When we understand the sequence and process by which brains are built, it’s easy to understand why starting every child out strong is a smart investment. Scientific research shows early experiences directly shape how the brain develops. Brain Building can happen anywhere, not just in a formal school or early education program. Anyone can be a Brain Builder by reading with children, asking lots of open-ended questions or engaging them in play. For fun ideas about how you can turn any moment into a brain building moment, download our activity guides.
According to the Harvard University Center on the Developing Child, Stanford University and other leading researchers:
Several studies have shown that as early as 18 months, there are notable disparities in vocabulary between children who are from language-rich, high-interaction homes and those who are not. Recent Stanford research showed that by age two, this equals a 6 month gap in language processing skills and vocabulary. By increasing interaction, using richer language and child-directed talk, parents can help their child to learn more quickly.
In the first few years of life, 700 new neural connections are formed every second.
Neural connections and the architecture of the developing brain are built through back-and-forth interactions with adults in enriching environments.
Brain building is disrupted by “toxic stress”, a term that describes chronic stressful conditions rooted in causes such as poverty, neglect, or maternal depression. Toxic stress increases the likelihood of developmental delays.