Quick Brain Stuff

A while back people asked me a lot of questions about education and I did my best to answer as many as I could. Lisa asked me a question, though, that I didn’t really know the answer to. She asked at what age do you start to be able to see what a child will be capable of. Well, this question really got my wheels turning. Through my ABR board I have realized that our children often know much more than their bodies will allow them to show. I know that specialized and rigorous therapy can also create unusual gains. But I don’t think that’s what she meant. So I’ve been reading about kids and their brains and while I don’t have a perfect answer, I think I have some of an answer.

It actually started with a book I picked up at the library called Raising Musical Kids. Charlie loves music, so I thought I’d look it over and see what sorts of things would be beneficial now. It has the most adorable picture of a tiny child playing the piano on the cover–too cute. The most interesting thing in the entire book was this: According to research, children who receive musical instruction before the age of six, have a demonstrably larger corpus callosum than children who do not. For those of you like me (who skipped anatomy), the corpus callosum in the part of the brain that send messages between the two hemispheres.

Two things grabbed me:

  1. Using a certain part of the brain repeatedly can cause it to grow
  2. The use must occur before the age of six.

Glenn Doman who write the Teach Your Baby series that I adore so much says that the first five years of life are the most crucial. Seems like he might be right.

I know this doesn’t answer Lisa’s question explictly, but it helps me. After age five, it will become much more difficult for your child to learn and grow their brain. It also makes me amazingly hopeful. Five years is a long time and you can expose your child to a lot of things in that time–possibilities, possibilities.

I’ve got Bright From the Start on my nightstand right now, which is all about baby brain development. I’m sure I’ll have a lot more to report once I finish it.

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Comments

  1. Mamá Terapeuta says:

    Wuell, I'm a little more scheptical on this matter. I had the pleassure to attend a lectur of J. Bruer, the autor of the book "The myth of the first 3 years" and it was just mind blowing. It really changed my mind about this and I think I'm not the only one.

    Here is a link.
    http://www.times.com/books/first/b/bruer-myth.html

    Any way, music is always good 😀 Thanks for sharins some interesting ideas 😉

  2. Mamá Terapeuta says:

    hahaha, 'wuell' :_)

  3. Thank you so much, Mama. I admit that this is very much the simplest version of this information. I resisted the urge to expand on this any more. I'm off ot investigate this link you left me.

  4. Back again! I read the article and it is right on par with what I've been reading. For those who are interested, the article article's main thrust seems to be that the brain is always changable and capable of learning. I'm not a scientist, but I'm sure this is true. How else could a person like me, one who avoided science like the plaugue for twenty years, even begin to read some of the things I do now! Thanks, Mama, for an interesting read.

  5. blogzilly says:

    That actually helps my own brain wrap itself around some of my concerns. Maybe I can take some of the pressure off of myself for thinking that we're too close to some 'point of no return'. Of course, that's nutty thinking anyway, but that's me.

  6. Anonymous says:

    I don't like the idea of a door closing if you don't get your kids to music class "soon enough," but I agree that music and other arts do serve a purpose that the shortsighted public school systems in the USA just don't get, yet.

  7. oh gosh, I wouldn't want to imply that a "door closes." This is not the case at all! Research is clear that new neural pathways can be developed far past early childhood. People who lose their vision from a stroke can regain it with eye exercises. I only meant to point out that the brain is growing very rapidly from age zero to five.

  8. Josephine says:

    As far as music and the corpus callosum goes, I watched a really interesting show on PBS a couple of weeks ago called "the music instinct: science and song". (http://www.pbs.org/wnet/musicinstinct/) It also said that there was a correlation between the size of the corpus callosum and musical ability.

  9. Interesting. I sang to Emma through pregnancy. I sang to her during labour. (I became a hippie (or temporarily insane) for a few hours around the birth and was all "take your time, come when your ready, no drugs please…) I sang to her every day and every night. Sang when she was happy. Sang when she was sad. She takes a baby music class but is not really involved in it.

    I don't know if music is going to grow her corpus whatchamacallit or not but I know she likes it. She can't talk yet really but she'll sing the songs. And that is nice and cute.

    That said there is a lot of research into Mozarts K448 sonata being great for the developing brain because of the pattern repetition. There are studies that show that patients with Lennox Gastaut syndrome had less seizure while this specific piece of music is playing. I wonder, since it is largely rumoured that Mozart had epilepsy, did he find that this music calmed his brain?

  10. Mamá Terapeuta says:

    Hi, Katy, I'm glad you liked it! I really loved it when I saw his presentation during a NeuroScience simposium here in Chile. I said to my self ' i have to buy that book' .. that was 2 years ago 😀

    But it take off a lot of preassure, doen't it? 😀