How to stimulate the capacities of children from 0 to 3 years old

All human beings are born with an immature neurological structure that is configured, from before birth and throughout life, thanks to two components: genetic component and the environmental component. Intervene on this environmental component is possible. But how to stimulate the capacities of children from 0 to 3 years?

Precisely, this immaturity, thanks to which there is the possibility of learning and adapting to the cultural environment in which it is born, is related to the maturing mechanisms that make up the Central Nervous System [CNS]: lto neuronal plasticity and specialization.

Although they are broad issues and difficult to delimit, it can be said that the anatomofunctional plasticity allows the adaptation of the child to the hazards that alter the genetic program. The specialization, on the other hand, refers to each of the parts of the brain acquiring a certain function. But, is there an optimal period to favor this specialization?


Sensitive periods for children's learning

Since the last half of the last century, it has been shown that the first years of life are key to establishing good bases of learning and that the possibility of receiving adequate attention at this time will influence the subsequent development.

Thus, the sensitive periods of the child have been defined as those that refer to the "period of life in which learning takes place more easily, the moments in which there is a certain facility or propensity for learning certain abilities, periods or phases that are especially fertile or optimal. "

The educational significance of the sensitive periods of children

The amount of new knowledge in which the child starts in this first three years of life and the neurological changes that are observed, indicate that it is an ideal stage to promote learning. However, without losing sight that these sensitive periods are not rigid criteria, what should prevail above all is the desire to help the child mature in his interaction with the world, with people and with objects.


Several authors argue that the early years are key to harmonious physical, psychological development, for the formation of personality development, to enhance the child's intellectual abilities and social skills. However, it is not indicative that later they do not continue to give sufficient conditions to continue with good learning; or that certain apprenticeships should be encouraged in that period of time, on pain of losing them.

The role of the environment in the development of the child's capacities

Throughout history, an attempt has been made to measure the influence it can exert on intelligence, the genetic component and the environmental component. And although it is quite difficult to quantify, the interaction of both factors seems to have a positive or negative influence on intelligence.

As a general measure, we can affirm that whatever the genetic load of the child, it is convenient to take care of the environment in which it moves, to help develop its capacities correctly.


Influence of the school environment

The child develops his abilities in the family, school and social environment. However, the school environment (with the direct support of parents) is the medium in which all children (whether or not they have disorders) must achieve the full development of their faculties. For this reason, it is logical to think that the activities developed in it, encompass the educational, therapeutic and preventive purposes. Early education in the preschool stage, that is, from 0 to 3 years, can be very beneficial for children because of this plasticity of their brain.

Sonia Rivas Borrell

More information in the book: Early education from 0 to 3 years. Author Ana Sánchez, Teacher of Early Childhood Education

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