Isn't it wonderful to know we can easily impact
the healthy brain development of all children?
Hello and Welcome!
It is an extreme pleasure to participate and contribute to this new and wonderful collaborative blog. My passion is to create the awareness and understanding that we can easily impact the healthy and optimal brain development of children.... And the early years are the best time to have a positive influence. The exiting aspect of this new blog is that those of us that understand the importance of the early years can make a real difference when we all share and work together. Huge thanks to Debbie for creating a new way for helping us achieve this goal that our hearts so desire for the benefit of kids!
As I often say to audiences at the beginning of brain presentations, “ I am thrilled that technology allows the study of the brain, like we've never seen before”. When scientific research began demonstrating that a child's early development is largely determined by the daily environment and experiences, rather than genetics alone, I became extremely excited. I was an early childhood educator at that time and knew the impact of the early years, but having scientific evidence to support the dramatic difference quality early childhood educators and caring parents make was very reinforcing.
The good news is that advances in brain research have demonstrated the enormous importance of the early years in determining a person's future success in learning and in life. It is now known that a child’s brain continues to develop long after birth. The term “brain development” means more than just intelligence building. It means the actual structural changes that take place in the brain. The experiences a child has in the early years activate the actual physical connections between brain cells that make the brain grow—in other words, the brain's "wiring." We now understand that school readiness is based on this brain wiring, most of which takes place before age 5. This wiring develops best when provided with:
- Nurturing and stimulating environments
- Repetition of positive experiences
- Nutrition and sleep
- Unstructured Play with real objects
- Movement activities and time in nature
- Direct and interactive language
- Routines and consistency
- Being read to and exposure to music activities
- Positive and caring relationships
Conversely, constant exposure to stress, limited stimulation, poor nutrition, chaos, little time outdoors, too much television time, unpredictability, and lack of nurturing relationships all lead to types of brain wiring that can contribute to emotional and learning problems. Brains learn very early how to cope with the environment to which we are exposed, sometimes with harmful results.
This information is critical because approximately 13 million infants, toddlers, and preschoolers are not in the care of their parent during the day, including 45% of children under the age of one. Early childhood professionals who are trained and are knowledgeable about early brain development have a dramatic and very positive influence. Dedicated educators and care providers create healthy learning environments and the loving interactions growing minds need when children are away from their parents.
The significance of the early years is still not fully recognized. We need to ensure all settings are environments where children can thrive. Our education system and entire society cannot afford to continue to allow large numbers of children to miss out on the positive experiences they need in infancy and early childhood; the costs in terms of lost potential and increasing rates of emotional and behavioral problems are too high. Brain research show us what children need; our responsibility is to ensure that every child receives it!
Deborah McNelis, MS -Education
It is thrilling as an Early Brain Development Specialist to be the owner of Braininsights, and to have received awards for my unique, Brain Development Series of brain activity packets. It is also wonderful to share this important information through fun and informative presentations throughout the country. I am so overjoyed with the response to all, braininsights® provides. In addition to the brain series, I worked in partnership to create a brain packet called, NaturallyDeveloping Young Brains. Additionally available for the benefit of caring adults is the, Love Your Baby App, the Braininsights Newsletter, the Early ChildhoodBrain Insights blog. I am also excited about my newest initiative, “Creating Great Connections” to help entire communities develop healthy brains. All of this work is dedicated to having everyone gain an understanding of early brain development, it’s impact, and the ways we can all easily make a REAL difference.