Early Years: the Most Significant Developmental Period

Why Do Early Years Matter?

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Because the early years are the most significant developmental period for physical, physiological, and cognitive growth.

Physical & Physiological Development

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The period of most rapid brain growth happens from birth to age 6, both in terms of physical growth, myelination, neuroplasticity, cognition, creativity and adaptation.

 Such rapid growth means that every experience in early life has a significant impact on brain development, its agility, ability to change, rewire, learn, adapt and strengthen essential neural synaptic connections.  
  • At birth, the average baby's brain is about a quarter of the size of the average adult brain
  • It doubles in size in the first year.
  • Brain reaches 50% of adult size by age 3.
  • By age 4, the brain is about 8/10 of a size of an adult's brain.
  • By age 5, the brain is 90% the adult's size – nearly fully grown.

The brain is our command center. For example, at birth, a baby's brain contains 100 billion neurons (brain cells), about as many nerve cells as there are stars in the Milky Way galaxy, and that is almost all the neurons the brain will ever have for the rest of their life.

But it’s the ‘synapses’ - the connections between these cells that really make the brain work. As the neurons mature, more and more synapses are made. For example, at birth, the number of synapses per neuron is 2,500; but by the age of two or three, it's a staggering 15,000 per neuron. 

The early childhood years are crucial for making these connections and that is why Dr. Montessori described the period from birth till age six as an Absorbent Mind! With periods of magical sensitive ‘windows of opportunity’ when a child has a particular sensitivity to acquiring or ‘absorbing’ a specific knowledge or skill effortlessly, spontaneously and with great dedication to a single task!

Since in the first few years of life, more than 1 million new neural connections form every second, growing brain possess infinite possibilities to absorb, encode, and adapt to any culture or tradition! We must thus seize the golden age opportunity of the absorbent mind and help our children to grow to their fullest potential!




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Cognitive Development  

Children are Born Creative Geniuses

Confirms the study where Dr. Land and Dr. Jarman tested 1,600 children between the age of 4 and 5 years. The results were: "98% of them scored at genius level!"

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98% was an astonishingly high number, so they started testing the same group of children as they grew up. 

● By grade school, only 30% of the children were considered creative geniuses.

● By high school, it was only 12%. 

They conducted the same test on a group of adults.
● Less than 2% of the adults tested in studies were creative geniuses.

Studies have shown that we are all born divergent creative thinkers. But something smothers our ingenuity and creativity as time ticks by.

Language Acquisition

"Babies and children are geniuses until they turn seven, followed by a systematic decline. After puberty, we fall off the map," explains Dr. Kuhl, a renowned researcher in the field of language acquisition, particularly in infants and young children.

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Language has a critical period for learning:

➡️ the horizontal axis shows the age,

⬆️ the vertical axis indicates a skill for language acquisition.

Dr. Kuhl talks about the 'celestial openness' of a child's mind when infants have a remarkable capacity to encode any spoken language sounds and patterns during their first year of life when exposed to face-to-face human interaction. Dr. Maria Montessori referred to it as The Absorbent Mind

On the other hand, adults are culture-bound listeners. We can discern the sound of our native language but not those of the foreign.

So, when do babies become language-bound-listeners? 

Before Their 1st 🎂Birthday! 

In her TED Talk titled "The Linguistic Genius of Babies,"Dr. Kuhl highlights the importance of early exposure to language and social interaction for language development. She demonstrates how infants are born as "citizens of the world" with the ability to discriminate and produce sounds from all languages if exposed to face-to-face interaction in the language learning process. However, around ten months of age, infants shift towards becoming "culture-bound" listeners and start focusing on the sounds specific to their native language.

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Multiple research studies support the finding that infants have a remarkable ability to perceive and learn the sounds of any language during their first year of life. This ability to perceive the full range of phonetic sounds from different languages is often referred to as "universal phonetic sensitivity."

But, here is the catch!

⭐️It has to be a human face-to-face interaction. [The MagnetoEncephlaGraphy testing revealed that TV or audio exposure yielded no language learning whatsoever.]

 ⭐️An infant-directed speech (also known as "parentese" or "baby talk") with melodic, exaggerated, and repetitive nature is most effective.

Thus, with repeated exposure and ongoing language interactions, infants gradually and seemingly effortlessly develop their language skills and start producing meaningful words and sentences. 

Now, let me share a 😆 hilarious story from my own parenting journey!

So, when my daughter, Julia, was about six months old, I had this grand plan. I thought, "Why not let Baby Einstein teach her some French? Brilliant, right?" I had visions of her babbling away in elegant French phrases while sipping on her imaginary café au lait. But, oh boy, was I in for a surprise! Turns out, all my efforts were as futile as trying to teach a goldfish to climb a tree. Ah, the things we learn in hindsight! If only I had known about the scientific findings I'm sharing with you today. So, after countless hours of "educational TV-watching," doubts began to creep in. Eventually, I learned the hard truth: TV exposure doesn't work its magic when it comes to language acquisition. And just like that, my dreams of raising a French-speaking prodigy went up in smoke faster than a buttery croissant at breakfast. And, nope, Julia didn't utter a single word of French, nor she later developed any French-inclined superpowers or abilities. Lesson learned, my friend: it's all about those face-to-face interactions and embarking on linguistic adventures together!
 P.S. Note to self: Perhaps I should have considered investing in a French-speaking nanny or even a cleaning lady. It seems like those moments could have been spent more wisely in fostering my child's bilingual potential. Live and learn, right?

Language Acquisition Summary 

Ah, the early years, a magical time when children become language wizards! These little language sponges soak up the sounds and patterns of speech like nobody's business. But here's the secret ingredient: it's all about face-to-face human interactions and exposure to diverse languages. And guess what? TV exposure and audio tapes don't make the cut in the language learning department for our little language prodigies. So, let's get those conversations flowing and watch their linguistic abilities 🚀skyrocket!

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Seize the Golden Age Opportunity of the Absorbent Mind

 If you don't have ⏰ time to research and plan activities, or you are not precisely sure which activities to offer your child to promote their optimal growth during the golden Absorbent Mind stage, join now!

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It's for You If

Instead of spending hours researching to do activities in the future, you want to got on a short track to skyrocket your child's early years education now.

With carefully curated activities that promote learning-by-doing, you can rest assured that you're giving your child the best possible start in life and every opportunity to grow to their fullest potential. 

You don't have time to do all the research and planning

As a parent or a caregiver, you know how quickly time flies and how precious these early years are for your child's development. But you also know how time-consuming it can be to figure out exactly what activities to do with your child to help them learn and grow.  

Overwhelming amount of information

If you feel like you have saved too many 📌 Pins and social media posts but rarely bring them to life, then this is the perfect solution to ensure that you are actually implementing and doing enough to support your child's development.

Active hands-on learning

Activities promote learning by doing, as they offer endless opportunities for hands-on exploration. All printables are carefully designed to be aesthetically pleasing and engaging for children while also promoting essential skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, and creativity.

With Courses, you get lifetime access

So that you can continue to use these resources and activities with your child for years to come, with new ones being constantly added.
Make the most of the golden "absorbent-mind" opportunity to help your child learn and grow. With the focus on hands-on, aesthetically pleasing printables and activities promoting learning-by-doing, you can be confident that you're giving your child the very best start in life. 

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By preparing a sufficiently stimulating, aesthetically inviting, and orderly environment, we help cultivate the joy of learning.

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By following a child's developmental needs, inclinations, interests, and progress, we can help develop the whole child intellectually, socially, emotionally, and physically.

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By espousing independent thinking and creative problem-solving through experimental learning, we empower a child to be responsible, respectful, confident, and intellectually curious.

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The reason is that from birth to age five, a child’s brain develops more than at any other time in life, and at least one million new neural connections (synapses) are made every second, 

... more than at any other time in life!

The brain is our command center and a newborn baby has all of the brain cells (neurons) they’ll have for the rest of their life. But it’s the connections between these cells that really make the brain work. 

The early childhood years are crucial for making these connections and that is why Dr. Montessori described the period from birth till age six as an Absorbent Mind! 

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Join Now, if you're a busy parent who wants to make the most of this precious time of the Absorbent Mind with your child but you're struggling to figure out exactly what to do.

This is for you IF

Children till 6-7 years of age are endowed with the gift of the absorbent mind. They go though time-sensitive specifically predefined windows of sensitivity when they are particularly equipped to absorbing information spontaneously as if by magic and without conscious effort. So, let's leverage those windows of opportunities!
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You are a parent, a grandparent, a caregiver, or an educator of a toddler, preschooler or a kindergartener (ages 18 m - 7 yr), and you wish to stimulate hands-on experiential learning-by-doing. You realize that passive consumptive type of education is ineffective, and you wish to explore learning in a creative way.

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Who is Dr. Maria 

Montessori Celebrities Worth Mentioning:
  • Larry Page and Sergey Brin (Google founders)
  • Jeff Bezos (Amazon founder)
  • Julia Child (Celebrity chef & author)
  • George Clooney (Academy award-winning actor, director, producer, humanitarian, United nations messenger of peace)
  • Erik Erikson (the Danish-German-American psychologist and psychoanalyst known for his theory on human social development, coining the phrase “identity crisis.” Erik found Montessori ideas so compelling that he studied them as an adult, acquiring a Montessori teaching certificate but never teaching in a classroom.)
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