For parents, knowing whether they are raising their children the “right” way can feel like an impossible task. Parenting programs can make a unique and indispensable contribution to child well-being, and ultimately give children the resilience to thrive, even in challenging circumstances.
The most comprehensive look to date at the benefits of early childhood education found that 102 of 115 programs improved at least one outcome for children beyond a statistical doubt. And the economic and social benefits continue to pay dividends, sometimes well into adulthood.
The idea that bullying is experienced by only a few children and adolescents is false. Most cases are verbal, not physical, and victims tend to remain silent. Research has shown that bullying can have negative long-term effects on a person's life.
Doctors recommend exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of a baby's life. This provides health benefits to both mother and child and saves health care costs. Paid maternity leave can boost breastfeeding rates, but few U.S. firms offer it.
Young children can understand concepts in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), and early development of STEM skills seems to support learning later in life. But an effective teaching system is needed before STEM learning can be fully integrated into early childhood education.
Global attention has turned to education as a way to counter extremism. But what has been missing from the conversation is a focus on learning in children's first years, when much brain development occurs. In the Middle East and North Africa, government underinvestment in formal programs for young children is the norm.
Behavioral health professionals and community agencies often do not consider the impact of parental depression on young children or focus on the adult's role as a parent. New guidelines recommending depression screening during primary care visits for pregnant women and new mothers are a critical first step.
The White House has mobilized an impressive coalition to address a critical national challenge, and used the power of research evidence to begin to structure the initiative. By drawing more lessons from research, the initiative can further bolster its chance to build strong and lasting ladders of opportunity and success for boys and young men of color.
Federal and state initiatives to advance preschool program quality will further ensure that these investments in early learning programs will achieve their full promise and promote healthy child development — physically, socially, emotionally, and academically, writes Lynn Karoly.
High-quality early childhood interventions can improve academic achievement, reduce crime and delinquency, and enhance future labor market success. But the operative word is "high-quality." And for early childhood programs to be high-quality, they must have qualified instructors.
A optimal approach to strategically expanding access to early childhood programs is one that helps states and communities identify evidence-based approaches that address their particular needs, within the context of their characteristics, writes M. Rebecca Kilburn.
Chairman of the U.S. Federal Reserve System Ben S. Bernanke cited RAND studies that have documented the importance of investing early in children's learning as he made the case that early education programs are one of the best investments that society can make in its future.