How do we optimize our child’s brain development? Selene Diong, Principal Instructor of Sparkanauts shares with us three ways.
I read an interesting article about a young girl who planted two seeds with identical DNA in two different types of soil – one rich in nutrients and the other poor in nutrients. As expected, the seed planted in an environment with poor nutrients turned out to be a weaker plant than the one in the rich soil.
Similarly, while nature plays a role in our child’s development, the environment in which we plant our children in for the first few years of their lives makes a profound difference to their learning abilities as an adult. In this article, we will discuss three different ways to enrich the “soil” in which we plant our children.
Let Them Crawl
Whether they are 5 months old or 5 years old, crawling and creeping is an activity that we should do with our children on a daily basis. In our classes, we see children who found many interesting ways to move around such as rolling or even back scooting. The teachers will always work together with parents to develop the child’s ability to crawl and creep before they walk. Why?
Crawling directly strengthens a child’s mid brain which controls important functions such as reading, writing and speech. When our children crawls in a cross pattern manner, the left and right side of the brain will work together to complete the action. This strengthens their ability to co-ordinate their body to complete any activity from sports to writing. This not only strengthens a child’s brains for motor co-ordination, it also strengthens their core muscles, shoulders, arms and wrist. When they do so, crawling can develop arches in their hands, helping them to strengthen their writing, colouring and scissors cutting abilities.
It is commonly known that we have five senses. Here in Sparkanauts, we talk about the sixth sense – a sense that is controlled by the vestibular system. Have you ever felt yourself shaking your head to keep yourself awake? What you are really trying to do is to stimulate the vestibular system that is located in your inner ears. The vestibular system in in charge of a person’s ability to balance, co-ordinate, establish eye control and pay attention. You can continue to rock, swing and jiggle your child in various directions to stimulate and strengthen the vestibular system. In our classes, our children are exposed to different sets of balance and gymnastic activities with the sole purpose of strengthening their vestibular system.
Continue to engage your child in games that requires them to move with accuracy. A few such examples would be the hopscotch, jumping jacks and musical games. Movement plays a very crucial roles in building pathways between neurons in a child’s brains. These pathways are important in establishing a child’s ability to think, solve problems, plan and memorize. A child who has developed a good sense of understanding of their body grows to become the adult who finds it easy to pay attention, concentrate, draw up and plan and carry it out. They are also the people who can think out of the box to solve problems. Movement grows the brain.
In our classes, the children are exposed to a range of mobility exercises and songs that accompanied with purposeful actions in order to continually strengthen their brains. As we do so, children begin to combine movement with hearing and thought. The more they can build the link between language and movement, the more our little children will learn to listen to their own body which in turns help to develop their inner voice and thought processes.
By Selene Diong, Principal Instructor of Sparkanuats (Previously known as Gymandemics)
Selene Diong is the Principal Instructor of Sparkanauts. The centre focuses on children from five months to five years old. As the Principal Instructor, Selene is responsible for creating a fun and engaging curriculum, to help young children learn through play. She also promotes a strong engagement with parents, working with them to develop a more meaningful and fun time with their little ones.
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