Recent advances in neuroscience have informed our understanding of the brain and nervous system, and how these develop during childhood and adolescence.
The Thrive Approach uses the latest insights to focus on the impact these changes can have on behaviour, the opportunities these developments offer to help young people engage with life and learning, and how it is never too late to help make a difference.
The field of neuroscience has undergone rapid advances in recent years, prompted by significant innovations in brain imaging.
These have yielded important insights about how the brain and nervous system function and develop. In particular, scientists have discovered that the neural pathways of the brain and wider nervous system are relatively unformed at birth, undergoing much of their development during the first three years of life in response to relational experiences with primary care-givers.
A key development during this period is the establishment of the body’s stress-regulation system. This lays the foundation for our social and emotional development throughout life, affecting our capacity to relate, love, learn and manage stress in healthy ways.
Research has also revealed the inherent ‘plasticity’ of the brain – its capacity to forge new neuronal connections in response to experience. The fact that the brain retains this property to a greater or lesser degree throughout life means that where brain development has been less than optimal, it remains possible to intervene at a later stage to fill the gaps.
In the Thrive Approach we build on these insights to offer a way of working with children and young people that supports the optimal development of their brains and nervous systems. Furthermore, where the nature of children’s early experiences mean that they have not developed a good enough stress-regulation system and therefore find it difficult to relate or learn, we offer a structured way to provide the missing relational experiences in order to rewire their neural circuitry for more effective functioning.
- Neuroscience sheds light on important questions about who we are, how we develop and how we learn.
- The findings of neuroscience have significant implications for education, social care and healthcare professionals working with children and young people.
- Neuroscience has highlighted the opportunities for professionals to help children and young people overcome adverse experiences and trauma.
- Thrive’s approach to understanding and working with children’s social and emotional development has evolved in accordance with current findings in neuroscience.
- The Thrive Approach continues to develop as more information becomes available.