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Five to Thrive Healthy Brain Development Zone

The human brain has three distinct parts: reptilian, limbic and neocortex. At birth, the reptilian and limbic sections are well developed. They are responsible for survival, strong emotions and feelings. Together they are called 'the downstairs brain'.

The neocortex has over one hundred billion cells at birth but they are not yet connected. This is called the 'upstairs brain'.

Our early life experiences, either positive or negative, affect the way our brain cells connect, and shape the journey into adulthood. The brain is amazing! Taking around 25 years to become emotionally mature, the brain grows from the bottom up, and the inside out.

The amygdala is deep within the limbic brain - it is the shape of an almond and senses fear and danger. It is responsible for our 'fight, flight & freeze' behaviour and the release of chemicals called adrenaline and cortisol. It’s always looking for an answer to two questions: "Am I safe?" &  "Do I matter?"

If we don't feel safe, we can have too much adrenaline and cortisol in our bodies and we know this can be harmful to the growing brain. By being responsive and nurturing, you can reduce fear & anxiety in your child and provide the best conditions for their healthy brain growth.

You could do five simple things every day with the Five to Thrive approach (KCA, 2011) to support healthy brain development from birth to adulthood. It’s never too late to change the way you do things!

The brain is amazing! Taking around 25 years to become emotionally mature, the brain grows from the bottom up, and from the inside out.

The brain rewires and makes new connections at various stages throughout childhood and into adulthood. To find out more about how you can use the Five to Thrive approach during childhood and teenage years, select an option.

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