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Mental Imagery for very young children

Mental Imagery for very young children

Through our work with children and adults with various learning challenges, we have realised that the place to start is with very young children and ensure they are making the most effective use of their mental images as they start to learn. Right from birth children are starting to use mental images,  to recognise our parents. As children grow up we want to ensure that every child has control over their images and makes the most effective use of them, e.g. mental images of words for literacy, numbers for numeracy, etc. Many of the teenagers we work with are quite simply overwhelmed by their own images and it all started when they were very young.

In our experience of 4-5 year olds, most are visualising easily, several have fast moving pictures (these are generally the fidgety children), several are already overwhelmed by pictures by the age of 4, a couple seem to have lost their pictures (learning is hard for them) and some sensitive children are picking up on other people’s emotions in the form of pictures.  Everyone can benefit from early understanding of their own pictures.

Learning about mental imagery, when your child is young, enables you to:

  • improve confidence and bring out shy students.
  • enable students to focus on a natural skill.
  • be effective individually or in a group.
  • be most effective with children developing Autistic traits, like sensory overload.
  • develop their imaginative play.
  • learn how to spot when children are visualising, even if they are pre-verbal.

To achieve some of the above:

  • We are developing a whole range of very simple child-friendly tools to enable children to enjoy their own mental imagery and use them for every aspect of learning as they grow up.
  • Helping parents understand a child’s experiences that result in a whole range of challenging behaviours, for example:
    • Improved grounding and why it is so important, especially to sensory overload and clumsyness
    • How parents can recognise highly visual thinking in their children
    • How they can move onto literacy even with a child with limited communication skills
    • Increasing a child’s feeling of safety and reducing anxiety in every aspect of their world
  • Enable parents to explore their child’s strengths.
  • Giving parents some positive coping strategies.

Here is a quick video introduction.

Empowering Learning is looking for Infant Schools and Nurseries who would be interested in exploring these topics briefly with their students and providing us feedback.  Teachers will learn new skills from being involved in this, that they will be able to use with other cohorts of children.