From Best Practices to Breakthrough Impacts

From Best Practices to Breakthrough Impacts

Efforts to improve early childhood programs should reflect the scientifically-confirmed fact that early childhood experiences affect children's long-term physical and mental health and that healthy brain development requires protection from excessive stress, a report from the finds. The report, (52 pages, PDF), found that best practices for early childhood programs include supporting the efforts of parents, teachers, and childcare staff to develop the socio-emotional skills of children and improving caretaker-child interactions; tailoring interventions to specific sources of stress such as poverty, special needs, mental health issues, and/or mistreatment; supporting the health and nutrition of mothers and babies before, during, and after pregnancy; providing a high-quality, language-rich, and physically safe childcare environment; and targeting curricula to clearly articulated developmental outcomes. According to the report, scaling effective programs also will require greater collaboration in designing and testing new strategies; precision in defining interventions and measuring outcomes; a rapid-cycle, iterative enhancement process; a strategy for identifying who benefits most and least from such interventions; and a focus on system-level innovation. The Center on the Developing Child is funded by the , , the , and the , , , , , , , and foundations.

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