Research Roundup: Brain Research: Who, What, When, Where, Why?

Betsy Diamant-Cohen, Annette Y. Goldsmith


Within the past twenty years, it has become more common for children’s librarians to look at brain research to explain the importance of what they are doing, since “the exceptionally strong influence of early experiences on brain architecture makes the early years a period of both great opportunity and great vulnerability for development.”1

Responsive caregiving, like a volleyball game, involves reciprocal interactions (often referred to as “serve and return”) that affect intellectual, social, emotional, physical, and behavioral development. This is especially important during the first three years of life when children depend on the adults in their lives for safety, survival, and socialization.2 Science tells us that healthy children develop in an environment of loving reciprocal relationships with the important adults in their lives; because of this, library programming has expanded to include children under age three, and preschool programs now include adults as well as children.

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Jack P. Shonkoff, “Breakthrough Impacts: What Science Tells Us about Supporting Early Childhood Development,” Young Children 72, no. 2 (2017): 9.

Alison Gopnik, The Gardener and the Carpenter: What the New Science of Child Development Tells Us about the Relationship between Parents and Children (New York: Farrar, 2016).



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