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Healthy Brain Development Leads to More Successful Lives

Healthy Brain Development Leads to More Successful Lives

Between birth and age three, brain development is at its peak. Experiences, interactions, and level of ambient stress all play an important role in how a child’s brain forms for future success. While not fully developed, the brain at this stage in life is a platform from which a person is prepared (or not) to cope with adversity, pursue achievements, maintain healthy relationships, and become self-sufficient.

That’s why early childhood education is a priority for us. We’re strong supporters of all children receiving an equal opportunity to prepare for life, right from the start. CT Voices for Children, and Liberty Bank Foundation partner, recently presented its legislative agenda in March, which seeks to strengthen access to and affordability of child care across the state. read the agenda

A Harvard University study reinforces the significance of early childhood brain development and its ability to support or deter an adult’s ability to be a contributing member of society. Perhaps the most important theme in Harvard’s “8 Things to Remember about Child Development” is that a child’s brain does not develop in a vacuum; in every case, interactions and relationships (or lack of) with parents or caregivers are pivotal. Here is what the study concluded:

  1. Even infants and young children are affected adversely when significant stresses threaten their family and caregiving environments.
  2. Development is a highly interactive process, and life outcomes are not determined solely by genes.
  3. While attachments to their parents are primary, young children can also benefit significantly from relationships with other responsive caregivers both within and outside the family.
  4. A great deal of brain architecture is shaped during the first three years after birth, but the window of opportunity for its development does not close on a child’s third birthday.
  5. Severe neglect appears to be at least as great a threat to health and development as physical abuse—possibly even greater.
  6. Young children who have been exposed to adversity or violence do not invariably develop stress-related disorders or grow up to be violent adults.
  7. Simply removing a child from a dangerous environment will not automatically reverse the negative impacts of that experience.
  8. Resilience requires relationships, not rugged individualism

We’re also supporters of nonprofit educational programs for older children that build knowledge and skills, which allow them to confidently find their place in the world. Thanks, partners. You do the work. We’re so proud.