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What's Going On In There? How the Brain and Mind Develop in the First Five Years of Life
- By Lise Eliot, Ph.D

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Brain Training for Pre-school Children - Unique Methods and Techniques

By Andrew Loh



A young child undergoes remarkable brain growth right from childhood stage to about 15 years when he or she becomes a teen. Proper brain training is very essential for a pre-school child so that he or she can cope with the rigors of classroom and adult life. Pre-school age is the time when many of the cognitive skills and other life skills are learnt by the brain. In addition, brain training will become a consistent activity that does not stop until a time when most important skills are mastered by the brain.

Brain training helps children master numerous critical skills that are needed to lead a productive life. These skills are as follows:

Hand-eye coordination - Hand-to-eye coordination deals with linking brain, eye and hand functions together to perform a series of functions like writing, drawing, painting, making models with clay and operating computer keyboards.

Communication including talking and listening - Communication is a vital aspect of life. Without proper communication, one can never survive. Listening to other people and later responding to their viewpoints is an important social skill. Proper brain training techniques will help children to enhance communication techniques.

Reading and writing - Early literacy is an important concept. Understanding the basic literary concept would assist children fine-tune reading and writing skills.

Motor skills - A basic motor skill is a rudimentary function of the brain that involves correct and precise movement of body muscles with an intention of carry out a particular task. A child will need to be purposeful to feel or sense what his or her muscles are acting as they carry out the task.

Identifying shapes, patterns and colors - Colors and shapes are basic tools to help children learn patterns in their minds. Patterning is a basic cognitive skill that must be developed among children. Patterning is an organized and systematic of repeating a particular act. For example, different colors, shapes and designs could be delicately repeated to design and create a pattern. This is a basic skill that is developed for pre-school children, and brain-training exercises could be used to develop it.

Identify numbers and counting - Numbers and counting form the basic forms of early math. Brain training would involve techniques that help children learning identifying numbers, recognize them and later recite or count each one of these numbers. Repetition is the sole tool available to enhance counting and enumerating techniques.

However, one should learn and understand fundamentals of brain training exercises, before trying to use it on children. Every brain-training program has a specific foundation over which different aspects are included. Most of them are different and one is never similar to the other. Nevertheless, most of them include a series of training foundations, which are used in different combinations to create a suitable system. Here are some of the basic aspects of a typical training foundation:

Effective and thoughtful brain targeting - This technique touches certain brain functions those are important to produce an apparent change in a child's cognitive functioning mechanism. This method would result in two specific advantages:

  1. An enhancement in a child's proficiency with the assigned task.

  2. Perform these tasks by enhancing the capability

An efficient brain-training program - This will help transfer to create a process of including selectively targeted and chosen brain exercises that eventually result in the creation of real cognitive benefits

Example - Choosing an exercise like making patterns out of clay and repeating it to achieve perfection, is an often-used method in brain training regimen. This method targets brain-muscle coordination sector of the brain that eventually results in enhancement of motor skills.

All training schedule should be in a non-academic nature - Children learn their lessons in classroom while pre-school children are not yet exposed to the life of a classroom. Never ever, make your brain training program an academic exercise. Let the program be casual and easy-going in nature. All children should use their rudimentary brain functions in an informal way.

Example - For example, ask your child to count the number of flower in a garden plant instead of showing the figures in a colorful book. Let your children learn in a leisurely pace. Teach your children how to count flowers in a plant while explaining them the importance of colors, shades and shapes. This combined exercise works as a powerful learning tool to enhance many skills in one package. If you have more than one child, you may wish to introduce a one-on-one training regimen so that you are focusing on one child at a time.

Sequential training - It is a program that is introduced in a predefined sequence works best for children. This approach enhanced long-term memory skill that helps children retrieve information in an efficient manner and recite it in a formal way.

Example: Child brain is rudimentary in nature. The first basic skill that a child should learn is enhancing motor, eye-brain-hand coordination skills. In other words, the basic cognitive skill is the motor skill followed by muscle to mind coordination. Once the child masters these skills, you may wish to introduce other portions of the brain training in a deliberate and pre-defined manner.

Feedback and progressive and timely loading of similar programs - Feedback is essential for ascertaining the success of a program although pre-school children may never be able to give you feedback. However, you can always get feedback from a three-year-old child as brain training works best during the age span of four to six years.

Example - You may want to start loading similar techniques in a sequential and progressive manner. The learning mode should be progressive and gradual. Difficult learning programs like learning directions, making complex patterns, reading and writing should be introduced in a progressive manner.

In nutshell, brain training involves different cognitive skills and their enhancement. All of them are essential for your children's mental growth and success. These important skills are as follows:

  • Auditory processing

  • Visual processing

  • Memory - both short terms and long term

  • Attention and concentration

  • Processing speed of gathering information and using it

  • Logic and reasoning

  • Motor skills

  • Some social skills

Please remember that the first five years in your child's life are very crucial and you may want to introduce brain-training programs at this time. Human brain works on a “use it or lose it” axiom and parents may need to urge their children to use their brainpower in a consistent and continuous manner.

Featured Resource

The Whole-Brain Child: 12 Revolutionary Strategies to Nurture Your Child's Developing Mind
By Daniel J. Siegel M.D, Tina Payne Bryson, Ph.D

In this pioneering, practical book, Daniel J. Siegel, neuropsychiatrist and parenting expert Tina Payne Bryson demystify the meltdowns and aggravation, explaining the new science of how a child's brain is wired and how it matures. The 'upstairs brain', which makes decisions and balances emotions, is under construction until the mid-20s. And especially in young children, the right brain and its emotions tend to rule over the logic of the left brain.

By applying these discoveries to everyday parenting, you can turn any outburst, argument, or fear into a chance to integrate your child's brain and foster vital growth. With clear explanations, age-appropriate strategies for dealing with day-to-day struggles, and illustrations that will help you explain these concepts to your child, The Whole-Brain Child shows you how to cultivate healthy emotional and intellectual development so that your children can lead balanced, meaningful, and connected lives.

 

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