Summarise current scientific research relating to neurological and brain development in Early Years

Qualification: NCFE CACHE Level 3 Diploma for the Early Years Educator
Unit: Unit 3.9: Facilitate the cognitive development of children
Learning outcome: Understand about cognitive development in children
Assessment criteria: Summarise current scientific research relating to neurological and brain development in Early Years


In recent years, there has been a surge of interest in research concerning the neurological and brain development of children during their early years. Scientists have attempted to uncover how these cognitive and physical developments can be nurtured and encouraged in order to create the best possible environment for young children to thrive.

Brain Development During Early Years

Recent studies have revealed that the first five years of life are incredibly important for brain development, as this is when most of the neural connections that control language, thought processes, emotions, and behaviour are formed. The brain’s ability to form these connections is known as neuroplasticity – it is the process by which new pathways are created and strengthened based on experiences and learning.


Environmental Factors Affecting Development

Research has also found that several environmental factors can influence a child’s development in these early years, such as genetic factors, nutrition, parental involvement, relationships with peers, stability at home, social interaction with adults outside of the family unit, as well as access to quality education. All of these elements play an important role in creating an environment where children can reach their full potential both socially and academically.

For example, research suggests that parents who read or tell stories regularly to their child from birth help them develop strong language skills before they reach school age. Similarly, when children have positive relationships with their peers from a young age it encourages self-esteem and social skills; conversely negative peer relationships can lead to increased anxiety levels later on in life.



In conclusion, research relating to neurological and brain development during early childhood has shown us that these formative years are critical for a child’s future success. It is clear then that providing a supportive environment which promotes positive experiences with family members, peers and educators is essential for ensuring healthy cognitive development which improves educational outcomes later down the line.

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