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Shonkoff: New Science+ More Diverse Voices = Greater Impact


The current early childhood ecosystem is fueled by extensive knowledge about child development, mountains of data from program evaluations, and continuing public fascination with the developing brain. Its energy is sustained by the tireless efforts of providers of early care and education, primary health care and social services, policymakers, advocates, and families raising young children under a wide range of conditions.

The need to jump on this opportunity together, at this moment in time, is urgent.

Over the past two decades, the “brain science story” has made a powerful case for investing in the early childhood period. During the last two years, a devastating pandemic has exacerbated longstanding inequalities and disrupted vital services, while a groundswell of social activism has brought broader public attention to the deeply embedded inequities of institutional and systemic racism. These converging challenges have intensified the demand for fresh thinking about the future of the early childhood field. The opportunity to leverage advances in science, on-the-ground experience and expertise, and a richer diversity of voices to drive a critical re-envisioning is compelling. The need to jump on this opportunity together, at this moment in time, is urgent … (Click on the link below to read more)

Envisioning a Science-Informed Mindset Shift for an Expanded Early Childhood Agenda

The current framework for policies and programs is guided by three core concepts of early childhood development (ECD) that constitute what we might now call ECD 1.0:

  1. the impact of early experiences on brain architecture;
  2. the importance of responsive, “serve and return” interactions for healthy development; and
  3. the disruptive effects of toxic stress on the developing brain and early learning.

Building on this strong foundation, advances in the biological sciences now underscore three additional concepts that, together with the original core story of development, offer a new framework for science-informed investment in a post-pandemic world. The addition of these three concepts completes ECD 2.0.

Click here to read both articles in full.

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