Brain development in young children

High quality early education gives children the best start in life, providing important opportunities to learn and develop.

Children’s brains are influenced by both their genes and their environment. Babies are born ready to learn, with around 90 per cent of brain development occurring in the first five years of life. The early years are important, as how the brain grows is strongly influenced by what's happening in a child's environment and their interactions with the people around them.

Vision and hearing pathways are the first to develop, followed by early language skills and higher cognitive functions. A child's vocabulary often quadruples between ages two and four. These connections become more complex over time as children grow, and influencing brain development  to create positive learning behaviours from an early age is much easier than rewriting it later.

Research shows that children who participate in quality preschool programs are more likely to arrive at school equipped with the social, cognitive and emotional skills they need to help them to continue learning. These benefits extend well beyond primary school. Higher levels of educational success, employment and social skills have all been linked to moderate levels of participation in quality early childhood education.

Enrolling your child in early childhood education is a valuable opportunity to help them explore their world, and develop new skills that will stay with them as they grow. A child’s environment and their experiences in the early years establish the building blocks for learning in the future, including preparing them for school. Early childhood education can help to establish positive foundations and learning patterns from the beginning of a child’s life.

You can access a range of information about the importance of early education for brain development.

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