What is social development in children? : Social Development

What is social development in children?

Toddlers in Bangladesh are introduced to the alphabet. l© UNICEF/BANA2014-00573/MawaOn April 16th, a remarkable, and probably the first-of-its-kind meeting took place at UNICEF New York. Sixteen (no coincidence with the date) neuroscientists discussed and debated the influence of early experience on brain development and function. These scientists, who represent the super specialized fields of neuroscience, biology, epigenetics, psychiatry, nutrition, chemistry and child development, provided answers and insights into why early childhood development is so important for individual and societal development, and how this science could influence UNICEF’s approach to achieve results for children.

And what happened when biology walked through the front door? It delivered 3 key messages to UNICEF.

Brain Development conference at UNICEF Headquarters in New York

Message 1: The relationship between genes and environment is closer than we ever imagined. Genes predict our brain development but it is experience that sculpts it
The argument between nature and nurture is over.Brain Development conference at UNICEF Headquarters in New York We are in the midst of a revolutionary shift in the way we think about brain development, emphasizing the paradigm shift regarding the role nature and nurture play in how our brains are shaped. The constant interplay between our experiences and genetics shapes our brains, and thus early experiences (as early as the womb and even before conception) are built into our brain. Because the brain is a social organ, its development is dependent on social interactions. The brain needs and relies on experience.

The complexity of the brain lies not only in the genes, but also in the interaction with the outside world, which shapes the brain accordingly. Aside from genetic predispositions, a child’s brain grows based on the experiences and opportunities that the brain is afforded to shape itself as the child grows.

Message 2: The brain is complex because it is not a homogenous organ but a highly inter-related and integrated organ
The human brain, a mere 3 pounds (1.36 kgs), is a highly complex system that has evolved over millions of years, and differentiates humans as a unique species. Different regions of the brain have distinct roles and the functions develop in a hierarchical manner.

The oldest brain structures are the brainstem and cerebellum – that control our body’s vital functions of heart rate and breathing. The limbic brain, consisting of the hippocampus, amygdala and hypothalamus, is responsible for emotions, values and other unique functions that control so much of our human behavior. The cerebral cortex, the vast majority of which is the neocortex, and the newest area of the brain (in terms of our evolution), but also includes the pre-frontal cortex, is responsible for language, cognition, executive function, consciousness – in other words higher other thinking and imagination that influence individual learning and the development of culture and society more broadly.

Brain Development conference at UNICEF Headquarters in New York Brain Development conference at UNICEF Headquarters in New York

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Are anganwadis simply crèches for the underprivileged?  — Daily News & Analysis
Their aim is to lay the foundation for proper psychological, physical and social development of the child. The focus is to reduce the incidence of mortality, morbidity, malnutrition and school drop-out.