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  • Writer's pictureMelinda Cropsey

Epigenetics 101

In early childhood “the psychic life of a child needs to be protected and to be surrounded by an environment that could be compared with the wrappings placed by nature about the physical embryo.”*
- Maria Montessori

According to stem cell biologist, author and pioneer in the emerging field of epigenetics Dr. Bruce Lipton, a newborn is like a computer that has an operating system, but no programs. And so, according to Dr. Lipton, nature created the first 7 years of a child’s life, in order to “download programs!" During this period children function at vibrations of the brain that are less than conscious - Delta (Birth-Age 2), Theta (Age 2-+/- 6), and Alpha (+/-6 - 8). Essentially, whatever the child sees and experiences, it downloads without question or evaluation… “just like a video recorder.” The problem is that many of these experiences are not necessarily positive or helpful, and yet they become a part of the child’s subconscious, “habit-mind” or harddrive, and 95% of our adult behaviors are rooted in these subconscious programs.

The good news is that it is not impossible to reprogram ourselves, as adults. The even better news is that we can use this knowledge and choose to become “conscious parents and teachers”. By becoming mindful of the fact that the video recorder is running 24/7:

  • We can intentionally model behaviors of kindness, self-compassion and peace.

  • We can motivate by using messaging that is empowering: “You are smart”, “You are powerful”, “You are creative”, “You can achieve anything you set your heart to.”!

  • We can delight in offering a new generation of powerful, creative, loving human beings who are cognizant of both their uniqueness and interbeingness.

  • We can heed Dr. Montessori’s prescient advice and nurture our children in an environment of LOVE.

*Montessori, Maria (1966). The Secret of Childhood, The Random House Publishing Group, New York, NY, p.20.

The Breadcrumbs BLOG is devoted to offering parents, caregivers and educators tools to help young children develop a strong social-emotional framework. Each week we offer tips and suggestions, rooted in Montessori philosophy and backed by the latest research, to help young children realize their “highest potentialities."


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