Research has provided strong evidence that the changes necessary to make the brain an effective learning organism take place at early ages and if not completed by then it may be too late for those changes to ever take place. These changes seem to be stimulated by exposing young children to situations that catch the interest of the child and arouse his or her curiosity. They include:
These learning activities should go on for years and could include such mentally stimulating activities as:
One of the more interesting ways the research is conducted is by studying children who were raised by animals or otherwise isolated from a mentally stimulating environment. Dozens of such accounts have been recorded. Two such girls were discovered in India running with a pack of wolves in the year 1920. The older girl was 8 and the younger was about 2 but they were not sisters. A missionary brought them to his orphanage and began teaching them the fine points of how to be human. The younger girl died after only a year in the orphanage but she seemed to be learning the language at about the same rate as any normal child her age. The older girl, named Kamala, lived at the orphanage for 9 years. Over that time the missionary was somewhat successful in changing Kamala’s outward behavior. She was walking upright, eating normal food, housetrained and sleeping with the other children but her speech still fell a long way short of normally reared children. Later work by researchers who studied Reverend Singh’s diary concluded that Kamala had the mental capability of a 3 year old and they wondered if the deprived environment of her early years had left her permanently stunted. The question was never answered because in 1929 Kamala caught typhoid and died. Studies by other researchers has lent even more credibility to the theory that certain changes in the brain of a newborn that are necessary for the brain to continue supporting learning are best accomplished by mental stimulation at a very early age.