How does a child’s brain develop? A short guide


The first few years of a child’s life are fundamental to the healthy development of their brain. During these years, over one million neural connections are formed every second. Even before birth, prenatal sensory experiences will help shape the brain and nervous system.

In the first year of a child’s life, significant ‘wiring’ of the brain occurs, particularly through the relationships and experiences the child has with the parents and caregivers. These early experiences shape children’s brain development and have a lasting effect on their mental health and wellbeing, and thus positive relationships and a rich learning environment promotes their development while early adverse experiences may alter a child’s progress. They learn emotions through observing their parents and caregivers, and how they react to various movements and sounds such as crying, yelling, smiling and cooing.

The first few years brings a rapid period of brain development which can be encouraged by positive relationships with parents and a supportive and rich community environment for children to experience. If an adult is consistently warm and responsive to the child, the brain architecture develops in an optimal way. Thus, engaging with your child and providing a safe environment and physical care has a significant impact on your child’s development.

The Wishing Well foundation

The Wishing Well was established in 2010 to offer children in out-of-home care, such as foster care and residential care, a range of healing and treatment options usually not accessible as a free therapy in mainstream health.

The Wishing Well raises funds to enable children and young people to access developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments shown to be highly effective in dealing with severe trauma and neglect. These therapies respond to the unique needs of each child and young person.

The Wishing Well is a not-for-profit incorporated charity organisation, established and managed by people seeking to improve outcomes for children and young people in out-of-home care and their families. The Wishing Well recognises the importance of the act of giving. We recognise the significance of the participation of community members and all donations are most appreciated.

The Wishing Well operates ethically, effectively and empathically with a view to achieving quality outcomes and a satisfying working environment.

Support the Wishing Well

The Wishing Well uses its funds to help children in need access all manners of developmentally-appropriate and trauma-informed treatments. The Wishing Well takes referrals for any child/young person in out-of-home care in NSW.  Applications are assessed by qualified personnel and on a case-by-case basis.  The decision to fund an application is affected by the following:

  • Funding availability
  • The support the child/young person has to access the proposed therapies
  • The capacity and willingness of the Carer Household to support the child/young person
  • Assessment, which recommends and supports the proposed therapy as relevant to meeting the particular needs of the child/young person

The Wishing Well gratefully receives donations, funding and resources through bequests, corporate partnerships, fundraising events, grants, online donations and other fund raising activities. Money donated to The Wishing Well enables traumatised children access to healing therapies. Please see our website for more information:


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