You are your child’s first teacher . Children learn best through play. A good grade 12 starts at home.
The BrainBoosters programme was created and designed to help parents understand the importance of the early years and to create resources and training to help them engage constructively with their precious children from birth. We live in a busy world where most moms and dads are working and need guidance and tools to help them on their parenting journey. The parents are the primary educators of their children and there is much research and science to prove that the early years are key to a child reaching their full potential. The BrainBoosters Parenting Programme is there to assist you on this journey. There are other key individuals who play an important role in this journey and they should also be involved, namely the grandparents and caregivers.
There are ten different modules for each age group from birth to age six. Each module consists of a Development Toy and a StoryBox containing a number of books and toys relating to a specific language theme. Each module also addresses a different parenting theme.
BrainBoosters sells these products online with 5 modules packed together. We call this a semester pack and there are two semester packs per age group. From birth to Kairos’s sixth birthday, her family will be able to work with these ten modules to help build the brain pathways. I would like to remind you to read the last article about the importance of the first thousand days of life as well as the two on module one and two to understand the importance of why cognitive development is key in the early years.
The rest of this article will show you some of the key instructions and guidance to ensure that you use the programme for module three. The theme for month three is PLAY. Children love to play and engage and we want both you and your child to have fun. Bite size chunks of quality time will make this process easy for you in your busy schedule.
We are excited to announce that we are launching a new website that will show you bite size chunks of ideas and ways to work with your child 5 – 10 minutes per day. You can even read some of the books with your child via the video links on your computer, IPad or cellphone. Here is the link to the website: http://www.brainboostersacademy.co.za/ Take some time to look at both the children and parent sections so that you can incorporate these as part of your time with your child. The children and parent sections are exactly the same videos – the only difference is that the children’s section are image driven and the parent’s section word driven.
We wait with great anticipation for the day our children are able to read and write. But we don’t often appreciate the really important stuff – the foundations for all these sophisticated tasks, including reading, writing, maths and spelling, are laid down long before your child even goes to primary school! This happens in ways that are seemingly unrelated, such as playing shape- or colour-matching games, building puzzles, threading beads, stacking blocks, catching balls, playing imaginary games and climbing trees.
Play is the language of childhood – it is learning through discovery and personal experience instead of in the formal way we are taught at school. Play is one of the most effective vehicles for early learning. Young children need plenty of exposure to concrete learning. This means playing with different toys, games and real people. They also experience their world through movement games and playing with outdoor equipment such as jungle gyms, scooters, and sandpits. Creative play includes opportunities to paint and draw and build with blocks. Children can play with other children, with adults and also on their own.
Through play a child uses all his senses – taste, touch, smell, hearing and seeing to take in information about his world. What does freshly cut grass smell like? What does a barking dog sound like? What does a circle feel like – is it round or does it have points? Can he tell the difference between the colours red and yellow? Is an orange sweet or sour? Can he climb a jungle gym with confidence? Can he balance on one leg?
These are all discoveries he will make and skills he will acquire through playing and interacting with his world. Every experience, whether it is a visit to the zoo, playing with an educational toy or reading a book, extends the experience of a child and expands his knowledge and ability to solve problems, literally exercising and growing his brain. A child needs quiet and busy times, routines and challenges, sensible and serious tasks, balanced by games that are fun. All of this will help to create and grow memory and increase his attention span preparing him for the challenges of school and life. Children need to play. Play is a child’s work – it’s how they learn about the world and find meaning – while having fun. Just a few minutes of relaxed play each day will do wonders for your relationship and your child’s development.
Here is some information about the importance we share about PLAY from the programme.
- If we want our children to read and write easily, we must play with them in the early years.
- Play is the language of childhood – it is learning through discovery and personal experience instead of in the formal way we are taught at school.
- Play is one of the most effective vehicles for early learning.
- Young children need plenty of exposure to concrete learning. This means playing with different toys, games and real people.
- They also experience their world through movement games and playing with outdoor equipment such as jungle gyms, scooters, and sandpits.
- Creative play includes opportunities to paint and draw and build with blocks. Children can play with other children, with adults and also on their own.
PROBLEMS WE SEE TODAY:
- Children who are not school ready because they do not have the necessary vocabulary or understand the basic concepts of shape, colour and quantity. These are acquired easily and in a fun way through play.
- Children with weak foundations enter the education system and never fully catch up.
- A very low grade 12 pass rate
- Children who are watching more TV than playing.
- Children who do not have an enquiring mind.
- Children who are illiterate.
- Children who do not love or value learning.
The concepts of colour, shape and numbers are key to their foundations. Find many ways to bring this into the play time as well. Hide the shapes, play peek- a- boo with the cards and count the discs. Play needs to be fun, filled with laughter and a time of discovery.
- Play with your child as often as you can. Even just a few minutes a day will make a big difference.
- Playing with real games and toys gives your child a real experience of his world, helping him to make his own discoveries and create meaning and understanding for himself. Words are not enough. Personal experience is essential.
- Children learn best by using lots of senses at the same time, it is how they take in information about their world – taste, touch, smell, hearing and seeing. What does freshly cut grass smell like? What does a barking dog sound like? Can he tell the difference between the colours red and yellow? Is an orange sweet or sour? Can he climb a jungle gym with confidence? Can he balance on one leg?
- Help your child to expand his experience and knowledge by doing different activities and visiting new places, whether it is a visit to the zoo, playing with an educational toy or reading a book together.
- Playing games together teaches him how to solve problems, exercising and growing his brain.
- Your child needs a variety of different play experiences: quiet and busy times, routines and challenges, sensible and serious tasks, balanced by games that are fun.
- Playing with your child will help him to grow his memory and increase his attention span, little-by-little, preparing him for the challenges of school and life.
- In the preschool years, toys and games the focus on shape, colour and quantity will be very helpful in preparing your child for school readiness.
We all desire for our children to do well at school and finish 12 years later ready to go to university and get a great job. This journey starts in childhood, with play. Make the time to understand the different kinds of play and that your involvement is key to their success.