# 4.1: Introduction to Chapter 4

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This chapter aligns with student learning outcome (SLO) # 1:  explain current theories and ongoing research in early care and education.

We study the brain to get a better understanding of children’s development, possible disabilities, recognize the giftedness in all of us and to improve programs and policies for children and families.

This chapter will cover how the brain develops and what is necessary to keep it healthy. It will explore functions of brain regions in a typically developing brain and the impact of trauma and stress. Finally, it will address applications of brain development to the field of Early Childhood.

##### Key points from this chapter
• Understanding brain growth and development.
• Learn the parts of the brain.
• Discover the implications of brain development for Early Childhood Education.
##### Terminology found throughout this chapter

In addition to terms found in the preface to the text, this chapter introduces terminology including:

1. Neuron: brain cell
2. Dendrite: part of the neuron that receives information from other cells
3. Axon: part of the neuron that sends information to other cells
4. Synaptic Gap: the tiny space between neurons
5. Neurotransmitters: chemical messengers that transmit information between neurons
6. Pruning: reducing the number of connections and neurons in the brain
7. Plasticity: how easily the brain can change itself.  It is more plastic in the youngest years
8. Window of Opportunity: times when the brain is best suited to learn a task.
9. Enriched Environment:  a stimulating, challenging, supportive and loving environment
10. Myelination: protective fatty coating on the mature neuron
11. Boundaries: how quickly a brain can develop myelin
12. Brain Stem and midbrain: lower part of the brain concerned with survival
13. Cerebellum: part of the brain concerned with coordination
14. Limbic system: mid part of the brain concerned with emotions and memory
15. Cortex: outer part of the brain concerned with higher level thinking
16. Occipital lobe: part of the cortex that processes mainly vision
17. Temporal lobe: part of the cortex that processes mainly hearing, speech and language
18. Parietal lobe: part of the cortex that processes mainly sensory information
19. Frontal lobe: part of the cortex that processes mainly sensory and motor information
20. Prefrontal lobe: part of the cortex that processes mainly critical thinking, problem solving and executive function and self-regulation
21. Emotional Intelligence: 5 specific skills related to understanding feelings of self and others and using them to make positive life decisions
22. Stress: physical, chemical or emotional factor that causes bodily or mental tension
23. Eustress: positive stress
24. Distress: negative stress
25. Thalamus: acts like a gate for sensory information coming into the brain
26. Cortisol: hormone released during stress