Applying Neuroscience to Early Intervention
Module 1Welcome to the developing brain
Module 1 is designed to build your understanding of early brain development and how this knowledge can help to inform your relationships with infants, children and young adults. However, it is first worthwhile flagging up that understanding neuroscience and the workings of the developing brain are not a panacea for society’s ills. Module 1 therefore also focuses on some of the criticisms of neuroscience, including some post-conceptualist perspectives concerning its inclusion in early years discourse and practice. Once you have completed this introductory Module, you will understand what neuroscience is and how it is relevant to the work you do. You will also gain a general understanding of early brain development as well as some of the neuromyths which can sometimes leave us baffled when it comes to what to believe.
Lesson 1Getting started 
Lesson 2Introduction 
Lesson 3What is neuroscience? 
Lesson 4Brain development from conception to five years 
Lesson 5Synaptic pruning and neural growth - use it or lose it 
Lesson 6Criticisms of neuroscience 
Lesson 7The effects of neglect 
Lesson 8Babies' brains are like sponges 
Lesson 9Critical periods 
Lesson 10Brain-based programmes 
Lesson 11How to spot the neuromyths 
Lesson 12How to separate the myths from the facts 
Lesson 13Interactive quiz 
Module 2To and fro, up and down – the importance of early socialisation in brain development
The ‘to and fro’ in this title refers to the reciprocal nature of interactions between parents and their children. The ‘up and down’ refers to the child’s (or young adult’s) emotional states which need to be regulated within these interactions – from birth. The reciprocal and containing elements also extend to the interactions between professionals and children and their ability to bring the child back to a safe psychological state. By the end of this Module, you will understand the critical role of early interactions between parents and their children, and how these help to build the foundations for self-regulation and resilience. You will also explore the impact on early brain development and consequent behaviour when these interactions are consistently harsh and unresponsive. Strategies are also given to help you nurture self-regulation in children and young adults and support parents to co-regulate their children’s emotional responses.
Lesson 1Introduction 
Lesson 2Antenatal attachment 
Lesson 3How mirror neurons help us connect to others 
Lesson 4Emotional responses 
Lesson 5The importance of co-regulation as the foundation for children's self-regulation 
Lesson 6What is self-regulation? 
Lesson 7Co-regulation leads to self-regulation 
Lesson 8Strategies to nuture self-regulation in children and young adults 
Lesson 9Interactive quiz 
Module 3Catastrophic cortisol – the impact of toxic stress on brain development and wellbeing
An element of stress is critical to our survival as a species. It is when levels of the stress hormone, cortisol are continually raised because of maltreatment and a lack of responsive relationships, that children are in danger of developing problems psychologically, emotionally and intellectually which persist into adulthood. This Module contains contributions from a range of professionals concerned with children’s welfare, not only those from the early years sector. The relevance to early years professionals is just as important and is included to encourage reflection on the issues from different professional perspectives.
Lesson 1Introduction 
Lesson 2The neuroscience of attachment 
Lesson 3What causes attachment disorders? 
Lesson 4How to identify an insecurely attached child 
Lesson 5Supporting children and young adults with insecure or disorganised attachment 
Lesson 6The three types of stress and their impact on wellbeing and learning 
Lesson 7The good, the bad and the ugly - how excessive cortisol impairs early brain development 
Lesson 8The role of the HPA axis in stress response 
Lesson 9Interventions to support healthy parental responses 
Lesson 10Types of early adversity and the impact of each one on psychological and emotional development 
Lesson 11The brain and self-regulation 
Lesson 12The cycle of abuse and crime 
Lesson 13Strategies to cultivate emotional resilience and positive changes in behaviour 
Lesson 14Approaches to cultivating emotional resilience in children and young adults 
Lesson 15Interactive quiz 
Module 4Brain under construction – how quality early childhood education and care builds healthy brains
This final Module of this programme is critical to the success of your role as a change-instigating Neuroscience Champion, as it provides a clear link into the Neuroscience Champion Checklist, informing how you move from reflection to action.
Lesson 1Introduction 
Lesson 2Enabling relationships 
Lesson 3A word of caution 
Lesson 4Personal resilience - What it means and why you need it 
Lesson 5Pass it on! You need to be resilient to share this gift 
Lesson 6Resilience test 
Lesson 7Resilience test - what it means 
Lesson 8Enabling environments 
Lesson 9The relationship between emotional responses and their influence on executive functioning 
Lesson 10Enabling activities 
Lesson 11Let children have their say! 
Lesson 12Examples of good practice 
Lesson 13Growth mindset and neuroplasticity (part 1) 
Lesson 14Growth mindset and neuroplasticity (part 2) 
Lesson 15Interactive Quiz