Task Force on Meeting the Needs of Young Children, 1994; Damon, 1998; Ramey and Ramey, 1999), and we benefited tremendously from their work as well. This led us to emphasize three domains among the many accomplishments that characterize the years from birth to age 5:

  • Negotiating the transition from external to self-regulation, including learning to regulate one's emotions, behaviors, and attention. This captures the emergence of self-control and independence and can provide an analogy for the movement toward competent functioning that characterizes development as a whole (Chapter 5).

  • Acquiring the capabilities that undergird communication and learning. This includes the early development of language, reasoning, and problem solving (Chapter 6).

  • Learning to relate well to other children and forming friendships. This highlights the emerging capacity to trust, to love and nurture, and to resolve conflict constructively (Chapter 7).

The behavioral evidence on these topics provides a rich portrait of how early development unfolds in interaction with people, things, places, and events; the conditions under which it appears to get off track; and the factors that seem to make a difference in whether the child is equipped to learn, make friends, and enjoy life as a 5-year-old. We close this part by looking inward at the developing brain (Chapter 8). Not only has the research on early brain development generated tremendous public excitement, but it also complements what we have learned from behavioral research and points to some areas of special concern. Considered together, these two streams of behavioral and neuroscience research offer a fuller portrait of early childhood than does either one considered alone.



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