The Role of Experience in Brain Development

Experience is an essential component of brain development. A child’s specific experiences determine which connections are strengthened and expanded, and which connections are eliminated.

  • Connections that are used repeatedly become stronger.
  • Connections that are not used are eventually lost to pruning.
  • Repetition is important because it provides the child with multiple opportunities to strengthen connections.

It also is important that experiences be enriching. A child should be exposed regularly to experiences that are a little bit new and different. These experiences should be challenging, but not overwhelming, just a step beyond what he can already do.