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Monday, 7 July 2014

Education Articles » Let me do that!I'm all grown up now.

Let me do that!I'm all grown up now.
(Faiza Hassan Khan, Lahore)

Kindergartners can be swollen with self-esteem, thanks to graduating from preschool into "big kid" school, where they mingle with older role models. Indeed, the kindergarten range of four-and-a-half to six years old is often bossy, belligerent, and boastful about newly-acquired motor skills like sprinting and monkey-bar tricks. The kindergarten brain also features many mental upgrades from a preschooler's: superior memory, beefed-up attention span, a tighter grip on reality, improved self-control and social skills, and a firmer grasp of knowledge codes — i.e., numbers and the alphabet.

Even so, kindergartners are burdened and blessed with brain activity that's wildly alien to adult intelligence. A five-year-old noodle has 100 billion brain cells (neurons) with 77 percent in the furiously-networking cerebral cortex — the zone that constructs language, math, memory, attention, and complex problem-solving. The neurons are maniacally sprouting dendrites, skinny octopus arms that slither out to receive data from up to 15,000 other cells, and axons that transmit information to other cells. Links between neurons — or synapses — build cognitive pathways that create every individual's specialized "brain architecture" that allows them to comprehend, accumulate, and retain knowledge.

Talk, sing, and read:-
Talk, sing, and read books frequently to your kindergartner. Steady exposure to verbiage enables their cerebral cortex to develop strong neural circuitry for swift acquisition of language. Parents also would do well to be active listeners, asking open-ended questions that initiate thinking, such as, 'If you could have any superpower in the world, what would it be?' or, 'What do you like most about going to the beach?' Plus, explain how things work, use high-level vocabulary, encourage writing, and include your kindergartner in adult conversations. Kindergarten is an optimal year for introducing new words and a second language. 
Reading help in kindergarten:-

Learning to read by "sounding out" letters in words is difficult for many kindergartners, even if their brain's auditory development is excellent. One reason, notes Jeannine Herron, Ph.D., author of Making Speech Visible, is that memorizing the alphabet is misleading, because letter titles — A, B, C, etc. — don't sound precisely like the sounds they represent. For example, the letter G has a J sound, H is way off-base with its "AAACH" pronunciation, and all the vowels can be utilized with more than one sound. This difficulty delays thousands of struggling readers. To circumvent this, Herron recommends teaching kindergartners to "pay 
attention to what their mouth is doing" when they learn phonemes.

Be gentle in kindergarten:-
For their learning ability to flourish, kindergartners need to feel safe and confident. A Stanford University study indicates that traumatic stress and fear can release toxic levels of the hormone cortisol; this can destroy neurons in the hippocampus, a region that supports factual and episodic memory. To protect your kindergartner's self-assurance, give your child positive, loving, and encouraging feedback. Minimize reprimands, avoid unnecessary power struggles, and don't use shouting or spanking in discipline. Express sympathy if they're afraid of nightmares or the dark, and be patient about bed-wetting: Many children continue enuresis until age seven or longer.

Tiny inventors:-
Find a great elementary school for your child with a kindergarten teacher who comprehends the learning process at this age. Kindergarten brains thrive on exploring, playing, inventing, experimenting, constructing, and tinkering with three-dimensional materials. Their brains actually grow in response to novelty and challenge because curiosity secretes dopamine, a chemical that stimulates the dendrite expansion that wires the brain. For these reasons, it's worth finding a class where children's physical activity is encouraged and teachers truly understand the developmental needs of the age group. Your child's kindergarten teacher also needs to be encouraging, understanding, and supportive to help him learn best. At this age, the big academic topics they need to master — reading and math, most notably — should be presented as fun, with minimal and enjoyable homework.

Stimulate the senses:-
Experiences this year will have a huge impact on your kindergartner's absorbent brain. When not in school, children benefit greatly from activities that pique their curiosity. Expose your child to hands-on interaction with three-dimensional materials and take them on sensory-rich outings to festivals, zoos, museums, concerts, and outdoor natural areas.

About Muhammad Shoaib Khan

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