As your child’s brain develops in the first five years, they will need to use and re-use connections between ideas to build strong foundations for lifelong learning.
A baby is born with a brain ready to learn. Their brain cells reach out and make neural connections with each new experience stimulated by their environment. The connections are called synapses. As these synapses are stimulated over and over, these connections become "hardwired".
During early childhood, the brain undergoes extensive growth. Connections that are regularly used will be kept and those that are not will be ‘pruned’.
Children are learning each day through every experience, forming the foundational brain development for all learning later in life. As a parent, your interactions and support in the early years have a great impact on your child’s development.
Repeating words, a concept or a skill allows your child to form an understanding and even attempt to imitate it. Children may repeat new words back to you as they learn them and will learn letters and words by repeatedly seeing them written down.
Similarly, with physical skills, mathematical concepts and social skills, your child will pick up ideas that are repeated and explained to them.
Children often ask "why?"; this can provide great opportunities to introduce new concepts or even find answers together. Reading and talking with your child and exploring new ideas is great for keeping young brains active.
Try introducing learning into routines each day:
- introduce numeracy in cooking
- tell stories and read books to learn literacy
- allow time for creative exploration through art
- encourage your child to use new words and engage in conversation
- provide supportive and regular routines for your child to feel safe
- initiate physical activities
- repeat lessons and activities so your child continues using these connections.