A child’s brain develops from the bottom up like a stack of building blocks. The brainstem and mid-brain are the first areas of the brain to develop and connect. These areas are called the “survival brain” because they control body functions that keep us alive such as blood pressure and body temperature. The limbic system is the next building block of the brain. When you have a “gut response” about something, this comes from the limbic system in your brain which handles our basic emotions.
The top building block of the brain is the cortex. This is the last area of the brain to mature. The cortex is responsible for our most complicated thinking from decision-making to multi-tasking to controlling our emotions. Reading, writing, language, and arithmetic are all cortex functions so children need to spend lots of time in this area of their brains to learn these new skills.