Here at smallTalk, we love helping you discover the best ways to develop and grow your baby’s brain. But what if we told you that there was something you could do to boost your baby’s learning by 90 percent?
Researchers at Michigan State University have found that not only does movement help children to grow and develop a wide variety of skills, such as memory, language, social-emotional skills (and more), but that the specific combination of language and movement can actually increase learning by 90 percent.
Neuroscientists explain that the process of learning and memory creation takes place when neurons in the brain connect with each other via synapses, forming neural pathways. The logic is simple: more pathways is better, and the stronger the pathways are, the more deeply ingrained the skill or concept. What’s more, the development and reinforcement of these neural connections in young children is based on movement and play experiences, and these connections are pruned away and lost if they are not stimulated.
This explains why in recent years, play-based curricula have been spotlighted, and many parents have favored schools where pedagogical philosophies are based on a play-based framework. But brain development begins long before your baby heads to school– so if you are interested in finding out more of what you can do to help set your little one up for lifelong learning success, (and when can start) keep reading!
“Movement, or physical activity, is thus an essential factor in intellectual growth, which depends upon the impressions received from outside. Through movement we come in contact with external reality, and it is through these contacts that we eventually acquire even abstract ideas.”
-Maria Montessori, The Secrets of Childhood
Research tells us that early movement matters: in fact, studies have shown that earlier and more frequent movement correlates with better academic outcomes in the long run. So all of your efforts helping baby to explore movement, such as tummy time and activities that encourage coordination and movement across the midline, are priming your little one for increased cognitive strength regardless of gender, socioeconomic status, and other factors.
Combining movement with language and music creates a learning environment that really packs a punch- which is why here at smallTalk we encourage you to get active with your little one as you listen to our content in the language(s) of your choice. Best of all, these activities are wonderful opportunities to bond with your baby starting immediately from birth, since the most sensitive period in brain growth and development starts at around 2-4 months of age and peaks at 8 months. Not to worry if you are starting a bit later– the brain and nervous system are rapidly developing throughout all of the childhood years, and continue to do so even into early adulthood. In other words, it is never a bad time to start building a brain!
So whether you engage baby with movement as you listen to a poem in Mandarin together, or learn how to sing “Head, shoulders, knees and toes” in French, be sure to know that you are giving your child the gift of increased brain power as you spend quality time together learning valuable skills.
Movement can increase learning in children – Michigan State University
Why Young Kids Learn Through Movement – The Atlantic