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Legislative building

Motivation and Early Childhood Policy: Science-Based Approaches for Policymakers and Public Systems

The brain circuits underlying motivation are critical for attention, learning, and decision-making. When these circuits have either not developed in a balanced and healthy way or have been chemically hijacked by addictions, challenging life circumstances can overpower the best of intentions. Programs intended to support parents and children facing adversity often find that participation is […]

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Toddlers watching a teacher

How to Motivate Children: Science-Based Approaches for Parents, Caregivers, and Teachers

The intrinsic motivation to learn about the world around us begins in infancy. This type of motivation can either be encouraged or suppressed by the experiences adults provide for children. Psychological research points to a set of promising approaches that parents and practitioners can use to promote positive motivation and learning during development.

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5 facts about motivation: fact 1

5 Facts About Motivation That Are Often Misunderstood

What is motivation, and how does it work? Learn five quick facts about motivation that are frequently misconstrued or misunderstood.

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Smiling Hispanic female daycare teacher works with cute little female preschooler. The teacher and student are sitting at a table working with educational development toys.

5 Steps for Brain-Building Serve and Return

Serve and return interactions make everyday moments fun and become second nature with practice. By taking small moments during the day to do serve and return, you build up the foundation for children’s lifelong learning, behavior, and health—and their skills for facing life’s challenges.

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children with caregiver/teacher

8 Things to Remember about Child Development

In this important list, featured in the From Best Practices to Breakthrough Impacts report, the Center on the Developing Child sets the record straight about some aspects of early child development.

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The Science of Resilience InBrief

InBrief: The Science of Resilience

This brief summarizes the science of resilience and explains why understanding it will help us design policies and programs that enable more children to reach their full potential.

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Early Childhood Mental Health InBrief

InBrief: Early Childhood Mental Health

This brief explains why 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.

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The Science of Neglect InBrief

InBrief: The Science of Neglect

This brief explains why neglect, or the absence of responsive, supportive care, can affect the formation of the developing brain, impairing later learning, behavior, and health.

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Executive Function InBrief

InBrief: Executive Function

This brief describes why executive function skills are essential for school achievement, success in work, and healthy lives.

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Foundations of Lifelong Health InBrief

InBrief: The Foundations of Lifelong Health

This brief explains why a vital and productive society with a prosperous and sustainable future is built on a foundation of healthy child development.

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Five Numbers to Remember about Early Childhood Development cover image

Five Numbers to Remember about Early Childhood Development

This brief discusses five numbers that illustrate the importance of early childhood to the learning, behavior, and health of later life.

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Early Childhood Program Effectiveness InBrief

InBrief: Early Childhood Program Effectiveness

This brief discusses how society can ensure that children have a solid foundation for a productive future by creating and implementing effective early childhood programs and policies.

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InBrief: The impact of early adversity on children's development cover thumbnail

InBrief: The Impact of Early Adversity on Children’s Development

This brief explains how providing stable, responsive, nurturing relationships in the earliest years of life can prevent or even reverse the damaging effects of early life stress, with lifelong benefits for learning, behavior, and health.

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InBrief: The science of early childhood development cover thumbnail

InBrief: The Science of Early Childhood Development

This brief explains how the science of early brain development can inform investments in early childhood. These basic concepts, established over decades of neuroscience and behavioral research, help illustrate why child development—particularly from birth to five years—is a foundation for a prosperous and sustainable society.

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