The brain of a child grows faster than anywhere in life around birth to age 5. So early brain growth has a profound impact on the ability of a child to learn so successful in life and education. In the first few years of life, the nature of a child’s encounters–positive or negative–determines the way the brain grows.
Before kindergarten, Growth Brain 90%
Saying to birth, the brain of the baby is about 3/1 of the adult brain size. Incredibly, the first year, it doubles in size. At age 3 and 90 percent, it continues to grow to about 80 percent of adult size, basically full-grown at age 5.
The brain is the center of command of the human body. The newborn has all the neurons (cells) they will have for the rest of their lives. But it is the interactions between these cells that really make the brain function. Brain interactions make it possible for us to travel, feel, talk and do almost anything. The early years of childhood are crucial to this relationship.
Movement, language, and emotion are responsible for different abilities and develop at different levels. It helps the baby to shift and talk and think more complicatedly.
Early years are the best chance. For a child’s brain to build the links necessary to be safe, intelligent, successful adults. In these early years, the connections needed for so many important, higher-level skills. Such as motivation, self-regulation, communication, and problem-solving will be formed–or not formed. For these important, brain connections to be established later in life, it is much harder.
How to build brain connections
Beginning with childhood via their daily experiences children develop brain connections. Children are created through positive relationships with their parents and caregivers. And communicating with the environment by using their senses. The day-to-day interactions of a young child decide that brain connections form and which will last for a lifetime. The level and quality of attention, relaxation, and engagement they get in their early years make a difference.
Responsive, cautious relations
The relationships of a child with the adults in their life are the most important influences in their brain development. Relationships with reliable adults are essential for a child’s healthy development. This includes childcare providers, teachers, and other community members as well as starting with parents and families at home.
Young children have been receiving invites since birth to interact with their family and other adult caregivers. By giggling and smiling and crying, babies do this. Toddlers are more directly communicating their needs and interests. Both of these little invitations provide the caregiver with an opportunity to respond to the needs of the child. This process of “serving and returning” is essential for brain wiring. Parents and guardians who listen, react and connect with their child, construct the mind of the baby literally. That’s why speaking, listening, learning, and playing with young children from the day they’re born is so important, allowing them opportunities to explore their physical world, and providing safe, stable, and loving environments.
Adverse experiences in childhood
In their early years, toddlers who experience more positive experiences will continue to be better and more successful in school. The opposite is also true, unfortunately. Poverty, sensitivity to family violence or lack of access to good early learning opportunities can adversely affect the early development of a child’s brain, and consequently its long-term progress.