Since a lot is happening in the brain during the first years of life, van der Meer says that it is easier to promote learning and prevent problems when children are very young.
The term "early intervention" keeps popping up in discussions of kindergartens and schools, teaching and learning. Early intervention is about helping children as early as possible to ensure that as many children as possible succeed in their education and on into adulthood -- precisely because the brain has the greatest ability to change under the influence of the ambient conditions early in life.
"When I talk about early intervention, I'm not thinking of six-year-olds, but even younger children from newborns to age three. Today, 98 per cent of Norwegian children attend kindergarten, so the quality of the time that children spend there is especially important. I believe that kindergarten should be more than just a holding place -- it should be a learning arena -- and by that I mean that play is learning," says van der Meer.