To research and transform early childhood nurturing ecosystems locally and globally to mitigate the impact of all types of adversity, including Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs) and broad social disadvantage. Early childhood adversity can cause trauma and toxic stress which in turn creates an enduring public health burden, increasing the risk of mental and physical illness in adulthood and contributing to socioeconomic and racial health disparities. We are dedicated to creating holistic nurturing ecosystems integrated across disciplinary boundaries to maximize child well-being, prevent trauma, improve inequities in health and education, and build resilience.
How we define early childhood well-being
We define early childhood as the period from birth to eight years of age. Early childhood well-being means having the requisite physical, cognitive, and social-emotional capabilities necessary for realizing one’s full human potential. In addition to its intrinsic value, child well-being is instrumental to the well-being and health of societies.
How we think about early childhood nurturing ecosystems
In the broadest sense, early childhood nurturing ecosystems encompass parenting and/or caregiving within the household; public and private health, education, and social services; and community and economic support systems. Nurturing ecosystems also include the policy space in which decisions relevant to early childhood are made. Unlike nurturing ecosystems, dysfunctional ecosystems often confer risk to the very children who are already most at risk from adversities such as interpersonal and systemic trauma and other ACEs. Building nurturing ecosystems plays a critical role both in preventing early adversity and in fostering resilience in children who have experienced them.