One of my favourite pieces of research is Young Brains commissioned by DFES in 2007, and has helped me form ideas around how we can facilitate more meaningful experiences for babies through creative learning environments. I discussed this briefly in my presentation to Cork College conference on arts and early years, but I am always aware of how easy it is to claim that neuroscience research holds all of our answers when, in fact, its still an incredibly complex area that we don't yet fully understand.
Not least because the relationship between a baby's hardwired DNA and their environmental experiences is always changing as they grow. This affects how they make connections in their brains, which in turn holds the key to their personalities, emotional and social development as well as their cognitive and physical growth.
However, there are some basic known facts about the baby's brain that can help us make a lot of sense as to why early exposure to creative and cultural practice is so important. Very excitingly, Harvard University's Centre on Developing the Child have been producing some great research in this area, and have put together a little video to explain it in terms that everyone can understand:
Author Ruth Churchill Dower is the Director of Earlyarts