Cognitive skills (pre-academic skills) are the basis of success in school. Attention, memory and thinking speed helps a child succeed academically as well as grow intellectually.
The problem is that these skills often go unspoken or unnoticed because they don’t have an obvious physical representation; however, if one doesn’t develop them soon enough, then it can become difficult to succeed in academics or be motivated for learning and school. Here are some examples of these important skills:
Rapid Spatial Estimation
The ability to rapidly estimate spatial quantities, an important foundation for numeracy tasks in Math
The ability to stay on task without being distracted by irrelevant information in the environment.
The ability to remember what is seen or heard.
Rapid Auditory Processing
The ability to rapidly process minute durations of sounds, critical for strong listening, language and reading skills.
The ability to manage own emotions, especially unpleasant ones, and have good social skills to thrive in school.
Visual/ Auditory Working Memory
The ability to use memory purposefully for critical thinking and deep problem-solving.
Aren’t cognitive skills/ pre-academic skills taught in a school?
No, cognitive skills are not typically taught in a school. To develop these skills require a deep understanding of how the brain learns and the neuroscientific principles that govern brain change. Teachers’ expertise are primarily in the area of curriculum teaching and classroom management, not brain development nor neuroscience, hence these skills are often not explicitly taught in a school. This makes BrainFit® highly unique in its programme offering.
But doesn’t education train the mind? Why do we still need brain training apart from school?
Indeed, the mind is enriched with the learning of any new knowledge or skill. Additional brain training must be considered because brain training actually refers to a separate set of skills not necessarily developed by the learning process alone. These are skills that help the child become a more successful learner – the abilities to focus longer, remember more and think faster. While academic learning may not build pre-academic cognitive skills, yet it is highly dependent on solid pre-academic skills to be present.
Are you referring to Right Brain Training skills such as using flash cards to improve memory and speed of thinking?
Cognitive skills include memory and processing speed but it is a lot more than that. Flash cards can build quick visual memory. However, the type of memory required for deep thinking and complex problem-solving is working memory, which requires much more mental effort and processing time. Yet another type of memory is auditory memory, which helps a child to follow and understand what a teacher is saying. Each memory system is different and important for different tasks, hence cognitive skills involve a wide array of skills that should be deliberately developed.
Aren’t children born with these important skills naturally?
Children are certainly born with these skills, but each individual has his/her unique strengths and weaknesses in each skill area. If all children are born equally with all these critical skills intact, you will not see such vast differences in children’s performance in school. Many children, even with the best teachers, school environments and external enrichment support, perform very differently. Some may thrive but others may not enjoy learning, display a lack of motivation or inappropriate classroom or emotional regulation behaviours such as poor attention span. The strengths and weaknesses of a child’s cognitive skills have a direct impact on their ability to learn and do well in school.
How is brain fitness linked to intelligence?
Scientists working on mapping human intelligence have recently discovered that both general intelligence (IQ) and emotional intelligence (EQ) involves brain networks in key cognitive areas, namely visual, auditory, spatial (body) and executive processes (focus and planning). These key “brain muscles” are the main targets in BrainFit®’s “whole-brain” training methodology. This means when we strengthen brain fitness, we are also increasing intelligence!
Who can benefit from brain fitness training?
Anyone, from infants to seniors, can benefit from brain fitness training. However, younger brains often make more gains given the same training effort so we strongly recommend that brain training commences as early as possible.
Can brain fitness training benefit individuals with learning challenges?
Yes, BrainFit®’s programmes are able to help individuals diagnosed with learning difficulties such as attention deficit hyperactive disorder (ADD or ADHD), auditory processing disorder (APD), dyslexia, language delays, sensory-modulation disorder, dyspraxia and autism spectrum disorder (ASD).