The committee was tasked with applying what is known about child development and early learning to inform how the workforce can more seamlessly support children from birth through age 8. This part of the report summarizes key findings and the committee’s conclusions based on the science of early child development and learning, focusing in particular on those areas with implications for the workforce.
Chapter 3 describes interactions between the biology of development, particularly brain development, and the environmental influences experienced by a child. Chapter 4 examines child development and early learning in the areas of cognitive development, learning of specific subjects, general learning competencies, socioemotional development, and physical development and health—and the interrelationships among them. Chapter 4 also addresses the critical overarching issue of the effects of chronic stress and adversity on child development and early learning.
Throughout these chapters, the implications of the findings for adults with responsibilities for young children are highlighted. The messages in these chapters thus form a foundation that, together with the context described in Chapter 2 of the settings and institutional systems in which adult professionals work with children, informs the subsequent discussion in Part III of the knowledge, skills, and abilities that adults working with children across the birth through age 8 continuum need and that need to be supported by the systems in which they are educated, trained, and work. This in turn informs the discussion of the development of the early care and education workforce in Part IV.
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