The Center on the Developing Child strives to present scientific information in a way that is accessible to a wide range of readers. If you would like to “dive deeper” into topics presented in this toolkit, the following page suggests a variety of briefs, reports, working papers, and primary sources to explore.
- From Best Practices to Breakthrough Impacts
- The Foundations of Lifelong Health Are Built in Early Childhood
- InBrief: The Foundations of Lifelong Health
- InBrief: The Science of Early Childhood Development
Early Brain and Child Development
Healthy development in the early years (particularly birth to three) provides the building blocks for educational achievement, economic productivity, responsible citizenship, lifelong health, strong communities, and successful parenting of the next generation. These resources will give an in-depth look at the science of early brain and child development and how practitioners can best support children and families during this critical stage.
- Connecting the Brain to the Rest of the Body: Early Childhood Development and Lifelong Health Are Deeply Intertwined
- InBrief: Connecting the Brain to the Rest of the Body
- Early Experiences Can Alter Gene Expression and Affect Long-Term Development
- The Timing and Quality of Early Experiences Combine to Shape Brain Architecture
- Early Exposure to Toxic Substances Damages Brain Architecture
- Children’s Emotional Development is Built into the Architecture of their Brain
- Young Children Develop in an Environment of Relationships
- Establishing a Level Foundation for Life: Mental Health Begins in Early Childhood
- InBrief: Early Childhood Mental Health
Executive function and self-regulation skills are like an air traffic control system in the brain—they help us manage information, make decisions, and plan ahead. We need these skills at every stage of life, and while no one is born with them, we are all born with the potential to develop them. These resources will give an in-depth look at the science behind executive functioning and how to promote the development of these skills.
- Building the Brain’s “Air Traffic Control” System: How Early Experiences Shape the Development of Executive Function
- InBrief: Executive Function: Skills for Life and Learning
- Understanding Motivation: Building the Brain Architecture That Supports Learning, Health, and Community Participation
- InBrief: Understanding the Science of Motivation
ACES, Toxic Stress, Inflammation, and Adversity
The future of any society depends on its ability to foster the healthy development of the next generation. Extensive research on the biology of stress now shows that healthy development can be derailed by excessive or prolonged activation of stress response systems in the body and brain. Such toxic stress can have damaging effects on learning, behavior, and health across the lifespan. These resources will give an in-depth look at the science behind ACEs, Toxic Stress, Inflammation, and Adversity.
- Applying the Science of Child Development in Child Welfare Systems
- InBrief: Applying the Science of Child Development in Child Welfare Systems
- The Science of Neglect: The Persistent Absence of Responsive Care Disrupts the Developing Brain
- InBrief: The Science of Neglect
- Persistent Fear and Anxiety Can Affect Young Children’s Learning and Development
- Excessive Stress Disrupts the Architecture of the Developing Brain
- Early Childhood Adversity, Toxic Stress, and the Impacts of Racism on the Foundations of Health
- Capitalizing on Advances in Science to Reduce the Health Consequences of Early Childhood Adversity
- Early Childhood Adversity, Toxic Stress, and the Role of the Pediatrician: Translating Developmental Science into Lifelong Health
- The Lifelong Effects of Early Childhood Adversity and Toxic Stress
- Moving Upstream: Confronting Racism to Open Up Children’s Potential
- InBrief: The Impact of Early Adversity on Children’s Development
- InBrief: The Science of Early Childhood Development
- Strategies for Effectively Communicating about Toxic Stress
- Maternal Depression Can Undermine the Development of Young Children
Reducing the effects of significant adversity on children’s healthy development is essential to the progress and prosperity of any society. Science tells us that some children develop resilience, or the ability to overcome serious hardship, while others do not. Understanding why some children do well despite adverse early experiences is crucial, because it can inform more effective policies and programs that help more children reach their full potential. These resources will give an in-depth look at the science behind resilience.
- Supportive Relationships and Active Skill-Building Strengthen the Foundations of Resilience
- Leveraging the Biology of Adversity and Resilience to Transform Pediatric Practice
- Genes, Environments, and Time: The Biology of Adversity and Resilience
- InBrief: The Science of Resilience
Caregiver/Adult Capabilities and Skill-Building
Adults need certain capabilities to succeed in life and support the development of the next generation. These capabilities help us to get and keep a job, provide responsive care for children, manage a household, and contribute productively to the community. When these skills have not developed as they should, or are compromised by the stresses of poverty or other sources of ongoing adversity, our communities pay the price in population health, education, and economic vitality. These resources will give an in-depth look at how to support responsive relationships for children and adults, strengthen core skills for planning, adapting and achieving goals, and reduce sources of stress in the lives of children and families.
The following primary sources have been selected from the many references utilized to create the briefs, reports, and working papers created by the Center on the Developing Child. Please note that a personal login may be necessary in order to access the following works.
- Fox, S.E., Levitt, P., & Nelson, C.A. (2010). How the timing and quality of early experiences influence the development of brain architecture. Child Development, 81(1), 28-40.
- Lupien, S.J., McEwen, B.S., Gunnar, M.R., & Heim, C. (2009). Effects of stress throughout the lifespan on the brain, behaviour and cognition. Nature Reviews Neuroscience, 10(6), 434-445.
- Shonkoff, J.P., Boyce, W.T., McEwen B.S., (2009). Neuroscience, molecular biology, and the childhood roots of health disparities: Building a new framework for health promotion and disease prevention. JAMA, 301(21), 2252-2259.
- Meaney, M. (2001). Maternal care, gene expression, and the transmission of individual differences in stress reactivity across generations. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 24, 1161-1192.
- Knudsen, E. (2004). Sensitive periods in the development of the brain and behavior. Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, 16, 1412-1425.
- Posner, M., & Rothbart, M. (2000). Developing mechanisms of self-regulation. Development and Psychopathology, 12(3), 427-442.
- Thompson, R.A. (2001). Development in the first years of life. The future of children, 11, 20-33.
- Masten, A.S. (2007). Resilience in developing systems: Progress and promise as the fourth wave rises. Development and Psychopathology, 19(3), 921–930.
- Rutter, M. (2012). Resilience as a dynamic concept. Development and Psychopathology, 24(2), 335–344. 92.
- Yehuda, R., Halligan, S.L., & Grossman, R. (2001). Childhood trauma and risk for PTSD: Relationship to intergenerational effects of trauma, parental PTSD, and cortisol excretion. Development and Psychopathology, 13(3), 733–753.
- Blair, C., & Raver, C.C. (2012). Child development in the context of adversity: Experiential canalization of brain and behavior. American Psychologist, 67(4), 309.
- Felitti, V.J., Anda, R.F., Nordenberg, D., Williamson, D.F., Spitz, A.M., Edwards, V., Koss, M.P., & Marks, J.S. (1998). Relationship of childhood abuse and household dysfunction to many of the leading causes of death in adults. The adverse childhood cxperiences (ACE) study. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 14(4), 245–258.
- Manly, J., Kim, J.E., Rogosch, F.A., & Cicchetti, D. (2001). Dimensions of child maltreatment and children’s adjustment: Contributions of developmental timing and subtype. Development and Psychopathology, 13(4), 759-782.
- Leve, L.D., Fisher, P.A., & Chamberlain, P. (2009). Multidimensional treatment foster care as a preventive intervention to promote resiliency among youth in the child welfare system. Journal of Personality, 77(6), 1869-1902.