Early Learning in 90 minutes

This site is sometimes bloggish, sometimes an event calendar, sometimes a celebration of local successes.  Today I’m aiming for a blog.

I was asked to speak to a group of moms last night about early learning.  As I struggled with what to speak about, I was forced to synthesize everything I’m currently curious about in the early learning world.  Most of it is as relevant to adults as to small people.  For your interest, here is what I came up with.

  1. Understanding the brain helps us work smarter.
  2. Self-regulation is the baseline for everything.
  3. Unscheduled play supports self-regulation, language and social development.
  4. Being active is not an option.
  5. We belong outside.

I plan to share one topic per post for the next couple of weeks.  If you want more information on any of these topics, please call me, Jaimelia Turner 250.794.7336

1.  Understanding the brain helps us work smarter.


Very simply put, the brain evolved in three parts, the brain stem, the limbic brain and the neocortex.  In other words, the reptilian brain, the mammalian brain and the human brain.  Your reptiallian brain keeps you alive by managing things like breathing and heart beating.  The mammalian brain controls the senses, the emotions and memories.  Your neocortex makes you fully human and helps you “think”.  But this does not mean that the other two parts are obsolete.

You need to support the mammalian brain’s need for either calming or excitement before you can engage a child in thinking.  In other words, any child must feel safe and soothed yet curious before learning can occur.  Managing this task is called self-regulation. (I’ll go deeper into that next post).

The mammal brain, or bunny brain (only because of the alliteration), takes in information through the senses.  We can aggravate or soothe ourselves through the five senses of touch, taste, smell, sight and hearing.  It’s one of the reasons eating is so much fun.  Too much noise, flashing lights, weird tastes or textures can stress kids/us out.  Soothing sights, pleasing smells, calming sounds, appealing textures and pleasant foods can calm the limbic system.  Every person is different so you have to be a detective to learn what appeals to your senses and what irritates you.

Understanding your bunny brain will help you and your children concentrate and “think” more clearly.

I learned most of this information from Dr. John Medina‘s books Brain Rules and Brain Rules for Babies.