*How does the brain adapt and becomes highly specialized during the early years of life?
Similar to a sculptor chiseling a beautiful masterpiece from stone, our brain performs a similar task through the process of synaptic pruning.
Deleting old neuronal connections and making room for new ones, the maturing brain learns to adapt and function at maximal efficiency.
During infancy, the brain overproduces neuronal cells connected to one another by highways of synapses for rapid communication. Later throughout development, some of the pathways are deleted.
Our biological genetic makeup and our environment effect this process known as synaptic pruning.
This offers a tremendous evolutionary advantage, as new brain connections are formed and old pathways are revised, thus allowing us to adapt and change to the world around us.1
*How to prime the young brain for learning
The formation of novel brain circuits leading to increased efficiency and learning is known as neuroplasticity.
The brain of a young child (age 0-5) is much more malleable than that of the adult and therefore much more neuroplastic.2
This remarkable capacity to mold and shape a young brain means that you can challenge your kids, keeping the brain dynamic and adaptable in different situations.
Exposure to novelty, including new experiences such as traveling, learning to play a new instrument and engaging in creative and unique activities will construct new neural pathways and prime the brain for a successful future.
For a fascinating read about the topic of brain plasticity: Soft-Wired: How the New Science of Brain Plasticity Can Change Your Life.
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Wishing you all the best on your journey!
- Kolb and Gibb. Brain Plasticity and Behavior in the Developing Brain. Journal of the Canadian Academy go Child and Adolescent Psychiatry. 2011; 20(4): 265-276).
- Lisa Weyandt et al. Neuroplasticity in children and adolescents in response to treatment intervention: A systematic review of the literature. Clinical and Translational Neuroscience. 2020; 4(2).
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