Chicago Grammar School

Early Childhood: Neuro-Development

Neuro-Developmental Opportunities

The CGS program is designed with opportunities for the children’s neuro-development in order to maximize what researchers call “sensitive periods”. These periods are the important times in which the brain responds to certain types of input to create or consolidate neural networks.

The opportunities for neurodevelopment are enhanced by a small student-teacher ratio. The staffing allows teachers to listen to and observe each child, to hypothesize on how the child is constructing knowledge, to support the child’s inquiries, to introduce novel ideas and experiences that resonate with the child’s past experience, and to assess the child’s current level of development and plan for that child’s continued growth. The staffing also enables teachers the flexibility to group the child with others by skill or interest allowing the child with the propensity and skill to begin a structured reading and math program.

CGS recognizes that each child has its own developmental path. This means that a child’s transition from preschool to kindergarten to the elementary classroom may not necessarily correspond by age, but will correspond to the academic level, social skills, attention level and propensity of each child.

What does this mean in practice?

  • The children hear and retell stories or create plays and tales to increase their receptive and expressive language.
  • They participate in running games and gymnastics for gross motor development, and they work with clay, draw and make models to develop fine motor and grapho-motor functions for letter formation and writing.
  • Counting and alphabet games, games with 1-step, 2-step, and 3-step instructions and games using musical rhythms enhance the children’s sequential perception, memory and output for future use in spelling, math and organizational skills.
  • Maneuvering obstacle courses and block building improves the children’s spatial perception and output.
  • Through recitations of poems and stories by heart, the children utilize strategies to enhance short-term, long-term and active memory.