divendres, 9 de març de 2012

Brain developement: the early years, pre- and post-natal

Baby brains don't actually have more neurons than adults, but way more (and way denser) synapses (the connections between neurons). But as they grow up, neurons and synapses tend to die out while, at the very same time, they remaining neurons tend to specialize and reinforce the kind of connections they've learnt to use.

In the ground breaking report of their Early Years Study, co-chairs Margaret Norrie McCain and J. Fraser Mustard stated that ". . . early child development is as important, if not more important . . . than the periods children spend in education or post-secondary education." Their study found that the development of the brain (at an early age) sets the base for competence and coping skills for the later stages of life.

The first three years, the study concluded, are especially crucial in the growth of a child's brain. A baby is born with billions of neurons in its brain. While brain cells grow throughout life, it is during the early years, the most sensitive period, when these neurons develop their function and key connections. Loving interactions between the child and other human beings provide the stimulation and nourishment that these neurons need "to connect" with one another. Conversely, if neurons are not stimulated early in life, they tend to wither and become more difficult to stimulate.

How well this web of connectedness is established in an individual child depends on two factors:

  • who the parents are, in other words, what genetic code is passed on to the child; and
  • the environment in which the child is raised - how the child is nurtured, protected and loved.

Source: http://www.take30.pe.ca/home.php?page=learn


Source : http://snarkmarket.com/blog/snarkives/science/





Alison Gopnik, Ph.D., an internationally recognized leader in the study of children's learning and development, served as the keynote speaker at this year's It's Good Business to Invest in Young Children Annual Luncheon, giving attendees insight into the sophisticated way that young children learn.




Graph developed by the Council for Early Child Development
(re: Nash, 1997; Early Years Study, 1999, Shonkoff, 2000).

There are a number of critical periods in the first three years of brain development. During these periods, specific brain functions go through fundamental growth and formation. The months after birth, for example, are critical periods for the development of vision and hearing. The years between three and four are a critical period for the development of social skills.

During critical periods, the brain is most sensitive, or able to be shaped, by a child’s environment and experiences, positive and negative. These sensitive periods present unique opportunities to affect healthy development. Providing appropriate experiences during critical periods of development helps children to reach their potential.

As with building a house, the brain is built in a particular order, from the “bottom up.” Brain circuits that process basic information are wired earlier than circuits that process more complex information. If lower-level circuits aren’t wired properly, then higher-level circuits will be faulty. Speech, for example, must be built on circuits for hearing that are developed very early in an infant’s life, long before a child starts talking.

Source: 
https://www.ecmap.ca/Early-Childhood-Development/Pages/How-the-Brain-Develops.aspx

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