Category Archives: Brain Development

EARLY BRAIN DEVELOPMENT – 2 TO 3 YEARS OLD

By the age of three, much of the child’s brain growth and density is complete. What started as a relatively small number of connections now number in the trillions. By the end of this period, the critical periods for some skills such as speech begin to close, so vocabulary building is very important. At the end of this stage, brain patterns for music begin to develop. By the age of three, the neurological network that will guide a child’s development is already well established; however, it does not mean that learning for the young child is over.

For a parent of caregiver it is important to remember to interact with your child daily with love, praise, play, conversation song and discipline. Discipline is a huge factor during this period of development. We have all heard of the “Terrible Twos”.

Here are tips to enhance your child’s intellectual development from age 2 to 3.

  • Find a scheduled time to read to your child every day. Choose books with big pictures, sturdy pages, and simple story lines. Remember, most children have short-attention spans during this period.
  • A child will be improving her knowledge of words and sentence structure during this period. Let her hear the correct word order, but don’t demand that she imitate you. For example, if she says “mote juice,” say, “Jane wants more juice.”
  • Encourage him to identify noises. “Do you hear that dog barking?”
  • Let the child help with chores. “Let’s pick up all our toys and put them in the toy box. Can you bring blue bear and put him in the box?” She’ll love helping with laundry. “Let’s count all the socks as we put them in the washing machine—1, 2, 3, 4, 5.” Math development is very important during this stage too.
  • Add new information to what a child is saying. “Yes, that’s a blanket, a soft, warm blanket.” Children wire through experiences, so take time to let him feel that the blanket is soft and warm.
  • Give your toddler clear and simple choices. “Do you want to wear the blue or green socks? Do you want milk or juice?”
  • Know how to handle a temper tantrum.
    1. Don’t yell or hit the child,
    2. Remain calm,
    3. Talking in soothing tones,
    4. Being consistent, having a schedule, setting limits, and providing limited choices are very important.
  • Development of creative expressive is very important during this stage. Provide newspaper, flattened grocery sacks, and commuter scraps for drawing and painting. Provide plenty of praise for his accomplishments.
  • Give your child the opportunity to learn about cause and effect by giving her many opportunities to fill, dump, collect, gather, give, hide, and seek. Toddlers love messy play. Encourage sand, mud, clay, and water play.
  • Provide space where your toddler can spend time alone. An old cardboard box or a blanket over a card table works great.
  • Provide safe outlets for physical activity and space exploration like small steps, boxes, barrels, tires, pulling and pushing toys, and ride-on and ride-in toys.
  • Don’t forget play between the two of you. Fun and bonding between the two of you is very important to learning. Songs like “Old MacDonald” explain sequences. Songs and rhymes are very important to the development of vocabulary and language.
  • Don’t pressure your child to be right or left-handed. A few two-year-olds will begin to show a preference for one hand, but many will continue to use both hands for a year or two.

The Be Smart Kids Learning program develops these skills for 2 to 3-year-olds:

language development, speech development, vocabulary, math & logic, spatial/visual skills, fine motor skills, social & emotional skills, reasoning skills, creative expression, attention span, sign language, Spanish, character-building, and a love for learning.

EARLY BRAIN DEVELOPMENT – 6 TO 12 MONTHS

The critical window for sight was primarily established in the first 6 months.  The critical windows for brain development from 6 to 12 months of age are speech and emotional development, although these two areas began in the first 6 months.  Language capacity grows tremendously during this period, and this is a good time to introduce the natural sounds of other languages.

As a parent you only have to remember five words in order to enhance these two areas.  They are love, praise, sing, read, and play.  Below are listed some tips for enhancing the building blocks for speech and emotional development for future learning.

  1. Provide plenty of love and care (hold , cuddle, kiss).  Affectionate touch is especially important during the early months.  Being held and cuddled frequently is extremely important in the development of a baby’s sense of self-worth and security.
  2. Talk constantly with your child.  It will build vocabulary, develop patterns for learning        language, and help create a special bond between parent and child.  Face infants when talking to them so they can see and smile with you.  Talk about what you are doing, familiar objects, or people.  You may even want to babble back or echo sounds your baby makes much as you would in a regular conservation.  Even though an infant cannot understand everything you say, he will be learning many words that will form the basis for language later on.
  3. Read aloud to your child during the day.  Establish some specific routines such as reading after meals or bedtime.  Telling the same stories and singing the same songs over and over may feel boring to you, but not to your child.  Children learn through repetition, repetition, repetition.  This principle applies to more than language.
  4. Play music; sing for and with your child.  Have fun.
  5. Play with your child.  Get down on the floor to meet her at her level.  Play peek-a-boo and other games such as hiding something out of sight and finding it.
  6. Provide opportunities for your child to explore his or her environment.  Do not keep him caged in a playpen or swing.  Provide a bigger safe space for him to explore.  Children will learn by doing.  That is how they learn best.   Older infants need space and time to practice crawling, creeping, pulling up, and walking.
  7. Praise your child; build self-esteem.  When a child master the challenges of everyday life, she feels good about herself, especially when you acknowledge her accomplishments with specific praise.  “Wow!”  “You’re standing!”  “Yea!”  Clap to show your enthusiasm.
  8. Listen and respond to your child.  Give your child your undivided attention.  It will make him a secure and confident learner.  You will not spoil a child by responding to his needs.

EARLY BRAIN DEVELOPMENT – BIRTH TO 6 MONTHS

Since the 1990 there has been a massive amount of research that confirms a child’s early years are critical to his intellectual development.  “Windows of opportunity” have been identified as particular time periods in which a child can best learn or enhance particular skills or even correct learning deficiencies.  One thing everyone agrees on is the early years have a tremendous impact on how a child learns and processes information the rest of his life.

As parents and caregivers, your earliest interactions with the child have an influence on her brain development.   You may not be aware, but many of the things to enhance brain development you do instinctively as loving parents.   However, there may be things that are critical in which you are totally unaware.     It is very important for you to educate yourself on the critical stages of brain development because the “windows of opportunity” are so short and once closed are closed forever.

The first stage of development is from BIRTH TO 6 MONTHS.  Brain growth during this period is unmatched.  The most critical windows during this stage are vision, hearing, language, and emotional development.  It is important to pay attention to vision and emotions during this period because the windows shut so early.  For example, certain eye problems not corrected in the first six months can cause permanent impairment.

Donna Blevins, Teacher & Founder of Be Smart Kids

The Be Smart Kids Process was built to address the various stages of brain development.

EARLY YEARS ARE LEARNING YEARS

Human beings are unique among the world of animal species.  Most life comes into this world genetically programmed for survival; cattle stand and walk within minutes if not hours of being born; most birds are flying within six weeks of hatching; and other species are born with teeth and claws.  We all have experienced the fun of watching a kitten at play stalking and attacking a sibling or a ball of yarn as if it was some prey in the wild.  I once had an Australian Shepherd dog that I would take jogging with me.  Even as a pup, it would lower its head and “snake” back and forth as though nipping at the heels of the cattle it was bred to herd.

Humans, on the other hand, come into this world almost completely defenseless.  A blob of flesh with no teeth, almost blind, and it seems that all a newborn can do is eat, poop, and cry.  It takes a baby some time to learn how to roll over, then to crawl, about ten to twelve months to learn to walk, and about a year to learn to say a few words.  And we celebrate every milestone!  The key point here is that the baby is “learning” these things.  Some parents feel they can accelerate the process and try to “teach” their child to talk or walk.  If they are intense about it, they find that it can be like the old saying about “teaching a pig to sing” – it just annoys the pig and frustrates you.

The fact is children are learning at a rapid rate.   They are using all their senses: seeing, listening, tasting, smelling, and touching, to learn about the new world they are in and the people that occupy it.  As they do, they are strengthening neural networks or neural pathways and forming new ones.  The development of networks is going on mostly unseen by parents and caregivers, but happening none the less.  It is common to hear parents proudly boast about their child who “just started to talk” and right away they were saying eight to ten new words.  The reality is the child had learned those words and many more but hadn’t yet to possessed the oral skill to be able to voice them.

Sometimes I think that God has a sense of humor.  He gave humans the greatest anatomical gift imaginable, the human brain, and then sat back and watched in amusement as we tried to figure out how to use it.  And we, seeing ourselves as physical beings, another species of animal, have learned a great deal about our bodies and our physical world, but only recently have we begun to focus on understanding the workings of the human brain.

Last week, I was studying at a picture of the human eye on the wall of my eye doctor’s office and was intrigued by the detail in the display.  All those “tiny” parts – lens, muscles, blood vessels, and nerve systems – will keep functioning to supply blood and send signals to the brain, for our entire lives.  We continue to make discoveries and increase our knowledge of how to keep our bodies running smoothly and how we can combat illness and disease.  However, the brain, that marvelous gift, has remained a mystery.

Until the last century or so, all that we knew about the brain we learned from autopsies and experiments on animals.  Recently, because of advances in technology and the transition to the “information age,” we are beginning to study and learn more and more about the enormous capacity of the human brain and how it works.

One of the major outgrowths of this learning is the discovery of how important the first few years are for establishing the foundations for all future learning. The implications that has for early childhood development and our responsibilities as parents is tremendous.

INTELLECTUAL DEVELOPMENT IN YOUR CHILD’S FIRST 5 YEARS

It is critically important for every parent to know that the early years are the most important learning years in their child’s life.  It is a time that determines how a child learns and processes information for the rest of her life.

Here is how it works!  Your child is born with 100 billion neurons in the brain.  When the neurons fire often enough, a permanent connection is made.  This is what scientist call “hard-wiring the brain.”  The more connections become permanent, the more work the brain can do.  But, this window of opportunity is brief.  The brain operates on a “use it or lose it” basis.  As harsh as the news may seem, if deprived of early positive experiences, the child can intellectually struggle for the rest of his live.

This does not mean that your child cannot learn in later years.  However, these early years have already determined how your child will learn and to what degree.  This is a critical time, a window of opportunity, to give your child the boost she will need to do well in life.   The best time for learning begins early and last a lifetime.

There is plenty of evidence to support the benefits of early learning and the effect it has on learning and emotional stability.  An example is the Rumania babies that were tied to their baby beds in orphanages.  They lived in filthy conditions and received no stimulation.  Later research confirmed that even the children who were in these places for less than a year were found to have emotional problems (being very aggressive) and learning disabilities.

It is extremely important for parents to become knowledgeable about the stages of critical brain development and the simple things they can do to insure a positive impact on their child’s emotional development, learning skills and how they function later in live.

In the next blog, I will be discussing the 1st stage of critical brain development, birth to 6 months.

Donna Blevins, Founder of Be Smart Kids

Donna Blevins has been researching and developing her early brain development educational product since 1991.  See research at www.besmartkids.com.

Video


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EARLY CHILDHOOD

BE SMART KIDS CURRICULUM BEGINS TEACHING CHILDREN WHEN SCIENTIFIC RESEARCH HAS PROVEN THEY LEARN BEST!

Be Smart Kids curriculum software has proven to be very effective in helping young children develop strong minds. After 18 months of immersion in Be Smart Kids, students have scored in the upper echelons of national standardized testing. They have demonstrated reading and math scores as much as three grade levels above their peers.

The genius of Be Smart Kids is its focus on introducing the learning process during the best learning time in a child’s life: birth to age 6. This is a once-in-a-lifetime window of learning opportunity that once closed, is
lost forever.

Be Smart Kids is a comprehensive, instructional program that combines scientific methodology, state-of-the-art technology, and best teaching practices. More than a decade of research and design has gone into the development of the Be Smart Kids Learning System. This unequaled computer-aided
learning process stimulates every area of the brain during the period when the “window of opportunity” for learning is best; from birth to six years.

Be Smart Kids meets and exceeds State and Federal Early Childhood Education Standards. Click on one of the links below for a full listing.

Section 1: Language Understanding
Section 2: Literacy
Section 3: Math
Section 4: Social Studies
Section 5: Creative
Section 6: Social Emotional
Section 7: Physical

EARLY CHILDHOOD BRAIN STIMULATION

Be Smart Kids teaches children when scientific research has proven they learn best!


Unstimulated
Brain

Stimulated
Brain

When the brain’s neurons fire often enough, a permanent connection is formed. That’s what scientists call “hard-wiring the brain”. The more connections become permanent, the more work the brain can do. But the window of opportunity is brief.

Be Smart Kids is Starting Education Early and Sees Benefits

Start Early – Stay Ahead!

The key to smart children is starting education early. Our process begins as early as 12 to 18 months. Whether you begin at age 18 months or 4 years, it is important to begin early.

Be Smart Kids produces the necessary tools that wire the brain of a young child during the early years when the window of opportunity for learning is greatest, 0-6 years. Most early learning software produced will not give a child the necessary tools to maximize this early learning potential. To build lifelong learning skills, young minds need so much more that ABC’s and 123’s.

Be Smart Kids teaches more than ABC’s and 123’s. We give children lifelong learning skills. BSK teaches children How to Learn .

Be Smart Kids educators merged science, technology and best teaching practices to build a unique process that addresses the window of opportunity for learning during the early years.
Take a look at what is taught…

  

Be Smart Kids software has proven to be effective in helping young children develop strong minds. Students who have used Be Smart Kids have tested in the 99th National Percentile and have reading and math scores as much as 3 grade levels above their peers.

What is the difference between Be Smart Kids and other early learning software?

The difference is Be Smart Kids’ Unique Methodology, built right into the software. Our fun, learning, interactive exercises are strategically placed in lesson plans that build one concept on top of another. This allows for the child to build math and reading skills through a natural progression.

Our learning exercises use the Four Senses: Sight, Sound, Voice, and Touch , to stimulate the young mind. The child Sees the symbols, Hears the sounds, Says the sounds and reinforces through Touch.

 


Unstimulated Brain

Stimulated Brain

 

There is proven scientific evidence that the more the brain is used at an early age in the proper way, the more the brain will be wired for learning that will last a lifetime.

 

Be Smart Kids offers..

  • 750+ learning activities & 4 levels.
  • Designed to provide many years of learning
  • Motor skills
  • Spatial/Visual skills
  • Memory
  • Follow direction
  • Attention span
  • Social/Emotional skills
  • Phonics
  • Vocabulary
  • Language
  • Math and logic
  • Second language
  • History
  • Science

…and much more – in only 30 minutes per week. Be Smart Kids builds all educational concepts up through the 1st Grade. Children learn at their own pace. Research shows “Be Smart Kids” perform an average of 3 grades levels above their peers.

 

The Bottom Line

If you order Be Smart Kids, you will be giving your child an educational advantage. Starting early develops a strong mind for future learning.

Click here for more information about Be Smart Kids Series.

Brain Development 101

Stages of Critical Brain Development

Birth to 6 months old
Brain growth is unmatched during the first six months of life. The most critical windows during this stage are vision, vocabulary, and emotional development. Because the windows for vision and emotions shut so early, it is important to pay attention to them during this stage.

6 to 12 months old
With connections primarily established for sight, the critical windows during this stage are speech and emotional development. The foundations for governing emotions are established. Language capacity grows tremendously during this period, and this is a good time to introduce the natural sounds of other languages.

12 to 18 months old
Most of the critical windows of human brain development are open during this stage. At no other time is the brain so receptive and responsive. Many of the neurological connections that govern a lifetime of skill and potential are beginning to take shape.

18 to 24 months old
Children in this stage are gaining more control of their bodies, and their motor skills are developing. They are becoming more aware of other people’s feelings and beginning to learn to share. Language and vocabulary remain important. Attention should be given to math and logic as well.

2 to 3 years old
By the age of three, much of a child’s brain growth and density is complete. The brain patterns that will guide a child’s development are already well established. The critical windows for some skills such as speech begin to close, so vocabulary building is important. Brain patterns for music begin to develop at the end of this stage.

3 to 5 years old
Between the ages of three and five, most of the remaining critical windows in a child’s brain development begin to close. There appears to be a connection between the brain patterns stimulated by music and the part of the brain used to understand spatial concepts in math. The brain patterns created while learning a musical instrument between ages 3 and 10 are hard-wired for life.

Additional Information
Explore these links to learn more about early childhood development.

NEWSHOUR-Child’s Play
Lee Hochberg of Oregon Public Television reports Recent scientific studies have found that the human brain does much of its development in a child’s first three years of life.

BRAIN DEVELOPMENT
At birth, almost all the neurons that the brain will ever have are present…By the age of 2 years old, the brain is about 80% of the adult size.