The human brain has amazed and baffled people for hundreds, if not thousands of years. Many have devoted their entire lives to learning all they can about the brain and how it works. So much is still unknown. It's astoundingly complex and intricate-all of the parts working together as we live our lives. The human brain controls memory, vision, learning, thought, consciousness and other activities like talking, dancing, playing an instrument, and much, much more.
I recently read a short article on brain development and how children learn in general. This information is so important when it comes to the work we do with children who are struggling to learn new skills. Our job is to come up with different ways for them to process information so they can build new pathways or strengthen existing ones. Here's what that article had to say:
The brain is essentially made up of different pathways or circuits. Some pathways, like breathing, are already developed at birth. But other pathways need a little push to develop. Our brains take in all of the sensations and emotions of our everyday life to strengthen and develop these pathways. The more input they get, the better they work. Any circuits that are not used weaken and disappear over time. This happens all the way through childhood and adolescence.
- Senses: Babies use their five senses (sight, sound, touch, taste and smell) to make connections. They taste, shake and throw objects, and make sounds. These activities help develop pathways that control things like movement, vision and language development. As they do these things, the brain strengthens those circuits and helps make the activities easier.
- Language: Before 7 years of age, language development takes off as kids learn more words, use more complex sentences and begin to read. The more words and ideas they’re exposed to, the more pathways they’ll develop.
- Logic: From 7 years of age to about middle school, kids start thinking more logically. They are more able to make connections between things. The circuits that process emotion and feelings strengthen and mature.
- Reasoning: Teens start thinking more abstractly and with more complexity. They consider the “what ifs” of situations to figure out possible outcomes. This means they’re able to do more complicated activities and problem solving. All of the pathways become intertwined so that previously learned skills can be accessed and used when needed.
Click here for the full article. Child Development 101: 8 Key Things to Know About How Kids Learn by Amanda Morin