The Growing Brain: From Birth to Five Years Old

Growing Brain.JPG
Growing Brain.JPG

The Growing Brain: From Birth to Five Years Old


A Comprehensive curriculum that covers in depth the fields of “affective neuroscience” (the science of emotions and the brain), factors and experiences that harm the growing brain, and the connections between the brain, language development and sensory functioning. The curriculum is comprised of 21 hours of contents that is broken up into seven- 3 hour modules. Modules can be taught as a part of the curriculum or independently (although the greatest learning comes from exploring the modules in order). Click the title for module descriptions.

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Unit Descriptions

Unit 1 – The Basics

The goal of Unit 1 is for participants to understand how the brain grows and develops from conception through 5 years old. Participants will learn the names of different parts or regions of the brain and their functions; gain an understanding of how nerve cells communicate and connect; learn about neuroplasticity; and the role of early experiences in making connections between areas of the brain.

Unit 2 – Factors Affecting Brain Growth and Development

The goal of Unit 2 is for participants to understand the key factors that affect brain development and how to support health brain development overall. Participants will identify factors that affect brain growth and development; understand how stress can affect brain development; and learn strategies (the 5 R’s) for supporting healthy brain development.

Unit 3 – Communication and Language Development

Unit 3 – The goal of Unit 3 is for participants to understand how communication and language skills develop in the first 5 years, the brain’s role in the development of these skills, and how to support them. Participants will learn about specific communication milestones and when they typically emerge and how this relates to brain development; learn strategies for supporting early communication skills; and gain an understanding of how Multilanguage learning occurs.

Unit 4 – Cognition and Executive Function

The goal of Unit 4 is for participants to understand how young children develop cognitive and executive functions in relation to the developing brain. Participants will learn how cognitive development unfolds; ways to support cognitive development in young children; above executive functioning and its critical role in cognitive and overall development; and how to support the development of executive functions.

Unit 5 – Social-Emotional Development

The goal of Unit 5 is for participants understand how social–emotional development unfolds in the first 5 years and the brain’s role in this process.  Participants will gain an understanding of how Social–Emotional Development Unfolds in the First 5 Years and How to Support It in Young Children as well as the areas of the brain involved in social interactions and emotional reactions. Participants will also explore the role of relationships and attachment in social-emotional development; the effect of stress on social-emotional development; and the development of empathy in very young children.

Unit 6 – Understanding Behavior

The goal of Unit 6 is for participants to understand how children’s behavior is influenced by the brain. Participants will learn about basic brain anatomy; connections between areas of the brain and how these connections are expressed through behavior; key factors that influence behavior; root causes of challenging behavior and effective strategies for helping children with these difficulties.

Unit 7 – Play

The goal of Unit 7 is for participants to understand the stages and types of play that unfold in early childhood, the role of the brain in this process, and how to maximize children’s learning through play. Participants will learn about the development of play, the differences between free and guided play, and core skills children develop through play and how to promote these skills.