Intentional Brain Growth - Intentional Pre-K

February 2024

Your Child's Brain, Activate and Ignite Those Connections, Use It or Lose It by Age 5; these are slogans to live by

It is daunting to think that a child's entire future -
  • their lifelong physical and mental well-being,
  • their ability to form bonds, interact with others, and work together in citizenship,
  • their feelings towards and performance in school,
  • their access to career interests and paths,
  • and their likelihood of finding work and personal activities that bring them joy and fulfillment throughout their lives--
rests so heavily on what happens in their first 5 years of life.  We live in a fast-paced, technological, and evidence based world--and have a distinct advantage over past generations of parents and educators. We have access, in almost real time, to emerging, credible brain research that proves what many always felt and knew intuitively--the first five years have an almost impossible to exaggerate effect on the entirety of an individual's life. Ninety percent of full brain development takes place by the age of five. (First Things First, Bipartisan Policy Organization) The right pre-k experience can have tremendous impact on improving the quality and complexity of that 90%.

Your baby was born with over 100 billion brain cells (neurons).  All learning takes place through conversations or connections (synapses) between those neurons. The conversations begin with experiences the child has with other people and the world around them. We only get 5 years to get the vast majority of those connections fired and working.  If the conversation between cells isn't initiated and  given at least a little space to "flare" before age 5 the neurons begin to die off, the brain "prunes" itself and is left to function for the rest of the individual's life with only the connections that have been made.

This is not to say that all "learning" takes place by age 5, it is to say that the major preparation, the firing of the coals (synapses) that will later be "fanned back into life"  must take place. The ignited connections may lay dormant for some time, then, when the situation (learning experience) presents itself, those connections will reignite and knowledge will increase. Without the initial spark however, no flame will stir.  The child that never experiments with rolling various size toy vehicles and balls down differently angled ramps will never take well to physics.  The child that does not read stories about people (or animals) having feelings or doesn't discuss those stories with an adult who can help them sort and relate to the feelings will not develop the level of empathy and understanding needed to create positive, lasting, and fulfilling relationships.

Positive, interactive, supportive, and age appropriate engagement of a child with parents, caregivers, family members and friends, and well-structured environments with purposefully planned experiences are the basis on which the foundation for all successes in life mentioned above are built.  (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) While top-level quality, consistency, and intentionality in all of these elements is essential in every year of the child's significant brain growth and development, the four-year old year, the pre-kindergarten year, provides a definitive opportunity to get a child's brain "fully fired up" and ready for the demands of "school" that will be encountered in kindergarten.

In a well-planned, "intentional", focused, and data driven pre-k program the four year old child will have multiple and diverse opportunities every day to fire those synapses, make the connections formed earlier even stronger and find new and challenging ways to "grow" their brains.  They will better understand their place it the world and their relationship to others. They will develop the basic skills necessary to find success in an academic setting and be able to explore how applying those skills brings a satisfying sense of accomplishment and a thirst for more. With "intentional" as the key word, great pre-K providers have a valid reason for every decision they make in implementing their program.  The environment is set up to allow children as much free choice and opportunity to make their own decisions as possible.  Materials presented are age appropriate for every child in the room.  Some are best for children functioning at a 2.5 year old level, which is where some 4 year olds begin, others are best for children functioning at a 5.5 year level which is where other 4 year olds begin and many others end the year--and everything in between.  The daily schedule becomes a familiar and trusted routine allowing for large group, small group, and individual activities, active and restful times, and a smart mixture of teacher led and student led lessons. Choices of what to present to children and how to raise them to a new level of performance on skills or knowledge development are made based on data reliably collected and analyzed.  Increasing the number of synapses fired, the complexity of the wirings already formed, and making the children aware of their own brains snapping and growing is the goal of the "intentional" pre-k. Children leave this kind of experience with the self-confidence, self-knowledge, and self-love to succeed in a more academically demanding kindergarten and beyond.

It is Your Child's Brain, provide every opportunity to Activate and Ignite Those Connections, and help them to Use It or Lose It by Age 5.  Enroll in an "intentional" pre-k program.

This content supports our vision that all children turn five ready to thrive.