As I mentioned in a earlier post we went to a parents evening at L's Montessori preschool about How to Grow a Child's Brain. My husband and I were totally impressed and I thought I'd share some of what we learned.
The presentation was by a wonderful Brain Based Learning Facilitator named Gary Anaka. He entertained and enlightened us by using techniques such as Brain Gym exercises and audience participation with physical movements and repetition. Even my skeptical husband was enthusiastically applauding and saying thank you at the end.
What I found most useful was the list of Brain Boosters he gave us to help grow a child's brain. These are what I'm going to share with you.
What Gary said is our motive as parents is to grow your child a three pounder! That's a brain we're talking about. Early childhood is the most critical time for brain development. Oh and for those of us over thirty he said our mission is to try and keep our three pounder : )
So here are the top ten brain boosters according to Garry Anaka
1. Movement-the number one most important thing for a child's development. Get your child moving and outside. Walking, running, jumping anything to get them going. This is why sitting at a computer or sitting watching TV are more brain killers than boosters. Movement helps and is essential for learning. It's amazing how Maria Montessori got it so right!
2. Learning-a child needs to be constantly learning new things. Repetition is the key so read those books over and over until your child can recite them back to you. That is your child's brain growing!
3. Nourishment-It's essential that your child gets enough oxygen(fresh air), water and a proper diet. Some brain boosting foods he suggested are walnuts, avocados, apples, blueberries,bananas, dark chocolate and dark leafy greens like kale.
4. Safety-a child needs to feel safe in his or her environment before their brain is able to start learning and developing. If a child is constantly in the fight or flight part of their brain because they feel threatened they are not able to develop. So the next time you are about to loose control and yell at your child or get into a yelling match with your husband take a deep breath and think of the negative consequences it's going to have on your child's brain.
5. Play for fun-I love this one. Something that is so important is unstructured play, outside in nature. This is where I love the Waldorf philosophy. Gary says children should be allowed to play without parents always setting rules and structure to games.
6. Reading-Reading to your children or having them read is so important. Apparently it takes a child hearing 1000 stories before he or she is able to read.
7. Story Telling-This is also where I like the story telling elements of Waldorf so much. He gave us a quote from Einstein "Imagination is more powerful than knowledge"
8.Experience-"rich experience grows a rich brain" Gary Anaka
9. Novelty-novelty grows the best brain so remember to spice up your routine and do something different every once in a while
10. Caring-I know that everyone who reads this blog does this already as they are taking an interest in their children. Love, attention and affection.
So there they are. Nothing we didn't know already but it's sure nice to have them all affirmed knowing we are on the right track and our child's brains are growing every time we do one of these things that comes so naturally to us.
Here are a few websites he suggests to check out:
www.mindworkspress.com if you go to the SPECT Atlas part you can see fascinating brain scans showing the effects of different things on the brain such as drugs and alcohol and abuse.
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