What we’re doing and why we do it!
“Blow away the morning dew…” As we participated in this activity with both long and short blows, several babies were ready to blow and others were able to enjoy the sounds and blowing sensations. You can extend this activity at home by experimenting with different household items–blow a tissue as your baby watches and touches; hold onto a piece of paper and blow on it as your baby watches and listens; you might even gently blow on a piece of bread as your baby watches then tastes!
Encourage your child to begin blowing. As your Home Activity states, each breath your child takes aids in the development of the lungs and diaphragm which are used in the production of vocal sounds and speech
Sensory-motor development, which involves the use of sense organs and the coordination of motor systems (body muscles and parts), is vital to language acquisition.
One of the most pleasing sounds to Baby’s ear is the nurturing quality of the parent or caregiver’s singing voice.
MEANS TO AN END
When Baby explores the egg shakers, she is beginning to understand the physical characteristics of the object such as shape, texture, size, and color. By interacting with the shaker, a sound is produced. This develops the means-to-end relationship. “If I move the shaker, then it will make a sound.”
Partner dances such as Belfast Hornpipe afford you and your baby an opportunity not always available in other venues–the opportunity to connect with your peers in a musical and social setting. Connections such as these may be very important to your child’s emotional growth. In her book Smart Moves, Carla Hannaford, Ph.D., states that “the intricate wiring of the limbic system shows that in order to learn and remember something, there must be sensory input, a personal emotional connection and movement.”
As we continue through the next few weeks, there will be many more opportunities for you and your child to experience activity through the senses (especially aural) and through movement in a safe, secure and familiar environment.
There are more receptors for touch around the mouth and hands than in any other area of Baby’s body.
By experiencing movement, combined with word labels, Baby can begin to learn concepts of long and short. Baby feels and senses concepts long before being able to speak the accompanying labels.
Exercise that crosses the midline helps develop the corpus callosum, the connection between the two hemispheres of Baby’s brain for learning to read. Thus the cross-lateral exercise that accompanies this song, “London Bridge,” is actually critical to Baby’s future ability to read.
When Baby begins to search and retrieves a hidden object, this indicates that Baby remembers that the object continued to exist even though it could not be seen.
“Baby needs reaction and interaction in play before talking happens.” Dan DeJoy, Ph.D. Speech/Language Pathologist
Crawling, which is a cross lateral movement, activates development of the corpus callosum, the nerve pathways between the two hemispheres of the cerebrum in the brain.
SENSE OF SELF
Each success Baby experiences and each affirmation she receives during the first two years of life builds her budding sense of self as an individual, including her concept of her capabilities, physical characteristics, and self-worth. This self-concept affects everything she does and will help her be successful in every day life and later in school.
HAND EYE COORDINATION
Baby’s eye follows the sound and makes the discovery. This makes the beginning of hand and eye coordination.
“It was previously thought that language began when kids started talking to us at about one year of age. The new research shows that this is incorrect and that infants are mapping the sound structure of language in the first six to twelve months.” Patricia Kuhl, Ph.D professor of speech and hearing sciences at the the University of Washington in Seattle
WINDOW OF OPPORTUNITY
“It is impossible to qualify how significant the role of early learning is, but it is clear that during the first year of life, many critical windows of opportunity open and close.” Carla Shatz, Ph.D, professor of neurobiology at the University of California at Berkley
Audiation is the ability to hear music when no musical sound is present. When you audiate, you have internalized music and are “thinking” music. This activity has an invitation to audiate when the last note is left off of the song. As the song becomes familiar, some babies may spontaneously fill in the blank. Regardless of the response, this is an opportunity to engage Baby’s listening skills.
DIRECTIONS IN MOVEMENT
It is essential to the learning process to allow a child to experience all aspects of direction in movement. For example-whirl in one direction, followed by whirling in the opposite direction. Neural pathways develop through experience, stimulation, and interaction. Varied experiences increase the number of neural pathways.