determine

Most neuro connections in our brains
are created in the first five years of our lives.
What we do in those years,
the amount and variation of our activities,
the intensity and nature of our experiences,
in short, our daily life,
determines the outcome of this process.

 

Activities to make those

Develop motor skills,                  
      sense of music and rhythm, spacial orientation,
            stimulate curiosity and creativity…
An intimidating task for our toddlers,
                   best performed in a playful manner.
Activities help, challenging growing children
                  both mentally and physically.

to get to know us

This bird’s eye view of our activities in various stages of their life cycles may give an idea of what to expect.

Train of thought…

  • on areas of development

    Although our brain never really stops developing, it builds on the foundation laid in the first 5 to 8 years of our lives. In those years, roughly  5 areas develop, influenced and facilitated by each other and family, into the brain we need to enter the world. This system has been operational far longer than we have been trying to understand it. Evolutionary fine-tuned by generations of parenting, brain development evolved into a solid process, equipped to handle most small scale nurturing problems.

    The explosive growth of information intake – following the shift from written to visually supplied story lines – changes the way we process that information. The impact of a week long read and digested story is different than that of a barrage of stories absorbed in an average TV evening.
    The increase of predefined toys on offer changes the way we play and our expectations of new toys. Converting undefined objects – building blocks, clay, cardboard boxes – into a playable fun activity, hardly compares to arranging predefined objects – dolls, cars, apps – in their predefined space.
    We, the grown ups, are experienced users of appliances we could not dare to imagine 20 years ago. We complain about the quality of the wireless network in the train or on a plane. We are an over-saturated society.
    But even at the dizzying speed this change takes shape, it is not necessarily bad. The over-saturation could, however, affect the core engine of brain development: curiosity.

  • Physical

    Motor skills were in place before we had language skills to develop, deeply rooted in our brain structure. Pre-lingual communication involves physically gesturing information. A simple command in a facial expression or arm gesture. Complex information structures in an elaborate sequence of gestures, like bees dancing the location of a honey source.
    We walk to gather our thoughts, run to control emotions, dance to celebrate them. We are physical creatures.

    Mastering the use and control of our bodies: flexing muscles, sensing taste, smell and temperature, feeling a breeze or squeezing a rubber duck. As we crawl to unexplored boundaries, we build self esteem and broaden our horizons. Experiencing the physical and visual effects of movement we lay the groundwork for spatial relations and orientation. Bumping into a vase introduces the concept of cause and effect. This process is the only way our brain can collect data to explore its world. The creative force we unleash with fine motor skills underlines the importance of physical development.

  • Cognitive

    Cognitive development refers to the emergence of the ability to think, understand and reason. We construct a model of our world based on environmental experience, adjusting and refining it as we mature. Our cognitive skills allow us to participate in society. To imagine and create, to transform virtual concepts into the beautiful and horrible inventions found in the history of mankind.

    Triggered by environmental and emotional input, our brain executes a task and adds the experienced feedback to processes driving its development. The sense of accomplishment experienced with the exuberant praise after our first step, boosts our self esteem, which in turn stimulates cognitive development.
    Theories explaining this process expand on the base laid out by Jean Piaget halfway the 20th century. Although the driving mechanism is subject to debate, it is now generally accepted that we enter the world with a sensitivity to specific patterns of information.
    We seem inclined to easily understand numbers, space, visual perception and language, and the process of learning stimulates our capacity to learn. An impressive cycle of positive feedback.
    The most adventurous theory of New Thinking suggests that the ability to learn acquired behavior is passed on in an evolutionary process.
    We are because we learn.

  • Moral

    As we leave the secure womb we begin constructing our moral value system from our understanding of experiences and feelings.  The first outlines are sketched by non-verbal judgments of right or wrong, driven by sensations like hunger and security. 

    Parental input and personal development refine and expand the system, preparing for the whirlwind of emotional and rational transactions we face on our first day in school.
    What we experience and how we deal with it, largely depends on social skills and mental agility. A curious brain, driven by the joy of understanding, able to interpret abstract concepts, is the best equipment to shape a balanced and fair moral value system.

  • Social & Emotional

    We are the complex of brain connections build by emotions we go through as we live our lives. Gratifying satisfaction and shameful embarrassment, happy joy and dark anger, pride and disappointment, we experience a barrage of sensations to handle and control.

    Our cognitive brain processes the experienced information, developing and adjusting skills that benefit psycho emotional development. The disappointment of a humiliating defeat can lead to an understandable state of angry frustration, limiting the chance of creative ideas to change the situation. The cognitive ability to put the disappointment into perspective, opens up the brain to innovate to a different result.

  • Language & Speech

    For parents, the first recognizable word their newborn utters is magic. An endearing attempt at communicating. Adorably cute but, more important, the first building block of many that construct the virtual structure we need to describe and interpret abstract thoughts.

    Learning a language not only introduces concepts as structure, rules and logic. Observing a toddler speaking to itself, shows how language helps organizing thoughts. It allows us to share our ideas with the world around us, essential for social emotional and moral development. Verbalized thoughts can be categorized in a larger framework and are easier to recollect and organize, significantly benefiting cognitive development. Translating those thoughts to a written narrative is instrumental in the development of fine motor skills.

  • Real Life

    Our spontaneous sensitivity for important information patterns, combined with a learning engine waiting to be fired up, can loosely be interpreted as curiosity. Stimulating curiosity is the first pillar supporting our activities. The second pillar is based on the research of Ellen Winner on the influence of arts education, or rather its method, on brain development.

    Observe, understand the observed, analyse the understood.
    Stretch the boundaries by imagining every angle of possibilities.
    Keep trying, besides disappointing, failure is new information, to be used to succeed at the next attempt.
    Visualize and verbalize your idea. Verbalizing an unspoken brainwave adds a frame of reference, making it easier to link to other thoughts. The process of translating an idea to words, also compels to find the right language to be understood, essential for sharing thoughts and cooperating with others.
    As the importance of language and speech reflects in all areas of development, it is embedded in the storyboard of all our activities. Pupils are always encouraged to play with language, to describe ideas and goals, the motions in a dance, the composition of an image or the spatial structure of an object.

Upcoming

Feel At Home 2018

In 2018 we will again participate in this yearly event.