09 December 2019

Young children develop in an environment of relationships

This paper from Harvard University discusses the importance of children's “environment of relationships” for the development of a child’s brain architecture. This architecture then lays the foundation for later outcomes such as academic performance, mental health, and interpersonal skills. Governments however, often fail to consider the importance of adult-child relationships for child well-being. Growth-promoting relationships are based on the child’s continuous give-and-take (“serve and return” interaction) with a human partner who provides what nothing else in the world can offer—experiences that are individualised to the child’s unique personality style; that build on his or her own interests, capabilities, and initiative; that shape the child’s self-awareness; and that stimulate their emotional and cognitive growth.