Brain Development

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One thing that we know about the human brain and brain development is that our knowledge of the human brain is only in its infancy.  In-spite of this, we have learning incredible things over the past 20 years about the brain and brain development; however our knowledge is still barely in its infancy.  This lesson will cover a few highlights of what we now know about early brain development.

Let's start with conception to birth.


During the first three years of life a typical healthy brain in a typical healthy environment makes approximately three billion synaptic connections per second.  (Information below will better explain what that means and how it corresponds to growth of neurons.)  At around age three the process slows down significantly; though we continue to learn and synaptic connections continue to be made.  At about age ten, the typical brain will begin to purge (prune) unused connections.  This is sort-of like cleaning out and organizing your bedroom, removing what is not or least important and making everything left easier to find.  Some times the brain does not perform this function very well, creating an ever increasingly cluttered and disorganized mind where it is difficult to find and access information.  Fortunately most of us are able to continue to learn and discard useless information and connections through most if not all of our lives.


These first few years of life are extremely important to our development in many areas including attachment and relationships and language.  The following web sites and videos will provide some basic information on early brain development.  If you are reviewing this for IdahoSTARS hours, please review all of the information provided, making comments and asking questions in the areas provided.

Brain development is dependant on a number of different factors, genetics, prenatal care, factors that affect the mother during pregnancy, other influences we bring with us from before birth, environment, nutrition, interactions, music (discussed extensively in other lessons) etc.


Some of the following information is redundant; however, there is enough new information at each site to make it worth your time.


Please read at least two of the articles which will come up in this search on Brain Development.  The link may take you to a blog where there will be an introduction and you will need to click on the link within the blog for the rest of the article. Scroll through to find something of most interest to you.

Read at least one article on video games and desensitization to violence.


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Please read the following page.

Zero to Three FAQ


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Researchers: Video games hurt brain development


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Please watch the video directly above on alcohol and adolescent brain development.

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From Neurons to Neighborhoods: Executive Summary.  The entire book is available on line.  You do not need to read the whole book but it is available if you are interested.  If you are reviewing this material for child care hours, please read at least the first page of the executive summary.  This is only to give you a taste of this material to see if you would like to read the book for your own enrichment.


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Always report when you have reason to believe there may be child neglect or abuse, even if it is a situation where the child is not the recipient of the abuse, but witness of abuse.  Abuse to others often eventually translates to abuse of the child.  You can call your local law enforcement or child protection agency.  In Idaho you can call 211 during weekdays.

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Mother’s milk can have a significant impact on brain development and other aspects of child development.  This is something that you can support.  Breast milk can be pumped and stored and then fed to the baby while in child care.  How might this impact you?  Babies that are nursed and fed mothers milk are less likely to have colic, are more likely to have better health and better behavior.

Please read/view the following.  Some links will give you optional articles to read.  Please chose one.  In some cases you may be taken to a blog where you will need to click on the link within the post for the additional information.


Breastfeeding may help children move up the social ladder. 


 Breastfeeding and IQ



Breastfeeding and Myopia

Breastfeeding and Brain Development (There are a number of articles to choose from.  Please read at least one.  If you find yourself on an introductory blog post, click on the link within the post for the rest of the article.)



Remember, not all fats are the same.  Some are essential for the brain and the rest of our bodies and some cause damage.  Understand the difference and consume the good and avoid the bad.

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Brain Development<title>Brain Development Free Online Course