It is becoming increasingly apparent that the extracellular matrix acts as an important regulator of the neural stem niche. Previously we found that neural stem and progenitor cells (NSPCs) derived from the early postnatal subventricular zone of mice adhere to a collagen/hyaluronan hydrogel, whereas NSPCs from the adult and embryonic brain do not. To examine the specific adhesive properties of young stem cells in more detail, NSPCs isolated from embryonic, postnatal day 6 (P6), and adult mouse brains were cultured on collagen I. Early postnatal NSPCs formed paxillin-positive focal adhesions on collagen I, and these adhesions could be prevented by an antibody that blocked integrin β1. Furthermore, we found the corresponding integrin alpha subunits α2 and α11 levels to be highest at the postnatal stage. Gene ontology analysis of differentially expressed genes showed higher expression of transcripts involved in vasculature development and morphogenesis in P6 stem cells, compared to adult. The ability to interact with the extracellular matrix differs between postnatal and adult NSPCs. Our observations that the specific adhesive properties of early postnatal NSPCs, which are lost in the adult brain, can be ascribed to the integrin subunits expressed by the former furthering our understanding of the developing neurogenic niche. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled Matrix-mediated cell behaviour and properties.