Science has shown that the relationships with the important people in a baby’s life literally shape and form the architecture of the infant’s brain. Deceptively simple, moment-to-moment interactions with responsive caregivers build the brain, creating or strengthening it one connection at a time. By the time children are two years old, the structures of their brain that will influence later learning are mostly formed. This means that the most important brain growth and development, the kind that will physically form the brain, begins long before a child ever picks up a pencil, reads a book, or goes to school.
We now know that when brain architecture has a strong foundation in the early years, infants and toddlers are more likely to be robust learners throughout their lives. In this News You Can Use, we explore how the connections within the brain are created and made strong, the negative effects of chronic stress at an early age, and how caring adults can help even in difficult situations.