What Do We Know About How Babies Learn
Babies, Babies everywhere! My friends are all having babies. I'm seeing babies all around. My sister just had a baby and has 2 other little ones. I love seeing babies and I miss those days when my boys were babies. It was a fun time. It still is, don't get me wrong, but there is something special about wondering what your little one is going to be like in the years to come. I used to look at my firstborn and ask myself, "What will he look like? What will he sound like? What will he be like?" And then, what are the best things for my baby? I wanted to be a good parent. We must have researched every single thing! -from the right toys to the best baby products, to the right time to introduce things to our baby.
I was always looking at the developmental milestones for babies. Is he where he should be? As we were looking into everything, we discovered a reading program for Babies. For babies? A reading program for babies? You may be thinking maybe what we were thinking? Is this for real? Babies can't read...Can they? After watching the commercials, we were actually hooked and thought, "Why not try?"
So how does this all work? So what is the science behind this, babies reading? We know our little ones are constantly learning, but what exactly do we know about how babies learn? Along our new journey, my husband and I learned that babies are making new neural connections every day; but did you know that at birth, a baby’s brain contains 100 billion neurons. It's been compared to about as many nerve cells as there are stars in the Milky Way. Before birth, the brain produces trillions more neurons and connections between the brain cells (synapses) than it needs. The brain undergoes a series of extraordinary changes during the first years of life.
Babies are making new connections every day and by 2-3 years old, they have made over 10,000 connections per neuron. This article I read compared this having 100 friends to 600 friends on Facebook, and each of those friends connecting to 600 more people! The connections and networks increase exponentially. I saw my boys as babies, discovering new things and making new connections as they were playing with their toys, as we were reading to them and then, as we started to use the reading program. Although, If they are not used often enough, they are eliminated. So experience plays a crucial role in “wiring” a young baby's brain.
We also learned from our research on the program that we have to take advantage of the "window of opportunity", the period of time when it is easier for a child to learn at a higher level. This is when you want to take advantage of learning languages and reading. We wanted to take advantage of this window with our boys.
Brain development does not stop after early childhood, but it is the foundation upon which the brain continues developing. Early childhood is the time to build either a strong and supportive, or fragile and unreliable foundation. These early years are very important in the development that continues in childhood, adolescence, and adulthood.