I explored Harvard University’s “Global Children’s Initiative” website. I ran across three amazing vidoes about three core concepts in early childhood. The first one was "Experiences Build Brain Architecture." It shows the brain and talks about how new and repeated experiences create connections and will affect all future development. The next video is called "Serve and Return Interaction Shapes Brain Circuitry." Babies' brains build on this serve and return sequence between babies and their caregivers. The babies serve with facial expressions and babble, then caregivers return. This interaction forms the brain architecture on which all future development is built. All the different areas of the brain work together to form the emotional and cognitive skills that are necessary for success in life. Children need consistent "serve and return" with their caregivers for proper brain growth. The third video is called "Toxic Stress Derails Healthy Development." This is the video I found most intriguing. It explains how toxic stress caused by poverty, neglect, abuse, or severe maternal depression can interfere with the developing brain. It can result in long term consequences for learning, behavior, and physical and mental health. The global initiative is taking this science and investigating early childhood development; mental health; and children in crisis and conflict situations across the globe. They are working in Chile, Zimbabwe, China, Rwanda, Barbados, Trinidad & Tobago, Suriname, and Haiti.
Center on the Developing Child Harvard University. (2012). Global Children's Initiative. Retrieved from http://developingchild.harvard.edu/index.php/activities/global_initiative/global_children_s_initiative__activities/