Wired for Learning: Early Brain Development and Life Success

Recent advances in neuroscience provide a wealth of information about executive functions, the complex thinking skills that are important for learning in school and for controlling behavior and emotions. These advances indicate that brain areas that underlie executive functions are highly interconnected with brain areas associated with emotions and stress. As such, neuroscience research highlights the role that children’s early social and emotional development plays in executive function development and indicates one way that poverty and early adversity negatively impact children’s development is through effects on executive functions. This research, however, also indicates that executive functions are changeable and provides clear support for innovative early and elementary education programs designed to promote children’s positive development and life outcomes.

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