Brain Development Research Can Influence Early Childhood Curriculum

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Brain Development Research

both the popular press and professional press have sparked public dispute on the significant importance of the first months and years of a child’s life. Scientists have conducted studies showing the dramatic pressure of very early experience on the actual wiring of the human brain. Early encouragement, they have said, prepares the way for later growth and development. Lack of encouragement or negative stimulation can make such growth and development impossible or very difficult. Other researchers have studied how the brain influences precise functions.

Gardner’s Multiple Intelligences

Intelligence is a way of knowing the world. We all learn, remember, perform, and understand in different ways through a characteristic combination that Howard Gardner has termed our “intelligence profile.” In his view, that profile is a blend of at least six ways of knowing the world.

Language (linguistic intelligence) – Includes the skills involved in reading and writing, listening and talking. Logical-mathematical analysis involves computing numbers, solving logical puzzles, and thinking logically. It combines with linguistic intelligence in the answer of mathematical word problems.

Spatial representation (spatial intelligence) – Includes the skills essential for driving a car, piloting a plane, and figuring out how to get from one location to another. It is vital in the visual arts and in playing games like chess where it is essential to envision what the board will look like after certain moves have been made.

Musical thinking (musical intelligence) – Involves singing, playing an instrument, performing an orchestra, composing, and to some extent appreciating music.

Bodily movement (bodily-kinesthetic intelligence) – Involves the ability to use the whole body or portions of it in the solution to problems or in the creating objects. It is used by dancers, athletes, actors, surgeons and others who use physical movement to accomplish their goals.

Understanding other individuals (interpersonal intelligence) – Includes both understanding others and acting upon that understanding. It involves noting distinctions among others, becoming conscious of what they are thinking or feeling, and realizing what their needs might be. It can be spoken both verbally and nonverbally through gesture and facial expression. It is particularly helpful for those occupied in politics, sales, psychotherapy, and teaching.

Understanding ourselves (intrapersonal intelligence) – Involves the ability to know how we feel; to be attentive of the range of our emotions; and to have insights into why we act as we do and perform in ways that are suitable to our needs, goals, and abilities.

Brain Development Research and Your Classroom

you will find that other, more recent scientific studies into the significance of early stimulation largely confirm what you frequently observe in child care settings. Such studies are important because they help you fully appreciate the processes behind what you see as you interrelate with young children. On a practical level, they help you develop strategies that will make your work more efficient.

Planning for Developmental Stages

when you develop prospectus within your own plan, research findings remind you of the significance of thinking about the daily activities you are preparation, particularly the activities for the youngest toddlers in your care. These findings authenticate the concept of “developmental suitability” for all ages by reinforcing the need to respect the developing brain and what it can contain at particular stages.

Assisting Individual Children

Teacher training Mumbai research also shows how curriculum planning and ongoing inspection can be used to assist individual children. Each child’s “intelligence profile” is different. In some cases, you will be called upon to develop curriculum and teacher performance to support a particular child’s dominant intelligence. In others, it will be essential to strengthen an area of weakness.

Identifying and Supporting Individual Strengths

Teachers are in a position of providing activities that hold up particular strengths and increase a child’s probability of success. Such support is particularly important when a child’s leading intelligence is not distinctive of the group or valued in the culture. Most would agree with Gardner that North American culture, and educational practice in particular, places the highest value on linguistic intelligence and to a lesser degree on logical-mathematical intelligence (1991). Individuals with strengths in areas other than linguistics often find it hard to achieve something.

However, each domain is distinctive and fully capable of expressing meaning. Davis and Gardner (1993) point out that the teacher would have left a very different feeling by commenting on “the action in this line”; by telling the child, “This is a nicely balanced drawing”; or by saying, “This drawing is very strong.” By focusing on the artistic elements of the drawing, the teacher would have introduced Lucy to a vocabulary that could reinforce her spatial intelligence and provide a foundation for its further development.

To promote “process-oriented” approach to learning, Montessori course suggest that teachers:

• Ensure that kids have access to a rich environment that encourages discovery and choices. Kids need to learn to choose and to focus and move on to make another choice.

• Provide kids with enough time to get fully occupied in an activity and benefit from it. Children who wander before making a choice may have little time to experience their selection.

• Consider play a chance to put together all learning processes and skills.

• Make learning interactive and fun. This mixture provides a motivation and a basis for further learning.

• Identify and make goals for the specific learning tasks of each stage of emotional development. Such tasks address the processes kids need to learn on their own.

These ideas may help you as you carry out your daily tasks in the classroom or as a program developer. Many, if not most, will be recognizable to you. What may not be familiar, however, is the fundamental scientific basis that brings a whole new world of research activity to bear upon child development.

Conclusion

all children, including very young children, should be exposed to the broadest possible range of optimistic experiences and encouraged to learn in all ways. There are direct links between brain development research findings and early childhood program decisions and practice.


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