Dr. Goh | What is Environmental Enrichment? and how do the healthynest activities help my child?
We know so much more about how the brain develops and functions than we did just a few years ago. The things that influenced the brain in terms of the relationships we have, our interactions, how we communicate with others, what we encounter in the environment, what we eat, breathe, drink - those things are hugely impactful in how the brain develops and functions.
Environmental enrichment is the way that we can enrich our environment in order to stimulate the brain in the most positive ways.
One of them is the sensory environment. So we can think about what is the child taking in through senses? What does the child perceive from the physical environment that they're in? They're seeing, they're hearing, they're tasting, they're smelling, they're touching. They're also perceiving the position of their own body in space and the movement of their body. So those are all sensory approaches to enhancing and enriching the environment.
Another way to enrich the environment we might think of as cognitive. So what in the environment is helping to stimulate new thoughts and new ideas for the child? Often that is communication with other people. And then another component, and this one is really, really especially important is the social emotional stimulation and how that can be enriched in the environment. So who are those in the environment with the child? How are they interacting? What is the emotional input and the social engagement that they're receiving? All of these components can go a really long way towards enriching the environment in ways that foster optimal brain development for a child.
One of the things we know that helps the brain to form flexible and in particular flexible, long range connections is novelty and new stimulation and encountering different experiences in our environment. By changing the environment, we stimulate the brain in different ways and the brain can form new and lasting connections.
- Novelty and new stimuli create opportunities to enrich baby’s brain
- Consider each of baby’s senses when offering new experiences
- Access the healthynest library of enrichment activities for inspiration