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COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL and stage of development. The media promotes bombarding young children with flash cards and videos or pushing academics because young brains are developing quickly. Ads for products that claim to teach a baby to read or that show two- and three- year-old children naming all the capitals of every state in alphabetical order or the chronology of US presidents look impressive; but this is an inappro- priate use of the research. Young children can mimic and repeat back almost anything when enough time is devoted to teaching it. Yet the material has never really been learned and is quickly forgotten without daily rep- etition and reinforcement, especially if meaning is not connected to the memorized material (Sousa 2006, 2008). In essence, it is a waste of the adult’s time and the child’s effort. We must be diligent in not pressuring young children to memorize facts. Young children need to learn with their senses, through hands-on play. Rote memorization of lists is of little value because children forget the infor- mation quickly. This practice can also be harmful if it creates inappropriate and stressful expectations for children. Likewise, claims of foods fortified with un­proven additives to increase brainpower have little validity. This is a sales gimmick. We have to be intelligent consumers and not believe every pitch to fortify, speed up, or increase brain development. Setting up an enriching learning environment and intentionally guiding children’s interactions with objects brings about learning. Children suc- ceed when they have quality relationships with an adult and a developmentally appropriate curricu- lum. Knowing the influence that careful planning, a thoughtful curriculum, and enriching activities can have on the outcome of each child is exciting. Early care and education professionals and families do make a difference in the lives of children each and every day! How This Book Came to Be The Carnegie Corporation of New York had a task force that published Starting Points: Meeting the Needs of Our Youngest Children (Carnegie Task Force on Meeting the Needs of Young Children 1994). A grant provided training in the new science of brain research for a small group of early child- hood educators. I was fortunate to be selected to learn about the research and was tasked with trav- eling around the state of Florida spreading infor- mation about the results of the research to early childhood providers. After each workshop, teach- ers would tell me they understood brain biology but couldn’t see how that would help their daily teaching. So I began researching books, videos, and articles looking for directions on how to apply this new information. I found nothing. During this time, Dr. Bernard Maria, who was at the McKnight Brain Institute at the University of Florida, and I served together on an advisory council on early care and education. Together we decided that both early childhood providers and parents needed this information on how children learn. We envisioned a “brain bag” with all kinds of information in different formats at different 4  i n t r o d u c t i o n COPYRIGHTED MATERIAL