Saturday, March 14, 2015

Sharing Web Resources

I subscribe to an email newsletter from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. The center attempts to do four things:

* Building a unified science of health, learning, and behavior to explain the early roots of lifelong impairments;

* Leading the design, implementation, and evaluation of innovative program and practice models that reduce preventable disparities in well-being;

* Catalyzing the implementation of effective, science-based public policies through strategic relationships and knowledge transfer; and

* Preparing future and current leaders to build and leverage knowledge that promotes the healthy development of children and families and brings high returns to all of society.

The Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University also collaborates with six other entities that share the common belief that “healthy child development is the foundation of economic prosperity, strong communities, and a just society” (Key Concepts, n.d.). Those six groups are:
            *Frontiers of Innovation
            *Global Children’s Initiative
            *National Forum on Early Childhood Policy and Programs 
*National Scientific Council on the Developing Child
            *Science of Adversity and Resilience
            *Students, Education, and Leadership Development

In their March 2015 email newsletter, there’s a new working paper #13 called Supportive Relationships and Active Skill-Building Strengthen the Foundations of Resilience.

Based on a personal experience, and now professional interest, I am interested in how children and adults are resilient toward certain experiences, and why others are able to respond constructively to adversity. Their working paper #13 tells that there are two reasons for people’s resilience or the lack of resilience.

It does not quite matter what kind of adversity such as poverty, parental substance abuse, parental mental illnesses, stresses of war, or chronic neglect, “the single most common finding is that children who end up doing well have had at least one stable and committed relationship with a supportive parent, caregiver, or other adult. These relationships provide the personalized responsiveness, scaffolding, and protection that buffer children from developmental disruption” (National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, 2015, p.1).

The caring adult who has a close relationship with a young child would need to provide a personalized responsiveness that could include a discussion about the specific incident that prompt the discussion.

The paper also suggested that we could strengthen children’s responses to adversity “through the development of explicit skills and capabilities that support cognitive flexibility, goal-setting, problem-solving, and the ability to resist impulsive behavior” (p.5). In one of my class observations of a NAEYC-certified child development center, I will never forget how their lead teacher talked with children ages 3-4 who become a bit rowdy and started running around the room. She got down to children’s level and asked them if they remembered the rules. She also asked them if they knew why they had such rules. When one of the children replied, she assured them that, yes, the behavior can get other people hurt and that we run only when we are outside.
What a way to teach children explicit skills. She was giving them tools for self-regulation.

Ultimately, the paper had four suggestions for potential policy and programs. “All prevention and intervention programs would benefit from focusing on combinations of the following factors: 1) facilitating supportive adult-child relationships; 2) building a sense of self-efficacy and perceived control; 3) providing opportunities to strengthen adaptive skills and self-regulatory capacities; and 4) mobilizing sources of faith, hope, and cultural traditions” (p.10).

Key Concepts: Activities. (n.d.).  Center on the Developing Child: Harvard University. Retrieved March 2015 from

National Scientific Council on the Developing Child. (2015). Supportive relationships and active skill-building strengthen the foundations of resilience. Center on the Developing Child. Retrieved March 2015 from: file:///Users/marlahatrak/Downloads/Working%20Paper%2013%20-%20Resilience%20(1).pdf


  1. Hi Marla,
    The Center on the Developing Child seems to cover a lot of issues concerning early childhood. I am looking forward to learning more from the website.

  2. I really enjoyed the information you shared about fostering resilience in children. This is very important as children grow and experience events that could alter them in a negative way. I also like the website you chose to learn more about. I always find the articles from there so interesting. While I have not navigated my way around the site much, I have enjoyed the articles and/or videos we've had to watch for past classes. Maybe I'll subscribe to their newsletter too. I always wanting to know more :) The example you gave of the teacher interacting with the children is a good reminder of why it is important that children understand rules that they need to follow. Without making the issue relevant to them, they will have a hard time adhering to it. I like the approach she used for it. I look forward to learning more about this website. Thanks

  3. Marla, what an informative blog post. Resiliency is a fascinating topic and it was interesting to read that it does not matter what the adversity is, children can flourish given a supportive, nurturing relationships with a primary caregiver. Problem solving, critical thinking, and self-regulation are so important for healthy development in addition to how necessary positive relationships are. What a great connection to our topic of diversity as they recommend the benefits of mobilizing cultural traditions and faith in effective and quality programs and practice.

  4. Marla,
    I am intrigued by your posting and will have to check out the the working paper you presented. The opportunity to build a child's resiliency is paramount if we want to help children learn.

  5. Marla,
    I really appreaciated your article, as it again reinforces the importance of positve support systems in the lives of children. These positive supports home, school, church and society builds strong foundation for the children.
    very imformative post.