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Suggested Citation:"IV Knowledge into Action." Institute of Medicine. 2000. From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9824.
Page 382
Suggested Citation:"IV Knowledge into Action." Institute of Medicine. 2000. From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/9824.
Page 383

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T383 Conclusions and Recommendations 14 wo profound changes over the past several decades have coincided to produce a dramatically altered landscape for early childhood policy, service delivery, and childrearing in the United States. First, an explosion of research in the neurobiological, behavioral, and social sciences has led to major advances in understanding the conditions that influence whether children get off to a promising or a worrisome start in life. These scientific gains have generated a much deeper appreciation of: (1) the importance of early life experiences, as well as the inseparable and highly interactive influences of genetics and environment on the development of the brain and the unfolding of human behavior; (2) the central role of early relationships as a source of either support and adaptation or risk and dysfunction; (3) the powerful capabilities, complex emotions, and essential social skills that develop during the earliest months and years of life; and (4) the capacity to increase the odds of favorable developmental outcomes through planned interventions. Second, the capacity to use this knowledge constructively has been constrained by a number of dramatic transformations in the social and economic circumstances under which families with young children are liv- ing in the United States. Among the most significant are: (1) marked changes in the nature, schedule, and amount of work engaged in by parents of young children and greater difficulty balancing workplace and family responsibilities for parents at all income levels; (2) continuing high levels of economic hardship among families with young children, despite overall increases in maternal education, increased rates of parent employment, and

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How we raise young children is one of today's most highly personalized and sharply politicized issues, in part because each of us can claim some level of "expertise." The debate has intensified as discoveries about our development-in the womb and in the first months and years-have reached the popular media.

How can we use our burgeoning knowledge to assure the well-being of all young children, for their own sake as well as for the sake of our nation? Drawing from new findings, this book presents important conclusions about nature-versus-nurture, the impact of being born into a working family, the effect of politics on programs for children, the costs and benefits of intervention, and other issues.

The committee issues a series of challenges to decision makers regarding the quality of child care, issues of racial and ethnic diversity, the integration of children's cognitive and emotional development, and more.

Authoritative yet accessible, From Neurons to Neighborhoods presents the evidence about "brain wiring" and how kids learn to speak, think, and regulate their behavior. It examines the effect of the climate-family, child care, community-within which the child grows.

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