Researchers Explore How a Child’s Learning Environment Can Affect Nonacademic Skills

Core nonacademic skills may be a direct reflection of a child’s everyday environments
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At the latest convening of the Saul Zaentz Early Education Initiative at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, developmental psychologists Stephanie Jones and Nonie Lesaux shared several insights, including:

  • The development of a child’s skills in one domain (cognitive, social-emotional or interpersonal) can profoundly inform the development of her skills in other domains. The interrelatedness of these domains is greater than previously understood. As a result, the psychologists concluded, that there should be more emphasis on “the whole child.”
  • A child’s learning environment can have a deep, lasting impact on his core non-academic skills. Nonacademic skills can be predictive of life outcomes. Strong impulse control, executive function and social skills can lead to greater labor market and higher education successes, better physical well-being and personal financial circumstances, and lower rates of substance abuse.

The researchers suggest that core nonacademic skills are a direct reflection of a child’s everyday environments. Learning environments that are predictable, stable and filled with routines can yield substantial benefits for a child’s future.

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Categories: Early Education, Education, Parenting