Experts tells us that the earliest years of a person’s life are actually some of the most important. Much effort has been put into researching this data, but the burning question remains: Why does the period between birth and three years old matter so much? According to NJ experts, early education is critical for stimulating a child’s brain development.

On this episode of Caucus: New Jersey with Steve Adubato, show host Steve Adubato, PhD., sat down with a panel of guests to examine what exactly happens to a child’s brain between birth and three years of age. The panel also discussed what good quality early education looks like, and reviewed the rate of disparity of childcare costs and the need for increased financial support from the state.

Guests include Matthew Melmed, executive director of ZERO TO THREE; Jennifer Santana, president of the Coalition of Infant/Toddler Educators; Joseph Della Fave, executive director of Ironbound Community Corporation; and Cecilia Zalkind, president and chief executive officer of Advocated for Children of New Jersey.

This video was made possible thanks to St. Joseph’s Health.

“We know so much more now about how children develop, how they learn, how they get prepared for success in school and in life,” said Zalkind, “and, actually, learning begins at birth, and some would argue during pregnancy. Those are critical years for brain development, for how a child develops, learns, builds relationships; it’s a critical time for the child’s future.”

Building strong relationships early on is crucial for a baby’s development, because there is significantly more brain activity than most would think.

“What we know from the neuroscience, and increasingly from epigenetics, is that the early experiences and relationships that babies and toddlers have with the important adults in their lives literally shape the architecture of their brain.” Melmed explained. “There are a million synapses that are being connected every second in a baby’s brain — fastest that we’ll ever see.”

To learn more about the importance of the first three years of a person’s life, tune in to this edition of Caucus: New Jersey with Steve Adubato.

For more stories that impact New Jersey residents, click over to our Hot Topics in NJ series.


Caucus Educational Corporation

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