During the 2021 pilot project with Oxford University, two Expert Advisory Groups were established to help guide the development of the curriculum materials.

The curriculum content is currently delivered through 3 core science lessons. The curriculum includes the following content (extension content is written in italics):

  1. The brain is made up of billions of interconnected neurons.
  2. Genetics and environment both have a role to play in brain development; epigenetics means that even the genes aren’t fixed.
  3. New experiences can lead to new neural circuits being formed.
  4. Circuits can be strengthened and weakened by individual experiences.
  5. The ability of the brain to change throughout a person’s life is called neuroplasticity.
  6. The brain is particularly plastic, and therefore sensitive to experiences, in the early years (0-5) and adolescence (11-25).
  7. Essential neutral pathways are developed in the uterus and throughout the early years.
  8. Babies are able to perceive and discriminate environmental stimuli in the uterus and throughout the early years.
  9. Caregivers can improve long-term health outcomes by supporting brain development in the early years through:

  • Responsive, reciprocal caregiver-child interactions (Serve and Return)
  • Baby talk (‘Parentese’ or child directed speech)
  • Playful learning
  • Developing executive function skills
  1. The early years are a foundation for long term physical and mental health.
  2. What happens in the early years is not deterministic.
  3. Resilience is dependent on supportive relationships and developing skills.