Seven Things We Know from the Developmental Sciences

Because science tells us more and more about how children’s brains work, we’ve gotten better at providing children with the services and opportunities they need to thrive.

Our Center at the Boston College Lynch School of Education published a brief on the scientific foundation of our work called, “Principles of Effective Practice for Integrated Student Support,” which explains:

“Developmental science illuminates risks to child development and learning, as well as opportunities for meaningful intervention.”

“This research provides insight into why experiences like poverty and trauma can inhibit learning, and what can be done to counteract their effects.” These insights come from the sciences of psychology, human development, cognitive science, and neurobiology.

What do we know, so far? Continue reading

New Conversations – A Policy Brief

Students at the Saint Columbkille Partnership School in Brighton, MA.

 

We think it’s a new moment — and it’s full of new conversations.

Science is increasingly talking about how and why connecting kids to the right services helps them succeed.

We explore this conversation in more depth in our new policy brief, “Principles of Effective Practice for Integrated Student Support.”

We’ve known for decades that what happens to children outside school can help or hurt how well they do inside school. What’s new is that we’re talking about the complexities science has found. We know, for example, that:

• Every child is unique and that children’s development happens across a range of domains — academic, social-emotional, and health — and in a range of settings that include home, school, and communities.

• Strengths and risks act together. As we say in the policy brief, “There is a delicate dialogue between risks and strengths, where a child’s protective resources such as positive relationships, talents or interests may or may not help to mitigate the impacts of risk factors like deprivation, abuse, or anxiety,” and

• Development occurs over time and it can be disrupted by chronic adversity and trauma, also known as toxic stress. Development can also be helped by effective interventions that help a child get back on track.

Continue reading