The Developing Brain: An Early Window Of Opportunity For Learning

Long before a child enters the classroom, inequities can create a lasting imprint on the architecture of the brain. Recent research on brain development casts new light on the formative influence of early childhood experience. In the first few years of life, a child’s brain creates 700 to 1,000 new neural connections every second, a pace that later diminishes. These early connections set the foundation on which later connections are built. The new research shows that nutrition, health care and interaction between children and their caregivers can help with brain development in early childhood. Conversation, repeating and connecting words in meaningful contexts, and early exposure to literacy through reading and play are all positively associated with language skills. Conversely, frequent exposure to chronically stressful events in infancy, including nutritional deprivation and violence, can affect children by damaging neurons in areas involved in learning and emotional development. In other words, these Read More