April 15, 2020, by Sameera Rangwala
Did you hear about the “social distancing” order of 1665? Even if your not a big history buff this factoid is well worth knowing. In 1665, the bubonic plague forced people into quarantine similar to what we are experiencing today. A curious 24-year-old college student took advantage of the time and discovered differential and integral calculus, formulated a theory of universal gravitation, explored optics, and experimented with prisms and investigating light. Woah! Can you guess who? Hailed as one of the most renowned inventors of our times, his name was Isaac Newton. Now, that’s how you take advantage of some alone time!
Critical “spurts” of neurological (brain) development happen at specific age points during the span of a person’s lifetime. That’s not to say that mature minds can’t expand and learn information over time, however, scientific studies have proven that a fresh brain, like a new sponge, is abundantly more absorbent. Factors such as genetics, individuality, and environment play an imperative role in the volume of early childhood learning and can significantly impact future outcomes of emotional and academic success. According to research by the American Psychological Association (APA), a large portion of our brain motor and sensory systems development begins right from birth and tapers off between the ages of 5-12, or in some cases continues into our 20’s. The amount of early exposure to the natural environment and inferential thinking has been directly correlated to how a child learns both academically and socially.
Why is all this brain talk so important to us? It’s been over two months of our lives being turned upside down into a whirlwind of quarantined lifestyle. Are the blurred lines between spring break, the academic school year, and finally summer vacation, loosening your grip on your child’s academic learning? Well, we’re here to encourage and support you through this time! It’s easy to lose momentum at this point, but, it’s also a tremendous time to allow little brains to explore and expand. Children in grades K-8 are at the most advantageous point in their brain development right now. The plus side of social distancing is being able to do a little extra and self-pace with specific interests such as exploring different realms of science, getting more math practice or learning ahead, or creating new recipes in the kitchen.
If we could take a step back and observe our children from a purely developmental point of view, it just might be the push we need to keep them curious and igniting future passions! And remember, don’t judge how much a little sponge can soak up by its size. Happy learning Bionerds!
Sameera Rangwala is an Educator Associate at Bionerds. She has a passion for all things science. She earned her bachelor degree in Biology with a minor in Family Psychology from the University of Maryland, College Park. She continued her academic journey to earn a Master of Public Health with a concentration in Biostatistics from the University of Maryland as well. Not long after, she earned another Master’s degree in Biotechnology from the University of Maryland. Sameera has 15 plus years in the industry field. She is also a mother of three young children who naturally love science and technology. She hopes to teach, inspire, and ignite a passion for science in the next generation of world changers.