B is for Brain Development!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

During the preschool years 90% of brain growth occurs. It is critical that adults provide positive experiences and environments for the optimal development of children during these important years.

I am very pleased to share this post to participate with a wonderful group in a celebration of 20,000 individuals supporting the importance of the early years in a child's development. Deborah J. Stewart is dedicated to promoting excellence in early education through her Teach Preschool blog. She has just connected with 20,000 individuals who are dedicated to making a positive impact for young children!

This fun celebration is providing a full alphabet of blog posts on a variety of wonderful aspects of the early childhood  years. You can see all that is provided here - ENJOY!

B.... is for Brain Development!  (And it isn't complicated!)

A child’s brain continues to develop long after birth. The term “brain development” refers to more than how smart a child is. It is the actual growth that takes place in the brain. The experiences a child has in the first few years creates the connections between brain cells and develops the foundation for relationships and learning throughout life.

Nutrition, sleep, regular routines, physical activity, play, and repeated positive experiences with caring adults, strengthens the connections to create the growth of a brain. This makes the brain healthy, ready to get along with others, and eager for more learning.

However, constant exposure to stress, limited stimulation, poor nutrition and lack of a nurturing relationship all create a brain being “wired” in a way that leads to emotional and learning problems. Growing brains adapt to the environment they are exposed to.  A brain will adapt to a negative environment just as easily as it will adapt to a positive environment

Understanding this creates the awareness that adults in a child’s life can have a long-lasting impact.
Following are a few areas to focus on and share!

Warm Responsive Care
        Children’s primary need is to know they are loved. This is only learned through consistent nurturing interactions with primary caregivers.

        The brain makes connections for learning language only from what a child hears. A child needs to hear lots of language throughout the day. Language is learned through direct interaction, 
not from a television or video.

Safe, Healthy Environment
        A variety of nutritious foods, a lead free and safe environment for a child to explore contributes to a well developed brain. A brain requires little stress and routines to feel safe and relaxed. 
Sleep and rest are also necessary to a healthy brain.

        Play is the way the brain learns about the world. Lots of interaction and exploration help the brain form connections that make later learning easier. 
Play outdoors additionally impacts brain development in healthy ways.
What a children need most is adults that understand development!
Parents and medical professionals that are aware and well educated on brain development can provide all that a growing brain needs most. 

Early childhood educators play a vital role in partnering to share in implementing this valuable knowledge.Through working together we can ensure all children receive the experiences that will most positively impact healthy brain connections and success in life for all children!
        ~ We ALL benefit when ALL children 
have well developed brains! ~

For information and loving, fun and interactive activity packets filled with ideas that fit into busy every day life go to www.braininsightsonline.com


22 Responses to “B is for Brain Development!”
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Very well put! I especially love the bit on PLAY!

August 31, 2011 at 11:26 AM
Deborah McNelis said...

Thank you Jill! I am glad you especially like the points about play. Play makes such a positive impact on so many aspects of brain development. I am SO anxious for everyone to know the difference it can make!

August 31, 2011 at 1:16 PM

LOVE the calm tone & reassuring tenor of your post. So upbeat, informative and reassuring. What we 'do' makes a difference!

Deborah Stewart has done LOTS of amazing things on behalf of children, but one of my favorite is her connecting us to each other for this Alphabetic introduction to one another. I'm grateful for the opportunity to explore your resource here. Thanks for all that you contribute to making this a better planet for children!


I get to explore the letter M as it relates to Music! Hope that you can stop by for a visit.

August 31, 2011 at 2:26 PM
Deborah McNelis said...


Thanks for the very nice feedback on this post and the work I do!

I agree... this Alphabet of blogs is a great concept that will be beneficial for many that care about the development of children!

I certainly will visit your post as well!


August 31, 2011 at 2:51 PM
Unknown said...

There's a lot of great new stuff out there connecting brain development in children to the types of play and activities they participate in. Thanks for sharing and helping to spread the word in language that can be easily understood by all!

August 31, 2011 at 4:32 PM
LeeanneA said...

I am very cognitive of the role I play in brain development for the children in my classroom. My main focus is to ensure that I provide experiences that have a strong impact on that development. Thank you for your insightful post! :)

August 31, 2011 at 4:50 PM
Deborah McNelis said...

Ayn --- I appreciate your point about making brain information easily understood. This is a focus of the work I do! The basics of brain development isn't very complicated... and we need all adults to realize how easily it can be implemented into everyday life!!

August 31, 2011 at 4:54 PM
Deborah McNelis said...

Leeanne, It is wonderful to know of people that are implementing the understanding of brain development into the lives of young children!
Thanks for sharing your dedication and for all your are doing to make a difference. It is always terrific connecting with you.

August 31, 2011 at 5:00 PM
Unknown said...

what wonderful truths!...the brain really does adapt to whatever environment it is exposed to! It is amazing and also a very powerful reminder for all parents and early childhood educators!

August 31, 2011 at 6:16 PM

Wonderful post! I'm fascinated by this topic and love how simply you break it all down. Since reading "Meaningful Differences" a few years ago, I've become especially sensitive to "talk." I make a point of talking with my children regularly, not allowing excessive television in the house (my oldest didn't watch TV at all for the first 2+ years of life), and being an active listener. And I truly believe that my children would be very different if I followed a different path.

September 1, 2011 at 12:08 AM
Greg said...

This is a timely reminder for us all to use OUR brains when considering the environments & experiences we provide children so that THEIR brains can flourish.
Somehow your post seems somewhat more cerebral than mine (no pun intended, but accepted with glee).
Great contribution!

September 1, 2011 at 6:30 AM
naomi richards said...

Great post and i think it is very interesting. Many parents don't understand development hence the need for books. The brain needs to be fed.

September 1, 2011 at 6:50 AM

Oh Deborah, where have you been all of my life? I so wish you could come and teach the parents I work with all of this! Can you make DVD's with all of this wonderful information- English and Spanish please ;)
Vanessa @Pre-K Pages

September 1, 2011 at 7:33 AM

Thanks for this post. You may be interested in the value of children spending time outside in contact with nature...

“It is necessary to be outside for our brains to be stimulated from the flow of sound, light, shapes and colours that nature provides. Especially between the ages of 3-6, when the energy flow in the human brain is at its greatest.” David Ingvar, Professor of Neurophysiology, Brain Researcher, Sweden.

September 1, 2011 at 7:58 AM

Very informative and nicely done post. Thanks for reiterating the essentials for healthy development, some areas that often get overlooked in our busy lives.

September 1, 2011 at 6:20 PM
Deborah said...

What I love about your blog is that you break things down into simple to understand concepts so understanding how the brain works and ways we can make sure we nurture brain development isn't so scary!

September 1, 2011 at 10:25 PM

Yes, Yes and Yes! If I had just one wish on this earth it would be to make parents aware of the importance of PLAY in developing the neural pathways in a child's brain instead of the mindless rote learning of abstract facts that have no real meaning to children! A multitude of opportunities to engage with hands-on concrete materials in a multitude of ways, please, please, please! And, Juliet yes, outside, outside, outside!! :)

September 2, 2011 at 5:31 AM

Loves the post. Life is such wonderful journey. And early childhood is such amazing part of life. The way you described the entire post, its being really interesting.

September 3, 2011 at 12:27 AM
Deborah McNelis said...

Thank you to each of you!! I so appreciate your contributions from your knowledge and experience about the ways the brain of young children develop best!

It is critical, as many of you have stated, to ensure everyone realizes the importance of play and time outdoors for the healthiest brains. .... and yes no rote learning!!

Thanks for sharing the quote on the importance of nature Juliet! I am sure you will enjoy knowing about my Naturally Developing Young Brains packet
Time outdoors has an very valuable impact!

Thanks to all for all you are doing to make a real difference for children!!


September 11, 2011 at 4:20 PM
Mary said...

Superb article very informative.
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January 13, 2012 at 9:48 PM
Anonymous said...

any tips for brain injured children.

May 14, 2012 at 3:23 AM

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