Brain Building Foundations
Written by Cassie Byram, the creator of TreasureToons
Being a Californian, I am very aware of what happens to a house with a faulty foundation. Any shift of the earth causes cracks in the walls that only get worse over time. No matter where you live, there are inevitable challenges a home will face that can be costly or even catastrophic if the house is not built upon a solid foundation.
We can think of the brain the same way. The proper foundational development during early childhood is critical. A good foundation results in resiliency, healthy choices, and higher skill levels as adults. On the other hand a weak foundation will tend to crack under pressure.
Our early childhood influences make all the difference.
Research shows that a child’s brain is 80% developed by the time they are 3 years old. According to scientific evidence this begins even before birth. Dr. Jack P. Shonkoff, Harvard University Director of The Center of the Developing Child states unequivocally,
“Brain development actually begins before birth.”
More research by top neuroscientists has proven the same thing.
“Between conception and age three, a child’s brain undergoes an impressive amount of change. At birth, it already has about all of the neurons it will ever have. It doubles in size in the first year, and by age three it has reached 80 percent of its adult volume”
Gilmore JH, Lin W, Prasatwa MW, et al. Journal of Neuroscience.
I’m sure we can all attest to the fact that early childhood experiences are literally woven into our minds and bodies for better or for worse. We carry them through our lives forever. They are what help to shape our identity and the kinds of decisions we will make when faced with challenges. Our beginnings are extremely important.
We must provide beneficial messages and experiences for children from the onset of their lives.
As a musician and more importantly, as a mom, I have long understood how music affects our lives, even before birth. Music is one of the great joys of life. It can be used to help create the best of memories. It is also beneficial to any learning experience. According to documented research, music increases attention, improves memory, enhances imagination, and creates a positive learning atmosphere. In any environment–homes, classrooms or traveling–music increases the depth of teaching or learning activity and ignites all areas of child development; intellectual, social, emotional, motor, language and overall literacy.
We are all aware that information set to music is the easiest to remember. All the more reason we need to be careful as to what our children listen to. As parents, grandparents, or educators, we must ask ourselves what information or messages do we want to firmly plant in a child’s young and fertile mind that will reap benefits for a lifetime? In my case the answer to that question inspired me to write songs with words from the Bible to help little ones build their identities on the truth of how loved and precious they are at the earliest of ages.
In my latest project, TreasureToons, I created animated videos for each of my scripture songs. The added visual of whimsical animation helps to keep the attention of young children and drives the messages of hope and good values even deeper. The TreasureToons DVD provides an easy, fun way for parents to both teach and protect their child’s developing brain.
By feeding children the right things, we are protecting them from the wrong things.
One of my key endorsers of the TreasureToons DVD is Dr. Mary Manz Simon, Phd, Early Childhood Development. Here’s what she says about TreasureToons:
“Researchers tell us that music activates various parts of the brain to “get ready for thinking,” but in addition to the “head stuff,” music is just plain fun! The Biblical overlay in TreasureToons adds critically important content that gives meaning to everyday life.
When we become a parent and hold that precious little life in our arms, a new chamber of love in our heart opens for the first time along with a deep desire to provide the very best for our child. We search for ways to create a healthy environment as well as to prepare our children for the many lessons they will learn in life. We want them to discover their gifts, develop life skills, reap the rewards of achievement and experience joy and contentment. In other words, our new dream as parents is to give them meaning in a world that that feels fast-paced, difficult, and focused on the wrong priorities. By instilling Biblical Scripture in our children’s minds we are allowing them to see the true meaning to life and give them hope.
Find your music and message to accomplish this for your children. Invest in them early on and it will pay dividends for a lifetime for both of you.