Recent scientific and medical advances means there is increasing evidence available of the incredible way in which the brain develops from before birth and on into the first few years of life. I spent last weeked in the company of some of our country’s most emminent neuroscience researchers and psychoanalysts, discussing the latest findings from research. It was quite technical in places but fascinating.
Whilst some of the theories regarding the specific mechanisms determining the development of emotions, language and other domains, are still contentious, it is broadly accepted now that the human infant is born with a brain that is still forming and that environmental factors, critically the experiences of love and nurturing in the first few months of life, are vital to the development of a healthy human being, capable of forming attachments, socialisation, character development, self regulation and the acquisition and assimilation of knowledge.
Thus is established the bluprint for a “normal” well adjusted and emotionally stable member of society, capable of fulfilling his/her potential for creativity, productivity and making a mark on history.
So why then do we, as a society, continue not to value the vital work done in caring for and developing our youngest citizens? A friend commented to me last week how, as a teacher, she realised how little her mind was stretched working with preschool aged children. I spent a delightful day in one of our Babies Rooms last week and it was a fantastice experience, full of fun, wonder and delight. I enjoyed the company and experience of 9 separate, developing characters who communicated, expressed themselves, discovered, enjoyed, interacted and created.
Frankly, for me, it is a humbling experience to be a part of something so awesome. I am amazed at the design and workings of the human body, mind and character. To witness the extraordinary rate of development at this early stage and to actually influence it, hopefully for the better, is a privilege.