Tips to Support Early Brain
Development and Learning

Jenning A Prevatte, M. Ed

Lately, I've been working with many teachers struggling to support children in the classroom. They are challenged with children's abilities to attend to tasks and stay engaged in learning activities. It seems like more and more children are easily distracted and have shorter and shorter attention spans. When learning a new developmental skill or complex skills like reading, writing, or math, children must first be able to focus or attend to what they are learning.

First, it is crucial to understand the brain is a
pattern-seeking organ

Facilitating young children's developing ability to listen and focus is essential to school readiness. They need these skills to learn complex skills like problem-solving and critical thinking. Therefore, the question becomes how, as early childhood educators can we create opportunities in the classroom for young children to develop their attention span? 

One of my favorite strategies to support structure and novelty is using American Sign Language (ASL)

First, it is essential to understand that the brain is a pattern-seeking organ. Therefore, for young children to attend to their environment, they must be able to predict what will happen next; this is why creating daily routines and a supportive classroom learning environment is so important. In addition, the brain likes novelty; children will pay attention and gravitate toward new materials, experiences, and activities in their environment.  Providing various materials and learning activities that help children develop skills in observation, attending to details, and creating inquiry-based learning opportunities that build on children's curiosity will keep them engaged.


One of my favorite strategies to support structure and novelty is using American Sign Language (ASL). ASL is often overlooked as an effective classroom strategy. The wonderful thing about using ASL is that it is new and exciting to children. It is a beautiful way to support children's language development, problem-solving, self-help, and social-emotional development. Due to its visual addition to language, it is a great way to encourage attention and focus in young children.  But that's not all! I have had tremendous success using ASL to promote positive behavior choices, helping children express their feelings in positive and healthy ways, and increasing problem-solving skills. All of these "soft skills," as many educators call them, are essential for school and life success. Plus, creating opportunities for the brain to develop in healthy and critical ways to be able to attend to learn and communicate effectively.

Are you ready to add this fantastic and versatile strategy to your teaching "toolbox?" I have created an eLearning course that can get you started using ASL in the classroom in as little as 6 hours

No long-drawn-out eLearning courses here! 

I know that a teacher's time is limited and precious.

To get started, visit my eLearning platform at
eLearning Teach Brilliantly

Need resources to add to your classroom that are ASL based?

Visit our sister company,
Sprouting New Beginnings, on Teachers Pay Teachers

So says, Tracy Plank -
Early Childhood Education,
Head Start,
Phoenix, Arizona