So why is it so important to READ, TALK and PLAY? Here are some important facts to know...


The science of early brain development, which has been established over decades of neuroscience and behavioral research, helps illustrate why child development – particularly from birth to 5 years – is a foundation for a prosperous and sustainable society.

  • Early experiences affect the quality of brain architecture by establishing either a sturdy or a fragile foundation for all of the learning, health and behavior that follow.


  • In the first few years of life, more than a million new neural connections are formed every second.

  • The interactive influence of genes and experience shape the developing brain.


  • Scientists now know a major ingredient in this developmental process is the “serve and return” relationship between children and their parents and other caregivers.

  • Young children naturally reach out for interaction through babbling, facial expressions, and gestures.

  • Adults respond with the same kind of vocalizing and gesturing back at them.

  • If adults don’t respond or are unreliable in their responses – the brain’s architecture does not form as expected, which can lead to disparities in learning and behavior.

  • The brain is most flexible early in life to accommodate a wide range of environments and interactions.

  • Early brain flexibility means it’s easier and more effective to influence a baby’s developing brain than to rewire parts of its circuitry in the adult years.

  • Cognitive, emotion and social capacities are inextricably intertwined throughout the life course.

  • The emotional and physical health, social skills, and cognitive-linguistic capacities that emerge in the early years are all important prerequisites for success in school and later in the workplace and community.


Center on the Developing Child; Harvard University