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Improving Early Childhood Development
Why This Focus?
Dr. Ross Thompson, Professor of Psychology, University of Nebraska, Lincoln, NE.
Much of a child's physical, social, emotional, and cognitive development occurs from birth to age five. A focus on the science of early brain development in recent years has given us a better understanding of the importance of early experiences and relationships to a child's development.
The sentinel work, From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development, provides compelling evidence that early experiences influence brain development.
As described by Dr. Thompson, nurturing early brain development requires a comprehensive approach of prevention and early intervention strategies, targeted at both parents and children. A growing emphasis on school readiness requires a focus on how children feel as much as on how they think. Their social, emotional, and mental health and the environment in which they live form the basis for their readiness to learn.