Studies on brain development continue to inform scientists and early childhood educators of how critical the appropriate stimuli in early childhood education are. Young brains are actively learning from the environment. A period of time in which learning of certain skills is at its best is called the window of opportunity. As quoted in Slegers (1997), Kotulak (1996) wrote: “These windows of development occur in phases from birth to age twelve when the brain is most actively learning from its environment.” For example, Slegers mentioned that experiments by Wiesel and Hubel proved that a baby whose eyes are clouded by cataracts from birth will be forever blind, despite cataract-removal surgery at the age of 2. Apparently, the window of opportunity for vision ends just before a child reaches 2 years old. In this case, the newborn’s brain decided not to maintain connections to support the baby’s vision but to adjust its support to strengthen other senses. “Windows of opportunity” for learning tells us that there are specific times for specific kinds of learning that must take place for the child to develop to the fullest.
This graph taken from SafeGard (2020) explained clearly about windows of opportunity for learning in the early years.
All of these are telling us something, those young children need to be stimulated appropriately and adequately in a rich learning environment. A rich learning environment is one that is full of experiences, one that connects learning to daily life, and one that allows young children to be curious and try out new things. It is important for parents to provide this kind of environment so their children will blossom.
Written By: Ms. Lulu