The science is clear: rich language environments, responsive caregivers, and adult-child exchanges are critical to building children’s brains. During the first three years of life, these inputs fuel the development of neuronal connections at a rate of 1 million per second. This rate of brain growth, which is linked to skill formation in language, literacy, math, spatial reasoning, and self-regulation, is never to be matched later in life. The more input a child receives, the stronger the neuronal connections grow, building a solid foundation for all future learning. Conversely, in the absence of such interactions, the vast neuroplasticity of the developing brain remains underused, and learning and intellectual growth are severely curtailed. And yet, few tools exist to measure the quality of children’s early language environments, their interactions with adults, or their impact on neuronal development. There is a particular dearth of measures that are technology-based, scalable, and easy to use.
The TMW Center is helping to fill these gaps by developing a suite of tools and technologies that will transform the way data is collected and utilized in the early childhood field.