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The process by which our brain grows is called neurodevelopment.  The connections that form allow us to learn, think and interact with the world around us.  Neurodevelopment begins in the womb and continues throughout childhood and into adolescence.  Let us take a look at the growth of our brain from infancy to adolescence.

  1. Infancy (0-2 years):
    • The brain grows rapidly in the first year of life. In fact, it doubles in size. The brain undergoes significant growth and development the first two years of life. This period is often referred to as the “critical window” because the brain is the most sensitive to its environmental influences.
    • Research has shown that positive experiences during infancy help strengthen neural connections and lay the foundation for future development, such as learning, behavior and emotional regulation. Responsive caregiving, emotional bonding, and sensory stimulation (eg. touch, sight etc.) can significantly impact brain development.


  1. Toddlerhood (2-3 years):
    • During this time the brain continues to grow, and neuronal connections become more refined and efficient. Language development occurs and children begin to acquire new words and communicate more effectively.
    • Rich and varied experiences are important during this time. Interactions with care givers and the environment are crucial in shaping the brain.  Exposure to play, language and exploration support cognitive and language development.


  1. Childhood (3-12 years):
    • Now the brain undergoes further maturation and refinement of its neural circuits. The brain becomes more specialized during this period, allowing children to develop various skill such as memory, problem solving and social interactions.
    • Research has consistently shown that nurturing and stimulating environments are essential to optimal brain development. Education opportunities, social interactions, physical activity, and nutrition all contribute to promoting a healthy and thriving brain.


Fostering good brain development is important for its lifelong impact, learning and success. It is also important for emotional, mental, and physical health. The early years of our lives have lasting impacts on brain development. So, a well-developed brain during childhood helps set the stage for improved cognitive abilities and emotional well-being later in life. A strong foundation in childhood supports learning in later years, and children with healthy brain development are better equipped to adapt to new challenges.  Also, children with well-developed brains are more likely to form positive relationships and manage stress effectively. More research is indicating that early brain development is connected to long-term mental and physical health.

Therefore, the early years of our lives are crucial for brain development.  And positive experiences during infancy through to adolescence lays a foundation for a better chance at a healthy and successful future. As a society of parents and care givers it is essential that we provide a stimulating environment that supports the growth and development of our next generation of young minds. Let us invest in our children’s brain development, because we are investing in our future society.