Scientific researchers have confirmed that early childhood is a crucial time for brain development, one that offers tremendous opportunities and poses disadvantages if these opportunities are not taken. The Children’s Storefront is dedicated to bringing the recent scientific understanding about how young brains develop, specifically the importance of back and forth interactions between adult and child, to families’ daily lives. Our work is based on this science.
Brain development is most rapid in the first months and years of life. Significant peer-reviewed research demonstrates that it is during these early days that the foundation of all future neural connections and learning are developed. Recent advances in technology have enabled neuroscientists to discover more about how the human brain functions than ever before. Techniques that measure the activity of the brain as humans perform tasks, such as functional neuroimaging (fMRI) and positron-emission tomography, have enabled researchers to track brain growth in the first days, weeks, months and years of life and have led to dramatic discoveries about brain development in infants and young children.
The research is clear: it is the interactions between parents and children during the first thousand days of life that lead to the development of a solid brain architecture. Researchers have learned that children’s brains develop when they experience back and forth responsive interactions with their caregivers through communication, games, songs, art activities, and books. The Harvard Center For The Developing Child calls this process “Serve and Return.” Without these kinds of interactions at this early age, the brain foundation will be weaker and, as a result, language, reading, social/emotional and other developmental difficulties may surface by the time children reach pre-school and beyond.