Pre-School Brain Growth and Development and The Gender Issue.
For some reason the corpus callosum, a complex network of over 300 million nerve fibres connecting left and right hemispheres of the brain, seems to be more active in girls than boys.
Much has been made of boy’s under-achievement compared to girls up to the age of 10 or 11. As psychological researcher H.T. Epstein has pointed out, the brain development of girls is up to twice that of boys by the age of 11. Can this be offset by a greater understanding of how pre-school brain growth and development affects our children? Furthermore, is this reflected in the way curricula content and activities are designed for our children? What both boys and girls need regardless, are learning experiences that will fire their imaginations and stimulate the pre-school development and growth of their brain.
Pre-school brain development in the first months.
In the first few months of your child’s life an amazing amount of activity has taken place in his/her brain. From a few cells at the tip of an embryo the explosion of growth has seen an increase that will reach about 200 billion. Their function is to connect to various parts of the body developing around them. Unless they do so they will die.
Pre-school brain growth and development – wiring up the brain.
At 20 weeks of fetal development half of them have not survived the competition. This process has been described as wiring-up the brain to enable it to control vision, language, movement and hearing to name but a few areas.
During this period of pre-school brain development the brain experiences four major periods of structural change:
In fetal development after birth between 4 and 12 and in the remaining years of its existence.
By far the most critical times are the first two periods. One of the most important revelations about the brain is described by Dr.Robert Post, chief of the National Institute of Mental Health’s (U.S.A.) biological psychiatry branch.
“The new thing is that the brain is very dynamic. At any point in this process you have all these potentials for either good or bad stimulation to get in there and set the structure of the brain.”
Pre-school brain growth and development and the role of parents.
The implications for us as parents are profound. The experiences we expose our children to will shape their future potential for learning and, ultimately, their destiny as human beings. It is absolutely essential to their welfare and development that we cultivate a more conscious understanding of the factors that impact directly upon the preschool growth and development of the brain.
As the brain is being wired-up learning pathways are being established. Imagine these pathways as being super-highways to the various control-centers in the brain like vision and movement. The pathways are actually the senses. The experiences your child receives will determine how much stimulation reaches these centers and consequently their level of development. Recent research shows that proper stimulation affect such brain functions as:
Language: Children whose mothers talk to them frequently have better language skills than do children whose mothers seldom talk to them.
After about age 12 the ability to learn new languages declines rapidly.
Vision: Lack of visual stimulation at birth will cause those brain cells designed to interpret vision to dry up or be diverted to other tasks, making perfectly healthy eyes unable to see.
Did you know that bold black and white images are best for stimulating the visual pathways in a baby’s developing brain? Knowledge is empowerment. As parents, whether we decide to send our children to state school or take the homeschooling or unschooling option, we should all seek to become empowered to assist the preschool development and growth of the brain.
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