The Importance of Early Childhood Cognitive Development
America has many programs for graduating students that are involved with education and children. While any college student can appreciate education, I suspect that few understand the importance of early childhood development. Having committed to apply for a position in Teach for America, I want to better understand why it is so important to "get 'em while they're young."
In 2001, the US Department of Education, Academy of the Sciences, and the Foundation for Child Development conducted a study on early childhood development. Several interesting, scientific ideas and trends on childhood development emerged from the study. The questions surrounding this research were: how important is the early life of a child? What early years are most important? Why are later years not more important? In order to better plan education policy, discussing these questions is necessary.
The portion of the study I find most convincing is that regarding neuroplasticity. Neuroplasticity, or brain plasticity, is the brain's ability to reorganize neural pathways based on new experiences. (1) Simply put, every day we experience and learn new things. In order to incorporate this new information into our brains, the brain must reorganize the way it processes that information. Thus, as we learn things, the brain changes.
Neuroplasticity is important because, while it continues throughout the life of every individual, it is closely linked to the rate of brain development/growth. During rapid periods of brain growth, synaptic pruning occurs. Synaptic pruning is the elimination of synapses in the brain that are weaker facilitating growth of a stronger, more efficient brain. (2)As the brain grow...
...ost beneficial not only for their education, but also for the physical development of their brains. This information is useful in many fields of study- the sciences, sociology, political science, law, etc. Neurosciences still have much to develop on early childhood cognitive development. However, presently, the information seems to facilitate the creation of a proper education for young children.
1)Neuroscience Consultant, Prepared by Erin Hoiland
2)Synaptic Pruning in Development, Online Version of a Text
3)Eager To Learn , Study, Online Version of Text
4)US Department of Education , President Bush's Initiatives
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