Babies’ eyesight is still developing. Inside the womb babies can already tell the difference between dark and light. When they are newborns, babies can only see in focus when they are up-close. Their colour perception is limited. Researchers believe that babies see mostly in monochrome and that red is one of the first colours they see afterwards. This is why high-contrast play can be so important. These images stand out to them because they are in colours that babies understand. They also learn to understand the world around them a bit better, because they can see these images clearly and in the correct colours. This also stimulates their concentration.
Besides the high-contrast play that we have in our group (which is all at their eye-level), we also have black & white books. Reading is very important, even for newborns. It helps their development and stimulates reading starting on an early age. For this we have high-contrast books with a simple theme such as baby animals, or even just simple shapes with one primary color. From 0 – 3 months we recommend to read these simple black & white books. When your baby reaches 3 – 6 months you can include some tactile play such as books with some fur on the animals or a ‘knisperboekje’. From 6 – 12 months you can choose a book that contains rhymes, this makes it easier for children to remember the words.
We really like high-contrast play because it helps children of all ages. For the very young babies it encourages play and concentration. When they are a little bit older they can use the black & white toys to play in the classroom, and they can follow the stories in the books a bit more. For the 1+ children we use the images and the toys for more different play. The children can learn to trace the shapes with their fingers and they can recognise the animals in the books. They will also learn to recognise the high-contrast numbers.
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