The SRCD Biennial in Baltimore combined research by developmental scholars working in diverse disciplines from anthropology to economics to sociology, ways developmental science is being applied to transform the lives of children around the world, TED-type talks, networking gatherings and awards. The Biennial was international, interdisciplinary and invigorating, all designed to advance the science of child development. Our Mobile Studio sat down with several of the leaders from these fields to discuss their work.
Kenneth A. Dodge: Understanding & Preventing Violent Behaviors in Children
How and why do children become aggressive – or even violent? How can we understand the true causes – and recognize the signs – before they take hold? Kenneth A. Dodge, Pritzker Professor of Public Policy at Duke University explains the important research that can help children and families.
Geetha Ramani: You Want to Teach Math? Play Games!
When University of Maryland Associate Professor Geetha Ramani and her colleagues visit early learning classrooms, they’re known as the “game people.” Ramani’s research shows not only the importance of teaching math skills, but also the effectiveness of what might seem like an obvious tactic: Make it fun.
Phil Fisher: The Realities of Stress on Children
Children experience stress in big and small ways, from violence to poverty to simply a lack of resources. Further, the stress can come from inside the home or out in the community. But as Philip A. Fisher, PhD, the Philip H. Knight Chair, University of Oregon, explains: “The effects of stress are real – emotionally and physically – and research helps guide parents, caregivers and practitioners on what they can do.”
Roberta Michnick Golinkoff & Kathy Hirsh-Pasek (Part 1): How Did “Play” Become a Four-Letter Word?
The pressure to over-program kids often seems endless – so much so that a simple, old-fashioned idea has fallen to the side: Children should play. Roberta Michnick Golinkoff & Kathy Hirsh-Pasek – researchers and co-authors of “Becoming Brilliant, What Science Tells Us About Raising Successful Children” – explain their “Learning Landscapes” program, where they help local municipalities turn public spaces like bus stops into child-friendly play zones.
Roberta Michnick Golinkoff & Kathy Hirsh-Pasek (Part 2): Say What? Helping Teachers Measure Children’s Language Skills
According to Roberta Michnick Golinkoff & Kathy Hirsh-Pasek – researchers and co-authors of “Becoming Brilliant, What Science Tells Us About Raising Successful Children” – language is the single best predictor of how young children will do in school. That’s why they’ve created an innovative, easy way for practitioners to measure students’ verbal progress.
Stephanie M. Carlson & Philip David Zelazo: The Tools to Measure Executive Function
Executive function – the skills to focus and manage tasks – is, of course, central to childhood development. Given that, measuring executive function becomes imperative. How does that work? University of Minnesota professors Stephanie M. Carlson & Philip David Zelazo explain their research and the powerful tool they’ve created.
Megan McClelland: The Skills & Tools of Self-Regulation
Self control. Attention. Focus. These foundational skills make up a key area of early childhood development: Self-regulation. So what can teachers, parents, caregivers –even children themselves – do to help those skills grow? Oregon State University Professor Megan McClelland explains the science and the practical things we all can do.
Sarah Smith: Bringing Childhood Education to the World’s Hardest to Reach Places
It’s an ongoing global crisis: More than half of all refugee children – some 62 million – have no access to any form of education. From establishing schools in refugee camps to bringing Sesame Street to the Middle East, Sarah Smith, Sr. Director of Education at the International Rescue Committee, explains how the IRC addresses this humanitarian emergency every day.
Lawrence Aber: Effects of Poverty, Violence on Child Development
According to NYU University Professor Lawrence Aber, poverty and violence are the two most toxic challenges for child development – areas he has researched from the U.S. to Africa and the Middle East. Regardless of location, children can experience poverty and violence in difference ways and levels. Aber explains the research, tools and tactics required to give children the best opportunities for successful development.
Ellen Galinsky: Move Aside Helicopter and Snowplow Parents, Here Comes Autonomy Support
From “helicoptering” to “snowplowing,” parents are often tempted to simply remove obstacles from children’s way, preventing them from learning how to deal with challenges themselves. Instead, as Ellen Galinsky, Bezos Family Foundation Chief Science Officer and Founder/Executive Director of Mind in the Making, explains, the better approach is to build “Autonomy Support” – helping children gain the independence skills they’ll need to become successful adults.
Wes Moore: Taking the Poverty Fight to Early Education
Want to fight poverty? Robin Hood CEO Wes Moore – bestselling author, Army combat veteran, social entrepreneur – explains why improving education is an excellent place to start.