Building Better Programs

Key Resources for Executive Function in Children from the Center on the Developing Child at Harvard University

The Center for the Developing Child at Harvard University has several resources on the development of executive function in young children.

WORKING PAPER #11: Building the Brain’s “Air Traffic Control” System: How Early Experiences Shape the Development of Executive Function

This paper explains how a child’s early experiences are critical to the development of executive function (Click paper title above).

IN BRIEF: Executive Function – Skills for Life and Learning

This page provide both a video and short document with a brief overview of Executive Function, developed from Working Paper #11 (cited above) (Link above).

“Rethinking Evidenced-Based Practice and Two-Generation Program to Create the Future of Early Childhood Policy” by Jack Shonkoff and Phil Fisher

Arguing for a “new role for biology” in early childhood policy and practice, Center Director Jack P. Shonkoff and co-author and Center Senior Fellow Philip A. Fisher call for the development of new early childhood intervention strategies based on science-driven innovation (including new developments in Executive Function) rather than quality improvement or system building alone.  They suggest that better child outcomes could result from hybridized two-generation approaches instead of simply linking separate child-focused and adult-focused services. The authors also encourage the publication of intervention studies that did not achieve positive results but nonetheless might offer insights that could stimulate fresh thinking.

“The achievement of substantially larger intervention impacts,” they write, “requires a more dynamic environment that invites experimentation, supports responsible risk taking, and learns from failure.”