16 episodes

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!

The Brain Architects Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University

    • Science
    • 4.8 • 75 Ratings

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!

    Building Resilience Through Play

    Building Resilience Through Play

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    These days, resilience is needed more than ever, and one simple, underrecognized way of supporting healthy and resilient child development is as old as humanity itself: play. Far from frivolous, play contributes to sturdy brain architecture, the foundations of lifelong health, and the building blocks of resilience, yet its importance is often overlooked. In this podcast, Dr. Jack Shonkoff explains the role of play in supporting resilience and five experts share their ideas and personal stories about applying the science of play in homes, communities, and crisis environments around the world.





    Panelists





    Andres Bustamante, Assistant Professor, University of California Irvine School of Education



    Laura Huerta Migus, Deputy Director, Office of Museum Services at Institute for Museum and Library Services



    Lynneth Solis, Researcher and lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education



    Erum Mariam, Executive Director, BRAC Institute of Educational Development, BRAC University



    Michael Yogman, Pediatrician, Harvard Medical School, Cambridge Hospital









    Additional Resources

    Resources from the Center on the Developing Child







    Video: Play in Early Childhood: The Role of Play in Any Setting

    Video: How-to: 5 Steps for Brain-Building Serve and Return

    Handout: 5 Steps for Brain-Building Serve and Return

    Video: Building Babies’ Brains Through Play: Mini Parenting Master Class (from UNICEF)

    Report: Three Principles to Improve Outcomes for Children and Families

    InBrief: The Science of Resilience







    Resources from Our Guests

    Panel







    Learning to Cope through Play

    UCI STEM Learning Lab

    Playful Learning Landscapes

    Understanding the Social Wellbeing Impacts of the Nation's Libraries and Museums







    Play in Humanitarian Settings







    5 Takeaways from Supporting Refugee Parents to Help Children Learn and Thrive During Covid-19

    BRAC Humanitarian Play Lab: when playing becomes healing

    BRAC: ECD and Play

    “I try to take their pain away through play”: A healing experiment in Rohingya refugee camps (Quartz: membership required)







    Prescription for Play







    The Power of Play: A Pediatric Role in Enhancing Development in Young Children

    Preventing Childhood Toxic Stress: Partnering with Families and Communities to Promote Relational Health







    Transcript

    Sally Pfitzer, host: Welcome to the Brain Architects, a podcast from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. I’m your host, Sally Pfitzer. Our Center believes that advances in science can provide a powerful source of new ideas that can improve outcomes for children and families. We want to help you apply the science of early childhood development to your everyday interactions with children and take what you’re hearing from our experts and panels and apply it to your everyday work.



    So in today’s episode, we’re going to get serious about the topic of play. For children, play is a fundamental building block of child development, but its role in supporting resilience is often overlooked. And after the past few years, we surely need resilience now more than ever! For me, as a former preschool teacher, I’m especially excited about this episode and speaking with today’s experts, because I’ve seen first-hand how important play is for young children’s development. But what can science tell us about it? And what can be done to support more play in everyday life,

    • 55 min
    COVID-19 Special Edition: Mental Health Vital Signs

    COVID-19 Special Edition: Mental Health Vital Signs

    The devastating toll of the pandemic has underscored the critical importance of connecting what science is telling us to the lived experiences of people and communities. In March of 2020, we recorded episodes exploring the impact the coronavirus pandemic could have on child development. Now, a year later, we wanted to continue these conversations and discuss what we've learned, what needs to change, and where we go from here.





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    Transcript





    In the final episode in this special series, host Sally Pfitzer speaks with Dr. Nancy Rotter, a pediatric psychologist and the Director of Psychology in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Ambulatory Care Division at Massachusetts General Hospital. They discuss how the pandemic changed conversations around mental health, why we need to integrate mental health into the context of overall health, and what caregivers can do to help children prepare for the lessening of restrictions and the return to school.



    Subscribe below via your podcast platform of choice to receive all new episodes as soon as they’re released.









    Speakers





    Sally Pfitzer, Podcast Host



    Dr. Nancy Rotter, Pediatric Psychologist and Director of Psychology, Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Ambulatory Care Division at Massachusetts General Hospital; Assistant Professor, Harvard Medical School









    Additional Resources

    Resources from the Center on the Developing Child







    The Brain Architects Podcast: COVID-19 Special Edition: Mental Health in a Locked-Down World

    Q&A: The Coronavirus Pandemic: Mental Health One Year Later

    Re-Envisioning, Not Just Rebuilding: Looking Ahead to a Post-COVID-19 World

    Working Paper 15: Connecting the Brain to the Rest of the Body: Early Childhood Development and Lifelong Health Are Deeply Intertwined

    InBrief: Connecting the Brain to the Rest of the Body

    A Guide to COVID-19 and Early Childhood Development Resources







    Resources recommended by Dr. Nancy Rotter







    Interim Guidance on Supporting the Emotional and Behavioral Health Needs of Children, Adolescents and Families During the COVID-19 Pandemic

    Mothers—and fathers—report mental, physical health declines

    Mental Health Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic: An Update

    Depression and anxiety in pregnancy during COVID-19: A rapid review and meta-analysis

    COVID-19's Disproportionate Effects on Children of Color Will Challenge the Next Generation

    A Guide to Mental Health Resources for COVID-19

    How to Talk to Your Children About the Coronavirus (COVID-19)

    Preparing Children for When Their Parents Return to Work

    National Alliance on Mental Health: Mental Health By the Numbers







    Transcript

    Sally: Welcome to The Brain Architects, a podcast from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. I'm your host Sally Pfitzer. In March of 2020, we recorded episodes exploring the impact the coronavirus pandemic could have on child development. You may remember we discussed the importance of self-care for caregivers, and the importance of physical distancing, not social distancing.  And now a year later, we wanted to continue those conversations and discuss what we've learned, what needs to change, and where we go from here.



    Joining us on today's podcast, we have Dr. Nancy Rotter. She's a pediatric psychologist and the Director of Psychology in Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, Ambulatory Care Division, at Mass General Hospital. Thanks so much for being with us today, Nancy.



    Dr. Rotter: Thanks for having me, Sally.



    Sally: So,

    • 17 min
    COVID-19 Special Edition: Building from Strengths: Post-Pandemic Partnerships in Health Care

    COVID-19 Special Edition: Building from Strengths: Post-Pandemic Partnerships in Health Care

    The devastating toll of the pandemic has underscored the critical importance of connecting what science is telling us to the lived experiences of people and communities. In March of 2020, we recorded episodes exploring the impact the coronavirus pandemic could have on child development. Now, a year later, we wanted to continue these conversations and discuss what we've learned, what needs to change, and where we go from here.





    Contents

    Podcast

    Speakers

    Additional Resources

    Transcript





    In the third episode in this 4-part special series, host Sally Pfitzer speaks with Dr. Renée Boynton-Jarrett, the founding Director of Vital Village Networks at Boston Medical Center and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine. They discuss the cost of failing to address structural inequities with sustainable and comprehensive policy changes, the vital role community leaders played during the pandemic, and why health care systems need to demonstrate trustworthiness.



    The next and final episode of this special podcast series will focus on the pandemic's impact on the mental health system.



    Subscribe below via your podcast platform of choice to receive all new episodes as soon as they’re released.









    Speakers





    Sally Pfitzer, Podcast Host



    Dr. Renée Boynton-Jarrett, Founding Director of Vital Village Networks at Boston Medical Center and Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine









    Additional Resources







    Vital Village Networks

    The Brain Architects Podcast: COVID-19 Special Edition: Creating Communities of Opportunity

    Thinking About Racial Disparities in COVID-19 Impacts Through a Science-Informed, Early Childhood Lens

    Early Childhood Adversity, Toxic Stress, and the Impacts of Racism on the Foundations of Health

    Brief: Moving Upstream: Confronting Racism to Open Up Children's Potential

    Infographic: How Racism Can Affect Child Development

    Re-Envisioning, Not Just Rebuilding: Looking Ahead to a Post-COVID-19 World

    Working Paper 15: Connecting the Brain to the Rest of the Body: Early Childhood Development and Lifelong Health Are Deeply Intertwined

    InBrief: Connecting the Brain to the Rest of the Body

    A Guide to COVID-19 and Early Childhood Development













    Transcript

    Sally: Welcome to The Brain Architects, a podcast from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. I'm your host Sally Pfitzer. In March of 2020, we recorded episodes exploring the impact the coronavirus pandemic could have on child development. You may remember we discussed the importance of self-care for caregivers, and the importance of physical distancing, not social distancing.  And now a year later, we wanted to continue those conversations and discuss what we've learned, what needs to change, and where we go from here.



    On today's podcast, we have Dr. Renée Boynton-Jarrett, who is the founding Director of Vital Village Networks at Boston Medical Center and an Associate Professor of Pediatrics at Boston University School of Medicine. So good to have you with us, Renée.



    Dr. Boynton-Jarrett: Delighted to be here. Thank you, Sally.



    Sally: Renée, in March of 2020, we spoke with Dr. David Williams, who explained that many of the disparities that we saw in the early stages of the pandemic were predictable and the result of longstanding social policies and systemic racism. From your perspective, as an expert in the field, in the past year, what have we learned about these disparities?



    Dr. Boynton-Jarrett: I think what Dr. Williams shared is absolutely correct.

    • 14 min
    COVID-19 Special Edition: Superheroes of Pediatric Care: Moving Beyond the Challenges of COVID-19

    COVID-19 Special Edition: Superheroes of Pediatric Care: Moving Beyond the Challenges of COVID-19

    The devastating toll of the pandemic has underscored the critical importance of connecting what science is telling us to the lived experiences of people and communities. In March of 2020, we recorded episodes exploring the impact the coronavirus pandemic could have on child development. Now, a year later, we wanted to continue these conversations and discuss what we've learned, what needs to change, and where we go from here.





    Contents

    Podcast

    Speakers

    Additional Resources

    Transcript





    In the second episode in this 4-part special series, host Sally Pfitzer speaks with Dr. Rahil Briggs, National Director of ZERO TO THREE’s HealthySteps program. They discuss the potential impact of the pandemic on infant and toddler development, how an overstressed pediatric health care system responded, and the importance of overcoming equity challenges and public fears to resume well-child visits.



    Upcoming episodes of this series will feature expert speakers reflecting on the longstanding social policies and systemic racism that resulted in the pandemic disparately impacting communities of color, and the pandemic's impact on the mental health system. The experts will discuss how we can take what we learned over the past year and make meaningful changes that will improve outcomes for children and families. Listen to the first episode of this series, where Center Director, Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D. discusses what COVID-19 revealed about the needs of caregivers with young children or during pregnancy.



    Subscribe below via your podcast platform of choice to receive all new episodes as soon as they’re released.









    Speakers





    Sally Pfitzer, Podcast Host



    Dr. Rahil Briggs,  National Director of ZERO TO THREE’s HealthySteps Program









    Additional Resources

    Resources from the Center on the Developing Child







    Re-Envisioning, Not Just Rebuilding: Looking Ahead to a Post-COVID-19 World

    The Brain Architects: COVID-19 Special Edition: Self-Care Isn't Selfish

    Working Paper 15: Connecting the Brain to the Rest of the Body: Early Childhood Development and Lifelong Health Are Deeply Intertwined

    InBrief: Connecting the Brain to the Rest of the Body

    A Guide to COVID-19 and Early Childhood Development







    Resources recommended by Dr. Rahil Briggs







    Psychology Today: What Parents of Babies and Toddlers Need Right Now

    American Academy of Pediatrics: A superhero moment

    HealthySteps: Caring for Yourself and Young Children During the Coronavirus (COVID-19) Crisis

    ZERO to THREE: Tips for Families: Coronavirus

    Rapid Assessment of Pandemic Impact on Development (RAPID) - Early Childhood

    USA Today: Opening 'so many doors for families': COVID-19 underscores the importance of wraparound care for new moms and children

    Early Childhood Depression May Impact Brain Development in Later Years

    Brazelton Touchpoints Center

    ZERO TO THREE: Diagnostic Classification of Mental Health and Developmental Disorders of Infancy and Early Childhood and official DC:0-5 Training for advanced infant and early childhood mental health professionals







    Transcript

    Sally: Welcome to The Brain Architects, a podcast from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. I'm your host Sally Pfitzer. In March of 2020, we recorded episodes exploring the impact the coronavirus pandemic could have on child development. You may remember we discussed the importance of self-care for caregivers, and the importance of physical distancing, not social distancing.  And now a year later, we wanted to continue those conversations and discuss what we've learned,

    • 13 min
    COVID-19 Special Edition: How Do We Rebuild and Re-Envision Early Childhood Services?

    COVID-19 Special Edition: How Do We Rebuild and Re-Envision Early Childhood Services?

    The devastating toll of the pandemic has underscored the critical importance of connecting what science is telling us to the lived experiences of people and communities. In March of 2020, we recorded episodes exploring the impact the coronavirus pandemic could have on child development. Now, a year later, we wanted to continue these conversations and discuss what we've learned, what needs to change, and where we go from here.





    Contents

    Podcast

    Speakers

    Additional Resources

    Transcript





    The first guest in this 4-part special series is Center Director Jack P. Shonkoff, M.D. He and host Sally Pfitzer discuss what COVID-19 revealed about the needs of caregivers with young children or during pregnancy, what we learned about the importance of science over the course of the pandemic, and how we can make changes going forward.



    Upcoming episodes of this series will feature expert speakers reflecting on the pandemic's impact on pediatric and mental health systems, and the longstanding social policies and systemic racism that resulted in the pandemic disparately impacting communities of color. The experts will discuss how we can take what we learned over the past year and make meaningful changes that will improve outcomes for children and families. Subscribe below via your podcast platform of choice to receive all new episodes as soon as they’re released.









    Speakers





    Sally Pfitzer, Podcast Host



    Dr. Jack Shonkoff, Center Director









    Additional Resources

    Resources from the Center on the Developing Child







    Re-Envisioning, Not Just Rebuilding: Looking Ahead to a Post-COVID-19 World

    The Brain Architects: COVID-19 Special Edition: A Different World

    Working Paper 15: Connecting the Brain to the Rest of the Body: Early Childhood Development and Lifelong Health Are Deeply Intertwined

    InBrief: Connecting the Brain to the Rest of the Body

    Health and Learning Are Deeply Interconnected in the Body: An Action Guide for Policymakers

    What Is Inflammation? And Why Does it Matter for Child Development?

    How Racism Can Affect Child Development

    Moving Upstream: Confronting Racism to Open Up Children's Potential

    A Guide to COVID-19 and Early Childhood Development













    Transcript

    Sally: Welcome to The Brain Architects, a podcast from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University. I'm your host Sally Pfitzer. In March of 2020, we recorded episodes exploring the impact the coronavirus pandemic could have on child development. You may remember we discussed the importance of self-care for caregivers, and the importance of physical distancing, not social distancing.  And now a year later, we wanted to continue those conversations and discuss what we've learned, what needs to change, and where we go from here.



    Joining us today is Dr. Jack Shonkoff, Director of the Center on the Developing Child. Jack, we really appreciate you being here, and I know we have a lot to cover, so let's jump right in. Could you tell us what COVID-19 has revealed about the needs of young children, families and people who are pregnant?



    Dr. Shonkoff: So immediately, we saw the difference between people who had access to resources that helped them get through and those who before the pandemic were always at the edge and that this put families over the edge in terms of meeting basic needs—food, clothing, housing.  But then, there's the other universal experience of the critical importance of supportive relationships—the critical importance of extended family, neighbors, friends—and the extent to which every parent, regardless of your circumstances, cannot parent a child alone.

    • 13 min
    Connecting Health and Learning Part II: The Implications

    Connecting Health and Learning Part II: The Implications

    How do we use the science of early childhood development to implement practical strategies and overcome longstanding barriers in the early childhood field? How can we ensure that families' voices are heard when we create policies or programs?



    To kick off this episode, Center Director Dr. Jack Shonkoff describes what the science means for policymakers, system leaders, care providers, and caregivers. This is followed by a discussion among a distinguished panel of experts, including Cindy Mann (Manatt Health), Dr. Aaliyah Samuel (Northwest Evaluation Association), and Jane Witowski (Help Me Grow). The panelists discuss how we can break down the silos in the early childhood field, policies affecting prenatal-three, and how policies can change to address the stressors inflicted by poverty, community violence, and racism.

    • 44 min

Customer Reviews

4.8 out of 5
75 Ratings

75 Ratings

Tallred6 ,

Absolutely essential for all caregivers

This is the best information from THE best place for healthy early learning and brain development.

RYM-NB ,

Required Listening for everyone...

Incredible insight on the development of children from infancy to young kids. I cant stress how awesome it is to hear from professionals that are on the cutting edge of childhood development.

Hgdagjo ,

Very interesting and well made

Impressive for a first episode! Can’t wait to hear more :)

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