A Place of Our Own
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Child Development : Learn
Brain Development: Learn Over the years, people who observe children closely, like educators, health care professionals, and psychologists, have developed a standardized set of expectations for which things children should be able to do at various ages. Knowing those stages of development can be very helpful in tracking children’s progress and health.

Ideas, Issues and Advice


It is important to remember that children learn and grow at their own pace. Children who achieve certain milestones early are not necessarily smarter or healthier than children who achieve them a few months, or even years later. The range of what is normal development is quite wide.


That wide range is one reason that it is important to pay attention to each child’s abilities and to plan activities that match and expand those abilities. We label that approach to caring for children as “developmentally appropriate” practice.


Brain Development

Pathways and connections are created by everything a child experiences. So the greater the variety of experiences that you can provide, the more a child’s brain will develop. That is why child care providers and parents are so important.


Here are some things you can do to help children’s brains reach their full capacity:

  • Keep children safe – When children are under stress or experiencing trauma their bodies release chemicals that literally block parts of the brain and make it very difficult to learn. When they feel safe and secure, their brains are ready to learn.
  • Provide many different kinds of activities – Reading, making up stories, singing, touching different kinds of materials, building with blocks, drawing – children learn from everything they do, so the more different kinds of things they do, the more they learn. And each different thing they learn builds its own set of pathways and connections in the brain.
  • Expose children to interesting environments – Put interesting pictures on your walls, add a new pillow, bring in a classroom pet, or take a field trip to a park, science center, library, firehouse, farmer’s market, or even a neighbor’s yard. Every time a child experiences something new, their brain begins to form new pathways.
  • Make sure children have a chance to move – Physical movement, like crawling, dancing, or running around outside do more than just develop muscles, balance, and coordination, they are also critical to building connections in the brain.
  • Repeat – When children read the same book again and again, or build a tower, knock it down, and build it again, they are strengthening pathways in their brains. Pathways and connections that aren’t used many times don’t grow strong enough to survive.


When you enrich a child’s experiences, you help his brain grow, and that gives him a strong foundation that will last the rest of his life. You can find out more about children and brain development by watching A Place of Our Own and by visiting these websites:

Related Links

http://www.zerotothree.org/brainwonders/child care providers.html

This site was developed jointly by Zero to Three (The National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families), Boston University, and the Erikson Institute. It includes easy-to-read information on brain development according to age and topic, as well as a helpful glossary and a quick quiz to test your knowledge.



Dr. Bruce Perry has designed a free, online, do-it-yourself introductory level course on the brain and child development, including easy charts explaining what the various parts of the brain do.


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