Brain building is the development of a child’s brain as they grow. 

The process of brain building takes time—it begins at birth and continues into adulthood. Children’s brains develop in several phases, with each stage building on the previous phase. While each stage is important, the early years are vital for creating ‘brain architecture.’shutterstock_1070316800

Building healthy brain architecture in a child’s early years helps create a strong foundation for  future learning and development in order to be successful in life. With each skill a child learns, the brain becomes stronger, which also affects physical health, emotional health, social skills, and decision-making.

The Science of Brain Building 

Building strong brain architecture is like building a house. 

When you build a house, you start by laying the foundation. A strong foundation supports the house and helps it withstand potential damage and storms. A weak foundation however may not be able to withstand different kinds of stress, and may need major repairs later on. 

As a child develops, their brain is also built like a house. From the moment a baby is born, the process of building a foundation for brain architecture begins. This foundation is made up of brain cells, which are like the building blocks of a house. Connections between brain cells are made when a child has different kinds of life experiences, which helps the child learn new skills.

There are two kinds of experiences that have the biggest impact on a brain’s architecture. They can either strengthen or weaken the connections between brain cells. 

  • Repeated, positive experiences help brain cell connections create a sturdy foundation for children to learn and develop new skills. Parents and caregivers can help children build healthy brains through frequent, positive interactions that follow the child’s lead. Learn more here: Strong Families
  • Brain cell connections can become weaker with stressful, negative experiences. Known as toxic stress, these experiences are not helpful to a developing brain. Learn more about how negative experiences can affect a child’s development, and what you can do to help in the tabs above.

What We Can Do 

Just like building a house, it takes many people with different kinds of roles to help a child build strong brain architecture. 

Parenshutterstock_1723932103ts and caregivers have the opportunity to help children learn and practice new skills on a daily basis. This repetition of positive experiences helps the brain grow stronger. For more information and resources that parents and caregivers can use, click here.

The community surrounding a family is also important to the success of a child’s development. For families to provide the best care for children, they need a community that is shaped by policies, programs, and services that positively impact a family's wellbeing. 

A family’s community can include people who fulfill all kinds of roles in a child’s life, such as friends, teachers, librarians, and local government programs and policies. Learn more about how you and the community can positively affect the lives of children in Frederick County in the tabs above. 


Brain architecture. Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. (2019, August 20). Retrieved November 22, 2022, from