This chapter discusses the revolution in neurobiology that are giving us a deeper understanding of how early experience affects the developing brain. Early experiences shape the architecture of the developing brain; while genes provide a blueprint for when the brain circuits are developed, the environment shapes how circuits actually form. The serve-and-return nature of interaction between young children, beginning at birth, and the adults and immediate family members who care for them shapes the circuitry of the brain. ECD is often broken down into different categories, despite the fact that they are all interconnected: cognitive development, language development, social development, and emotional development. The brain develops based upon the notion of plasticity, which refers to the adaptability and flexibility of the brain circuitry as it develops and is highest at birth and decreases slowly over the lifespan, so it is better to take preventive and active measures earlier in life. The period in which circuits are being made is what is called sensitive or critical periods in development, and is when the brain is very sensitive to environmental influence.
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