TMW Center Newsletter October 2020

October 01, 2020

What We’re Reading

  • A new national poll from the First Five Years Fund (FFYF) suggests that the COVID-19 pandemic has opened Americans’ eyes to the importance of child care for families. The survey found that regardless of political party, respondents overwhelmingly agreed that high-quality, affordable child care for families with young children is an essential service—just like healthcare and education.
  • As experts warn that we may be heading into the most challenging phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re revisiting this LEGO Foundation blog post by Dr. Bo Stjerne Thomsen on the power of play to help children cope with change. It offers six evidence-based approaches to using creativity and active engagement in play and argues that making room for play right now is not just okay, it’s more important than ever. Of course, we recognize that this is an incredibly challenging, stressful, and exhausting time for many parents and caregivers. We encourage all caregivers to do whatever they can to care for themselves so that they might be able to approach play—and other forms of child engagement—with intention and clarity.

Scaling Book is Off to the Presses

As part of the TMW Center’s commitment to advancing the science of scaling—that is, understanding how experimental insights can effectively be scaled—in the early childhood field, we have curated an edited volume dedicated to the topic. Featuring contributions from an esteemed and diverse group of authors, including economists, psychiatrists, physicians, field researchers, and early childhood practitioners, this book will provide actionable blueprints for more effectively approaching scaling. Last week, we submitted a final draft of the manuscript—all 21 chapters—to the book’s publisher, Routledge. This project has been a labor of love for many of us and we can’t wait to see The Scale-Up Effect in Early Childhood and Public Policy: Why Interventions Lose Impact at Scale and What We Can Do About It hit shelves in June 2021! For a list of authors and chapter topics, you can view the book’s table of contents here.

3Ts-Let’s Talk Dads Continues in Phoenix

We are thrilled to continue our partnership with Southwest Human Development and the Steve Nash Foundation and to offer 3Ts-Let’s Talk Dads to even more fathers in the Phoenix region. Let’s Talk Dads is a four-session, facilitator-led program implemented with fathers only. Designed to work in a variety of group settings, the current sessions are being offered virtually in accordance with public health guidance.

Like all TMW Center interventions, Let’s Talk Dads translates emerging brain science into strategies parents and caregivers can use in everyday settings. The four sessions utilize group discussion, parent-child videos, and behavioral nudges are used to support adult behavior change. Southwest Human Development is currently recruiting dads to participate in the third wave of the program, which will be offered to two groups of 10-12 participants each. Given that there was a waitlist to participate in the last cohort, we anticipate interest to be high and we look forward to welcoming a new group of fathers to the program!

Sentenced at Birth: The Invisible Toll of Mass Incarceration on Childhood Development

As the United States’ carceral state has come under increased scrutiny amid skyrocketing incarceration rates, the children of incarcerated parents have remained in the shadows. They are collateral damage of a broken and racist system. In a new column published by the Hechinger Report, TMW Center co-director Dana Suskind explores the insidious ways in which parental incarceration affects those children—including its potential disruption of healthy early brain development.

You can read the column here and we encourage you to please share it using the following sample social media posts—or crafting your own!