Cognitive Development Part 3: Education and What You Can Do

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This is the third in a 4-part series of articles on child cognitive development. Make sure to read other articles in the series: Cognitive Development Part 1: The First Three YearsCognitive Development Part 2: Years Four Through Six; and Cognitive Development Part 4: A Medical Point of View from Samitivej Hospital.

We’ve already talked a bit about some of the transformations a child’s brain undergoes in the first six years of his or her life. Within this remarkably short span, you’ll witness developmental leaps in fine motor skills, coordination, as well as verbal and written linguistic abilities. It’s remarkable to watch, and your job as a parent is to help your child along each step of the way.

Cognitive Development Part 3

It’s important to remember, however, that other factors besides parents have an impact on a child’s cognitive development. With the help of Naresh Indhewat of BrainFit Studio (2F Ploenchit Center, Sukhumvit Soi 2; 66-2/656-9938-9), we took a closer look.

School isn’t everything

When you hear the words “cognitive development,” the chances are that the first things to pop into your head are classes, whiteboards, tests and books. Yes, academic education is important, but it’s part of a much larger picture.

For a child’s brain to develop in a balanced, natural way, it needs stimulation in many areas of life, including physical. As we mentioned in the previous two articles, language is one of best markers of growth. However, at these ages children are also improving their muscle memory and social skills.

“Get active in as many different kinds of sport activities as possible, and not just with soccer or tennis. The brain uses different groups of muscles for different sports, and so does different kinds of wiring in the brain,” Indhewat advises.

For example, a German study in 2011 indicated that athletes and musicians were better at visualizing a 3-D object in their heads. This may not sound that important, but it’s an indication of spatial awareness, which can help in everything from mathematics to art.

Your student doesn’t have to be an all-star tennis player to benefit though. According to Indhewat, “the more variety of sports a child is exposed to, the more “pathways” the brain creates. This wiring can also be harnessed by the brain when a child is in class, using it to help understand a new concept being taught to them.”

Picking the right school

That being said, you still have to choose the right school. Luckily, we’re spoiled for choice in Bangkok, and have more than our share of internationally accredited options.

“There are many good international schools in Bangkok and It is not easy to recommend one over another. We have visited most schools and can see that each has its own strengths,” says Indhewat. “The most important thing to consider is whether your child’s learning style is suited to the school’s teaching style. And is your child happy with the school’s environment? Also how far are you willing to let your child commute everyday to school? That’s valuable playing time being lost in the car.”

The best thing to do may be simply to visit each campus and gauge the overall feel of the place for yourself. BrainFit Studio also offers individual consultations on international education, for parents seeking specific advice.

Further information

In addition to BrainFit Studio, one resource that Indhewat recommends is

“This is a website developed with support from the Singaporean government to help parents track milestones from newborns to six years old,” Indhewat says. “There are weekly goals and, even better, suggested activities to help reach those goals. There are pictures and animations to help visualize activities as well. There is a small subscription fee for six years but I feel it’s worth it if you are a hands-on parent interested in an easy way to track your children’s milestones.”

Photo Credit: Lupuca via Compfight cc

Expecting Expats is the online resource for parents in and around Thailand.

We provide lifestyle and medical content to our visitors, with new content posted daily. Our lifestyle contributors are themselves expat moms who share their experiences and lessons learned through blog articles. We also provide medical content from our partner doctors at Samitivej Hospital in Bangkok, Thailand. Articles of interest span from before pregnancy through the toddler years and cover medical, behavioral and cognitive issues.

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