The Science of Brain Development in Early Childhood



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It's been said that the human brain is the next great frontier in scientific progress. On an almost daily basis, neuroscientists, among others, are opening up vast new horizons in our understanding of how the brain works. Among the most exciting advances in this field is our understanding of how the brain forms in the earliest years of life.


Young children create neural connections at an astonishing rate. According to neuroscientists, the strength and resiliency of these connections depends on the quality of children's learning experiences as infants, toddlers, and preschoolers. This episode of THE STATE OF EDUCATION IN NEBRASKA brings in early childhood experts to discuss how to ensure that very young children get the experiences they need to grow up capable, confident, and ready for success.

"What really doesn't work, it seems to me, is ignoring what we know . . . that childhood development begins . . . from the moment that (children) are born. . . . Do this for yourself, because you are going to need the infants who are just born now. You'll need them in twenty years, and you sure will not want to have to take care of them because they haven't been taken care of well themselves."

               — Dr. Samuel Meisels, Buffet Early Childhood Foundation Founding Executive Director
                   For Our Babies, A Call for Better Beginnings: Experts Speak Out




Experiences Build Brain Architecture
Harvard Center on the Developing Child
The basic architecture of the brain is constructed through a process that begins early in life and continues into adulthood.

Toxic Stress Derails Healthy Development

Harvard Center on the Developing Child
Learning how to cope with adversity is an important part of healthy development.




John Baylor
Program Moderator, John Baylor Test Prep CEO
Dr. Samuel Meisels
Buffet Early Childhood Institute Founding Executive Director
Dr. Laura Jana
Omaha Pediatrician, Early Childhood Advocate, & Author
Julia Dadds
Educare of Lincoln Executive Director
Amy Bornemeier
Nebraska Sixpence Early Learning Programs Statewide Coordinator




NET Learning Services
Nebraska Children and Families Foundation
Nebraska Loves Public Schools
First Five Nebraska
America’s Promise Alliance Grad Nation
Avenue Scholars Foundation
Beyond School Bells
Buffett Early Childhood Fund

Center on Children, Families, and the Law
Coalition for Community Schools
Lincoln Community Foundation
Nebraska Department of Education
Nebraska Trucking Association
Urban League of Nebraska
United Way of Lincoln and Lancaster County

United Way Readers, Tutors, and Mentors

© 2014

American Graduate is funded in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting in partnership with America's Promise Alliance, and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.