In the earliest years of life, especially from pregnancy to age three, babies need nutrition, protection and stimulation for healthy brain development. Recent advances in neuroscience provide new evidence about a baby’s brain development during this time. As a result, we know a baby’s brain is constructed through a complex interplay of rapid neural connections that begin before birth. How rapid? In a 2016 Lancet series, Advancing Early Childhood Development: From Science to Scale, leading neuroscientists found that in their earliest years, babies’ brains grow at an astounding rate, creating up to 1,000 neural connections every second.
In the brain-building process, neural connections are shaped by genes and life experiences – namely good nutrition, protection and stimulation from talk, play and responsive attention from caregivers. This combination of nature and nurture establishes the foundation of a child’s future.
Yet too many children are still missing out on the ‘eat, play, and love’ their brains need to develop. Put simply, we don’t care for children’s brains the way we care for their bodies.