Growing Young Minds

January 14, 2016

Research shows that up to 90% of a child’s brain development happens in the first 5 years.

During this time, 700 new neural connections are formed every second. These connections are formed through the interaction of genes and a baby’s environment and experiences, especially interactions with adults. These connections create the foundation for all the child’s later learning and behaviours¹.

When babies and children don’t get what they need to form these connections in the first few years, it has a lasting effect.  Therefore the quality of relationships and learning environments for babies and toddlers is critically important.

Your role

Children are born ready to learn and the best learning happens in nurturing relationships².

Children learn through being engaged and doing, and from watching and copying you. Similarly babies learn language by listening to you and using it.

So, bonding with your children over a bedtime story is not only fun, it is strongly associated with the activation of specific brain areas critical for oral language and reading development³.

Remember the first 5 years last a life time.

Want to know more about what you can do to support your child’s growing brain? Read about engagement ideas for babies and children

Mother and child reading


  1. Center on the Developing Child (2009). Five Numbers to Remember About Early Childhood Development (Brief)
  2. Winter, P. (2010) Engaging Families in the Early Childhood Development Story. Neuroscience and early childhood development: Summary of selected literature and key messages for parenting. Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs.
  3. Parent-Child Reading Increases Activation of Brain Networks Supporting Emergent Literacy in 3-5 Year-Old Children: An fMRI study (2015)