Healthy development in the early years provides the building blocks for educational achievement, economic productivity, responsible citizenship, strong communities, and successful parenting of the next generation. By improving children’s environments, relationships, and experiences early in life, society can address many costly problems, including incarceration, homelessness, and the failure to complete high school. But if you’re a parent, caregiver, teacher, or someone who works with children every day, you may be wondering, “Where do I start?!” From brain architecture to toxic stress to serve and return, The Brain Architects, a new podcast from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University, will explore what we can do during this incredibly important period to ensure that all children have a strong foundation for future development. Listen to the trailer, and subscribe now!
COVID-19 Special Edition: Mental Health in a Locked-Down World
While some countries and U.S. states are beginning to reopen businesses and other gathering places, the pandemic is still very much with us. Physical distancing will likely be a way of life until a vaccine for COVID-19 is widely available. So much change, including the threat of illness, and grief of those who have lost loved ones, means that mental health is a great concern.
Fortunately, there are things we can do to support our mental health at this time, especially when caring for young children or other family members. In this episode of The Brain Architects, host Sally Pfitzer speaks with Dr. Karestan Koenen, Professor of Psychiatric Epidemiology at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Dr. Archana Basu, Research Associate at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and a clinical psychologist at Massachusetts General Hospital. They discuss what supporting your own mental health can look like, as well as ways to support children you care for at this time. They also talk about what mental health professionals all over the world are doing to help take care of our societies in the midst of the pandemic, and how they're preparing for the challenges that come next.
Domestic Violence and Shelter-In-Place
Shelter-in-place orders are meant to help protect our communities from the current coronavirus pandemic. But for some people, home isn't always a safe place. For those who are experiencing domestic violence, or believe they know someone one who is, what options are available to stay both physically healthy and safe from violence?
In this fourth episode of our COVID-19 series of The Brain Architects, host Sally Pfitzer speaks with Dr. Tien Ung, Program Director for Impact and Learning at FUTURES without Violence. Prior to her work at FUTURES, Tien spent five years as the Director of Leadership and Programs at the Center on the Developing Child.
Tien discusses important, practical steps those at home can take to keep themselves and their children safe, as well as strategies others can use if they think someone they know may be experiencing domestic violence. She also addresses the resilience of survivors, and what our communities can do both during and after COVID to listen to and engage in real responsive relationships with adults and children alike.
A note on this episode: If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic violence, you can contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-SAFE (7233) or the National Sexual Assault Hotline: 1-800-656-HOPE (4673).
COVID-19 Special Edition: Creating Communities of Opportunity
While the current coronavirus pandemic is affecting all of us, it isn't affecting all of us equally. Some communities--especially communities of color--are feeling the brunt of the virus more than others, in terms of higher rates of infection, as well as economic fallout, among many others.
In this third special COVID-19 episode of The Brain Architects podcast, host Sally Pfitzer is joined by Dr. David Williams, the Florence Sprague Norman and Laura Smart Norman Professor of Public Health, Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, and Professor of African and African American Studies, Harvard Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Dr. Williams discusses ways in which the coronavirus pandemic is affecting people of color in the U.S. particularly, and what that can mean for early childhood development. He also pinpoints the importance of creating "communities of opportunity" that will allow all families to thrive--both during and after this pandemic.
COVID-19 Special Edition: Self-Care Isn't Selfish
In the midst of a global pandemic, pediatricians are serving a unique role. While the coronavirus is generally showing milder effects on babies and children than on adults, there are still health concerns and considerations for infants in need of scheduled vaccinations, and kids who are home all day with parents who may be facing stressful situations.
In the second episode of our special COVID-19 series of The Brain Architects, host Sally Pfitzer speaks with Dr. Rahil Briggs, National Director of ZERO TO THREE's HealthySteps program, to discuss how pediatricians are serving their patients during the pandemic, including using telehealth; why caregiver health is child health; and what she hopes the healthcare system can learn as a result of the pandemic.
COVID-19 Special Edition: A Different World
While the coronavirus pandemic has changed many things around the world, it has not stopped child development. In this series of special episodes of The Brain Architects podcast, we aim to share helpful resources and ideas in support of all those who are caring for children while dealing with the impacts of COVID-19.
The first guest of this special series is Center Director Dr. Jack Shonkoff. He and host Sally Pfitzer discuss how to support healthy child development during a pandemic, including the importance of caring for caregivers. They also talk about what we’ve already learned as a result of the coronavirus, and what we hope to continue learning.
Upcoming episodes of this special series will focus on how pediatricians are responding, racial disparities in the impact of the virus, and more.
Serve and Return: Supporting the Foundation
What is "serve and return"? What does it mean to have a "responsive relationship" with a child? How do responsive relationships support healthy brain development? And what can parents and caregivers do in their day-to-day lives to build these sorts of relationships? Fortunately, there are many quick, easy, and free ways to create responsive relationships with children of any age. In this episode of "The Brain Architects" podcast, Center Director Dr. Jack Shonkoff describes the science behind how these interactions—known as "serve and return"—work. This is followed by a discussion among a panel of scientists and practitioners including Dr. Phil Fisher, the Philip H. Knight Chair and Professor of Psychology at the University of Oregon, and director of the Center for Translational Neuroscience; Patricia Marinho, founder and CEO of Tempojunto and co-founder of Programa BEM; and Sarah Ryan, director of Life Skills at Julie's Family Learning Program. The panelists discuss what it looks like to serve and return with children on a daily basis, and how to encourage these interactions. Download and subscribe now!
Customer ReviewsSee All
Thank you for this COVID 19 edition
I work with families and children. A lot of the services these families had access to have stopped and many families are stressed, vulnerable to lack of stability and pressures. This provides me with knowledge and information I can use to benefit families. Very critical information. Thank you.
Absolutely love it.
There is so much critical information on human development in this podcast that I wish everyone—policy makers, teachers, parents—would listen. The world would be a better place. So glad they’ve produced this!