From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development
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From Neurons to Neighborhoods:
The Science of Early Childhood Development
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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.


  • Behavioral and Social Sciences — Children, Youth and Families
  • Education — Early Childhood Education

Publication Info

612 pages | 6 x 9
ISBN: 978-0-309-06988-5
Related Resources


From Neurons to Neighborhoods: Applying the Science of Early Childhood Development
(14.6 MB)


Webcast from the 10/28/2010 Workshop

On October 28, 2010, the Board on Children, Youth, and Families convened a workshop to celebrate the 10th anniversary of this report. The workshop reviewed advances in scientific research as well as opportunities to build on existing best practices and enhance the transition into a new era in early childhood policy. The workshop featured presentations by Jack Shonkoff from Harvard University, chair of the original study, Deborah Phillips from Georgetown University, the study director, and other researchers, government officials, and leaders in the field of early childhood health and development. The participants focused on the progress made in integrating child development research, neuroscience, and molecular genetics as well as how science can be mobilized to promote innovation and shape public policy in the next decade.

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Suggested Citation

Institute of Medicine. From Neurons to Neighborhoods: The Science of Early Childhood Development. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press, 2000.

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