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October 3, 2018

Team Youthful is Making Connections

Mind in the Making workshops continue to enlighten parents, grandparents, youth pastors, and early childhood educators. When posed with a question about Making Connections, one of the seven essential life skills, the answers stayed within the realm of connecting with other people or connections in the brain. Both responses are important, but when you dive in, there is so much more to this life skill!

We expanded on ideas about making connections to the sorting of toys by colors and shapes. Inspiration for new ideas came after watching videos based on research. We came up with practical everyday ideas to help build this skill for children of all ages:

  • Playing checkers, chess, and hopscotch
  • Chores like sorting laundry and setting the table
  • Books
  • Puzzles
  • Shopping challenges
  • Car-ride activities

What we take for granted every day can help build the brain of a child. Making connections calls on a child’s Executive Functions, including working memory, inhibitory control, and cognitive flexibility.

Symbolic Representation was a key term throughout the workshop. For example, if a child gets confused about labeling an item, a parent or educator can be more descriptive by saying, “This is a cup. Its color is red.” One teacher thought this tool could make all the difference in her classroom. Early educators in the workshop were fascinated and planned to adjust the way they work with their students.

The big takeaway was how much development could take place in even six months. It became apparent how much each day matters in a developing brain and how little adjustments in interactions can have such a huge impact.

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