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July 3, 2018

Lather, Rinse, Repeat: The Power of Repetition

Contributed by Toni Berrafato, Program Evaluation Specialist

As a musician there were many long, tireless nights of repeating the same exact 12-note phrase over and over again until it sounded absolutely perfect. The same sentiment is echoed in the way children explore their world.

Mastery of a task cannot happen without repetition. Learning cannot happen without repetition. The beauty of Early Childhood is that repetition happens in the most exciting of ways! The work of young children is play and they innately adore opportunities to repeat activities and they often do so with fierce determination.

Repetition is important because it creates a pathway in the brain. When a child takes part in that same activity over and over again, they are creating a memory. Think of the human brain as a highway. The more times that you travel down a specific set of roads, the more likely you are to remember how to get there. If too much time goes by, that skill or memory they have developed has the potential to be lost. The more opportunities that children have to repeat patterns of thought, the more automatic a skill can become.

Our Bravo! Curriculum is designed intentionally to provide opportunities for creating and strengthening those neural pathways. Activities are purposefully repeated and there is a rotation of materials to ensure children have repeated exposure to a variety of learning tools

As our children’s first teachers, our interactions and support with a skill-building activity make it multitudes more interesting than a stand-alone center. Differentiation for individuals brings the opportunity to create multiple pathways and a greater understanding of the information being consumed.

Here are some suggestions for creating meaningful experiences:
  • Spend quality time with children. You are “the most important person in the room!” It is likely wherever you place yourself is going to be the place that your little ones will want to be.
  • Add new and exciting materials to the space. Differentiating the activity in a way that will entice children to play is a key component of being a responsive teacher.
  • Spark conversation (even if you’re across the room). When you show interest in the learning that is happening, they are more likely to be interested in the learning that is happening!

Think about all of the learning and brain development that is happening the next time your children ask you to read Chicka Chicka Boom Boom for the twentieth time. Their interests are often intense and deliberate and they need our support as they learn to understand their world and themselves.


The resource below discusses the importance of repetition in all forms of learning. Discover the importance of rereading a book or taking part in a gross motor activity again: http://www.kbyutv.org/kidsandfamily/readytolearn/file.axd?file=2011%2F3%2F10+Learning+Through+the+Early+Years.pdf