Our Family's Journey to Peaceful Parenting and Unschooling.
Sunday, June 9, 2013
I'm learning quite a lot about brain development from Einstein Never Used Flashcards.
For example, there are two types of behaviors learned by the brain.
Experience-expectant and experience-dependent. Experience-expectant
behaviors are things the brain is biologically and evolutionarily wired
to expect to learn. Behaviors like seeing things, hearing language, and
moving limbs. If the brain is no...t
stimulated in these areas at an early age, the skills will not develop
properly. We see this in cases of extreme neglect, like the 1970 case of
Genie, who was isolated in her room from ages 2-13 and never able to
develop effective language skills. There seems to be a "critical period"
by when these behaviors need to develop in order to develop properly.
Experience-dependent behaviors like reading, chess, gymnastics, music,
etc (anything we are not biologically wired to need to learn to
survive), however, do not have a "critical period". I'll say that again-
THEY DO NOT HAVE A "CRITICAL PERIOD". Sure, it may be slightly easier
to learn certain skills at age 5 versus age 30, but that doesn't mean it
can't be learned at age 30 or even 50.
So the next time you
hear someone telling you about the "critical" years in which you need to
expose your children to x,y, or z to boost your child's brain
development for future success, know that they are skewing research in
order to sell you something. Rushing early learning can actually lead to
neurological "crowding" in which information competes for synaptic
connections, possibly decreasing the size and number of unspecified
brain regions that may be necessary for creativity in adolescent and