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THE FIRST 1001 DAYS OF LIFE

BY KAVITA ZAKHARIA

The first 1001 days of life, from conception to age 2 is a critical window of opportunity during which the foundations of a child’s development are laid down to ensure they achieve the best possible start in life.

The human brain is the most complex organ in the body. From birth to 18 months, connections in the brain are created at an astounding rate of one million connections per second. At no other time is the brain so receptive and responsive. By the age of 3, the brain has reached 80% of adult size. The earliest social and emotional experiences shape a baby’s brain development, and have a long- term impact on that baby’s mental and emotional health. The environment we live in is also vital to our development as our biology is highly interactive with environmental experiences.

Our brains are designed to receive and process sensory information from our bodies and the environment to help us understand and perceive the world around us. Our development, actions and behaviors are the outcome of sensory processing. Traditionally, there were five main recognized senses: touch, sight, hearing, smell and taste. There are now essentially eight recognized senses, the three new ones being:

Proprioception:

The sense of awareness of the position and movement of our limbs and muscles. For example, proprioception enables a person to touch their finger to the tip of their nose, even with their eyes closed.

Vestibular:

The sense of balance and spatial orientation for coordinating position and movement in relation to gravity. For example, the development of gross motor skills such as crawling, walking, running, jumping.

Interoception:

Physiological sensations originating in the body, for example pain, temperature, itch, thirst, hunger.

Humans are multi- sensory beings whereby all our senses work together. Research has shown that involving babies in sensory experiences and stimulation from birth is very important as it helps to create new pathways in the brain, which boosts brain development. Sensory play also supports language development, cognitive growth, fine and gross motor skills, problem solving skills, and social interaction.

Baby sensory class is all about providing your baby with an environment rich in sensory experiences through themed play and activities that are specifically designed to stimulate your baby’s senses and hence enhance their learning and physical and mental development.

Article written by: Kavita Zakharia E: kavita-shah@hotmail.co.uk I: @kavzkuisine T: 0757129465

Kavita Zakharia is a qualified Nutritionist with over 12 years experience in the field of nutrition and healthy living. Her passion for food and healthy eating initiated her Healthy Vegetarian Cooking Programme where she conducts cooking classes for Parents and Nanny’s to learn how to make easy nutritious meals suitable for the whole family. She also runs a unique Baby Sensory Class which is a fundamental aspect of early childhood development.
Her biggest but most rewarding challenge to date is being a mother to her incredible 2 year old son who keeps her on her toes, teaches her a new lesson everyday, reminds her to consciously live in the moment and brings out the best version of herself. Kavita is also passionate about animals, loves to paint and play the piano, enjoys spending time outdoors in nature and engaging in charity work.

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