The brain and nervous system are shaped by prenatal sensory experiences, making it extremely important to stimulate your child’s brain even prior to birth. In the period of birth to three years of age, brain development progresses quickly and is enhanced through positive relationships with caregivers and the learning environment. It is essential, then, that the first five years of a child’s life provide him or her with the optimum environment to be nurtured and to grow, as “brain development is vulnerable to toxic stress.” Australian Early Development Census
In order to counteract toxic stress, play-based learning can be used to stimulate child brain development. This style of learning is important for the development of confident and capable learners. When brain development in early childhood education employs play-based learning, children are able to construct their own understanding and to learn collaboratively with their peers. In addition, children are given the opportunity to make connections between new learning and prior experiences, further developing concepts and relationships.
Early childhood education and brain development in children are of utmost importance and will prepare a child’s brain to build on what they have already learned and experienced when they start school at the age of five. Early brain development can be attained with a variety of activities that will attract the child’s attention and maintain their interest so learning can take place.
Child brain development activities at Kids Club Early Learning Centres are through a play and interest-based approach. In nursery, babies play in a safe environment, which helps to prepare them for the activities in the toddler room. In the toddler room, children are encouraged to choose their own physical activities, including sorting out socks, watering plants and sweeping, which develops brain, eye and hand coordination. Activities such as puzzles, sorting, stacking and arranging blocks according to size further prepare their brain development for the preschool room, where early literacy and numeracy skills are explored.
Children in preschool learn through singing songs, telling stories, talking to each other, painting, and playing with sand, water, clay and building blocks, along with a variety of everyday activities like baking, fastening buttons and tying ribbons and shoelaces. Using various theories and approaches to our teachings, for example the Montessori-inspired game of “I Spy” this enables preschool children to learn the initial phonetic sounds of words. Although children enjoy this game, it also helps them with future reading and storytelling skills. Other activities that stimulate brain development in this age group include matching cards, counting, hopping, jumping, running and climbing.
Yoga, meditation and mindfulness, which are practised at Kids Club, contribute to brain development by allowing the child’s brain to focus while simultaneously having to control their bodies. Music and movement is another important activity that stimulates child brain development. Through singing, the child’s brain is developing as he/she starts to understand the concepts of rhythm, rhyme and new vocabulary.
With the right level of brain stimulation in a nurturing environment, a child will be able to reach his/her potential. The relationships fostered in early childhood education are essential components for establishing confident and capable learners. At Kids Club, all educators and caregivers are experienced in delivering child brain development activities and experiences.
The activities that the child chooses to partake in are based on their own interests, but the materials and activities that have been prepared in the environment should help to instil in the child the need to master the activity. Children have an innate longing for information and curiosity, so by presenting materials that they can use to figure out the answers, educators will help to stimulate their brains further. For example, a toddler may be attracted to tiny objects and routines, while a preschool-aged child is more focused on numbers or telling stories. Thus, activities that will stimulate your child’s brain development should be of a high quality and standard, as this early experience sets them up for success at school, throughout their adolescence and into adulthood.