The first three years of life are crucial for brain development

Share story

The children sit down for a moment.
Children sit down at a day care center in Blackduck, Minn., in March 2018. MPR News host Angela Davis sat down with a panel of experts and a live audience to talk about why the first three years of a person’s life are a crucial time for brain development and how to help parents nurture their children’s brains.
Monika Lawrence for MPR News

During the first three years of life, children are building the circuits in the brain that will be the foundation for learning and emotional response throughout the rest of their lives.

To help parents nurture their children’s brains, HealthPartners has created a campaign called Little Moments that promotes playing, reading, talking and singing with infants and toddlers. That’s one of the ideas that host Angela Davis discussed recently with a panel of experts and a live audience in MPR’s UBS Forum in St. Paul.


  • Dr. Judy Cameron is a neuroscientist at the University of Pittsburgh. She is a leading researcher in brain development.

  • Andre Dukes is the collaboration director for early childhood, Northside Achievement Zone, Minneapolis. This is an agency that works to end generational poverty in north Minneapolis by closing the achievement gap.

  • Mary Brainerd is the former CEO of HeathPartners and an advocate for early childhood education.

Use the audio player above to listen to the program.

Subscribe to the MPR News with Angela Davis podcast on: Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, Spotify or RSS.