Early Childhood Resources
Promising Practices Guide
Communities across the state are working to ensure that young children have the strong foundation and support they need to thrive. Some of the most innovative work is being led by NH's eleven regional early childhood initiatives. The Guide shares challenges and successes in hopes of informing and inspiring other communities to replicate what works.
Investing in the Early Years
Investing in the Early Years, the Costs and Benefits of Investing in Early Childhood in New Hampshire
Drawing on an extensive body of economic and program evaluation research, a Rand study anayzes the costs and benefits of investing in evidence-based early childhood programs in New Hampshire. Visit our website page for the report, presentation and other materials associated with this study.
NH Leaders: Why I Care
Investing in NH’s Workforce: The Earlier, the Better
Why Babies Matter to Business
Three Core Concepts in Early Development
Healthy development in the early years provides the building blocks for educational achievement, economic productivity, responsible citizenship, lifelong health, strong communities, and successful parenting of the next generation. This three-part video series from the Center and the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child depicts how advances in neuroscience, molecular biology, and genomics now give us a much better understanding of how early experiences are built into our bodies and brains, for better or for worse. The series depicts how advances in neuroscience, molecular biology, and genomics now give us a much better understanding of how early experiences are built into our bodies and brains, for better or for worse.
1) Experiences Build Brain Architecture
This video is part one of a three-part series titled "Three Core Concepts in Early Development" from the Center and the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child.
The basic architecture of the brain is constructed through a process that begins early in life and continues into adulthood. Simpler circuits come first and more complex brain circuits build on them later. Genes provide the basic blueprint, but experiences influence how or whether genes are expressed. Together, they shape the quality of brain architecture and establish either a sturdy or a fragile foundation for all of the learning, health, and behavior that follow. Plasticity, or the ability for the brain to reorganize and adapt, is greatest in the first years of life and decreases with age.
2) Serve & Return Interaction Shapes Brain Connectivity
This video is part two of a three-part series titled "Three Core Concepts in Early Development" from the Center and the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child.
One of the most essential experiences in shaping the architecture of the developing brain is "serve and return" interaction between children and significant adults in their lives. Young children naturally reach out for interaction through babbling, facial expressions, and gestures, and adults respond with the same kind of vocalizing and gesturing back at them. This back-and-forth process is fundamental to the wiring of the brain, especially in the earliest years.
3) Toxic Stress Derails Healthy Development
This video is part three of a three-part series titled "Three Core Concepts in Early Development" from the Center and the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child.
Learning how to cope with adversity is an important part of healthy development. While moderate, short-lived stress responses in the body can promote growth, toxic stress is the strong, unrelieved activation of the body’s stress management system in the absence of protective adult support. Without caring adults to buffer children, the unrelenting stress caused by extreme poverty, neglect, abuse, or severe maternal depression can weaken the architecture of the developing brain, with long-term consequences for learning, behavior, and both physical and mental health.
Early Childhood and Family Mental Health Compentencies
Early Childhood Matters, Invest in Us
Change the First Five Years
If we invest in programs that promote learning beginning at birth, the statistics will change, the stories will change, the future will change.