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Impact of the Early Years on Healthy Child Development

Why are the early years so important to a child's healthy development?

The evidence is starting to stack up. It says that a child's first six years can have a major impact on their personality, brain, and future prospects.

The brain is the only organ not fully developed at birth. (Karen Kearns,

During a child's first years, important synapse connections are made that form the basic infrastructure that the rest of their brain development will rely on.

In fact, evidence suggests:

90% of brain development occurs in the first 6 years of a child's life. )Arkin, Braveman, Egerter, & Williams,

Early experiences impact many aspects of an individual's development. These are sometimes classified as:

  • Cognitive Development - a child's ability to solve problems & learn

  • Social & Emotional Development - which includes the ability to interact with others, to help oneself, and to use self-control

  • Speech & Language Development - which means using and understanding language

  • Fine & Gross Motor Skills - which allow children to use small & large muscles

(HealthLink BC. Milestones for 5-year-olds.

If a child enters kindergarten without the foundation of health development, they may struggle to catch up throughout their school years and beyond. Fortunately we can all help create opportunities for children to grow and learn so that every child starts out with a healthy foundation.

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