The First Three Years and Beyond


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Brain Development and Social Policy

Edward F. Zigler, Matia Finn-Stevenson, and Nancy W. Hall

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Recommendations for infant and toddler care and development based on current brain research and its implications

How much do children’s early experiences affect their cognitive and social development? How important is the parent’s role in child development? Is it possible to ameliorate or reverse the consequences of early developmental deficits? This vitally important book draws on the latest research from the social sciences and studies on the brain to answer these questions and to explore what they mean for social policy and child and family development.

The authors affirm that sound social policy providing for safe and appropriate early care, education, health care, and parent support is critical not only for the optimal development of children, but also for strengthening families, communities, and the nation as a whole. Offering a wealth of advice and recommendations, they explain:

• the benefits of family leave, child care, and home visitation programs;
• the damage that child abuse inflicts;
• the vital importance of nutrition (and breast feeding) for pregnant women and young children;
• the adverse effects that occur in misguided efforts to disseminate research too early;
• and more.

Written by experts in the field of early child development, care, and education, the book is essential reading for parents and policymakers alike.

Edward Zigler is the Sterling Professor of Psychology at Yale University, director of the Bush Center in Child Development and Social Policy, and head of the psychology section of the Child Study Center at Yale University. Matia Finn-Stevenson is a research scientist at Yale University, associate director of the Bush Center, and director of the School of the 21st Century program. Nancy W. Hall, a doctoral candidate at Yale University, has published many articles and books about child health and development and family policy.

"Edward Zigler, an authentic pioneer in child development and social policy, has written a landmark book. It deals with a topic of utmost importance, the crucially formative earliest years of life. He and his collaborators treat the scientific evidence with great care and sound judgment. It will be valuable for all concerned with healthy child development."—David A. Hamburg, President Emeritus, Carnegie Corporation of New York

“Nothing is more important to our children, our children’s future and the future of our society than early education. As the authors of this important book so aptly emphasize, we must welcome all new knowledge about early childhood education and use it wisely to help us determine the best interventions for children of all ages.”—Jim Hunt, former Governor of North Carolina

"The First Three Years and Beyond: Brain Development and Social Policy carefully builds the case for a broad range of investments to ensure that children have the supports they need to grow into productive and contributing adults. Edward Zigler, Matia Finn-Stevenson, and Nancy Hall offer policymakers essential information about child development and the need for a continuum of supports to both children and their families. I highly recommend it for all concerned about the healthy development of our children."—Marian Wright Edelman, President, Children’s Defense

"A masterfully woven tapestry of early childhood policy and science. Ed Zigler and his colleagues connect the dots between what we know from science into what we should do for our nation’s infants, toddlers and their families."—Matthew E. Melmed, Executive Director, Zero To Three: National Center for Infants, Toddlers, and Families

"It is a wonderful document of all the research and thinking about the first three years of a child and family’s development. I recommend it as a resource for all of us who are interested in outreach and intervention for families with small children."—T. Berry Brazelton, M.D., Professor Emeritus of Pediatrics at Harvard Medical School

“This book may be most useful as a succinct overview and synthesis of past and present theories of child development, current brain research, social programs, and social policy. This compact volume can be a very readable addition to the syllabus of any basic child development course.”—Nancy Segall, Social Services Review

"This book is intended for parents, educators, policymakers, and others who influence the lives of young children. . . . I highly recommend this book to everyone concerned about the health and welfare of children. It can be particularly helpful to graduate students seeking to find a resource on the latest developments in brain research."—Lakesha Colzie, Childhood Education
ISBN: 9780300093643
Publication Date: December 11, 2002
272 pages, 6 1/8 x 9 1/4
2 b/w illus.
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