Multi-Sensory Learning in Early Years

Our role as parents and educators is more critical than ever before. Science has taught us that our children, in their first five years, absorb information primarily through the senses. This information shapes how they perceive the world. They learn through their experiences, both good and bad.

We have also learned that our pre-school brains are highly sensitive and receptive. Our brain activity in pre-school years, and potential for growth, is the highest in our entire lives. As a result, the exposure to multi-sensory activities and experiences determines how fast the brain develops.

 

Brain Development in Early Years

 

BRAIN CONNECTIONS

New scientific research has made one thing crystal clear: pre-school children are capable of learning far more than we ever thought before. The neural connections inside a child’s brain, made in the first five years, will last a lifetime – shaping our memories and behaviour for years to come.

Children at the age of two years old are already laying the foundations for their brain power later in life. This is due to their brain’s “plasticity”, and the number of “synapses in their brains.

“By the age of two, a child’s brain contains twice as many synapses and consumes twice as much energy as the brain of a normal adult” (1997).

Synapses are the special link in the brain, which connect the all-important neurons, allowing the brain to grow. The plasticity of a young human brain means they can learn new concepts very quickly, and very easily. This window of rapid growth starts to close after the age of five years old.

The early years are a huge window of opportunity for US, the parents, to give a child’s brain the information it craves so much. How do we do this? BY EXPOSING OUR CHILDREN TO MULTI-SENSORY EXPERIENCES.

 

Sensory Activities at British Early Years Centre 
(where our daughter goes)

 

WHY SENSORY LEARNING?

Once more – CHILDREN LEARN THROUGH THEIR SENSES in their early years – simple as that. They absorb and retain information via their body and hands-on experience. The brain and the senses work together to create a meaningful world.

The seven senses are a child’s channel of discovery, and must be engaged in order for their brains to receive the information.

Our seven senses are: TOUCH, HEARING, SIGHT, TASTE, SMELL (which everyone knows) and also, which we weren’t taught in school! BALANCE, BODY AWARENESS

“For a small child, discussion and verbal learning have little educative power without actual experience. Learning rather happens through all the sensory channels. Children must live through, explore, and try things out to attach meaning to them” [Hendrick 1990:6].

As research has proven, the more senses engaged, the more connections made in the brain. Multi-sensory learning is the key to unlocking a child’s brain power.

 

HOW DOES IT WORK?

The brain receives information from the senses, processes it, and tells the body how to respond. The brain learns from sensory experience, and stores information. Then the senses, in particular SMELL, can act as a trigger for the brain, forming memories. Yes, through giving your child beautiful sensory experiences, they will form happy memories.

A smell, in particular, can bring positive memories flooding back for years to come. Maybe it’s the smell of perfume reminding you of someone you love, or a rose, which takes you back to your garden when you were young.

Multi-sensory experiences are, therefore, critical for how a child will behave later in their lives. Sensory play helps shape a child’s perception of the world, what they believe to be positive and safe in their brain.

What can we do with pre-school children to ensure their brains are engaged via the senses?

PLAY!

Sensory Playground at The Little Treehouse Nursery

 

The best way to develop and improve your child’s sensory development is through play. Through play, children learn what no one can teach them. For young children, play is the lifeblood of learning. [Hendrick 1990:6]

Children are meant to play, it’s in their nature. Play, in particular, role play, is their way of acting out the world around them. The world which their brains are soaking up like a sponge, in the form of TRILLIONS of neural connections being made. Here are some simple, sensory activities we recommend:

  • Play dough – this is a MUST for your kids. The possibilities are never-ending with play dough, and for the full MULTI SENSORY EXPERIENCE, get the naturally-scented playdough from Little Legend.
  • Scented Crayon – Little Legend have launched a product called the Sensory Crayon, so children can smell natural, therapeutic aromas while they draw, giving them a MULTI-SENSORY EXPERIENCE.

 

Learning With Colours & Homemade Playdough

Homemade playdough has been an integral part of early years development for decades. As science has advanced and our world has gone greener, playdough has evolved in magical ways. Playdough is our friend for so many reasons, but it really boils down to two things: cognition and creativity. You can make art with your child, ignite their creative fires, whilst inspiring their brain development.

Creativity is motivation in early years. The growth and development of an inspired child is truly boundless.

Why is colour important for brain development in early years?

Our world is bursting with colours. Colours are a doorway into the exciting world of verbal communication. When our children enthusiastically begin labeling objects “BLUE!’ and “GREEN!” it’s a special moment, and it’s a milestone in their cognitive development.

Children will begin to label colours, with your encouragement, as early as 18 months. Once they start, there is no stopping them, as long as we provide the inspiration they need.

Little Legend is your source of inspiration. Our 100% homemade Playdough Imagination Set gives you 9 colours, made with organic ingredients. Each playdough has a secret ingredient, which gives a unique aroma for the little ones to enjoy.

  • Red = salak
  • Orange = orange
  • Yellow = banana
  • Purple = grapes
  • Blue = jasmine
  • Light green = apple
  • Dark green = pandan
  • Brown = chocolate
  • Pink = strawberry

Why is playdough important for brain development in early years?

The moment you buy playdough for your child and show them the limitless possibilities, watch their brains light up. Sparks fly as their imagination runs wild. It will soon become an integral part of the day, and their childhood. Our Playdough Imagination Set is a positive family experience, which will enable deep parent/child bonding.

  • Inspires creativity
    Playdough feeds the imagination, which craves the freedom to play, mould, shape and explore! With this squidgy substance, your child can create anything their imagination desires. This will provide them with a constant source of positive energy and inspiration.
  • Develops fine motor skills
    All those important functions our children need at school; grasping things, drawing, writing, all require practice and there’s no better way to practice – than with playdough.
  • Improves focus and concentration
    Speaking from experience, this has really helped us with our daughter – who never stops moving. A session can last up to 30 minutes for our two-year-old daughter, which is a long time for her! The older and more focused your child, the longer these sessions will last.
  • Therapeutic and relaxing
    Let’s admit it – the squidgy substance is a great stress reliever for adults as well as children!

Our Playdough Imagination Set comes complete with:

  • 9 colours of playdough
  • 5 biscuit cutters
  • 1 roller
  • 1 wood cutting board

All the utensils in our Playdough Imagination Set provide extra fun, creativity and cognitive development for your children.

Please note: Playdough normally lasts 3-4 months if it is kept refrigerated. If left in room temperature, it will last 2-3 months on average.