New Research Challenges Conventional Understanding of Brain Development
Recent research has shown that when exposed to certain curricula, preschool children can learn to regulate their thinking and behaviors to not do the first thing that comes to mind, and to change strategies to solve cognitive and social problems when necessary.
Scientists suggest that such pre-k programs promote the development of young children's prefrontal cortex (PFC), the last part of the brain to fully develop. A team of researchers, however, is now hypothesizing that while a more developed PFC can enhance problem-solving skills, a less developed one can enhance the learning of new skills.
With more research, this insight could help identify those skills that are most likely to flourish with a less developed PFC, which in turn, could affect pre-k curricula and teaching practices. Also, greater understanding of the advantages and disadvantages of a less developed PFC may lead to better interventions for children with attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), who tend to have delayed PFC maturation, and children with autism, who tend to have more advanced PFC maturation.
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