Wednesday, 29 October 2014

MPA Nathan Wallis

Brain Research and Learning: Theraputic Child Specialisation. MRI transformed the knowledge of the brain in the 90's. the decade of the brain. Brain scanning. Making the research simple but not simplistic.

Kindy sculpt and train the brain while primary teachers merely polish it. Most of our outcomes can be predicted by the age of 3.

The cultural perspective and status does not reflect the reality that the kindergarten early childhood teachers have the most skill and influence over our children and nations future. NZ is one of the lowest funders of children in the 0-3 age bracket. Most is spent on the 19-24. 50% genetic 50% environmental.

The data focus is on relationship with your attachment figure. Brain weight 350g - 3 years 1.2kg at 3. Adult weight 1.4kg. Most development has happened in this first 3 years. Brains are born in a ready to develop and learn state. Lower Brain growth shows failure to thrive. How nature interacts with nurture is what develops and dictates who you are.

The transcript (experiences, data) are needed to trigger the genes and enable those skills talents and behaviours. Eye colour is a fixed gene, height is a transcription gene. If you are underfed or sickly you may never become the tall person you could have been. Fully developed brain at 26. Research keeps pushing it out. Females 18-24 men 22-32. Birth order has an influence but is is early research. First born and not is all they have found. Statistically the first child is most likely to be more qualified and a higher earner. What do they get that the rest don't? 1:1 attention. 20,000 words with the 1st child 10,000 with the 2nd. etc.

 Face to face interactions light up the brain. When we name a person and engage with them the brains activity increases. How does whole class vs small group interactions vs independent. Learning is inherently social. Movement is also linked and intwined in learning. Any interaction educational or complete rubbish with babies develop the frontal part of the brain. Prison has very little first born females. GATE has mostly first born females.  Reading recovery is full of non first born boys.

Boys hippocampus does not come online to about 7. Being able to access memory is more challenging for boys. Lateralisation does not start till 6.5 - 7, left brain right brain. Fits with Piaget theories of development readiness for language at 7yrs. Truth telling is associated with a lower IQ.

1. Brainstem. Primal brain keeps heart beating. Live, Procreate, Protect.
2. Cerebellum is the movement brain. It controls movement, tongue etc. It has a role in our higher intelligence. It's added memory. 6mth - 18mth.
3. Mammalian Limbic system. Emotions.  Dogs have this. Limbic systems connect. The emotional brain. 18mnth+ Tantruming 2's. This brain can take over.
4. Frontal cortex. The flash stuff brain the brakes (optional for survival so development is individual). 3yrs -11 develops. Not till 24 do boys realise these are prone to failure.

Babies lock on to eyes to establish an attachment relationship. Eye contact releases oxytocin which triggers other hormone releases which develop other skills and talents. A consistent long term relationship is essential in anchoring a child and meeting the primary need (a diatic relationship). The relationship is more important than the content knowledge of the teacher. Children will strive to learn and excel with a good relationship even if the content knowledge is poor.

Children spend 95% of there time in brain 2 adults only 5%. Adults spend 95% in brain 4. Parents are the 4th brain for there children. @11-18 the frontal cortex shuts for renovations. Adolescence. Teen brains are twice as active. They are overwhelmed by the neurological growth which takes about 3 years. The cortex shuts down, limits access, during this growth to enable a quicker development. Analogy to a shop refit.

Therapeutic Interventions. 
The brains operating like a set of scales. For the cortex to be open the cortex needs to be calm. Stress and anxiety will not allow the brain to access the cortex. Children who are anxious will struggle to learn. 75% of humans respond with freeze when confronted with trauma like an earthquake, gunshot etc. Fight, flight, freeze. Access the full potential of the brain is relationships, relationships, relationships. This is key to success for our learners, they need to feel calm and safe to access the cortex. You learn the most from the teachers you like the most.

Immersed in a pro social relationship for first 18month. Mum is hormonally drunk on you and treats you like gods gift even when you are socially terrible.  The earlier you start early childcare the higher your aggression levels. Childcare is one risk-factor for under 3's. Makes no academic difference.  The resiliency factors make the difference, two parents, educated parents, additional adults. Social skills like tying shoes develop further but this is at the expense of aggressive interactions from their peers and decreased adult interactions.

 Talked about old people in palliative care taught to knit. When their brains were analized upon death they all had new brain cells. CATS Caffine, Alcohol, Tobacco and Sugar.  (alcohol does a lot of damage prior to 18. Sugar worst for adults) Fitness and socialness combats negative effects on neural plasticity.

Investing in our 0-3 makes huge government social sense. How do we heal the brain. Start from the bottom. Unconditional love for 18 months to stimulate the cortex. 

Keywords. Safety. Touch, sensory pathways, predictability, autonomy, relationship food. Calm means safe not inactive. 

Boys act out girls dissociate. Men are more emotional but have less capacity to regulate the emotion. 

Movement. Rhythmic patterning. Rocking the baby. Ritual, routine, motivation, movement autonomy, corpus callosum. 

Children need to experience rhythm to develop this brain. Rocking chairs, tramps, hammocks, swings. Trauma induces rocking. Rhythmic patterns relax our body. 
Routine is second stage rhythm. 

Brain 3. Emotional brain. Self esteem mindfulness. Dispositions. Validation, enjoyment, Paralimbic system. 2-7 years. 
Te hearing has little political interference as early childhood has Little value in our society. Early childhood meets the need of the child not preparation for school. National standards is a political intervention overplayed on good evidence and research. Research shows success is about dispositions. See national radio speeches he did. Cognitive skills are best developed by those with feeling of competence. We need to celebrate the success of where the child is at not just the next step. Resilience is developed by developing the limbic social emotional brain. 

Frontal cortex. Executive function or neural pathway. You can take a thick person and make them intelligent. Improve the executive functions the cortex the frontal prefrontal 
Empowering children to participate by teaching the the executive functions. Barbera arrow smith young schools in Auckland. Curric on functions. 

Self control most important function. 
Working memory. Manipulate short term memory. Remember 3,5,7 then do something with them. Memory card game builds this. 

Metacgnition. Knowing yourself as a learner. 

Cognitive flexibility. Jumping from left to right side of the brain. Women have a 6 lane highway men have a swing bridge. 

Singing bye bye miss American pie to multiplication. 

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