This I Believe.

This I believe: with the birth of every child is born astounding potential for imagination and intellect. It is up to us to ensure that potential is nurtured. Food, shelter, safety are all necessary for optimal physical, emotional and brain development. Simple needs, often not simple to provide for.

Robust brain development is the foundation of later rich mind functions. And just as a diet of healthy foods produces healthy bodies, a “diet” of rich and varied sights, sounds and experiences produces healthy mind development. Luckily, stimulating and nurturing robust early brain development is not complicated. Books make it even easier. Simply naming colors, shapes, and objects on a page stimulates connections of understanding - and of neurons. With synapses developing at lightning speed in the first few months after birth, talking, reading, singing, and touching give huge bang for the buck in brain development.

Here are a few words and a Synapse image I love from Urban Child Institute article:

“A newborn’s brain develops incredibly fast the first few months and continues to grow and develop rapidly for the first three years.

“In the first three years, a child’s brain has up to twice as many synapses as it will have in adulthood. . . . Between conception and age three, a child’s brain undergo an impressive amount of change. At birth, it already has about all of the neurons it will ever have. It doubles in size in the first year, and by age three it has reached 80 percent of its adult volume.8,9,10

Even more importantly, synapses are formed at a faster rate during these years than at any other time.

In fact, the brain creates many more of them than it needs: at age two or three, the brain has up to twice as many synapses as it will have in adulthood (Figure 3). “

Synapse illustration.jpg
Seena Hawley