Intellectual development is the development of the mind. The mind is the thinking part of the brain- the part which is used for recognizing, reasoning, knowing and understanding.
A child’s mind is active from the time he is born. Day by day, as the child grows, the mind develops as he:
- Learn about people
- About things
- New skills
- To communicate
- Acquires more memories
- Gains more experience.
As a child’s mind develop, he becomes more intelligent. How intelligent the child becomes will depend, as in any other area of development, on two main factors:
- Genes- They control the amount of natural intelligence he has.
- Environment-The use the child makes of his intelligence will be very much influenced by the environment in which he grows up.
During babyhood, the genetic factor and environment constantly interact to produce people whose minds develop in a great variety of ways. For example, children vary in their ability to remember, their artistic or musical talents, skill at languages or mathematics, social activities, academic ability, cleverness with the hands, and whether they have a good understanding of people and their problems.
How to encourage intellectual development
In the first year development of the mind is helped when parents:
- Talk to the baby
- Play with him
- Place him in a position where he can see what is going on around him
- Provide toys and objects which he can handle and investigate
- Allow him to practice new skills as soon is ready -e.g. feeding himself
- At the end of the first year, start to read to him, tell him stories and show him pictures
After the first year development of the mind is helped when the child is encouraged to:
- Preparation new skills- covering himself, representation, playing sports
- Be inquiring and ask queries
- Explore new places
- Show with added children
- Play with toys which stimulate his imagination
- be inspired and variety things
Conditions which hinder intellectual development
The following conditions can slow down the rate of development of a child’s mind. If these adverse conditions persist for too long, they may prevent the full development of the child’s natural intelligence:
- Lack of enough opportunities for talking and playing
- Nothing of interest for the child to do
- Constant nagging or bullying from other people
- Frequent illness
- Poor eyesight
- Frequent absence from school
How a child learns about the world around him
Young babies are far more aware of their surroundings than was once thought. From their earliest days, they are aware of stimuli from the environment in the form of light, sound, touch, and smell, and they look, listen, feel and smell. Babies take most interest in what is new or different. They are more likely to be kept alert and happy by changing patterns of stimulation, whereas the repetition of sounds and movements will often send them to sleep.
From the age of 3 months onwards, they want to touch objects and to handle them and put them in the mouth. They come to recognize an object by its shape, what it feels like, how it looks and behaves when turned in all directions, and how it sounds when it is moved or banged. They are gaining information, all the while, and new objects interest them more than familiar ones.
When children are able to move around, they approach objects or places to explore them. Places that they find interesting will encourage exploration and will increase their information about the environment.
When children are able to talk, they start to ask questions. At 2.5 years they ask what? And who? At 3 years they ask where? At 4 years they want to know why? When? And how? Their questions are continual and demanding as they try to make sense of their world. Children who have their questions answered find out a great deal of information. They are now at an age when they can begin to understand places and people they have never, and about events which have happened in the past or will happen in the future.
When an adult encourages children to use books, they are helping to increase the children’s knowledge and awareness. Looking at pictures with an adult helps in understanding pictures as representations of real things, and helps develop an awareness of colors, shapes, sizes, and numbers of objects. Hearing stories helps in learning to listen and to concentrate. When children can read they have the means of exploring a vast store of knowledge.
Learning by imitation
Children learn a great deal by imitating the behavior of others.
For example, they learn to:
- Speak by copying sounds
- Write by copying letters and words
- Help in the house and garden by copying adults
- Know the difference between right and wrong
- Show kindness and consideration for other