Based on a previous blog posting, I have chosen the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University (http://developingchild.harvard.edu/) as the web I would like to follow, subscribe, and share. As you know, I am also working toward my Masters in Early Childhood Education with an emphasis on Public Policy and Advocacy.
I googled in their website “advocacy” and came up with three reports. It is not hard to see why I chose A Decade of Science Informing Policy: The Story of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. In my previous review of their website, I noticed that their website has six sections: Key Concepts, Activities, Resources, Faculty & Staff, News & Events, and About.
Within the section of Activities, I noticed 6 affiliates, more specifically, Frontiers of Innovation and Science of Adversity and Resilience – the latter on which I did a previous report. Dr. Jack Shonkoff (2009), the Director of the Center on the Developing Child, wrote about the “compelling need for innovation” (p.81) in early childhood care and education.
In the report by the Center on the Developing Child (2014), they outlined how they managed to walk the fine line of remaining dedicated to being scientists and researchers and yet advocating for investments in early childhood care and education. Dr. Shonkoff was a member of a National Academy of Sciences (NAS) committee that wrote a report called From Neurons to Neighborhoods. At the end of the task, he declared that the report would be “much more than a report that was released, discussed for a few days, and then forgotten.” I can relate to his desire to make a difference that way.
The results of Dr. Shonkoff’s dedication to make From Neurons to Neighborhoods matter in people’s lives are now the Center’s collaborative relationships with National Scientific Council on the Developing Child and all others that are listed under Activities. One of the newer collaboration is the Frontiers of Innovation that was a brainchild of Dr. Shonkoff and other members of the NAS. Frontiers of Innovation (FOI) brings together “researchers, practitioners, and policymakers to develop creative new prevention and intervention strategies for disadvantaged young children and their families (Center on the Developing Child, 2014, p.22).
In the ten years that they spent developing the Center on the Developing Child and their collaborations with six other entities, they have learned and recommended the following five lessons to promote their ideas:
1. It’s all about the people.
2. Be true to the science
3. Practice framing with patience and flexibility.
4. Don’t underestimate the need for an infrastructure.
5. Be a contributing piece of a larger landscape.
The report, A Decade of Science Informing Policy: The Story of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child is a great read for anyone that is interested in the science of early childhood education and the need for public policy advocacy. I can appreciate the hard work that they all have put in the effort to promote investments in early childhood education.
Shonkoff, J. P. (2009). Mobilizing science to revitalize early childhood policy. Issues in Science & Technology, 26(1), 79–85.
Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. (2014). A Decade of Science Informing Policy: The Story of the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. Retrieved March 2015 from: http://www.developingchild.net.