Wired to Read

From preconception through the formative early years it is essential to safeguard and maximize children’s developmental outcomes

This introduction to reading will investigate:

  • innate nature and personality
  • brain development
  • brain structure
  • Early Childhood Development (ECD)

فطرة – Fitra” or “fitrah” (Arabic), is the state of purity and innocence and a natural disposition

Many of these traits can be observed in young children.

Children are often referred to as innocent – meaning they are naive, harmless, guiltless or blameless etc. So how and when do any changes in their natural disposition occur? These changes occur after exposure.

Now we may ask:
Are all children not the same?

A child is a composite human being, inheriting characteristics from the mother, father and some features that are unique to itself. Then these characteristics are manipulated through exposure. This exposure occurs prenatal and after birth.

Ihsan[i] meaning “to do beautiful things” It is a matter of taking one’s inner faith and showing it in both deed and action, a sense of social responsibility borne from religious convictions.

Development of the brain

Month One Month Two Month Three
Neural tube brain cell & cerebral cortex brain functions

Let Us Look at the Brain Development by Month

1 Just 16 days after fertilization, an embryo forms the neural tube. The neural tube is the earliest nervous system tissue which develops into the brain and the spinal cord.
2 During the second month this neural tube begins to differentiate into brain cells and nerve cells. The brain cells transform into recognizable brain structures. The most notable is the outer layer called the cerebral cortex.
3 By the third month the embryo display reflexes and also reacts to its environment.
4 At the end of the first trimester, hormones are released that will determine whether development will continue to occur as male or female.
5 By the fifth month, the foetus is learning to control its reactions to these sensory sensations and to control its movement.
6 By six months the brain becomes fully developed. Even though the brain has not reached its full size, most of the neurons (nerve cell) within the central nervous system are present. These nerve cells conduct electrical impulses (i.e. send messages).Significantly it is during this period that the foetus begins to prepare itself for the outside world. The foetus can experience sensory sensations such as sound, taste, and smells. The ability to consciously react to sensory sensations becomes even stronger during the sixth month. During the sixth month, another major mark of brain development occurs; the cerebral cortex splits into two separate hemispheres. Some researchers believe that, at this stage, the foetus develops the ability to remember.
Text Box: Imagine that one day you decide to count nonstop until you get to one billion. Let's assume that you could count one number every second on average, so it would take you a billion seconds. This means that it would take approximately 32 years to count to one billion. Now when the baby is born she has 100 billion brain cells. Phenomenal!

At birth 80 percent of the brain is developed and consist of 100 billion neurons or brain cells.

This means that during every minute of the pregnancy period at least 250,000 brain cells are created!

Because of this rapid pace of development, proper prenatal care is essential to the development of an unborn child’s brain.

During this process i.e. during the prenatal and postnatal, the child is being prepared for the world around it and evidently the child will be what the parent exposes it to.

Early Childhood Development

ECD is the net result of ongoing interactions between biology of children and environments

The early years are critical, because this is the period in life when the brain develops most rapidly and has a high capacity for change, and the foundation is laid for health and wellbeing throughout life.

Nurturing-care means,

  • care is provided in a stable environment,
  • being sensitive to children’s health and nutritional needs,
  • providing protection from threats,
  • providing opportunities for early learning, and interactions that are responsive, emotionally supportive and developmentally stimulating.

We emphasize

  • stable, responsive, and nurturing caregiving;
  • safe, supportive, environments;
  • appropriate nutrition
  • and protection from violence, neglect and abuse.

This is what is at the heart of children’s potential to develop

Why is there so much emphasis on ECD?

From preconception through the formative early years it is essential to safeguard and maximize children’s developmental outcomes



[1] recognize and work with the sounds of spoken language

[2] television, tablets and smartphones, etc.

[3]  Cognitive – relating to, being, or involving conscious intellectual activity (such as thinking, reasoning, or remembering

[i] In Islam, ihsan is the Muslim responsibility to obtain perfection, or excellence, in worship, such that Muslims try to worship God as if they see him, and although they cannot see him, they undoubtedly believe that He is constantly watching over them. That definition comes from the Hadith of Gabriel in which Muhammad states, “[Ihsan is] to worship God as though you see Him, and if you cannot see Him, then indeed He sees you”. (Al-Bukhari and Al-Muslim)

[ii] https://dyslexiaida.org/how-can-we-ensure-that-every-child-will-learn-to-read-the-need-for-a-global-neurodevelopmental-perspective/

[iii] In 2012 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, neuroscientists at Stanford University reported that


How do Children Learn

Children learn best through play and through valuable relationships

I am going to school

Increasingly children are treated as commodities. We find ourselves “in danger of losing the child in childhood.” Instead of imposing adult expectations parents and teachers should try to “take their blinkers off” and see the world through the eyes of young children—a change in perspective that might allow us to better understand and cultivate and grow children’s unique abilities.

We talk about young children, increasingly, as commodities to “invest” in for future payoffs. Parents express enormous anxiety about their child’s future, and seem to be curating their children’s life experiences in a way that would look quite unnatural and even rather joyless to previous generations.

We hear:

Go to school, get good grades, get into university and get a good job

There’s a weird contradiction that early childhood is both safe and stressful. Yes in modern society the early years are safer than they’ve been of late.

Children have fewer fatal accidents and debilitating diseases. However there still is poverty, stress, and trauma—and some of these problems affect very large numbers of children—but in general terms, many of the big ‘killers’ of childhood have been vanquished.

On the other hand, 21st-century society poses many challenges for young children too. We have an increasing numbers of kids with mental health and behavioural challenges.

young children are not simply mini-adults

Children should be allowed to learn through play and through valuable relationships.

In the first phase of a child’s life 0 – 6 Years Old, we should give full love and play together–they will follow you as role model.

When their developing brains are given the chance to grow in a nurturing, language-rich, and relatively unhurried environment. We will see enthusiasm of mental and emotional development

Bu we often fail to see the world from a child’s perspective. sometimes it is necessary to get down on our knees and see the world from a four-year old’s level

Just reflect on the many ways that adults inflict adult pacing, adult expectations, and adult schedules on young kids. And for what reason?

Young children sleep less and have far more transitions (scheduling) in their days than in previous generations—and most educators and parents would agree that their developing brains aren’t really designed to cope with adult schedules and pacing. We need to step back and see the world from a child’s point of view and break the cycle.

We fail to see the value of digging in a container of mud for an hour, so it must be time to whip out the math worksheet! And what about the gross motor development? It boggles the mind how little outdoor time and gross motor play many young children have in their days. Deny this and the balance in their development is disturbed.

What do we look for when we place our child in an Early Education Centre

Quality education is about relationships. Caring teachers who understand a child’s development and who know and are attuned to the children in their care. This is far more important than many of the measures of quality we use today, such as class size, physical environments, or a specific curriculum.

And what is the parent’s role in the education:

Listen to your child

Rich, open-ended conversation is critical, and children need time in the day to experience warm, empathic oral language—to converse with each other playfully, to tell a rambling story to an adult, to listen to high-quality literature and ask meaningful questions. In short set the child on your lap in a relaxed environment and read “with” your child. Can you imagine this is not a very lengthy activity. It may just take 30 minutes and it is a wonderful educational bonding experience. It is an in vestment in a child emotional and educational development.

Let’s get back to the Educational Centre

Teaching is the opposite of a free-for-all where children are running the show. Quality preschool teachers are intentional about everything they do:

  • the classroom routines,
  • the physical environment,
  • the schedule,
  • the types of materials they make available for children to explore and manipulate.

These teachers do an extraordinary amount of observation and reflection—so that they can continually experiment with and modify their learning environments to take advantage of children’s natural curiosity.

And this is my most important feel about children

that children are fully capable of learning, and we refuse to let school or state mandates dictate how children learn.

A quality learning environment considers a child’s backgrounds, sometimes backgrounds of trauma and adverse childhood experiences. If a child walks in the door not having had anything to eat the night before—or maybe they are processing something positive, like welcoming a new sibling or a grandparent—the high-quality preschool classroom will have a mechanism to respond to those experiences and to channel them into cognitive and social-emotional growth.

The value of Play

Play is hardwired into us and can’t be suppressed. However, it’s crucial that we recognize that while the play impulse is one thing, the play know-how—the nuts and bolts of playing—is not always so natural, and requires careful cultivation. This means that that there are two types of play free play and structured play activities. It is for the second reason that the play school preschool is favoured but any with a genuine intention can guide a child to make play a learning experience. It simply means get down and try to think like a child.

Children should have time to mess around and make their own rules. They need the time and space to learn how to play effectively, and they require a culture that values play.

We can see that learning is not confined to a curriculum or a classroom.

Anyone who has seen the wonder on a child’s face when they see a butterfly landing on a flower understands that learning goes far beyond a classroom.

The good news is that children are wired with the capacity for learning in almost any setting. With the loving support of responsive adults, they can learn without the bells and whistles of what we call preschool.

So much learning comes about naturally

And the last word: Children are individuals and should be measured against their own progress and should not be compared with another child.