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Supporting Cognitive Development of school age children

By Takudzwa Mupfurutsa, Business Executive Officer: Dairy at Nestlé East and Southern Africa Region (ESAR)
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As the world commemorates, World Maths Day, we reflect on the role that mathematics plays in our lives every day. Sure, it is not everyone’s favourite subject, but its place in our academic development and its effect on day-to-day human activities cannot be over emphasized. Maths plays a crucial role in any kind of decision-making, as it provides a framework for logical thinking and analysis. Whether it's making decisions in business, fashion, science, or simply, what to cook, mathematical concepts such as addition, subtraction, division, multiplication, to mention a few, can help us make better and more informed choices. 

Mathematics as subject is crucial to cognitive development in young minds. Ironically, to do any kind of mathematic exercise, one requires a range of cognitive skills, such as working memory, attention, spatial reasoning, and logical reasoning. All of these are essential for overall cognitive development. But where does this all begin? 

From an early age, children begin to develop an understanding of basic mathematical concepts, such as numbers, shapes, and patterns. Through play, exploration, and interaction with their environment, they identify, count, and manipulate objects, and begin to develop a sense of quantity and measurement. These are the bedrock for what will later become things like probability, game theory in real life, and theoretically, algebra, geometry, and calculus, and other concepts which require high levels of cognitive skills. 

Cognitive development during school age is critical for a child's ability to understand and apply mathematical concepts. Teachers can support this development by providing opportunities for children to engage in hands-on problem-solving activities Caregivers’ role is to provide good nutrition that bolsters optimal brain development which in turn drives cognitive development.  

High protein diets with various micronutrients make for food that helps with brain health – which has a direct bearing to cognitive development. Milk, for example, is an excellent source of protein, calcium, iron, zinc, and vitamin B, which are all important nutrients for brain health. Protein is necessary for the growth and repair of brain tissue, while calcium, vitamin D and vitamin B12 are essential in the neuronal system, that is connecting our brains to the rest of our bodies through the nervous system. Milk however needs to be fortified to deliver on various micronutrients. Therefore, fortified milks, such as Nestlé NESPRAY, step in with iron, more protein, and a range of other vitamins, amongst others. 

In addition to providing a framework for analysis, mathematics can also help us make better decisions by improving our critical thinking skills and logical framework for understanding. By learning how to break down complex problems into smaller, more manageable pieces, and by developing logical and structured approaches to problem-solving, we can become more effective decision-makers. 

Overall, mathematics is an essential tool for decision making in a wide range of fields and contexts, and the more we understand and apply mathematical concepts, the better equipped we will be to make informed and rational choices. 

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Nestlé East and Southern African Region (ESAR) 
Rosalie Ambrose  
Tel: 079 526 8518 
Email: [email protected] 

Issued by Weber Shandwick on behalf of Nestlé East and Southern Africa Region 
Koketso Phala  
Tel: +27 81 217 0857 
Email: [email protected] 

About Nestlé  
Nestlé is the world’s largest food and beverage company. It is present in 187 countries around the world, and its 291,000 employees are committed to Nestlé’s purpose of unlocking the power of food to enhance quality for everyone, today and for generations to come. Nestlé offers a wide portfolio of products and services for people and their pets throughout their lives. Its more than 2,000 brands range from global icons like Nescafé or Nespresso to local favourites like Ricoffy. Company performance is driven by its Nutrition, Health, and Wellness strategy. Nestlé is based in the Swiss town of Vevey where it was founded more than 150 years ago.