Thursday, 26 November 2015

3 ways to encourage whole brain learning through play

Hi guys, today I have a guest joining me to discuss whole brain learning and how you can incorporate it into your play time with your children at home, so please be upstanding and welcome Amanda from Shichida Australia.

When my daughter was around 1 year old, we began story-time at the library. It was a half hour of singing, reading, talking and some bubbles play. At first it was a way for me to get out the house and be around other people and not feel so isolated as a mom. I continued coming for another reason. I noticed that my baby was remembering signs and interacting with the presenter. My first thought was “I have a baby genius’ and my second thought was “i wonder what else she can learn through play?”

I began integrating music, dance and play into our everyday tasks. I would sing to the tune “If you’re happy and you know it’.
If you see the color (insert color), pick it out! (while pointing to the color)
If you see the color (insert color), pick it out! (while pointing to the color)
If you see the color (insert color), give a wiggle and a giggle
If you see the color (insert color), pick it out! (while pointing to the color)

I used this basic tune to talk about not only colors, but shapes and body parts. Before long, my itty bitty baby was starting to recognize shapes, colors and body parts. It is how she learned almost anything: we danced, sang and pointed stuff out.

I thought, imagine how fun school would be if we played to learned beyond preschool?
New research is supporting the idea that play and learning are not mutually exclusive. In fact, they go hand in hand. Research is showing that children that engage in playful learning are developing memory skills, their language is developing and they are able to adjust to an academic learning environment. This whole brain approach to learning is changing the way we learn and remember things. In fact, research is showing that all functions of the brain are connected.

A pioneer in childhood whole brain learning, Dr. Makoto Shichida, has committed 40 years to developing techniques to stimulate early development of the brain. Dr. Shichida emphasizes parent-child bonding and when a child feels free to express himself, he is more able to learn. This is a balanced approach to whole brain learning.

Here are easy ways to incorporate this whole brain, play based learning into your schedule without feeling you are adding more to your plate. Try to engage at least two senses at a time. 

  1. Schedule time for physical play, integrate music into your play. Hot potato with music or musical chairs are two examples. Silly time and having your child using hand-eye coordination, while waiting for musical cues stimulated different parts of the brain at once.
  2. Have adult and child interactions. Pretend you are in a restaurant and your child is the server and chef. Pretend you are a patient in a hospital and your child is the doctor.
  3. Recreate an experience, such as travel or a vacation. Pretend you are in another country and practice using simple words from another language. This helps engage the multi-language circuit of the brain.

The most important things to remember are to let your child’s imagination run wild, make sure your child feels safe to express himself, and let your child be the guide.

About the author:. Amanda works PR for Shichida Australia ((, spreading her love for childhood learning through fun, music and play.  When she isn’t chasing her two kids and (trying to) prepare healthy meals, she is cuddling her fur baby, a 9 year old boxer.

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