Recent brain development research makes it very clear that early experiences impact the wiring of the brain. Early childhood presents a window of opportunity not just to impart knowledge, but to impact the actual physiology of the brain. Experts agree that the brain of a young child is much more plastic, or able to be impacted by experience, than is the brain of an adult. What are the implications of this information?
Our program seeks “to promote brain development, so that the skills needed for instructional learning are supported by a rich neural network.” This probably sounds like an unnecessarily complex sentence, but if you come to a presentation, it will actually make sense!
Here’s an exciting quote regarding dyslexia…
But a growing body of scientific evidence suggests there is a glitch in the neurological wiring of dyslexics that makes reading extremely difficult for them. Fortunately, the science also points to new strategies for overcoming the glitch. The most successful programs focus on strengthening the brain’s aptitude for linking letters to the sounds they represent. Some studies suggest that the right kinds of instruction provided early enough may rewire the brain so thoroughly that the neurological glitch disappears entirely.
From Time Magazine, July 28, 2003, The New Science of Dyslexia, pg.54.
How much of our behavior is determined by our genes and how much by our environment? Fiercely debated but not fully resolved, we continue to grapple with this nature-vs.-nurture question. But data from the study of the developing and adult brain are providing us with new ways of thinking about this issue ways that, finally, promise answers.
Whether our personality, our intelligence, and our behavior are more likely to be shaped and affected by our environment or our genetic coding is not simply an idle question for today s researchers. There are tremendous consequences to understanding the crucial role that each plays. How we raise and educate our children, how we treat various mental diseases or conditions, how we care for our elderly these are just some of the issues that can be informed by a better and more complete understanding of brain development.
John Dowling, eminent neuroscience researcher, looks at these and other important issues. The work that is being done by scientists on the connection between the brain and vision, as well as the ways in which our brains help us learn new languages, are particularly revealing. From this groundbreaking new research we are able to gain startling new insights into how the brain functions and how it can (or cannot) be molded and changed. By studying the brain across the spectrum of our lives, from infancy through adulthood and into old age, we see how the brain develops, transforms, and adjusts through the years. Looking specifically at early development and then at the opportunities for additional learning and development as we grow older, we learn more about the ways in which both nature and nurture play key roles over the course of a human lifetime.
The Great Brain Debate: Nature or Nurture?
Here is another good article. It is called, “Born to Learn: Language, Reading, and the Brain of the Child”, by Dr. Patricia K. Kuhl.
Born to Learn
Here is a good article that some of you may find interesting to read:
Here is a quote from the article:
Getting our kids ready to read is not only important – it is critical! Why – because there is a remarkably strong and stable link between what preschool kids know about words, sounds, letters, and print and later academic performance. Most kids who don’t have this information upon entry into kindergarten will not only struggle there but will have difficulties learning to read through high school, if intensive and informed intervention is not provided.