In this chapter, we start by looking at the way the brain develops from birth to adolescence and consider the main ways in which areas of the brain and brain activity are linked to particular abilities and behaviours. Recent research from the field of neuroscience enables us to understand these processes much more clearly than before and provides important insights into all aspects of child development. Of course, children are born into a particular social context, so in this chapter we also consider in a broad way the impact of family, community and wider society. There are complex interactions between biological, socio-economic, health, educational and socio-emotional factors in any child’s development. Here we consider some of the wide discrepancies in the experiences of children and young people within our own society and the impact that this has on their development. Bronfenbrenner’s influential ecological model of human development provides a useful framework which underpins the argument in the chapters that follow.