At birth it is estimated that a new-born’s brain has an amazing 100 billion neurons. Your baby’s brain has more neurons than yours – but only because it hasn’t passed an important developmental stage, known as pruning, in which the brain deletes unused neurons and connections in the interest of efficiency. At least one study indicated that by the time you reach sexual maturity, you’ll have shed around 41% of the neurons you were born with (Van der Meer 2017). In this way brain development is truly a “use it or lose it” process. Scientific testing of exactly how experience shapes the brain has led to the theory of “critical periods” – specific time periods in which stimulation must occur, or the chance to develop normal functioning will be lost. UNICEF Director of programmes called this period of early childhood development not only a critical window of opportunity, but a golden one (Alipui 2010). This is why all of us at WePlaySmart want to change each precious moment you have available for your child into a golden window of opportunity … for your baby’s kick-start!
Alipui, N., 2010, “The importance of ECD”, paper presented to the UN committee on the rights of the child, UNICEF House, New York, 14 October.
Van der Meer, A., 2017, “Babies exposed to stimulation get brain boost”, Science Daily, 2 January.