You can think of the pruning process a bit like taking care of a rose bush. During development, there is a period of great growth. The connections in the brain are “blooming,” similar to roses in the summer. Following that burst of growth there is a period of pruning. Excess brain connections that we don’t need are cut back, just like spindly rose branches. These extra connections actually hinder brain function. The result of this period of blooming and pruning is a brain – or a rosebush – that is healthy and thriving. Throughout development, there are multiple periods of blooming and pruning. These bursts occur at different times and in different regions across the brain. Scientists think that these bursts of blooming and pruning align with sensitive periods in the brain. Sensitive periods are times when our brain is particularly sensitive to experiences, and open to learning.