What is cognitive development?

Cognitive development refers to the brain processes involved when we begin to learn how to remember, make decisions and solve problems. It is associated with attention span and begins very early on with the recognition of sensory information.

It is now well recognised that babies begin many cognitive processes from a very young age, and this makes sense when you consider how important it is for them to form bonds with those around them from the start. The smell, touch and sound of a mother or first care-giver will be associated with the things that are needed to thrive. While many of the very first interactions are led by impulse and instinct, a baby soon begins to make links and associations, which is in itself, a crucial and complex sensory process. By the age of 2 months your baby will already recognise your facial features!


Soon your little one will begin studying people and objects, and observing the world around them. They will begin to gather, sort and process information and this will allow for perception and reasoning.

Language development

Language development is one of the key cognitive skills that your toddler will be practising. To begin with they will understand far more vocabulary than they will be able to speak, but they will soon catch-up and be chatting at every available opportunity!

The cognitive skills learned through language acquisition can differ depending on the native language of the child. Some languages promote different thought processes through the structuring of a simple sentence. In French for example every noun is assigned a gender, and in the English language many adjectives can be used to describe one thing. In fact English has the largest vocabulary of any language.

Music makes memories last

Memory is another key skill in cognitive development and retaining all that information really is the basis for everything we ever learn.

A proven technique for helping young children to remember the things they are taught is the use of rhyming tunes and music.


Many of the state-of-the-art childcare centres, such as the Cherry Bridge Station Centres in NSW, use songs, music, rhymes and simple instruments for the children to play with while they learn – making even more of those important early cognitive connections.

Here the curriculum and lesson plans form their focus around activity based learning programs to boost the natural learning power of babies and young children. There are even sensory development classes for the very tiny ones – they are never too young to start absorbing information and learning!