Science of a Developing Brain

What leads to healthy brain development? Genetics, yes; but our experiences and our interactions with our environment have a significant impact.

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Approved by Illinois Early Intervention Training Project for partial credit:

  • 1.5 hours in Typical Development

The human brain begins forming at conception. The timetable for brain development varies by region, and in many ways it is a life-long project. 

What leads to healthy brain development? It would appear that genetics predisposes us to develop in certain ways; but our experiences and our interactions with our environment have a significant impact on how our predispositions are expressed. In fact, research shows that many capacities though to be fixed at birth are actually dependent on a sequence of experiences combined with heredity. 

In this workshop, participants will will learn how the brain develops, the importance of everyday experiences, and how these experiences affect the developing brain. Participants will play The Brain Architecture Game, a game experience designed by the Center on the Developing Child at University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts. The game engages participants in understanding the science of early brain development-- what nurtures it, what hinders it, and why.

About the Instructor

Bilge Cerezci, Ph.D., is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at St. John's University. She holds a Ph.D. in Child Development from Loyola University Chicago, M.S. in Child Development with a focus on infant and toddler development from Erikson Institute, and a B.S. in Preschool Education from Bosphorus University. While pursuing her doctoral degree, Dr. Cerezci worked as research fellow at the Early Math Collaborative and served as a research consultant for the collaborative's various projects with MDRC, and Big Shoulders Fund. Her research focuses on how quality of early mathematics teaching impacts student outcomes.


In this session, we will:

  • Introduce early brain development
  • Explore and discuss how heredity and environment impacts brain development
  • Identify key experiences and time points for optimal brain development
  • Discuss how and why brain formation and early experiences can lead to different mindsets

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