There has been an explosion of research over the past decade that shows how important the first few years of a child’s life are in terms of brain development.
The process of
forming connections is biologically driven, but experiences also promote
synapse formation. The brain produces many more synapses than it will
ultimately use. Researchers describe this process as .
This rapid synapse formation continues throughout early childhood.The process of
myelination(covering of nerve fibres with myelin sheath so can process impulses faster) also continues during early childhood and is the major cause of the
increase in a child's brain size. In the first four years of life, the
brain increases to 80% of its adult weight of 2.6 - 3.3 pounds (1200-1500
As an example, an infant's brain has connections that allow her to hear sounds from all languages in the world. During the early years, the brain strengthens connections for sounds in the languages she hears regularly. Over time, the brain eliminates the connections for other sounds. This is why most adults have trouble distinguishing sounds that are not in our language.An infant's brain is dependent on responsiveness from adults. So all those adorable things that babies do right from the beginning -- coos, gurgles, sounds and smiles -- how an adult responds to those coos and gurgles help shape the brain circuitry. The first sound that a n newborn hears is the mothers voice which is the only familiar voice it hears on birth. This is the probable reason in adulthood when we hear our mothers voice it has a calming effect because of the strong connection.
The baby does something, the adult responds back. Vice versa. And it's the back and forth, the responsiveness, that shapes the brain circuits. We begin to see differences in the size of a child’s vocabulary as early as 18-24 months."These differences are not genetically hardwired. They're based in the differences in the kind of language environment and interactions the child grows up in.
Some of the core principles on which foundation of brain development rest are
2. Culture influences every aspect of human development and is reflected in child rearing beliefs and practices designed to promote healthy adaptation.
Early intervention is the most promising strategy to build the nation and form a compassionate and peaceful society and is the need of the hour.