In centers and family child care homes, early childhood professionals are simultaneously caregivers and teachers.
Infants and toddlers learn through all of their senses by touching, smelling, hearing, seeing and tasting the items in their environment. They gain valuable information about their world. This interaction with materials offers experience and knowledge upon which to build later experiences. Recent brain development research has given us valuable information for working with young children.
We now know that while the physical brain is developed at birth, the early experiences of children have a huge influence on brain development. Synapses are connections that form between neurons in the brain. Exploring new materials allows new synapses to form. These connections in the brain help various parts of the brain work together to process information more effectively and to derive meaning from the sensory experiences in which children take part.
Repeated exposure to positive interactions and experiences builds stronger connections that can be maintained through life.
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