It is the experiences of childhood, determined by which neurons are used, that wire the brain as surely as a programmer at a keyboard reconfigures the circuits in a computer. Which keys are typed -- which experiences a child has -- determines whether the child grows up to be intelligent or dull, fearful or self-assured, articulate or tongue-tied.
The Harvard University National Scientific Council on the Developing Child states that:
Because low-level circuits mature early and high-level circuits mature later, different kinds of experiences are critical at different ages for optimal brain development, a concept called age-appropriate experience.
Soon after birth, basic sensory, social, and emotional experiences are essential for optimizing the architecture of low-level circuits. At later ages, more sophisticated kinds of experiences are critical for shaping higher-level circuits.
At times when a child is physically at rest, and not obviously mentally engaged with a task, their brain is still highly active. ‘Resting state’ brain activity may be important for the typical development of children’s brains.
Changes in children’s thinking seem to be linked to changes in brain networks.
How I think @ 40 months
I am learning more about myself and developing new skills that will help me through the rest of my development. I am becoming sturdier as I experience the life around me. I am also learning and developing my language skills that, like all the other skills, will continue to develop over the next few years.
Motor Development: Gross Motor Skills
• I can put on socks. I like to help mother (set table & clean)
• I can throw a ball 10 feet away
• I can walk on a line (approx.. 10 feet)
• I can hop 2-10 times on one foot
Motor Development: Fine Motor Skills
• I am developing good touch discrimination skills at this stage
• I use one hand consistently in most activities
• I can imitate circular, vertical, and horizontal strokes
• I can build tower of up to 9 cubes
Language and Thinking Development
• I can use a 3-word noun phrase
• I understand "yesterday," "summer", "lunchtime", "tonight", "little-big"
• I have begun to obey requests like "put the block under the chair"
• I frequently ask questions
Social and Emotional Development
• I may experience an increase in imaginary fears
• I have a better realization of own self and of others
• I act out social encounters through play activities
Disclaimer: This presents an overview of child development. It is important to keep in mind that the time frames presented are averages and some children may achieve various developmental milestones earlier or later than the average but still be within the normal range of development. This information is presented to help parents understand, at a high level, what to expect from their child. Any questions/concerns you may have about your child’s development should be shared with your doctor.