discovery toys blog of billie elias
Tips for parents who play with their children or who want stay-at-home income.
Toys for special need, autism, gifted and typical kids.

February 01, 2010

Windows of Opportunity

Scientific research has shown that there are specific time periods early in a child's life (referred to as the "windows of opportunity") when many important brain connections are set for life. It's the time frame when certain connections take place most effectively in the brain: when we learn to walk, when we learn a second language, when we learn mathematical concepts, and so on. If you fail to learn these things during their critical period, you can still learn them later, but, for example, you won't have the authentic French accent if you learn to speak French at age 20, instead of at age 2, when the window is still open. You can learn to walk if you were in a total body cast at age 1, but you are likely to not have a natural gait.

Everything young babies and children are learning and are exposed to helps generate connections in the wiring of their brains. The more connections there are, the more successful children can be at developing new skills over time.

This impacts social skills as well as cognitive and motor skills, as described in Denise Quinlan's blog entry Positive Relationships - Pillar or Foundation of the House of Well-being? She asserts that "Children who are secure in their primary relationships are more likely to explore and so learn more about their surroundings, thereby building greater knowledge and resources."

One commenter to her blog, Udayan, remarks, "There have been documented cases of children who have somehow survived alone without parents or any other people, and have been discovered at some point in middle childhood. Their development in all areas, such as language, cognition, emotions, social skills, etc., are naturally grossly underdeveloped, and what is worse, having missed critical periods in brain development in which they should have been developing in interaction with others, they were never able to develop their human capacities to a level that approaches those who have been raised from infancy in human communities."

The Discovery Toys tag line reminds us to "feed" our children healthy toys (as opposed to "junk food toys") that make every moment a playful brain-wiring opportunity. That's why so many moms who grew up on these toys themselves are now introducing them to the next generation.


Anonymous said...

Your blog keeps getting better and better! Your older articles are not as good as newer ones you have a lot more creativity and originality now. Keep it up!
And according to this article, I totally agree with your opinion, but only this time! :)

Billie said...


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