We believe in a public health-informed approach to early childhood. Public health is the science of promoting and protecting the health of people and the communities where they live, learn, work and play. It is the art of preventing illness or injury before it occurs. And it is essential to the well-being of our society.
Our public health-informed approach to the promotion of early learning and the prevention of early cognitive disparities is built on four foundational pillars:
1. Engage and Center Parents and Caregivers
We believe that engaging parents and caregivers is a critical missing link. Science has identified parents and caregivers as key contributors to foundational brain development, but most early childhood efforts focus on children rather than the adults in their lives. Parents and caregivers are an untapped resource with the incentive and capacity to make a significant difference.
Rich language environments, responsive caregivers, and adult-child exchanges are critical to building children’s brains. Interventions that strengthen parent and caregiver engagement around language development and tools that assess their efficacy are essential.
3. Target the First 5 Years of Life
Brain development is most rapid during the first three to five years of life. And yet, this is a stage of a child’s life that lacks a single point of entry for change—as the public-school system can be for children age five and older. Our interventions and programs are designed to embed proven practices into existing systems and connect with families at multiple touch points across those systems throughout first five years of a child’s life.
4. Ensure Scalability
While the TMW Center and others in the early learning field have made progress towards developing evidence-based interventions, it is clear that even the most effective interventions do not scale themselves. To reach as many children and families as efficiently and effectively as possible, the TMW Center is committed to developing new approaches to scaling and using rigorous scientific methods to ensure that parent and caregiver interventions yield strong outcomes in the real world. Critically, this does not mean advancing a “one size fits all” approach, but appropriately tailoring intervention delivery and intensity to meet an individual’s needs.