Working Paper No. 1: Young Children Develop in an Environment of Relationships

Harvard University, Center on the Developing Child

Social Policy, Brain Architecture, Serve and Return

Harvard Center on the Developing Child, December 2009

This working paper, one of an ongoing series of research reports published by the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child, explains why healthy development depends on the quality and reliability of a young child's relationships with the important people in their life. Even the development of a child’s brain architecture depends on the establishment of these relationships. The working paper explores the importance of this "environment of relationships" and identifies ways to strengthen policies that affect those relationships in the early childhood years.