This is how the sponge brain of children works

The discovery of the sensitive periods of children's learning has shown the importance of stimulating different areas of the brain at specific moments of development. The stage that goes from three to five years it is crucial for language proficiency, psychomotor development and communicative ability.

From the moment our children are born, we are surprised at how fast time passes, how much they grow and how little by little they become a little person with their own characteristics. At three years, this constant learning of our children is accelerated. It seems that every time we turn around they have learned a new skill, they have learned to use a sophisticated word correctly, or they are imitating our expressions in circumstances that lend themselves to it.

Brain development in the pre-school stage

At preschool ages there is a intense period of brain development guided by two simultaneous processes: synaptogenesis and mielenization. Synaptogenesis is responsible for making connections between neurons following sophisticated patterns and promoting new synapses. Melanization is responsible for wrapping the nerves with a protective layer of fat that facilitates the fast transmission of neuronal signals.

The combination of both processes increases brain efficiency and increases the speed of stimulus processing as well as better communication between brain regions. That means that children between three and five years old are programmed and prepared to learn basically everything they are exposed to.

In this way, although the Greater neuronal development occurs in the first years of life, it is at three years When this process reaches its peak and the brain is ready to become a nest of bees where there is always work and learning. Children absorb not only academic content Y language, but also social rules, the correct use of complex words, there is even an optimization of your psychomotor skills.

The basis of learning is consolidated in the first years of life

The learning It is a continuous process throughout life. Many processes begin to take root at this age but may not be functional until later. There are parts of the brain, such as impulse control or the emission of rational judgments, that, although at these ages settle their bases, they are not developed until much later and they are not even activated until after adolescence.

Likewise, synapses related to language grow mainly during the first three years of life. It is in the preschool age when they are learned and used appropriately Up to ten new words per day. But it is around ten when you learn that the same word can be used for different purposes. It is also at this age that one learns to write with a greater grammatical property. All these processes are linked to those first synapses created in childhood, but they mature and increase their complexity throughout life.

Sensitive periods for children's learning

Children's brains are programmed to grow in a sequence from bottom to top in such a way that they develop first the basic parts, in charge of the vital functions, and later the cortex, in charge of the most complex thought.

Within development there are critical periods in which children are especially sensitive to stimuli. While naturally neurons will be particularly willing to create new connections, appropriately stimulating our children during these periods ensures that these connections are established better and with greater strength. The importance of creating strong and varied connections lies in the fact that they will increase the functionality of these connections and these foundations will be the cornerstone of multiple future faculties.

Maite Balda Aspiazu. Psychologist and Master in Cognitive Neurosciences


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