Impact Of Childhood Brain Development
"Early childhood experience literally gets into our bodies and
shapes our learning capacities and behaviors, and
our physical and mental health."
- Jack Shonkoff, Director, Havard Center on the Developing Child
This two-minute video from Harvard University’s Center on the Developing Child provides a brief overview of how brain architecture is constructed through a process that begins early in life and continues into adulthood with simpler circuits developing first and more complex brain circuits building on them later. Genes provide the basic blueprint, but childhood experiences influence how or whether genes are expressed, and shape our future learning capacities, behaviors and physical and mental health. Together, they shape the quality of brain architecture, which forms either a strong or fragile foundation for all future behavior, learning, and health.
"What science tells us is that supporting healthy brain development from the beginning will not only be more cost effective than providing remedial education and for workforce development programs for people without skills, but also leads to better outcomes. The difference of whether you are working on a strong foundation or a weak foundation is going to determine how much harder it is going to be to compensate later and how much we all pay for that in special education costs, economic non-productivity and incarceration."
- Jack Shonkoff, Director, Harvard Center on the Developing Child