Palmetto Parent August 2012 : Page 21

BACK to SCHOOL Ready, set… 5 simple things you can do to help your children get ready to learn Story by Jennifer Weaver Photos by Sarah Hettich go! W hen Columbia pediatrician Caleb Wheeler’s son began kindergarten, Wheeler worried that he would have trouble with the transition between half-day preschool and full-day kindergar-ten. “He is very inquisitive and active, so we were worried about the full-day transition,” Wheeler said. “We toured the school ahead of time.” Ultimately, Wheeler’s son did fi ne. But — whether entering kindergarten or high school — what can parents do to ensure that their children are ready to learn? Palmetto Parent asked area experts to share some ideas on how parents can encourage their children’s brain development. According to Dr. Graeme Johnson, as-sociate professor of clinical pediatrics at the University of South Carolina School of Medicine, the brain never stops growing. “Th e biggest changes in structure and ac-tivity occur mid-pregnancy to about the age of 3,” he said. “By the time a person is 15 most of the predictive coding is complete, but cells continue to regenerate and we are always learning.” Palmetto Parent 19 August 2012

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