Resources

All of the media products created at the Center on the Developing Child have been crafted with the goal of helping to close the gap between what experts know about the science of early childhood and what the public understands and does about it. The Center strives to present information, especially scientific information, in a way that is accessible to a wide range of readers. The Center has a longstanding relationship with the non-profit FrameWorks Institute, which performs communications research designed to help the Center—and its initiatives, the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child and the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs—translate the science of early childhood development accurately and understandably to scientists and non-scientists alike.

The materials on this site appear in a variety of lengths, styles, and formats in order to appeal to a variety of audiences. The section "Articles & Books" is intended primarily for a scientific audience and includes peer-reviewed journal articles. All other Center publications are designed for non-scientific audiences.

Printed copies of Center publications may be ordered through the Center’s online catalog and delivered to your location for a modest cost, plus shipping and handling. Browse our online catalog of publications >>

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Executive Function Activities GuideActivities Guide

Enhancing and Practicing Executive Function Skills with Children from Infancy to Adolescence

Executive function and self-regulation (EF/SR) skills provide critical supports for learning and development, and while we aren’t born with these skills, we are born with the potential to develop them through interactions and practice. This 16-page guide describes a variety of activities and games that represent age-appropriate ways for adults to support and strengthen various components of EF/SR in children. Each chapter of this guide contains activities suitable for a different age group, from infants to teenagers. The guide may be read in its entirety (which includes the introduction and references) or in discrete sections geared to specific age groups.

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InBrief: The Science of Neglect

New Video

InBrief: The Science of Neglect

Extensive biological and developmental research shows significant neglect—the ongoing disruption or significant absence of caregiver responsiveness—can cause more harm to a young child’s development than overt physical abuse, including subsequent cognitive delays, impairments in executive functioning, and disruptions of the body’s stress response. This edition of the InBrief series explains why significant deprivation is so harmful in the earliest years of life and why effective interventions are likely to pay significant dividends in better long-term outcomes in learning, health, and parenting of the next generation.

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Driving Science-Based Innovation in Policy & Practice

INTERACTIVE FEATURE

Driving Science-Based Innovation in Policy and Practice: A Logic Model

This narrated interactive feature presents a logic model showing how policies and programs that strengthen specific kinds of caregiver and community capacities can build the foundations of healthy development. These support beneficial biological adaptations in the brain and other organ systems, which lead to positive outcomes in health and development across the lifespan.

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Voices from Frontiers of Innovation

VIDEO GALLERY

Voices from Frontiers of Innovation: Building Adult Capabilities 

A new interactive video gallery includes members of Frontiers of Innovation (FOI) speaking about how the initiative’s science-based theory of change for achieving breakthrough outcomes for vulnerable children and families is relevant to—and changing—the way they and others work in a range of policy and practice sectors.

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Working Paper #11

Building the Brain’s “Air Traffic Control” System: How Early Experiences Shape the Development of Executive Function

Working Paper 11Being able to focus, hold, and work with information in mind, filter distractions, and switch gears is like having an air traffic control system at a busy airport to manage the arrivals and departures of dozens of planes on multiple runways. In the brain, this air traffic control mechanism is called executive function, a group of skills that helps us to focus on multiple streams of information at the same time, and revise plans as necessary. Acquiring the early building blocks of these skills is one of the most important and challenging tasks of the early childhood years, and the opportunity to build further on these rudimentary capacities is critical to healthy development through middle childhood, adolescence, and into early adult life. 

This joint Working Paper from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child and the National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs explains how these lifelong skills develop, what can disrupt their development, and how supporting them pays off in school and life.

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InBrief: Early Childhood Mental Health

InBrief: Early Childhood Mental HealthThe science of child development shows that the foundation for sound mental health is built early in life, as early experiences—which include children’s relationships with parents, caregivers, relatives, teachers, and peers—shape the architecture of the developing brain. Disruptions in this developmental process can impair a child’s capacities for learning and relating to others, with lifelong implications. This two-page summary—part of the InBrief series—explains why, many costly problems for society, ranging from the failure to complete high school to incarceration to homelessness, could be dramatically reduced if attention were paid to improving children’s environments of relationships and experiences early in life. 

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"Leveraging the Biology of Adversity to Address the Roots of Disparities in Health and Development"

Drawing on emerging science about how early adversity becomes “built into the body” and can impair learning, behavior, and health for a lifetime, this paper, by Center Director Jack P. Shonkoff, proposes an enhanced theory of change to promote better outcomes for vulnerable young children and to catalyze a new era of more effective early childhood policy and practice. The article appeared, ahead of print publication, on the web site of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.

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