Event Spreads Awareness of the Importance of Early Experiences and their Impact on Early Brain Development
On Thursday, April 26th, Early Learning Indiana presented The Brain Advantage: Boosting Brain Growth From Birth to Three at the Governor’s residence.
We were honored to have First Lady Janet Holcomb welcome local leaders and philanthropists to their home.
More than 55 individuals heard from Kathleen Swec, M.D., F.A.A.P., who highlighted research about brain development and how critical the first three years are to cognitive growth.
Brain Science of Early Development
“The brain’s ability to form healthy connections that are critical to learning is strongest before a child enters kindergarten. Investing early in the youngest generation and their caregivers will improve the health and well-being of future generations,” Dr. Swec.
- The first five years are the most critical to brain development – with 90% or more of brain growth occurring.
- Toxic stress and adverse childhood experiences during the first five years of life damages to brain development.
- 51% of children (age 0-5) in Indiana live in low-income households, a source of toxic stress.
- Ensuring children have high-quality early care and education protects their brains from the negative effects of chronic stress.
Addressing Toxic Stress in the Classroom
Understanding the connection that exists between toxic stress, mental health and challenging behaviors, Day Early Learning centers are increasing support for children dealing with toxic stress.
Early Learning Indiana is partnering with Midtown Mental Health to provide training for teachers and directors. The trainings will help them develop strategies for supporting children who are exhibiting challenging behaviors as a result of living in toxic stress.
Early Learning Indiana and Brain Development
Maureen Weber, Early Learning Indiana President & CEO, also shared insights with attendees about our work and focus.
“By widening the awareness of the importance of early brain development as we’ve done today, I’m optimistic that we’ll adopt a longer-term view of the challenges that we face. And that early childhood education will be increasingly recognized as a new frontier in our efforts to ensure that Indiana is a state marked by a competitive workforce and thriving families.”