The Science of Early Childhood Development

National Scientific Council on the Developing Child

In an effort to identify those aspects of development that are accepted broadly by the scientific community, the National Scientific Council, based at the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, brought together several of the nation’s leading neuroscientists, developmental psychologists, pediatricians, and economists. This document presents their critical review of the existing literatures in their fields and a consensus about what we now know about development in the early childhood years. The objective of the Council is to move beyond the public’s fascination with “the latest study” and focus on the cumulative knowledge of decades of research that has been subjected to rigorous and continuous peer review. The goal of this document is to help the public and its policy makers understand the core principles of that body of work that are now sufficiently accepted across the scientific community to warrant public action.

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