The science of early childhood is a source of new ideas that could be used to develop more effective policies & services focused on the early years of life.
Science tells us that early childhood is a time of both great promise and considerable risk. Having responsive relationships with adults, growth-promoting experiences, and healthy environments for all young children helps build sturdy brain architecture and the foundations of resilience. Meanwhile, significant disadvantages can disrupt the developmental process and lead to limited economic and social mobility that threatens the vitality, productivity, and sustainability of society.
These key concepts are the building blocks of the science of child development. Each page within this section provides a concise overview of a different key concept and aggregates a variety of resources created by the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child and the Center.
“Deep dives” provide in-depth scientific content that is accurate, credible, understandable to nonscientists, and useful for public decision makers. Within each “deep dive” section, you’ll find different types of materials based on research by the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child.
National Scientific Council on the Developing Child
The National Scientific Council on the Developing Child is a multidisciplinary, multi-university collaboration designed to bring the science of early childhood and early brain development to bear on public decision making. Established in 2003, the Council is committed to an evidence-based approach to building broad-based public will that transcends political partisanship and recognizes the complementary responsibilities of family, community, workplace, and government to promote the well-being of all young children.
The JPB Research Network on Toxic Stress
The JPB Research Network on Toxic Stress is committed to reducing the prevalence of lifelong health impairments caused by toxic stress in early childhood. This collaborative network draws on the expertise of distinguished scientists and pioneering clinicians. It is uniquely poised to develop science-based theories of change that drive the design, testing, evaluation, and scaling of innovative interventions in community and pediatric settings.
Other scientific activities sponsored by the Center on the Developing Child include research on brain plasticity, executive function and self-regulation, and program effectiveness.