Where Interactive Education Begins at Birth.

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Babies are born with 100 billion brain nerve cells, also known as neurons.   In utero, the brain is producing trillions of neurons and synapses than are needed (synapses allow the brain cells to communicate and connect to each other).  During the first few years of life, the brain goes through an amazing transformation, where it starts to eliminate communication connections that are rarely or never used.  However, connections that are used will get stronger and become permanent.  It is thought by some psychologists that parents have a special window of opportunity to help shape their baby’s brain during the first few years of life.  Your baby is ‘tuned’ in to your voice inflections, tender touches and love.  They experience their world through you.  We now know you can engage your baby with conversation from birth.  The way they look at you, the expressions and sounds they make, are indications of what they are learning.  The more you interact with your baby, the more brain connections will be formed. 

“Parents are the brain’s first and most important teacher.  Among other things, they appear to help babies learn by adopting the rhythmic, high pitched speaking style known as Parentese.  When speaking to babies, Stanford University psychologist Anne Fernald has found, mothers and fathers from many cultures change their speech patterns in the same peculiar ways.  They put their faces very close to the child, she reports.  They use short utterances, and they speak in an unusually melodious fashion.  The heart rate of infants’ increases while listening to Parentese, even Parentese delivered in a foreign language.  Moreover, Fernald says, Parentese appears to hasten the process of connecting words to the objects they denote.  Twelve-month-olds, directed to look at the ball in Parentese, direct their eyes to the correct picture more frequently than when the instruction is delivered in normal English ”.  According to the landmark 1994 Carnegie Corporation study “Starting Points”, “only half of infants and toddlers are routinely read to by their parents.  The effects are serious: teachers report that a third of kindergartners are not ready to learn when they arrive at school ”.  Perhaps these findings are indicative of the current reading problem in today’s society. 

Your baby’s brain can be viewed as a garden, ready for seeds of new ideas and learning through your parental interaction.  Why would you not attempt to enrich your baby’s soil?  If you do, perhaps you will enable your baby’s soil to handle a variety of seeds to create stronger crops.  In other words, early parental interaction may assist the brain in creating more permanent connections widening the scope of potential for that baby.

Brain Science has recognized that babies and young children are ready for an environment rich in communication, touch, sight and sound.  They are curious about their environment and want to explore.  Why would you not assist them with their natural curiosity through love, understanding and knowledge?

“Special Report:  How a child’s Brain Develops” (pg. 54):  Time Magazine, February 3, 1997

“Off To A Good Start” (pg. 9): Newsweek, Spring/Summer 1997

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