"The most important thing children need to thrive is to live in an environment of relationships that begins in their family but also extends out to include adults who aren't family members, in child care centers and other programs. What children need is for that entire environment of relationships to be invested in their healthy development," according to Jack P. Schonkoff, MD, in a video from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University.
Information alone won’t lead to change, especially for those adults who did not benefit from a healthy start. Referring to research on brain development and functioning, Schonkoff tells us "We need to focus on the development of the adults who are important in kids' lives. We need to focus on their skills, their needs." He goes on to explain, while adults often receive vast information on positive parenting and care practices, what many adults really need to provide a healthy start for young children is the support and practice to build their own executive function skills, including focusing attention, planning, monitoring, delaying gratification, being able to solve problems, being able to work in teams, and self-regulation."
Schonkoff concludes with the need to address executive functioning as a society. "Moving it up to a policy level, how are our policies strengthening communities' abilities to reduce sources of toxic stress and caregivers abilities to provide what kids need? …This kind of future orientation is critical for a healthy society."
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Francis, thank you for bringing up these points. All valid!
-Tiffany at Exchange Press
I get really very tired of "researchers and experts" from prestigious universities who tell us that we need to address issues of stress in early childhood caregivers, and that we should help caregivers provide the emotional support children need, without deeply understanding that the central cause of this stress is the horrible pay and terrible benefits that these caregivers receive. Additionally, we read reams of articles and research from "professional associations",about how teachers off young children must address racial inequalities, but again there is little recognition that none of this matters until people who care for our youngest and most vulnerable are adequately compensated.