Making Neural Connections
in the Brain

Research tells us that the development of a child’s brain architecture provides the foundation for all future learning, behavior, and health. So, the question arises, “What can parents and caregivers do to help build a child’s brain?” 

At Learning Zone, we are helping build brain architecture in our children every day. Learning Zone is one of the premier preschools Murfreesboro TN has to offer.

The Serve and Return Method

Scientists tell us that a responsive interaction, called “serve and return” builds brain architecture. When an infant or young child shows interest in something, that is called the “serve.” When an adult responds supportively, that is the “return.” The result is the building or strengthening of neural connections in the brain. In the first few years of life, more than 1 million new neural connections form every second.

Learn how to do “serve and return” by by watching this video or by following this simple five-step guide from the Center on the Developing Child: 

  1. Notice the child’s “serve.”  Is the child looking at something or pointing to something? That’s a serve.
  2. Return the serve by supporting and encouragingLook at what the child is looking at and smile or say, “I see.” Or bring the object the child is pointing to closer. 
  3. Give it a name! If the child points at a banana, pick up the banana and say, “banana.”  This makes important language connections in the brain, even before a child can talk or understand your words. 
  4. Take turns…and wait. Keep the interaction going back and forth. Each time you return a serve, wait for the child to respond. Children need time to develop their own ideas and form responses. Then return the serve again. Keep it going for as long as you can.
  5. Recognize endings and beginnings Don’t overdo it. You’ll know when the child is done or ready to move on to a new activity. The child may walk away, pick up a toy, start to fuss, or say “All done!”