Persistent Fear & Anxiety Can Affect Young Children’s Learning & Development

Harvard University, Center on the Developing Child

ACEs, Social Policy, Brain Architecture, Stress

Harvard Center on the Developing Child, December 2009

Ensuring that young children have safe, secure environments in which to grow, learn, and develop healthy brains and bodies is not only good for the children themselves but also builds a strong foundation for a thriving, prosperous society. Science shows that early exposure to circumstances that produce persistent fear and chronic anxiety can have lifelong consequences by disrupting the developing architecture of the brain. Unfortunately, many young children are exposed to such circumstances. While some of these experiences are one-time events and others may reoccur or persist over time, all of them have the potential to affect how children learn, solve problems, and relate to others.