On behalf of our advisory board, we thank you for taking the time to become familiar with the Developing Mind Project, an effort that we’re confident will have a major impact on the future of learning. We are proud and excited to be part of a project that, in 20 years as we look back, will be seen as the point at which mankind truly unlocks the mystery and miracle of how the human brain develops in its first 5 years.
Throughout their careers, Professors Meltzoff and Kuhl have broken new ground with research of significant social and economic impact. Their work has transformed our understanding of how children learn. For example: In 1977, when Professor Meltzoff stuck out his tongue at a 42-minute old baby, he forever changed how parents view interaction with their babies.
For today’s parents, the notion that infants are “born learning” is a given, not the revelation it was when he first explored the social world of the newborn. Professor Kuhl discovered that listening to languages in the first 6 months shapes the brain. “Motherese,” the natural and universal mode of speaking that parents use when talking to young children, long considered infantile or even counter- productive, is actually the key to this brain change.
Over the past decade, Professors Kuhl and Meltzoff have advised policy-makers, including two U.S. Presidents, a Nobel Forum panel, the Swedish parliament and state and federal legislators, on the importance of early learning. The Developing Mind Project builds on their success and knowledge base and will provide a roadmap to the aspects of brain development that enable a newborn to emerge as a capable, school-ready child.
The Developing Mind Project is possible because it marries the expertise and vision of a world-class research team led by Professors Kuhl and Meltzoff with new brain-imaging technology. With the world’s first child brain-imaging facility, I-LABS will use innovative techniques to provide the equivalent of a Hubble telescope’s view into the youngest of brains and a glimpse into the origins of learning.
I-LABS is embarking on the Developing Mind Project at a time when policy-makers, legislators and business leaders increasingly recognize that preparing children to learn prior to reaching school is the best and most cost effective way to achieve our goals for improving education quality, providing a future workforce and eliminating expensive downstream public expenditures.
The Developing Mind Project will deliver a body of knowledge that ensures investments in early learning are made wisely and equitably. Opportunities to participate and affect such a seminal project are few and far between. We invite you to join us in this unique prospect to truly change the world!