Why is The First 1000 Days such a critical time for building your baby’s brain?
According to Viv Bennett, Chief Nurse, Public Health England, 'It's vital every child gets the best start in life if they are to reach their full potential.' 'Early speech, language and communication skills provide a foundation for young children to develop, build relationships and socially interact with others and be ready for school.'
The First 1000 Days of life (from conception to two) is the most potent time to do this. A little input in those early days of life reaps massive results both for individuals and communities. It helps build potential, in academics, economics, health, resilience and successful life navigation.
With a responsive, and interactive adult providing stimulation and engagement, a child’s brain can build a strong framework for future learning and development.
A child’s brain contains 40 billion neurons, and makes 100 trillion synapses or connections, sending 500 messages to the rest of the body every second. One million neural connections a second are formed during the first year of our lives. Those that are not used get weak and disappear through a natural process called pruning. The ones that are used grow strong and are reinforced.
This is why early interaction and communication with babies and young children is so essential.
The framework of the brain is built by loving caring relationships, interaction and responding to the child.
Scientists, who have studied child brain development, have discovered that children who are stimulated through language, eye to eye contact, responsive body language, interesting activities and children who are brought up in a caring and a secure environment, will go on to be more ready for school, more ready to learn and more ready to face the challenges of life.
Research is showing us that the brain needs a strong foundation on which to be built. Supportive and interactive adults can provide this foundation during the very early years of life. The brain works as a whole and so, if the foundation is not strong, this will affect every area of the brain as a child develops. Brain development is not set in stone by 2 years of age, far from it, but what happens in the early years of life will affect the future.
As adults, we can affect the potential of our children. Through thoughtful interaction and engagement with our children, we can affect their future – academically, socially and emotionally. We can help them get ‘Great Learning from the Start’.