – the brain produces a response to an attended stimulus that is twice as large as the response when it is unattended, and this boost occurs within 1/10 of a second! The ability to focus attention is critical in lifelong learning. We have shown that this enhanced brain response is not present in some young children who are at-risk for academic problems.
A baby’s first words are exciting for everyone. When will it happen? What will your baby say? Here are some language milestones to track your child’s progress.
Unlike some other animals, the brain of a human infant is very immature and isn’t fully adult-like until 25 years after birth. This long period of development means there is a lot of time for children’s experiences to shape their brains, and this is exactly what research has found: In fact, we now know that the architecture of the brain is dependent on the experiences children have. This is called “neuroplasticity,” which refers to how “plastic” or changeable by experience the brain is.
How much and how well our children learn throughout life is determined largely by the variety of beneficial experiences in which they participate in their first few years of life.
Vision impairment, even small irregularities, can have a profound impact on development. Early diagnosis and prevention are the best approach to infant vision and eye health care because most conditions respond best to early treatment, before additional complications arise.