Sample of Infant Lesson Plan
Title: " Our Sensational Senses-Part I "
Dates: Monday, August 16rd- Friday, August 20th
Subject: Focusing on the sense of TOUCH (The first sense to emerge at 5.5 weeks postconception-Our most advanced sense at the time of birth).
The sense of touch includes temperature, pain, the feeling of contact and proprioception-the sense of the position and movement of one's body.
Objective: To encourage communication between our brains and our bodies, and to aide the development of our somatosensory system: A part of the central nervous system responsible for touch.
Time Needed: Incorrporate various textures and temperatures into play time. Make sure if you are introducing something warm to make sure it is not too hot. A little temperature change either way (hot or cold) can be detected. We don't need to overdo it!
Procedure: During play time, new textures, shapes, spatial properties, and temperature (fuzzy, rough, soft, warm, cold, round, etc.) can be introduced. Having a chilled toy/towel compared to a warm toy/towel also can be a great way to stimulate their sense of touch. We want to make sure we are also encouraging them to reach out and touch the object/texture in addition to aiding them in opening and closing their hands. (this is especially important in our younger babies)
Room Modifications and Materials / Home Extension: We will be pulling books that focus on different textures, as well as talking to the children about what they might be feeling. (i.e. "wow, that is really soft" or "do you feel how cold that is")
Since touch sensitivity develops from head-to-toe, babies are best able to feel using their mouths. They actually form an abstract perception of an object- a mental image that makes the leap between their tactile and visual senses. A cold teething ring is perfect because it activates both touch and temperature receptors in the mouth and fingers-not to mention eases some major teething traumas.
* We encourage you to bring in a teething ring for us to keep in the fridge.
Touching and being touched are incredibly important and determine the development of our somatosensory system. It helps mold later tactile sensitivity, motor skills and aides in the understanding of their physical world and gives them a basic bodily map (proprioception). Through electrical signals called "action potentials" we are encouraging our brains to communicate with our bodies. It even aides in the ability to localize painful stimuli (which we all hope they will never encounter...but if they do, they will be equipped with an appropriate reaction).
The somatosensory cortex, or the "touch center" is the landing zone for sensations such as "pressure" and "cold"-this enables us to have a conscious perception of what is felt. In a highly enriched environment full of tactile stimulation, our somatosensory cotexes grow thicker. If we take away this stimulation, our cortexes can shrink-so the physical evidence is clearly promoting the importance of tactile stimulation.