Children are born geniuses with remarkable capabilities of the absorbent mind, where 90% of the brain develops by age five, before kindergarten!
From birth to age five or six, a child’s brain grows and develops more rapidly than at any other time, with about one million new neural connections (synapses) forming every second. Rapid transformation means that every experience in early life significantly impacts brain development and its ability to change, rewire, learn, adapt, and strengthen critical neural synaptic connections. Thus, since 90% of the brain develops before kindergarten, the early years are the most significant developmental period regarding the brain’s agility and neuroplasticity.
90% of a child’s brain develops by age 5
Physical & Physiological Development
Below are the statistics on the child’s physical growth of the brain:
- At birth, the average baby’s brain is about a quarter the size of the average adult brain.
- Brain doubles in size in the first year.
- A child’s brain reaches 50% of adult size by age 3.
- By age 4, the brain is about 8/10 of an adult’s brain size.
- By age 5, a child’s brain is about 90% the size of an adult’s brain – nearly fully grown.
A newborn has almost all the neurons they will ever have
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. That is almost all the neurons the brain will ever have for the rest of their life.
It is the brain’s connections that matter!
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 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 more than 1 million new neural connections form every second in the first few years of life, a growing brain possesses infinite possibilities to absorb, encode, and adapt to any culture or tradition! Thus, we must seize the golden age opportunity of the absorbent mind and help our children grow to their fullest potential!
Adult Neurogenesis, the process by which new neurons are formed, does occur throughout life but in restricted brain regions (olfactory bulb and the hippocampus). Moreover, the generation of new neurons steadily decreases with age.
The early years are the most significant developmental period for physical, physiological, and cognitive growth.
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For Baby Cognitive Development
Read here – Children are born creative geniuses
For More Montessori Philosophy …
See here Avoid Judgment and Empty Praise Montessori Principle.
Also, see here – Learn Through Creation, Not Consumption.
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