The magic behind the DEVELOPING BRAIN PLAYGROUP

Teacher: My students DO NOT pay attention.

WHAT TO KNOW

Humans have over 100 billion brain cells. Each one has dendrites, filament-like extensions that are like branches growing out from a tree. Those dendrites receive and send out impulses, electro-chemical messages, to other brain cells. Those impulses travel to other neurons along pathways called synapses, joined to each other by "polysynaptic membranes."

FACTs

The human brain is making connections at a rapid pace of 700 to a 1000 every second.

In the first three years, a child’s brain has up to twice as many synapses as it will have in adulthood.

Genes provide a blueprint for the brain, but a child’s environment and experiences carry out the construction.

From birth to 6 years old the brain....

  • Development of voluntary movement, reasoning, perception, frontal lobes active in development of emotions, attachments, planning, working memory, and perception.
  • A sense of self is developing and life experiences shape the emotional well being.
  • By age six, the brain is 95% its adult weight and peak of energy consumption.
  • Caregivers need to provide nurturing environment and daily individualized communication. Negative or harsh treatment may come with emotional consequences in the future.

These early synaptic connections form the basis of a person’s lifelong capacity to learn, adapt to change, have resilience in case of unexpected circumstances, as well physical and mental health.

year three

Synaptic density in the prefrontal cortex probably reaches its peak during the third year, up to 200 percent of its adult level. This region also continues to create and strengthen networks with other areas. As a result, complex cognitive abilities are being improved and consolidated. At this stage, for example, children are better able to use the past to interpret present events. They also have more cognitive flexibility and a better understanding of cause and effect.

Because experiences have such a great potential to affect brain development children are especially vulnerable to persistent negative influences during this period but on the other hand, positive early experiences have a huge effect on children’s chances for achievement, success, and happiness.

How children’s brains develop

-NEW INSIGHTS-

Scientists who represent the super specialized fields of neuroscience, biology, epigenetics, psychiatry, nutrition, chemistry and child development, provided answers and insights into why early childhood development is so important for individual and societal development, and how this science could influence UNICEF’s approach to achieve results for children.

Message 1

The relationship between genes and environment is closer than we ever imagined. Genes predict our brain development but it is experience that sculpts it.

  • The argument between nature and nurture is over, the brain needs and relies on experience.

Message 2

The brain is complex because it is not a homogenous organ but a highly inter-related and integrated organ.

  • In other words higher other thinking and imagination influence individual learning and the development of culture and society more broadly.

Message 3

Early Intervention is the answer: It becomes progressively harder to fix problems.

IF A CHILD CAN NOT LEARN IN THE WAY WE TEACH, WE MUST TEACH IN A WAY THAT THE CHILD CAN LEARN.

TEAM WORK

  • Split into three groups of four people and write down 5 strategies to enhance instruction and the environment for our playgroup students.

Credits:

Created with images by PlaSmart Inc - "Orbo Puzzle" • dierk schaefer - "Brain" • ManelTor - "Synapse" • Kripptic - "Brains!!!!" • mandiees - "brain" • christianecvo - "fun play children" • mikesween - "puzzle game solution"

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