Research about how our brain develops from childhood to adulthood shows that:
Brain development depends on both our genes and our environment
Both nature and nurture are important in brain development. We are born with the main circuits in place but it is actually our environment (our nutrition, stimulation from our surroundings, relationships with others) that wires and connects these circuits together into synapses.
Our early experiences have a big role in brain development.
The number of circuit connections we form in our early years depend on what stimulations we are exposed, how often we are exposed to them, and when we were exposed to them. Early positive and warm interactions with parents, caregivers, and family members are important for us to equip ourselves to deal with stress effectively.
There are windows of opportunity for learning.
Although we are are learning all the time as we are exposed to new stimulations and situation, there are certain windows of opportunity through out our development that specific things can be learned. For example, if you want your child to speak a second language, the best time to expose them to it is from the time they are born until about 10 years old. After that age, it gets more and more difficult as the window of opportunity has passed.
Children are better learners than adults
The density of synapses are a lot greater in children than in adults. This means they are biologically wired to learn as much as possible in their first 10 years of life!
Goleman, D. 2006. Social intelligence: The new science of human relationships. New York: Bantam Dell.
Schiller, P. 2012. Start Smart. NC:Gryphon House, Inc.