Running Head: Brain Development: Are the Early Years Really the Most Important?
Brain Development: Are the Early Years Really the Most Important?
Brain Development: Are the Early Years Really the Most Important? Many people do not think the early years are the most important to a child’s brain development. They seem to have the attitude that children can be taught when they are old enough to learn the skills. But then the question remains as to when you should start teaching those skills. When is a child old enough to learn? Are the early years really the most important regarding brain development? I believe that a child can be taught as early as infancy if their parents and caretakers understand the way the brain develops. Their brain is the most fragile between the ages of birth to five years of age and they depend on the caretakers in their life to teach them. Through my research, I learned what good and bad experiences did to the brain development of children. Before we can teach a child, we need to know how the brain develops. The brain is made up of different areas that have specific functions. These areas can help us identify the things we see, process language, or tell us whether we are in danger. Within each of these areas are millions of neurons which send messages to each other across synapses. In most areas of the brain, no new neurons are formed after birth (Smith, 2010). New synapses between cells are constantly being formed, while others are “pruned” away. This happens throughout the child’s life as the different areas of the brain develop. “Pruning” allows the brain to keep the connections that have a purpose, while doing away with those that don’t. However, because the brain works on the “use it or lose it” rule, an “over-pruning” can occur when a child is deprived of normally expected experiences in the early years. As a result, the child is left to struggle to do what would have been more natural otherwise (Smith, 2010). Children are...
References: Smith, J. T. (2010). Early childhood education: A multicultural perspective. (5 ed., pp. 116-119; 337-338). New Jersey: Pearson Education Inc.
Ph.D, Hawley, T., & Ph.D, Gunner, M. (2000). How early experiences affect brain development. Starting Smart, 2(1), 1-12. Retrieved from
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