A Baby’s Visual Development

Newborn babies don't see what adults see. If we were to look through their eyes, it would seem like we were in a dark room wearing cloudy glasses. In fact, newborn babies' vision is 40 times less accurate than adults at seeing fine details. Despite these limitations, newborns will move their eyes toward a pattern they can see and they even prefer some patterns over others. A baby will look at round shapes rather than squares. They also prefer simple patterns to more complex ones. For example, a checkerboard made up of large squares will capture a baby's attention for longer than one made of small squares. Infants are not frustrated by what they cannot see. On the contrary, their vision develops according to their ability to process images and light.

One Month Old Baby
As underdeveloped newborn vision might be, it is not a handicap. Rather, it helps the newborn by preventing excessive visual stimulation. An infant's brain is still developing in the first few months of life outside the womb. This is true of the whole brain but more specifically it is true of the visual cortex. The cells that make up the visual cortex in an infant are not yet segregated by function and type, as they are in adults. Furthermore, most of the cells are not yet coated with myelin, a white, fatty substance that aids neural transmission. The dendrites that, in adults, reach many layers of the cortex are still very short. Combined, these factors cause poor contrast sensitivity and relatively poor color recognition..

Two Months Old Baby
By two months, a baby can distinguish between many colors such as red, blue, and, green. Their visual acuity and sensitivity to contrast has improved considerably, but is still about twenty times less developed than adults. These immaturities have to do primarily with the immature neurons in the eyes. A newborn's rods are fairly mature making it easy to see crude black and white images but a newborn's cones, which decipher fine lines and color, are not. An adult employs over fifty thousand cones in the fovea, a small area on the retina, to do most seeing. But the newborn's fovea is not fully formed. It's mainly the immature fovea that hinders a baby's vision in the early months of life.

Three Months Old Baby
At two to three months, there is a dramatic change. A baby's visual cortex begins to control vision better. Shapes become clearer, color vision is similar to that of adults, and most infants can recognize motion direction. Depth perception is not yet developed and the ability to focus is still very inaccurate. By this age, the infant can recognize objects from one instance to the next. Instead of regarding an object as a new one every time he sees it, there is a sense of recognition and memory. So, the parent that picks him up and the parent that holds him are recognized as one and the same. At three months, vision has caught up to the other senses.

Six Months Old Baby
There is a rapid improvement in a baby's sight by the sixth month of life. At this point, the baby can focus at different distances as well as an adult can. He can also understand all cues that indicate depth. So, he can tell the difference between the closer end of an object to a farther one. Motion detection continues to improve and the baby's ability to see fine details is only eight times worse than ours, five times better than it was at birth.

Stimulate Your Baby's Vision

  1. Make eye contact. Take advantage of those brief moments when your newborn's eyes are open, and look right into them. Infants recognize faces early on -- and yours is the most important! Each time he stares at you, he's building his memory.
  2. Stick out your tongue. Studies show that newborns as young as 2 days old can imitate simple facial movements -- it's a sign of very early problem solving.
  3. Let him reflect. Have your baby stare at himself in the mirror. At first, he may think he's just eyeing another cute kid, but he'll love making the "other" baby wave his arms and smile.
  4. Make a difference. Hold up two pictures about 8 to 12 inches away from your baby's face. They should be similar but have one small difference (perhaps a tree is in one but not the other). Even a young infant will look back and forth and figure out the distinguishing features, which sets the stage for letter recognition and reading later on.



Following the Child

This commonly used phrase comes from the Montessori practice of observing children in their natural environment (e.g. the prepared classroom)
and using their interests and level of ability as a
guide. The caregiver provides appropriate material
and adapts to meet the needs of each child accordingly.

Using Best Early Childhood Practices

Our programs are adapted for the specific areas
we engage in (e.g. rural environments) and utilize
time tested methods to make impact at the
grassroots level. We have a dedicated core of
experienced developers and trainers, with
backgrounds in a multitude of ECD disciplines.

Creating a More Peaceful and Sustainable World

By focusing on the early years, our programs capitalize on a window of opportunity when the brain is still forming and a person is most conducive to internalizing humanistic principles. By instilling a strong framework of values and ethics in our children, we plant seeds for future prosperity in the world.

Your are currently browsing this site with Internet Explorer 6 (IE6).

Your current web browser must be updated to version 7 of Internet Explorer (IE7) to take advantage of all of template's capabilities.

Why should I upgrade to Internet Explorer 7? Microsoft has redesigned Internet Explorer from the ground up, with better security, new capabilities, and a whole new interface. Many changes resulted from the feedback of millions of users who tested prerelease versions of the new browser. The most compelling reason to upgrade is the improved security. The Internet of today is not the Internet of five years ago. There are dangers that simply didn't exist back in 2001, when Internet Explorer 6 was released to the world. Internet Explorer 7 makes surfing the web fundamentally safer by offering greater protection against viruses, spyware, and other online risks.

Get free downloads for Internet Explorer 7, including recommended updates as they become available. To download Internet Explorer 7 in the language of your choice, please visit the Internet Explorer 7 worldwide page.