[Part 3] Brain development

90% of a child’s brain development happens before AGE 5

Newborn Brain Development
(about 0 month to 2 years old)

At birth, approximately 100 billion neurons present in baby’s brain.

The newborns explore their senses and the world, but they are lack of skills and have little control over their limbs. They rely upon basic reflexes such as sucking and grasping.

As different regions of the brain develop, these reflexes are rapidly replaced by more complex neural pathways to accommodate different abilities. Strong sensations and physical stimuli are critical for synaptic growth in the cerebellum, a region that regulates coordination and muscle control (Angier, 1992).

Brain lobes development affects motor development and locomotor skills that

  • Walking becomes smoother
  • Stair climbing—both feet brought to the same step before moving upward or downward
  • Eye-hand and eye-foot coordination improves
  • Running and jumping become easier
  • Balance improves
  • Based on maturation, experience, and encouragement

(Study Resource, n.d.)

The main driving force for babies is exploring the world. Getting them to do so is fundamental to their development. In addition, other building blocks are healthy foods, plenty of water, and physical activities.

Toddler Brain Development
(about 2 to 5 years old)

By age 2, the brain is 80% of adult size and the number of synapses reaches adult levels.

By age 3, a child’s brain has about 1,000 trillion synapses or about twice the number of an adult’s brain and is two and a half times more active (Shore, 1997).

Fine and gross motor skills develops independently, but both require the formation of synapses and mylenation (a neuronal coating that isolates the loss of electrical signals). The neural circuits that connect the motor cortex and muscle are intensified by repetitive motor activities.

Children need to use their arms and legs including walking, running, jumping and playing, if who are suppressed to explore the world, they may cause a lot of trouble.

At this time, the brain begins to decelerate and reduce nervous connections through a process called “pruning” like trimming off excessive tree branches, so that brain circuits become more efficient.

Source: Center on the Developing Child – Harvard University.

Brain lobes development also affects fine motor skills:

  • Require greater care and control
  • Begin stacking blocks, molding clay, scribbling, etc
  • More accurately perform tasks such as writing with an adult-like grip, cutting with blunt scissors, opening screw-top containers (cause for caution) etc.
Brain Architecture

Many of the habits and characteristics of a person have already been developed. If the child’s motor neurons do not trained the specific athletic skills as early as possible, then the child may not perform outstandingly in this skill. The lifelong desire and specific way to learn, read and explore the world have been developed.

The importance of motor skills

Young Child Brain Development
(about 4 to 7 years old)

Synaptic density remains tremendous saturated during the first decade of life, followed by a decrease in density.

Children’s brain development has slowed, but still more than adults nearly 10 times. They are still able to learn, but now they are able to read and acquire new information by themselves.

Brain Development of Children
from 7 to adolescent

95% of brain growth is reached by the time a child reaches the age of 9.

As children grow, the brains of adolescents develop more slowly. Different stages of brain development begin with more years and are more regarded as hormonal changes than actual changes in the brain.

 


References

Angier, N. (1992). The purpose of playful frolics: Training for adulthood. The New York Times, Oct. 20, B5-B6.

Shore, R. (1997). Rethinking the brain: new insights into early development. New York: Families and Work Institute.

Study Resource. (n.d.). Physical development in early childhood. Retrieved on December 20, 2017 from http://studyres.com/doc/8291904/physical-development-in-early-childhood