Consider the cognitive difference between a reflex-driven newborn; a 12 month old who can control his attention & memory capable of action oriented problem solving; a 2 yr old with tentative mental models of daily events and conceptual discoveries of how things work; to a 3 year old with a vast repertoire of symbols to represent ideas and images and to manipulate them in mind as they enter the world of imagination. Picturing these transformations reminds us of just how amazing these developments are and leave us wondering how does it all happen and what is the best possible support we can provide.
Early experiences provide the raw materials for the construction of these competences. As trivial as any one experience might seem it is interacting with you and objects like the Blanky, the stroller toy, stacking toys, ball play, block play and light & shadow play– everyday explorations– where our babies transform genetic potentials into actual cognitive skills and competences. It does not happen through just maturation the environments and experiences we enable make a big difference for our child’s individual development
The 21st century will put increased demands on the ability to perceive and interpret patterns. Reading and communicating about visual imagery is essential in modern careers from analyzing MRI and Ultrasound patterns, to noticing discrepant patterns in the cosmos, and reading how cells interact with various proteins, for just a few examples. These important skills have their beginnings in early infancy as children learn to discern different facial features, navigate spaces, and distinguish colors and so forth.
Thinking skills, cognitive development, occur as babies engage in the world, exercise, and build upon their inborn capacitites. Review the many blog posts describing how our babies explore their real world of everyday objects; in next post we will discuss more about how thinking skills develop from everyday play and explorations.