Multi-sensory stimulation to enhance learning
Projects Abroad ticks off early childhood development checklists
TORONTO – November 22, 2017 – Improving multi-sensory stimulation as an important component of early childhood development has been a key focus of Projects Abroad's volunteer programs with children. With the help of volunteers, the world's largest volunteer organization has accelerated the development of multi-sensory facilities at many of the child care centres around the world where it's volunteers provide support to children and communities in need.
As a method of tracking the progress and continued development of every child that benefits from Projects Abroad's Care Projects, placements work with specific early childhood development checklists. Items on these lists vary depending on the different age groups of the children that volunteers work with, but each include physical/motor, social/emotional, and cognitive/language categories. Behavioral habits and organized activities reveal strengths and room for improvement within each child's abilities, and volunteers play an important part in monitoring this.
At a day care centre in Sri Lanka, Projects Abroad High School Special volunteers recently created a multi-sensory garden where they painted walls with educational murals, repurposed old tires as playground bumblebees, and built creative playground equipment to accelerate development. At another Care Project placement in Ethiopia, volunteers developed a multi-sensory playroom for children with disabilities, and volunteers painted a multi-sensory space with bright colors to enhance learning at a kindergarten in Nepal.
"The brain is like a muscle – it needs exercise and stimulation to make it stronger. In fact, brains require progressive and diverse methods of stimulation in order to be developed to its full potential," says Jenny Puyo, Projects Abroad's Head of Program Development. "Puyo describes the long-term impact multi-sensory facilities can have in the life of not only children, but also those with disabilities: "In a number of placements we work with, resources and stimuli are limited. Therapies like Multi-sensory Environmental Therapy, which can be facilitated in play areas, can make a great change to someone's daily routine and can help promote general wellbeing. A lack of stimulation in early years can lead to delayed development later in life."
To ensure the children at the care placements where Projects Abroad's volunteers work continue to develop, a constant volunteer presence is required to achieve project goals. Projects Abroad encourages those who are passionate about the development of children to join their team and volunteer on a Care Project abroad.