The Core Story of Brain Development – What You Need to Know
by Joanna Piekarski, M.Ed
Take a look at the Core Story Video above
According to the Core Story of Brain Development, “some children arrive at school much more capable of learning than others”. Why is this? Here is what the newest brain science research tells us:
1. Fact: 80% of the brain is developed before the age of 3.
Healthy foundations of brain architecture are built in the first 3 years of life – about 80% actually. That’s a huge number. We didn’t know this decades ago. I told this fact to a mom of a 24 year old and she replied with, “Wow. I didn’t really give him much stimulation at all between those years. I put him down often, popped him in front of the TV, or in front of his toys.” Of course I reassured her and told her that her nurturing nature was able to buffer some of the lack of stimulation. Some children have stronger foundations of brain architecture than other children do by the age of 3 simply because caregivers did not know the importance of stimulation between this crucial age range.
2. Fact: Brain connections are built through interaction
Some people may say that we are in the Baby Einstein era – where parents put their infants in front of “educational” television in hopes that these miraculous TV shows will build a baby’s brain. The fact is, children before the age of 2 learn through interaction. There is no real interaction between an infant and a screen. Infants rely on human interaction to build their brains. If a child gets more screen and less human interaction time than recommended before the age of 3, this could absolutely effect their learning in the future.
3. Fact: There are sensitive windows of brain development
Between the ages of 0-6, there are important windows of development that occur. These windows happen when it is easiest to build brain connections in certain areas such as language, vision, hearing, peer social skills, etc. During these windows, as many as 700 synapses form every second. The connections that are used are strengthened and those that are not used are “pruned” or removed. As caregivers, we want to capitalize on those sensitive windows. To learn more about sensitive windows of development click here.
4 . Fact: The brain is plastic
Some of you may be panicking about missing these windows of development for your children. You do not have to worry! The brain is an incredible organ. It is plastic. You can create new brain connections at any age. I know 70 year olds who have decided to learn a new language. It is just EASIEST during the sensitive windows of development.
The goal of this article is not to get you worried about what you didn’t know or what you perceive that you have missed as a parent, but now that we know the science, the goal is to send this message out to all of the new parents out there to create the strongest potential for all children for generations to come.