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Brain Research and Early Learning and Development


Harvard University Center for the Developing Child's three-part series of summaries of the scientific presentations given at the National Symposium on Early Childhood Science and Policy in June 2008.
  • InBrief: The Science of Early Childhood Development
  • InBrief: The Impact of Early Adversity on Children's Development
  • InBrief: Early Childhood Program Effectiveness

Three Core Concepts in Early Development

Harvard Working Papers
#1: Young Children Develop in an Environment of Relationships
#2: Children's Emotional Development is Built into the Architecture of their Brains
#3: Excessive Stress Disrupts the Architecture of the Developing Brain
#4: Early Exposure to Toxic Substances Damages Brain Architecture
#6: Mental Health Problems in Early Childhood Can Impair Learning and Behavior for Life
#7: Workforce Development, Welfare Reform, and Child Well-Being
#8: Maternal Depression Can Undermine the Development of Young Children
#9: Persistent Fear and Anxiety Can Affect Young Children's Learning and Development
#10: Early Experiences Can Alter Gene Expression and Affect Long-Term Development

How Early Experiences Get Into the Body: A Biodevelopmental Framework
This new interactive feature, also available in a downloadable "flip chart" format, explains how early experiences are biologically embedded in the development of the brain and other organ systems and have lifelong impacts on learning, behavior, and both physical and mental health.

Online videos of PBS brain research series hosted by Charlie Rose.

Interactive views of brain areas and their functions, descriptions of brain scans, and video clips of brain development.

Alzheimer's Association - tour of brain functions and effects of Alzheimer's disease

Mirror neuron
A mirror neuron is a neuron which fires both when an animal performs an action and when the animal observes the same action performed by another (especially conspecific) animal. People and animals can learn a task by watching others perform it.

Still face experiment
“...the still face experiment allowed researchers to examine the ways in which infants spontaneously initiate social exchanges and the way they modulate their affect and attention...”

Video of the “still face” experiment.

Zero To Three Information Sheet - Healthy Minds 9 - 12 Months

The Baby Brain Map, a ZERO TO THREE


Connecting Neurons, Concepts, and People: Brain Development and its Implications - issue 17 in a series of briefs developed by the National Institute for Early Education Research.

Williams, D.L. (2008, March). What neuroscience has taught us about autism: Implications for early intervention. Zero to Three Bulletin, 28(4), 11-17.

List of articles on brain research and early learning.

Caregivers’ Corner: “Another Look at Brain Research” (July 2001), in Young Children Vol. 56, No. 4, by Melissa Vaught, discusses enrichment products marketed to parents, as well as the academic push in preschool for kindergarten readiness, as a threat to the value of interaction/play between children and adults.