AH125/SBS 299: Driving Science-Based Innovation in Early Childhood Practice and Policy

The primary aim of this course is to leverage advances in the biological, behavioral, and social sciences to catalyze more effective strategies to strengthen the foundations of healthy development in the early years of life. Drawing on a diversity of disciplinary perspectives, students will learn how interactions among early life experiences and genetic predispositions shape brain architecture and influence the maturation of biological systems that affect learning, behavior, and health well into the adult years. Particular attention will be focused on developing a greater understanding of how stress related to poverty, maltreatment, and social exclusion “gets under the skin” and leads to significant disparities in educational achievement and both physical and mental well-being. Students will explore how causal mechanisms that explain these disparities can be used to formulate new theories of change and drive science-based innovation in policy and practice that achieves breakthrough outcomes for children facing adversity.