Illustration of tree including roots.

Healthy Roots

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Lone tree in distance. Foreground is green crop.

We can compare a person's early development to the first stages of tree growth. For people and for trees, a strong start lays the foundation for a healthy life.

Close up of forest floor including moss and leaves.

The very beginning of a tree's life, when the roots are starting to grow, is comparable to the first stage of human development from conception to about age eight. At this point in development, many factors affect future health and well-being.

Mossy tree roots.

Healthy tree roots require the right soil, moisture, sunshine and temperature conditions to support the growth of a healthy tree. Similarly, a child requires healthy conditions such as positive experiences, nutrition, stimulation, rich language input, and nurturing care to grow.

A flat, dry and cracked clay bed with a dead and twisted tree to the right.

Protection from adverse conditions, such as extreme weather, can help ensure that a tree will develop strong roots. Without this protection, the tree may not be able to withstand problematic conditions in the future.

Protecting a child from harmful experiences is important for healthy brain growth. When a child experiences early harsh conditions or does not have his or her needs met then it is harder for that child to overcome adversity throughout life.

With healthy roots, it is likely that a tree will flourish and grow to a point where it is firmly established.

A strong foundation of positive early experiences sets the child up to be able to learn and grow and helps establish him/her on the path to adulthood.

As a tree grows to maturity, its health and longevity depend a great deal on whether its roots are firm or fragile. Having a healthy, full-grown tree is more likely when early conditions were positive.

Similarly, for a person, positive early environments help ensure successful growth. Children are more likely to thrive and become successful adults with a strong foundation of healthy early experiences.


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