Translating brain science
WRITTEN BY TERRY BULLICK AND MICHELLE GAGNON
Long before we’re born and throughoutearly childhood, a combination of ourgenes and our experiences shapeshow our brain will develop and workthroughout our lives.
Healthy childhood development,says Judy Cameron of the Universityof Pittsburgh, is the foundation foreducational achievement, economicproductivity, responsible citizenshipand lifelong health, leading ultimatelyto successful parenting of the nextgeneration, strong communities and ahealthy economy.
Given the incredible and far-reachingpotential of brain development, wewant to give our readers more insightinto it. We’ve put together originalstories, drawing from a growing body ofknowledge from world-class scientistsand researchers.
This same body of knowledge hasbeen the focus of a series of symposia bythe Alberta Family Wellness Initiative(our partner in this special issue) to takethe science of brain development intothe community.
Inspired by what they’ve learnedat the symposia, people in Alberta’shealthcare, childcare, education,social services and legal systems arehelping improve the lives of childrenand families across the province. Forexample, in Passing a New Judgment(page 58), Valerie Berenyi looks at howJudge Ted Carruthers considered braindevelopment in his decision aboutwhether a baby girl would be reunitedwith her mother or adopted by anotherfamily.
Other stories give practical and
everyday ways to build brains, such as
Serve and Return: The Building Blocks
of Brain Architecture (page 10) and Air
Traffic Control Helps Kids Soar (see
A central message in many of ourstories is that every child’s braindevelopment depends on caring andstable relationships with adults: parents,aunts, uncles, grandparents, childcareprofessionals, teachers and neighbours.It takes everyone in the community togive children the nurturing experiencesthey need for healthy and sturdy braindevelopment.
When we build better brains, we builda better Alberta. |a
Terry Bullick is the publisher and editorof Apple and Michelle Gagnon is thepresident of the Palix Foundation and ofthe Alberta Family Wellness Initiative.