Latest brief from Center on the Developing Child

Published: November, 2020

Written by Lucy Howard, blogger at Mrs H's favourite things

Recently a fantastic and incredibly interesting research brief has been produced by the Center on the Developing Child based at Harvard University. The work of this Centre, led by Dr Jack P Shonkoff, provides a solid evidence base for the theories behind Mindful Emotion Coaching and Adverse Childhood Experience (MACE).

An Action Guide for Policymakers: Health and Learning Are Deeply Interconnected in the Body from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University

In this recent research brief, much is talked about the conditions and environments in which children develop and how they affect their lifelong physical and mental health and in particular their readiness to succeed at school.

As a mother to two children, who struggled with anxiety during her last pregnancy, I found the section on how experiences during pregnancy can affect a child's lifelong health and school achievement hugely interesting. And this quotation from the research brief particularly resonated with me:

'Developmental timing is critical. Science tells us that experiences and exposures during pregnancy and the first few years after birth affect developing biological systems in many ways that are difficult to change later. For example, if a woman experiences excessive stress, poor nutrition, or toxic environmental exposures during pregnancy, it can affect how organs, stress response and metabolic systems develop, with long-lasting impacts into adulthood, such as increased risk for heart disease, obesity, diabetes, and mental health conditions.'

You can find the full research brief here at:

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