Baby Brain Connection

Parenting for Early Childhood Literacy


Parent Providers Guide for the 1st Year



Dear Parent Providers,
As you connect with new parents, you have a unique opportunity to let them know how early experiences of talking, playing and interacting, and reading help their babies’ brains develop. Research shows the critical impact of a child’s environment of relationships on brain architecture during the first months and years of life.  Babies’ interactions with parents, caregivers, and others adults actually shape brain circuits and lay the foundation for later developmental outcomes, from academic performance to mental health and interpersonal skills. (National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, 2004) 

Message to parents given by parent providers
From the very minute that your precious child is born, you are your baby’s first teacher. New research shows that the 1st year of life is a critical period in helping infants become aware of language. Your baby’s brain is developing rapidly. His brain is making many connections as he learns about his world. Every time you talk, touch, cuddle, rock, sing, or read to him, you are helping his brain develop. Does this surprise you? It’s a fact.  Although he may not understand the words, your baby will slowly begin to make connections between words and their meaning. 

​By the end of the 1st year babies begin to use some words.   The time you have spent talking, playing and interacting, and reading to your child will provide a strong foundation for his learning to talk and then learning new words as he grows. These skills will better prepare your child for successful learning in preschool and kindergarten.  There is even evidence that talking to babies in the 1st year can help them become better learners throughout grade school and help them in later life too. Here are some ideas and activities to your baby’s brain development during the 1st year. (See Parent Providers Guide for the 1st Year for activities to coach and model with parents. All of the ideas and activities in the guide have been developed by child development specialists and then tried and tested by parents.)  You can do this! You are your child’s first teacher, and probably the most important.  
Enjoy teaching your baby-- all the learning activities are easy, fun to do, and free!  


Table of Contents


Early Brain Development: 
Videos:Three Core Concepts in Early Development: Experiences Build Brain Architecture, Serve and Return Interaction Shapes Brain Circuitry, Toxic Stress Derails Health Development
Background information 
Talking
Videos: Parentese, Keep Talking
Background information, ideas and activities
Playing and Interacting
Videos: Copycats, Careful Frank, Book of Jenny, Testing 1 2 3 
Background information, ideas, and activities
Reading
Video: Dad’s Club
Background information, ideas and activities