The Regional Municipality Of York

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Brains aren't just born, they're built

Known as The Brain Story, the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative (AFWI) explores in detail the science of brain development and how experiences, prenatally and from birth onward, shape the brain and impact one’s future learning, as well as their lifelong physical and mental health.

This information has been adapted from content created by the Alberta Family Wellness Initiative.

The early years of life are crucial by influencing a range of health and social outcomes across the life course:

  • overall well-being
  • obesity/stunting
  • mental health
  • chronic disease (i.e. heart disease, diabetes, etc.)
  • school readiness (competence in literacy and numeracy)
  • criminality
  • economic participation throughout life
  • influences other social determinants of health

Children depend on their parents and/or caregivers to help them grow and develop. When parents know what to expect at each stage of development, it can be easier for them to meet their child's needs and understand their behaviour.

"The first six years of a child's life [have] the greatest impact on their future learning, health and development" (McCain & Mustard 1999)

Learn more about the core concepts in the brain story development

Brain Architecture

The structure of our developing brain is determined by more than just our genes. Early experiences also play a key role, in fact, the early years in a child’s life have the greatest impact on their future learning, health and development.

Nurturing experiences and positive interactions help to build sturdy brains and reinforce important cognitive, social, and emotional skills that are necessary for learning, forming close relationships, as well as lifelong physical and mental health.