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The magical effect that surprise has on children's brains


Surprise is an emotion naturally linked to children, closely linked to innocence, to the ability to be impressed by the unexpected; it is like magic, a captivating illusion that fascinates and startles. Through surprise, educators or parents can motivate learning in them, and it is that we must not forget about the magic effect that surprise causes in children's brains.

Routine and order are fundamental aspects in education and training. Daily planning and organization in any setting (home, school…) in which children know in advance what they have to do or what is going to happen, gives them peace of mind, confidence and security in themselves.

At the same time, these habits make it useful to consolidate knowledge, acquire habits and gradually develop stable working methods. However, at any given moment introducing an unexpected variable into that routine, something that they did not have or could not predict, can have very positive effects on their learning.

Working on the surprise effect with children in education is a very favorable exercise in illusionism. Surprise is still a trick to draw attention to the subject we want to discuss. The novelty and the unexpected in education is usually something very seductive that catches the interest of the child, especially, when the routine and the established in the day to day are the usual tonic, which can create fatigue, mental fatigue or provide very similar responses and mechanical by effect of habit.

Preparing a surprise has its liturgy. Those of us who work with the little ones or have them around us, have the power and magic to create surprising situations, therefore, we must appeal as much as we can, to the reserve of innocence that we surely still preserve. Without magicians there is no magic!

Knowing our children and their responses is very useful for the surprise to be successful. It is about changing their pace, presenting reality in a different way than usual. It can be a simple anonymous note on the table with a clue or a mysterious package in which something is hidden or that, from one day to the next, things have changed places for no reason. You need a trigger, a magic wand that creates the illusion effect.

Learning, the interest to discover, curiosity, observation, listening, reflection and analysis should be the basis of an activity based on surprise. With surprise we work on fundamental aspects for learning: cognitive flexibility, anticipation, reasoning, empathy, emotions or emotional control and reflection.

Once the child's attention is gained, the desire to discover what is hidden is released, which inevitably causes the brain to activate. Then the questions come, looking for answers, expectations are created in the face of what they have before them without filters or prejudices.

When the child's interest in surprise arises, when we have already captured their attention, when they look at us, it is the opportunity for the magician to enter the scene and his ability to lead the audience towards his objective, revealing only what he is interested in .

Like the magician, the educator has a strategy in place to manage the situation. He asks questions, stimulates the language by looking for answers, poses situations, hypotheses, lets children think, cajoles the activity with his directed verb towards its objective. It is about that all mental capacities are at full capacity, promoting, that the need to discover the reality that is hidden grows with intensity.

Finally, once reality is discovered, that the trick has worked, the moment comes when the magic is released, opening wide the window of emotions, letting feelings, impressions, joys flow and maybe even disappointments.

What remains afterwards is very interesting because it leaves a clear path to new learning, aroused their curiosity, we have motivated them and even made them think. Knowing how to take advantage of it is in our hands.

We can, from time to time, put on the magician's cape and captivate children by surprise, creating illusions, new realities, causing different learning. I am sure that with this exercise we would also be surprised to find the child within us and enjoy that dose of innocence that fuels our emotions.

And it is that as the report 'Educational proposal to work on basic emotions in Early Childhood Education', prepared by the International University of La Rioja, says, 'each event affects us emotionally and it is, therefore, necessary that we understand and regulate our emotions and those around us. '

Where there are surprises, emotions are released and, from the hand of these, come the learning that is part of life. Wherever there is life, there is always some magic.

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