“The brain is an association machine”, says Dr. Larry Katz, a neurobiologist at Duke University. “The brain constantly looks to link things together – by sight, smell, sound, and space. Then it calls on those associations to make sense of the world.”
The brain develops from back to front and from the inside out.
Survival Center - (Lower brain - neocortex): The most primal level resides at the bottom and deals with survival. This is often called the reptilian brain because, in evolutionary terms, it reaches the level of reptile development.
• Fully developed at birth and handles basic functions to sustain life.
• Regulates breathing, digestion, heart rate etc. and is responsible for the fight, flight or freeze response.
Emotional Center - (Mid brain): Deals with emotion and memory. It contains the amygdala and the hippocampus and is often referred to as the "seat of learning."
• Processes memory, emotions, and response to stress and is responsible for nurturing, caring, separation anxiety, fear, rage, social bonding and hormone control. Developmental focus is ages 0-4 yrs
• Self-expression, communication of needs and reactions to the world are expressed in the form of feelings (sometimes gigantic ones), and it is all flowing from the mid-brain.
Executive Center - (Higher brain - frontal lobes): Involved in decision-making. It houses language, the sense of self and the skills required to think, predict, plan and empathize.
• Last area to be established and development continues through the mid-20s; with developmental spurts at approximately ages 5-6; 11-12; and around 15.
• This is the decision making center and responsible for rational thought, problem solving, planning, attention, creativity, self-awareness and understanding and interpreting emotion.
How I think @ 49 months
At 49 months your child is really getting curious about the world they live in. They are developing and enjoying their surroundings. They are growing up very fast and they want to be more like you! They are developing their motor skills and are able to really begin to get involved with activities such as sports. They are also beginning to understand the basics of mathematics and are always asking questions trying to expand their horizons.
Motor Development: Gross Motor Skills
• I can go upstairs and downstairs without support
• I can kick ball forward
• I can throw ball overhand
• I can move forward and backward with agility
Motor Development: Fine Motor Skills
• I can copy square shapes
• I can draw a person with two to four body parts
• I can use scissors
• I can draw circles and squares
• I have begun to copy some capital letters
Language and Thinking Development
• I understand the concept of counting and may know a few numbers
• I try to solve problems from a single point of view
• I have begun to have a clearer sense of time
• I can recall parts of a story
• I understand the concepts of “same” and “different”
Social and Emotional Development
• I am interested in new experiences
• I cooperate with other children
• I love to play “Mom” or “Dad”
• I am increasingly inventive in fantasy play
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.