Thriving Babies Brains: a workshop on early years neuroscience

Aida Cable

By Aida Cable

It’s not often that 100 early years practitioners, local authority and national leaders in childhood neuroscience come together in Stoke-on-Trent. We were delighted to host our Thriving Babies Brains event in partnership with Staffordshire University.

Thriving Babies Brains - a workshop for practitioners exploring early childhood and stimulating babies brain development.

The interactive workshop took place on Monday 27th November and was an opportunity to learn and network together, exploring how to bring the latest findings into everyday practice so that every child can thrive and achieve their potential by age five. The local team in Stoke-on-Trent is led by Patrick Myers. We were also joined by our CEO, Aida Cable, and the City Director of Stoke-on-Trent City Council, Jon Rouse.

We were thrilled to be joined by Professor Elizabeth Rapa, of Oxford University, who brought a wealth of knowledge on the key mechanisms underpinning child development, explaining how we all have a crucial part to play in building babies’ brains.

Her research group, co-led with Dr Louise Dalton, is currently working on a UK-wide project – The Oxford Brain Story – sharing key scientific knowledge about early brain development and how our earliest experiences can affect our long-term mental and physical health as we grow older.

Download the presentation now

Welcoming experts in early years neuroscience research

Engaging policy makers, practitioners and the public, The Oxford Brain Story aims to bridge the knowledge gap on early brain development for parents and frontline staff working with children across health, education, social services and the criminal justice system.

As well as researching early brain development, Dr Elizabeth’s group is investigating effective communication with children and families with relation to illness, adolescent parental mental health and how to enhance the parent-child relationship.

Bringing the brain story to everyday life

During the event we were joined by the very talented Creative Illustrator Chloe Breeze who annotated and illustrated the whole seminar, bringing the learnings to life and highlighting key takeaway messages for practitioners and parents alike.

The Stoke early years community pledged to use the learnings to inform their local work helping children thrive in early childhood and empower families.

Why it matters

Babies’ brains are malleable and formative during their earliest years. Incredibly, from birth to age five, a child’s brain develops more than any other time in life.

These formative years are fundamental for our social,  emotional, cognitive and physical development.  They provide a golden opportunity to build solid foundations for healthy and happy lives.

Babies’ earliest experiences and environments shape their developing brains. We can all play a role in supporting babies – and their parents and carers – creating experiences and environments that positively support healthy child development.

“It’s moments like this where we can really see the power of what we do when we come together, with Thrive at Five, as a whole community of practitioners, parents and with the local authority, to collectively impact children’s outcomes in Stoke. Thank you to everyone who attended and Staffordshire University.”