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Early Development

In Focus

Early Development

The Harvard community is exploring the vital, early years to better understand how we can give all children the best start in life.

The ABCs

The three core concepts for early childhood development, compiled by Harvard’s Center for the Developing Child.

Learn more about the center

“We’ve learned there are … well-replicated differences in brain development as a function of a family’s socioeconomic status.”

Katie A. McLaughlin

Harvard psychology professor

Katie A. McLaughlin

Learning how we learn

Two Harvard developmental psychologists launched the Early Learning Study at Harvard to determine the best approaches to early education.

Learn more about the research

Two professors showing a children's app on a screen

Three apps to spark family conversation

Harvard’s Graduate School of Education created three early-literacy apps designed for parents and caregivers to use with their children to promote dialogue and give children the foundations they need to read, learn, and thrive.

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Why do children play?

Play is an incredible motivator. It’s where children learn and challenge themselves.

A kids play area
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Smart kids: nature or nurture?

Research shows that a parental “growth mindset” leads to better educational outcomes for their children.

Three researchers in Harvard Yard
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Is spanking bad for brain development?

Spanking may affect a child’s brain development in ways similar to more severe forms of violence, says a recent study.

An illustration of a child's head with a maze in it
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Is baby talk good for infants?

Communication with parents and caregivers is like food for developing brains, fostering early literacy, school readiness, and social and emotional wellbeing.

A woman talking to a little baby
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“Our idea is that, if we could learn how to strengthen neonatal immunity, it might allow us to better fight infections later in life.”

Kellie Ann Jurado

Harvard alum

Kellie Ann Jurado

Supporting children around the globe

“Early Childhood Development: Global Strategies for Interventions” is a free online course that examines best practices in child and family policies, advocacy, financing, and pathways to scale.

Take the free course

“My current research explores the lifelong effects of early life adversity on susceptibility to psychopathology such as anxiety and depression.”

Josephine McGowan

Postdoctoral Fellow

Josephine McGowan

Improving health outcomes