The amazing brain. Today we learned about the brain’s development from the womb to age 3. Neurons and synapses form the wiring of the brain, and messages are passed through the synapses.  By age 3, a child’s brain has twice as many synapses as it will in adulthood, and synapses form at a faster rate from infancy to age 3 then at any other time. In the first few months, a baby in an English-speaking home can distinguish between English and the sounds of a foreign language. He/she loses this ability by the end of the first year: the language heard at home has wired the brain for English, and the pruning process begins. Around age 2, the most dramatic changes involve the brain’s language areas, which are developing more synapses and becoming more interconnected. These changes correspond to the sudden spike in children’s language abilities – sometimes called the vocabulary explosion – that typically occurs during this period. Often a child’s vocabulary will quadruple between his/her 1st and 2nd birthday.  We all have probably heard or read about the importance of a child’s 1st 5 years of development, and it is backed by science. A rich learning environment that stimulates all of the senses is crucial at this time, and will provide a lifetime of benefits.


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