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Shaping Minds, Nurturing Hearts: Cultivating Healthy Development from Birth to Three

The time when we have the most influence over our children’s lives and experiences is from birth to age three. During this critical period, we can create environments that we believe are best for them, minimizing external interventions. Our series on raising peaceful children and supporting the healthy development of children from zero to three focuses on fostering well-rounded personalities within the family setting. Families are foundational; they shape a child’s initial understanding of the world.

Imagine this: a newborn arrives, a perfect sponge, with a body and brain designed to adapt to the surroundings. This adaptability is what makes humans so successful as a species—nature crafted a creature capable of evolving with its environment, an unfinished masterpiece. At birth, our brains are not fully developed. In fact, during the first three years, the brain undergoes rapid growth, developing neural connections at a phenomenal rate. Approximately 85% of a child’s brain architecture is formed by the age of three. The full maturation of the brain, including the development of the frontal cortex responsible for complex cognitive behavior and decision-making, continues until about the age of 25.

These early years, therefore, present a golden opportunity to shape the optimal setting for a child’s mental and physical growth. The peaceful children practice model revolves around three core elements that support the healthiest development: respectful care, acknowledging a child’s full humanity during routine interactions; creating open, free-play spaces tailored to stimulate the child at every developmental stage; and promoting free movement.

For instance, a two-week-old is just beginning to focus on the world around them. Their first toy is their own body. We ensure that our environments encourage infants to explore what their bodies can do—simply lying on their back and playing with their hands, eyes, and feet. As they grow, we introduce new aspects to their play environment, supporting them in milestones like rolling over, reaching for objects, and eventually pulling themselves up to stand.
We advocate for unrestricted movement, allowing babies the time and space to move freely without constraints. We never position a baby in a way they can’t achieve on their own; they must learn each movement themselves to progress naturally.

Guidance is always gentle and intentional. Reflecting on a quote from Emmi Pikler, imagine a world from the perspective of a newborn: if every touch they receive is slow, gentle, and thoughtful, what kind of world will they perceive they’ve entered? In contrast, rough, hurried interactions can create a starkly different perception.

In these formative years, we have a significant ability to foster a sense of safety, ease, comfort, security, and trust in our children. This is what our support aims to offer caregivers of children from birth to three years—knowledge and understanding to shape the nurturing experiences these young lives deserve.

Explore More with Us

Thank you for reading our insights on nurturing the development of children from birth to three. If you found this information valuable and wish to dive deeper into the art of raising peaceful, well-rounded children, we invite you to take the next step with us.

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