Why do childhood memories become permanent fixtures in our brains as compared to recent events that haplessly pass our minds and forgotten in a snap? This is because during the crucial age of three to six years, the brain neurons of a child are being wired, thereby allowing it to form connections. Just as in any kind of growth, the brain needs to be nurtured at the early stages of life so as to fully develop its capabilities for future learning.
Even those who believe certain talents are innate agree that a child’s upbringing and surrounding have a big impact on whether a gift is developed or squashed.
One educator said that prodigies are half born, half made and mostly discovered at an early age. The role adapted by parents and educators is vital. A psychologist once said that the parents and educators of gifted kids provide very stimulating environments: their surroundings are often full of books; they are read to at a very early age; they are taken to trips to museums and concerts. These exceptional ones are allowed a high degree of independence and are not talked down in.
Early childhood is indeed the most rapid period of development in a human life so it is the most ideal period to stimulate children into reaching their fullest potentials. Although individual children develop at their own pace, all of them progress through an identifiable sequence of physical, cognitive, and emotional growth and change.
Children should be challenged to think productively while simultaneously developing their communication and leadership skills. Emphasis should be on accelerating the child’s overall learning capabilities and enhancing their skills for children of all abilities.
A noted education expert on giftedness developed the so-called “zigzag” strategy or abrupt subject changing to keep the child hooked, considering that most toddlers have an attention span of around two-and-a-half minutes.
Here are basic facts designed to encourage and stimulate progress of the preschoolers to the next level development:
• Children learn best when their physical needs are met and they feel psychologically safe and secure. Young children are not to sit and attend to paperwork or listen to adult lectures for along period of time. They need active play, as well as periods of quiet, restful activity. Environment is safe and secure when everyone is accepted.
• Children learning through play. Play provides opportunities for exploration, experimentation and manipulation that are essential for constructing knowledge. Learning through play promotes the development of social, emotional and intellectual abilities of a child. It is through play that children develop their imagination and creativity.
• Children construct knowledge. They observe, compare, ask questions and discover answers. Knowledge is constructed as a result of dynamic interactions between the individual and the physical and social environments. In a sense, the child discovers knowledge through active experimentation, which eventually sometimes leads to “constructive errors” that are equally necessary to mental development.
• Children learn through social interaction with other adults and other children. In this case, the teacher encourages and fosters relationships with his/her peers and pother adults by supporting the child in his/her effort and later allowing the child to function independently. The teacher’s role is supporting, guiding, and facilitating development and learning.