The human being grows based on experiences in his or her environment. Brain development and learning are based on an individual’s interaction with sensory information. Even before birth, our brains react, change and grow according to stimuli.
Human beings are born to connect positively to the people and objects in their immediate environment.We naturally connect with our parents, the toys in our cribs, the blankets that cover us, the music and sounds that soothe us.Conversely, newborns are pre-conditioned to protect themselves from loud noises, changes in temperature, physical harm, as well as lack of food or attention. A built in alarm system – the infant’s wail and will – is part of the human package.
Depending on event’s in an infant’s environment, brain development and learning follow paths of positive interaction and seek to create and repeat similar situations; or create routes of avoidance in the case of stimuli that do not lead to positive interaction and growth.
Many opportunities to aid our children’s optimum development are diminished or lost because of parents’ and society’s ignorance of the importance of the first six years of life as the foundation on which each child builds an adult. movement, language, social relationships, sense of order are critical or sensitive periods of development from birth through age six years. Our being aware of these periods can assist in a child’s growth.
Movement and brain development are intricately interrelated in the young child, and movement continues to be important to learning for all of our lives. Opportunites to explore, orient and repeat self-selected activities create optimum conditions for the neural pathways of the young brain to become substantial and diverse.
Language development in the young child is fully formed by the age of 30 months and relies on subtle and almost constant interaction of the child with the people in his/her environment. a place rich in language affords the child a wealth of spoken and receptive language that leads to the aquisition of written language. This period of learning language will never be as effortless as in the first six years.
Foundational social skills and personal relationship are established in the first six years of life. It is easy to learn the basics of “please” and “thank you”, if it is always in the chil’d environment. Trust and other foundational skills for human relationships are established during the first three years of life. Childhood issues of distrust and abandonment leave holes and scars that deeply affect future adult relationship building.
The developing sense or order in the young child creates foundational learning as experiences in the child’s environment define the essential structure – who, what, when, where, why and how of day to day living. What does our home life look like? What times do we eat? How do you take a bath, eat, go to school?
Learning success has its roots in these first six years of life. From birth our children’s minds are absorbing and cooridinating foundational information as children experience their immediate world. When a child’s early environment is not rich in experiences with people, objects, concepts and nature, many, if not most, learning difficulties take root in these deficiences.