First 1000 Days

First 1000 Days

Recent neuroscience research has shown that 80% of the foundation of a child’s brain development occurs in the first 1000 days of life. These first three years impact a child’s health, learning, and executive function for the rest of their life. The Itasca Project recognizes that multiple factors drive healthy brain development, such as adequate health and nutrition, exposure to language, parent bonding, mitigation of stress, and more. Deep inequities exist in accessing these conditions and experiences. As a result, disparities across socioeconomic status first appear at just 18 months, as parents and families with low incomes need to focus on basic needs and babies are exposed to less enriching environments.

Each year, 34,000 children are born in the Minneapolis-St Paul region; approximately 10,000 face significant challenges and risks due to the conditions they face. To engage employers in strategies to better support families and children across our region, the Itasca Project is:

Sharing the latest research and best practices

  • A toolkit for employers to pursue family-friendly practices and policies – COMING SOON
  • University of Minnesota, Institute of Child Development – founded in 1925, a world renowned site for research on child and adolescent development and the faculty home of many of the members and directors of the Masonic Institute of the Developing Brain.
  • University of Minnesota, Masonic Institute for the Developing Brain – a new, interdisciplinary center for world-renowned research on early childhood development.
Itasca Project

c/o Saint Paul & Minnesota Foundation
101 Fifth Street East, Suite 2400
Saint Paul, MN 55101-1800
(612) 371-3151

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