Raising Readers in Story County

Brain Research

Brain Development & Early Learning

At birth, a baby's brain has about 100 billion nerve cells. But the cells have not yet formed the critical connections that determine an individual's emotional, social, and intellectual make-up. Most of this "wiring" develops between the ages of 0-3.

By age 3, a child's brain has twice as many connections as an adult's. This suggests that infants and toddlers are biologically primed for learning, as connections - or synapses- are a fundamental basis of learning. When a connection is used repeatedly in the early years, it becomes permanent. But a connection that is used rarely, or not at all, is unlikely to survive.

A child who is rarely spoken to or read to in the early years may have difficulty mastering language skills later in life. Similarly, studies also show that a child who is rarely played with may have difficulty with social adjustment as she grows.

Your relationship with your child affect his brain in many ways. By providing warm, responsive care, you strengthen the biological systems that help him handle his emotions. Research also shows that a strong, secure connection with your child helps him withstand the ordinary stresses of daily life -not just today, but in the future. A strong bond doesn't just reassure him, it actually affects the biological systems that adapt to stress.

Provided by Ames Morning Rotary Club

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