The basic science of early childhood and early brain development answers the "why" and "what" questions about investing in young children. The applied science of intervention and program evaluation is essential to answer the "when" and "how" questions. Over the past four decades, a compelling body of empirical data from a relatively small number of successful programs has begun to answer these latter questions for young children who are at risk for poor life outcomes. The analysis of these data by child development researchers, education specialists, and economists has shown that it is possible to improve a wide range of outcomes for vulnerable children well into the adult years, as well as generate benefits to society far in excess of program costs. Over this same 40-year period, however, evaluations also have shown that many interventions, particularly those that are planned or implemented poorly, have generated few to no beneficial effects. Together, these positive and negative findings have contributed to a growing body of knowledge about both successful and ineffective programs and/or practices.

National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs

The National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs was established to complement the work of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, which aims to explain why public investments should be made in the early childhood years. The Forum attempts to answer what those investments should be and how they should be made, and, to that end, it assesses and interprets program evaluation research. More >>



Building Adult Capacities to Improve Child Outcomes: A Theory of Change

A Theory of ChangeThis 5-minute video depicts a theory of change from the Frontiers of Innovation community for achieving breakthrough outcomes for vulnerable children and families. It describes the need to focus on building the capabilities of caregivers and strengthening the communities that together form the environment of relationships essential to children's lifelong learning, health, and behavior.

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Video & Brief

InBrief: Executive Function: Skills for Life and Learning

InBrief: Executive Function: Skills for Life and LearningBeing 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 functioning, a group of skills that helps us to focus on multiple streams of information at the same time, and revise plans as necessary. This edition of the InBrief series 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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