James Clemens students urge parents to capitalize on child’s ‘brain power’
MADISON – Sherri Shamwell’s child development class at James Clemens High School is sharing their ‘brain power’ with the community.
“In child development classes, students learn about the physical, intellectual, emotional and social development of children from conception to adolescence,” Shamwell said. “My class is taking their knowledge of brain development out to the community.”
The James Clemens students are attending PTA meetings at Mill Creek, Heritage and Columbia elementary schools. At their information booth, they talk with parents, especially about the importance of brain development in early childhood.
“Parents and caregivers can nurture that growth,” Shamwell said.
The child development students participating in the demonstrations are Derrica Atchley, Kaitlin Bailey, Chad Brand, Jaela Carroll, Makaila Hogan, T’Anna Jones and Jessica Raines.
“A child’s world shapes his or her brain and the brain operates on a ‘use-it-or-lose-it’ principle,” Shamwell said. “The major source of emotional and social development comes from early relationships, which children experience through their senses.”
For parents to stimulate a child’s senses is vital for their progress. Singing, talking and reading are examples of this behavior, Shamwell said.
Children “learn that routines are important. Children need opportunities to just play and experiment,” Shamwell said. “Parents will learn that their own mental health can have an impact on their child’s brain development.”
The James Clemens students are benefiting from the endeavor in several ways. “First, they will have the opportunity to solidify their knowledge by being the ‘teacher,’ which is the best way to learn something,” Shamwell said.
“Second, I feel this gives them the opportunity to demonstrate leadership by showing up outside of school hours to share with others,” she said. In addition, Shamwell believes the experience gives students a chance to see that their strides in learning can make a difference in their community.
Shamwell also teaches classes in food and nutrition, career preparedness, fashion design and fashion merchandising at James Clemens.