The Vital Years: How to Enrich your Child’s Learning Ability from Birth Until the Age of Eight

The Vital Years: How to Enrich your Child’s Learning Ability from Birth Until the Age of Eight

Research has shown that we develop most of our ability to learn in the first 8 years of life, especially the first 4. This doesn’t mean that you absorb more knowledge, but that you build more neuro pathways (the main learning pathways of the brain) in this time, than throughout the rest of your life. This is why early childhood development and age appropriate stimulation is so important.

Researcher Dr Phil Silva from New Zealand highlights the importance of early stimulation. “It doesn’t mean that the other years are unimportant, but our research has shown that children who have a slow start during the first three years are likely to experience problems right through childhood and into adolescence.” There are 6 main pathways into the brain by which we learn, our 5 senses, sight, hearing, touch, taste and smell, and the sixth step is through what we physically do. This means a baby will learn to crawl by physically crawling.

Every day is a learning experience and the more a child is allowed to explore the world the more neuro pathways are built and the more he can learn during his lifetime. Through stimulating a child’s brain, more interacting connections are formed in the brain. The more connections there are the easier it is to learn.

What a child does physically in the first few years of life, plays a major part in how well he or she will develop other abilities. Some examples.

Developing the brainstem: Activities such as grasping, crawling, pushing, reaching and turning leads to hand-eye coordination and pre-writing abilities.

Developing the cerebellum (balancing): Activities such as spinning, swinging, rolling, listening and dancing leads to bicycle riding, reading skills and fine motor coordination.

Developing the emotional brain: Activities such as cuddling and playing together leads to love, security and confidence.

Developing the thinking brain (cortex): Activities such as stacking toys, puzzles and patterning leads to math, problem solving, spelling and memory.

It seems like most countries have their educational priorities completely wrong, as most spend under 10% of their education budget on these forming years. SKidz Clever Activity Boxes has set a curriculum of fun filled activities to bridge this gap. The curriculum is written primarily for babies and toddlers that stay at home with mommy or a nanny, but it has also been used by schools and day mothers. All the equipment is supplied with the manual which gives direction regarding what activities to do each day and what areas of development are being stimulated through those activities. Children learn through exploration, games and play and this is what we have focused on.

You can order your age specific box from www.skidz.co.za/shop

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