Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Babies and the Brain

I find human behavior just fascinating and I have become amazed with the little brains of babies. I worked as a day care teacher for 1-year-olds for a year before going for my degree in Early Childhood Education. I also did a quarter of my student teaching with 1-year-olds. And I am always surprised by what those little ones know. In fact when my daughter was born we participated in a brain research study. It tested her brain waves when she heard me (the mom) say "baby" and when a stranger said "baby." The study would take a year or two they told us, and she is in the control group for it.

My daughter is now 10 1/2 months and is showing me her knowledge every day. I thought I would share a few stories of her and the other children I've worked with who all were under 2 years of age.

My daughter
Recently, I began reading "Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What do you See?" every day to my daughter. She loves it and turns the pages (it's a board book). A couple weeks ago I put green speckled frogs on the felt board. We were reading "Brown Bear" and the page with the frog came up. She looked at the frog in the book and then glanced over to the frogs on the felt board. I love watching those connections.

She does sign language. Milk and more are the most common ones we use.

She recognizes songs within the first couple notes.

She has an Elmo toy that plays music. It had been put away for a few weeks. When I brought it back out she started singing "BINGO" with the music.

Other 1-year-olds
When I worked at the day care. I would take the kids for a walk every day in the summer. I always took the same route for predictability for the kids. One day I turned a corner and two of the little boys started quacking. I looked around and thought what are they quacking at? Sure enough in the middle of the block there was a house that had plastic ducks in the front yard. They quacked from the corner until we got to that house every day.

When I would sing a certain song, one little boy would sign for "more."

There was a little boy who loved to take off just one of his shoes. And leave the other one on. We put his other shoe on all day long. Then a couple other kids started taking off just one shoe. One day during lunch I looked under the table and all 8 of the kids had one shoe off (the same foot, too). Yeah, I think it's safe to say they communicate.

I know I've got more stories and will share them as I remember. Those are some of my favorites.

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