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Tuesday, 8 April 2014

Making Room for Wonder in Children's Lives

Yes, focusing is important, but so is daydreaming, wondering, reflecting. Here's why. http://owl.li/uTMZ1

In her new book Thrive, Arianna Huffington writes of the importance of "making room" for wonder -- a change in how we measure success that would have an especially great impact on the lives of our children.
Right now, parents and teachers expend a lot of energy getting kids to pay attention, concentrate, and focus on the task in front of them. What we adults don't do, according to University of Southern California education professor Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, is teach children the value of the more diffuse mental activity that characterizes our inner lives: wondering, remembering, reflecting.
Yet this kind of introspection is crucial to our mental health, to our relationships, and to our emotional and moral development. And it promotes the skill parents and teachers care so much about: the capacity to focus on the world outside our heads.
Ironically, a lack of time to daydream may even hamper kids' capacity to pay attention when they need to. The ability to become absorbed in our own thoughts is linked to our ability to focus intently on the world outside, research indicates. In one recent neuro-imaging study, for example, participants alternated periods of mental rest with periods of looking at images and listening to sounds. The more effectively the neural regions associated with "looking in" were activated during rest and deactivated while attending to the visual and auditory stimuli, the more engaged were the brain's sensory cortices in response to sights and sounds. 

Read the whole article here.

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