Research on early childhood brain development indicates that everything happening to the brain of a child from age 0 to 3 continuously changes it, said educator and psychologist JoAnn Deak, Ph.D in her keynote address at Creative Brain Institute’s inaugural meeting.
This makes the first three years of a child’s life extremely important, as babies learn language and make sense of the world through their experiences, laying the foundation for their future.
“You are brain sculptors. You are changing the brains that you work with for the rest of their lives,” Deak says to Explore+Discover Early Learning Center educators.
What is interesting to note is that boys and girls develop at different times, and are better at different things early on. For example, girls’ language development is generally faster than boys’ by about two years, while boys typically become better problem-solvers as they grow.
By capitalizing on learning periods, children can learn as much as they can while their brains are primed for it. According to Deak, educators are “teeter-totter people,” who should try to balance out students’ strengths and weaknesses.
One way to do so is to encourage children to “hug the monster,” Deak says. Adding that “faking it actually becomes you”–tackling weaknesses head-on can help with overcoming them.
Another highlight of the meeting: the best way for students to learn at this stage is through repetition; otherwise the information retained as working memory dissipates. The brain will clear out memories it considers to be wasting space, before they can be stored in long-term memory.
As their brains develop, children will gradually make more and more connections, making way for the beginnings of a capacity for judgment at age 3.
Until then, a child has no sense of right or wrong, as they are primarily run by emotion and have limited experiences to base decisions on, which is why a guiding hand can be so beneficial.
This year’s CIB meeting marks the opening of Explore+Discover’s first 5,000-square-ft early education and daycare center in Manhattan, at 444 2nd Avenue. Their highly-trained teachers have a strong background in early childhood education, teaching with all of this and more in mind.
Explore+Discover hopes to open more than 20 additional early learning centers in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens over the next five years, teaching with the same arts-oriented curriculum and mind for child development.
To find out more about Explore+Discover Early Learning Center, visit their website HERE.