Early Childhood: A Time of Rapid Growth
When children are born, they form up to 1,000 new neural connections each second. Then, this growth slows down and a process called pruning begins. Connections are reduced, and the brain becomes more efficient. The early years are the most active for establishing neural connections, but unused connection will be pruned with time. This active period for establishing neural connections contributes to why early childhood is the best time to learn and be exposed to languages. However, it is important to remember that languages need to be consistently exercised to avoid being forgotten due to the pruning effect.
Learning Languages with Brain Plasticity
As children grow older, their brain plasticity decreases. Plasticity is the ability of the brain to adapt and change. It is the power of the brain to reorganize itself and form new neural connections. Plasticity is crucial to the acquisition of a second language, and higher brain plasticity can be observed in multilinguals. A higher level of brain plasticity in childhood is another contributor to why learning new languages in childhood is best.
So how do we use this information?
Using psychological facts about early childhood development is the best way to develop a successful teaching program. Our immersion program is informed by these concepts, and so is the Brain Balance program, which we’ve partnered with to teach our Sff! parents about childhood brain development, and teaching strategies to help your child do well in academics, behavior, and social interactions.
Brain Balance is an innovative program that takes an integrated approach to help children reach their physical, social, and academic potential. They make personalized assessments of each child to tailor a program to their needs. Their programs are designed to target specific deficient academic skills, and not only to improve those skills but to stimulate growth and development in the part of the brain that controls those skills.