Experiences Build Brain Architecture

Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University

The basic architecture of the brain is constructed through a process that begins early in life and continues into adulthood. Simpler circuits come first and more complex brain circuits build on them later. Genes provide the basic blueprint, but experiences influence how or whether genes are expressed. Together, they shape the quality of brain architecture and establish either a sturdy or a fragile foundation for all of the learning, health, and behavior that follow. Plasticity, or the ability for the brain to reorganize and adapt, is greatest in the first years of life and decreases with age.

Essential Dispositions - Support Social Learning


From an early age, learning is influenced by one’s dispositions, or tendencies to think or act in particular ways. This video emphasizes one essential disposition of competent learners: social learning. Children should have opportunities to learn through cooperative experiences with their peers and with adults. 

Extending children's ideas: Intentional teaching

Using CLASS Instructional Domains in an indoor play environment

Through intentional teaching strategies, teachers can use CLASS Instructional Domains of Concept Development, Quality of Feedback and Language Modeling to support children's higher order thinking,  problem solving, creativity, language and literacy skills. 

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