Articles and News

Play is paramount for early childhood development

By Kim Doleatto, Posted Oct 15, 2018 at 6:00 AM, Updated Nov 1, 2018 at 9:48 AM

If aliens examined humans, they might puzzle over hopscotch and peek-a-boo, and categorize play as pointless.

But according to the latest research, play is paramount for early childhood development.

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

Pediatrics, September 2018, VOLUME 142 / ISSUE 3, From the American Academy of Pediatrics, Clinical Report

Children need to develop a variety of skill sets to optimize their development and manage toxic stress. Research demonstrates that developmentally appropriate play with parents and peers is a singular opportunity to promote the social-emotional, cognitive, language, and self-regulation skills that build executive function and a prosocial brain. Furthermore, play supports the formation of the safe, stable, and nurturing relationships with all caregivers that children need to thrive.

Play is not frivolous: it enhances brain structure and function and promotes executive function (ie, the process of learning, rather than the content), which allow us to pursue goals and ignore distractions.

Does Preschool Pay Off? Tulsa Says Yes

December 12, 2017, 12:00 AM ET CLAUDIO SANCHEZ

In 2001, not long after Oklahoma had adopted one of the nation's first universal pre-K programs, researchers from Georgetown University began tracking kids who came out of the program in Tulsa, documenting their academic progress over time. 

In a new report published in the Journal of Policy Analysis and Management today, researchers were able to show that Tulsa's pre-K program has significant, positive effects on students' outcomes and well-being through middle school.

Getting The Most Out Of Pre-K, 'The Most Important' Year In School

October 2, 2017, 7:56 AM ET CLAUDIO SANCHEZ

Suzanne Bouffard's new book, The Most Important Year, may be just what parents of preschoolers have been waiting for: a guide to what a quality pre-K program should look like.

Bouffard spent a lot of time in classrooms watching teachers do some really good things and some not-so-good things.