“I don’t know any parents that look into the eyes of a newborn baby and say, ‘How can I screw this kid up?'” ~Russel Bishop
Most of the ‘wiring’ in a child’s brain takes place in the early years.
- Connections develop more densely between brain cells in the regions of a child’s brain that are used often.
- Brain cells that aren’t used are pruned away over time.
- During the early years, the quality of a child’s experiences shape the architecture of his brain.
Source: TIME Magazine, February 10, 1997
Timing is important.
- Various regions of your child’s brain control different areas of his development, such as language, listening skills, hand-eye coordination, reasoning abilities, memory, etc.
- The Practica Programme tells you which new things a typical child will be able to do at every age in all these areas, so that you don’t miss anything.
- Newly emerging abilities are most susceptible to the impact of stimulation when the neural circuits that control them are still young and malleable.
- Practica brings you in touch with your child’s natural development by telling you which games to play as part of your daily routine to ‘exercise’ the many new things that your baby can do at his particular age.
- By doing all the right things at the right time, you zoom in on all the areas during the ‘sensitive periods’ and maximize your child’s brain development in a natural way.
The following PET scans, done on a severely neglected 3-year old, and a 3-year old who received loving attention during the first 3 years of his life, demonstrate the physical impact of age-appropriate stimulation, or the lack thereof, on the developing brain:
“The best inheritance a person can give to his children is a few minutes of his time each day.” ~A.O. Battista
Recent research indicates that ‘unnatural’ ways of stimulating babies, such as DVD’s and stimulation videos for babies may actually hinder, and not encourage, development.
On the contrary, in the light of the newest research based an ever increasing number of studies and books emphasize that babies and young children’s brains are genetically pre-determined to be wired in response to everyday interactions with nurturing adults who are deeply in love with them and highly responsive to their interests, needs and signals. Warm smiles and eye contact, feeling noticed and cared about, generate pleasurable feelings and release hormones in the brain that encourage the development of neural networks in the brain.
The Practica Programme adds the ‘spice’ to these natural loving interactions. As you play and laugh with your child, you include clever little games that create the opportunity for him to exercise all of his newly emerging skills and build the neural networks that are forming in all the various areas of his brain. Imagine the difference that a thousand of these emotionally charged games can make, spread out over the first 24 months! And there are thousands more to choose from up to 7 years of age!
“Many things can wait; the child cannot. Now is the time his bones are being formed, his mind is being developed. To him we cannot say tomorrow; his name is today.” ~Gabriela Mistral
- At birth, the circumference of a baby’s brain is typically 35cm. This increases to 50 cm by the age of 21 months, after which it takes 19 years to increase with only another 5 cm to a total of 55 cm by the age of 21 years.
- Imagine how many connections develop between a baby’s brain cells during the first 21 months!
- Thousands of children, who had joined our programme when they were 4 to 7 years old benefitted tremendously from the Practica Programme, but in light of the above: the earlier you start – the better.
- The brain becomes less and less susceptible to the impact of stimulation as time goes by, so when it comes to “wiring” the brain, it’s far better to get it right the first time, than trying to fix things later on.
“I not only use all the brains that I have, but all that I can borrow.” ~Woodrow Wilson
The activities in the Practica Programme are derived from 5 sources:
|Research observations of what a typical child does at various ages.||A typical 2-year old can be taught to group objects by their color. He can put all the blue beads in one can, and the yellow beads in another. Children will sort on the basis of colour before they sort by form (Cohen & Gross, 1979).|
|Emperical studies done on how specific enriching experiences can enhance children’s development.||Babies, whose mothers often focused their attention on objects at the age of 4 months, were more eager to actively explore their environment at the age of 12 months (Belsky, Goode and Most, 1980).|
|The practical implications of the insights and studies of educators and researchers, such as Lev Vygotsky, Jean Piaget, Maria Montesorri, Edward de Bono, Burton L. White, Howard Gardner, Daniel Goleman, J.Bruner, etc.||Lev Vygotsky observed how children learn and consequently develop during their interactions with adults. Jean Piaget described how children experience and interact with their environment differently at various stages and Maria Montessori popularized the idea that children learn better when the learning experiences are age-appropriate. Much can be learned and applied from the work of these and other similarly ground-breaking researchers.|
|Tried and tested favourites in households, teaching and therapy.||Instead of always playing tried and tested games in the old fashioned way, the Practica Guide adds a twist. You can, for instance, adapt the peek-a-boo game to help your baby solve problems at 7 months and learn the meaning of words at 9 months.|
|Things that teachers wish their learners’ parents did to build their brains years ago, when the learners were still babies, toddlers and pre-schoolers.||If a 7 year old struggles to coordinate the two sides of his body and roll across the floor from point A to point B, he will most probably experience learning problems. Teachers wish that someone would tell parents to practice rolling early on, when a child is 3-4 years old!|
“I am always doing that which I cannot do, in order that I may learn how to do it.” ~ Picasso
- The Practica Programme is a home-based one-on-one educational stimulation programme. It is specifically designed to be used by everyday parents who juggle many responsibilities while dealing with the time restraints of modern life.
- The package consists of a comprehensive parents’ guide, a wooden toy box filled with specially selected and designed educational tools, an advisory service and a monthly newsletter or parents’ article.
- To find out more about why you will benefit from investing in a Practica Programme, kindly have a look at the “6 reasons to invest in the Practica Programme” at the bottom of this page.
1 – Nash, M. (1997, February 3). Fertile minds . Time, 149, 49-56. Diagram by Joe Lertola.
2 – National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, The Timing and Quality of Early Experiences Combine to Shape Brain Architecture . (2007). Working Paper No. 5.
3 – Begley, S. (Spring/Summer 1997). How to build a baby’s brain . Newsweek Special Issue , 28-32.
4 – Schwarz, J. (2007). Baby DVDs, videos may hinder, not help, infants’ language development.University of Washington News.
5 – Gerhardt, Sue. (2004). Why Love Matters: Why Affection Shapes a Baby’s Brain . New York : Brunner-Routledge
6 – Cohen, M., & Gross, P. (1979). Developmental resources: Behavioral sequences for assessment and programme planning (Vols. I & II). New York : Grune & Stratton.
7 – Belsky J., Goode M. & Most R. 1980. Maternal stimulation and infant exploratory competence . Child Development 51: 1163-1178.