Understanding Early Childhood Brain Development
In the first five years of life, experiences and relationships stimulate children’s development, creating millions of connections in their brains. Their brains develop connections faster in the first five years than at any other time in their lives.
Babies are born ready to learn, and their brains develop with repetitive, consistent and familiar everyday routines and practices. Stimulating and caring environments with a variety of different activities give children plenty of ways to play, develop and learn. In addition, children need many opportunities to practice what they are learning.
Children’s relationships shape the way they see the world and affect all areas and stages of their development. Warm and loving relationships between caregivers and professionals help develop the child’s confidence, resilience and communication skills. These skills are necessary later in life when working through problems, dealing with stress and forming healthy relationships with other people in adolescence and adulthood.
- Early Brain Development and Health
Brains are built and grow through touch, talk, sight and sound in early childhood experiences. This experiential learning starts long before a child steps foot into kindergarten and is strengthened through regular interaction and stimulation in the home and in quality early learning settings.
To learn more about Early Brain Development and Health visit the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
- Caring Relationships: The Heart of Early Brain Development
A baby’s early experiences in relationships, whether at home or in an early education environment, set the stage for future brain functioning.
To learn more about how caring relationships impact brain development visit the National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC) website.
- Brain Development
To learn more about the crucial role early care and education professionals play in building a baby’s brain visit the Zero to Three website.
- First Five Years Fund: Brain Builders-Why Healthy Development in Children is so Important
During the first five years, a child’s brain is at its most flexible, making this a critical period for learning and growth. Science tells us that children who face adversity in the first years of life, often related to living in poverty, are more at risk for experiencing lifelong effects from toxic stress. Prolonged stress during childhood can do damage to a child’s brain architecture, which can lead to lifelong problems in learning, behavior, and physical and mental health. To learn more about why healthy development is so important watch this video.