Brain Development Resources
The Web resources in this list provide information and research on cognition and brain development. They discuss implications for parenting and programming. And offer ideas for creating policies for the early care and education of children.
National and State Organizations
Better Brains for Babies (BBB)
BBB is a collaboration of state, local, public, and private organizations dedicated to promoting awareness and education about the importance of early brain development in the healthy growth and development of infants and young children in Georgia. BBB shares research on brain development and information on fact sheets, resources, and additional Web sites through the What You Need to Know and the What Information Is Available links on their Web site.
National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC)
800-424-2460 or 202-232-8777
NAEYC is a nonprofit professional organization dedicated to improving the quality of care and education provided to our nation’s young children. NAEYC has over 100,000 members, teachers, administrators, parents, policy-makers, and others committed to bringing high-quality early education and care to all young children. In addition to the bimonthly journal Young Children, NAEYC publishes books, brochures, videotapes, and posters.
National Network for Child Care (NNCC)
NNCC unites the expertise of many of the nation’s leading universities through the outreach system of USDA Cooperative Extension. It provides practical information about children and parenting for parents, professionals, practitioners, and the general public.
National Scientific Council on the Developing Child at Harvard University
This multidisciplinary collaboration of many of the nation’s leading scientists in early childhood development combines cutting-edge, interdisciplinary scientific knowledge on early child development with highly sophisticated communication research methods designed to ensure accurate public understanding of that science. The Council also trains scholars who are competent in public communications by integrating this unique collaboration into the curricula of selected academic institutions, beginning with The Heller School at Brandeis University. Publications from the Council about brain development include the following:
- Excessive Stress Disrupts the Architecture of the Developing Brain (June 2009)
Working Paper No. 3
Notes that the science of early childhood development, including knowledge about the impact of stress on the developing brain, supports a number of evidence-based implications for those who develop and implement policies that affect the health and well-being of young children. It suggests public and private actions that can prevent the kinds of adverse circumstances that are capable of derailing healthy development, as well as increase the likelihood that effective interventions will reduce potential damage to a young child’s developing brain architecture and thereby promote greater resilience.
- Children’s Emotional Development is Built into the Architecture of Their Brains (Winter 2004)
Working Paper No. 2
States that emotional development is built into the architecture of young children’s brains in response to their individual personal experiences and the influences of the environments in which they live. In addition to describing what science knows about emotional development, it debunks common myths about the emotional development of young children. It also discusses implications for policy and programs.
- Young Children Develop in an Environment of Relationships (2004)
Working Paper No. 1
Indicates that healthy development depends on the quality and reliability of young children’s relationships with the important people in their life, both within and outside the family. The development of children’s brain architecture depends on the establishment of these relationships. Young children experience their world as an environment of relationships, and these relationships affect virtually all aspects of their development (i.e., intellectual, social, emotional, physical, behavioral, and moral). Nurturing and stable relationships with caring adults are essential to healthy human development beginning from birth. Implications for policy and programs are described.
Neuroscience for Kids
Neuroscience for Kids provides students and educators with useful, easy-to-understand information, news and Web links, experiments, and activities about neuroscience. See the Explore the Nervous System link for information about the brain and its development. Some resources are available in Spanish, Slovene, Chinese, Portuguese, Italian, Korean and Turkish.
Talaris Research Institute
Talaris Research Institute is dedicated to discovering how children think, feel, and learn. Talaris synthesizes research into practical applications for parents, caregivers, educators, healthcare providers, and the corporate community.
Zero to Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families
Zero to Three is a national organization focused exclusively on issues affecting infants and toddlers.
- Starting Smart: How Early Experiences Affect Brain Development (2000), 2nd ed.
Zero to Three and The Ounce of Prevention Fund
Examines the effects of early experiences on infant brain development.
Additional Publications on Brain Development
Quick Facts: Brain Research
Education Commission of the States
Provides a bulleted list of quick facts taken from a number of recent research reports about the brain.
Annotated Bibliography of Resources for Infant & Toddler Programs (November 2000)
Center for Prevention and Early Intervention Policy
An infant and toddler training resource guide that lists CD-ROMs, videos, and print resources that focus on brain development.
From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development (2000)
Eds. Jack P. Shonkoff and Deborah A. Phillips
Committee on Integrating the Science of Early Childhood Development, Board on Children, Youth, and Families, Commission on Behavioral and Social Sciences and Education, National Research Council and Institute of Medicine
A comprehensive study about early childhood.
Nature, Nurture and Early Brain Development (January 2000)
Sara Gable and Melissa Hunting
Missouri University Extension, University of Missouri-Columbia
Looks at early brain development from both the biological and environmental perspectives. The differences between critical and sensitive experiences are discussed.
Publications on the Implication of Brain Development Research on Policy/Programming
Early Learning Left Out: An Examination of Public Investments in Education and Development by Child Age (February 2004)
Voices for America’s Children and the Child and Family Policy Center
This study examined public investments in the education and development of children during the early learning years (0–5 years), the school-aged years (6–18 years), and the college-aged years (19–23 years). It is based upon detailed analyses of state, federal, and school district spending in 12 States across the country in FY 2001. It notes that while 85 percent of a child’s core brain structure is formed by age 3, less than 4 percent of public investments on education and development have occurred by that time. All 12 States show large investment gaps between investments made in the early learning years compared with those made in the school-aged and college-aged years.
Child Welfare and School Readiness: Making the Link for Vulnerable Children (2003)
Linda McCart and Charles Bruner, with Patricia Schene
State Early Childhood Policy Technical Assistance Network
This research brief is designed to strengthen the connections between child welfare and other early childhood services in State and national efforts in order to promote and enhance optimal child development. It provides a brief overview of the school readiness-policy background and draws upon the growing evidence from brain research, child development, and child welfare to show the need to address developmental issues of children in the child welfare system. It also describes roles that the child welfare system can play in better addressing the educational and developmental needs of young children in their system.
Promoting School Success: Closing the Gap Between Research and Practice Policy Implications of Current Research on Early Brain Development and Findings from Longitudinal and Cross-site Evaluations of Early Care and Education Programs (2003)
Child Development Policy Institute Education Fund
Child Development Policy Institute
A synthesis of the findings that emerged during a conference of early care and education practitioners on promoting school success (Promoting School Success: Transforming Research into Policy and Practice [January 2002], sponsored by the Child Development Policy Institute Education Fund and the Child Development Policy Institute). The recommendations that emerged are organized into the following five thematic areas: (1) Early Brain Development, (2) How Children Learn, (3) Long Term Cost Benefits, (4) Importance of Caregivers, and (5) Communication Across Disciplines.