Monday, 6 July 2015

Helping your baby's brain development

As a primary school teacher who has taught some very cute five year old's just starting out at school, I've seen a variety of ability levels entering the classroom. Before going on maternity leave, I taught at a school which used the Building Blocks to Literacy approach to learning. Essentially this approach believes that before a child is ready and able to develop their reading and writing ability, they need certain 'building blocks' in place. These 'building blocks' or physical skills cover the domains of listening, talking, moving, print and looking.

Obviously I can't go into what this looks like in each domain as it quite a comprehensive program. Some child arrive at school with all the skills already in place, some arrive with a few and sometimes, some arrive with none. The majority of the time, it is the differing social and cultural background of a child that shapes their experience in the early years, which then shapes their readiness for learning upon entering school.

Obviously my child (9 months old) is still far off entering school. Yet I am amazed by all that she has learnt already. For example, she loves books and in particular, loves turning the pages of books. Yet this is something that some children come to school not knowing as they simply have not had that exposure to books. 

It is said that the human brain develops more rapidly between birth and the age of 5 than at any other time in a person's life. That is amazing and also quite a lot of responsibility for any parent! 

With all this in mind, I've decided to start a new 'season' to my blog. I want to investigate activities that stimulate my little girl - activities that keep her occupied but which are also developmentally appropriate. While I'm interested to know how exactly they benefit her, I also just want to keep her entertained. I'm sure all mum's have experienced the short attention span of a baby. One day they love something, the next they're over it. It can be quite a tiring task keeping them occupied and entertained all day. 

My plan is to investigate developmentally appropriate activities that can be done using things around the house, or are essentially free (as money is very tight for most when you're relying on one income), get her to try them out and share them with you. I imagine she'll be interested in some and not quite as interested in others, but hopefully by sharing, it might give you some more ideas for things to do at home as well. I also want to look into activities that she is already interested in doing and find out what exactly she is learning from them, simply because it's quite fascinating how little people develop. In saying all this, I am most definitely not trying to push her into learning. Learning happens regardless and at this age, learning happens through their investigating and play. I simply want to help facilitate and enrich this natural process. 

So watch this space, I hope to have the first activity up at some stage in this week. If you happen to have an activity that you have found particularly good, please feel free to share it too.  

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