Scientists’ Alliance for Communicating Child Development Knowledge

Children and families are facing a terrible time. In 2020 alone, we have faced the Covid-19 pandemic, the cessation of schooling combined with a lockdown, raising anxiety among young people about climate change, and new and shocking examples of racial inequality and injustice.

In the last decades, there have been enormous jumps in our understanding of how children grow and develop. There is a mass of new research and a huge discussion among a huge community of researchers all over the world. But not enough of this penetrates into real life, helping those who are actually involved in helping children’s growth and development. At a time when pressures on children and families are getting greater and greater all over the world, and when the media is full of personal subjective opinions about how to raise children, we need to inject new energy into communicating our knowledge to those who can best use it.

We need to reach vastly more people with the science. We need to transform the appreciation of science – ‘science to live by’. When we understand the mechanisms and principles of child development, we make better choices in how we care for children.

We have responded to these unprecedented challenges with a new initiative to share our knowledge on child development with parents, caregivers and all those who have responsibility for supporting children’s growth and development. We will communicate in lay terms the key principles of child development, which can form the basis for good decisions regarding children’s growth and development.

We have launched The Scientists’ Alliance for Communicating Child Development Knowledge.

If you are such a scientist, or know others who are passionate about communicating knowledge, please contact us now!

The Alliance is co-chaired by Professors Roberta Golinkoff and Michael Lamb and will be administered by the small and entrepreneurial Child & Family Blog team.

The first members are:

Adam Boyette
Allyssa McCabe
Alyssa Meuwissen
Amanda Cooklin
Amanda Morris
Amanda Tarullo
Amanda Zelechoski
Amy Holtzworth-Munroe
Angeline S. Lillard
Anna Gassman-Pines
Anna Johnson
Anne Shaffer
Annemarie H. Hindman
Barbara L. Wolfe
Barry M. Lester
Bonnie Leadbeater
Brenda Jones Harden
Caitlin McPherran Lombardi
Camelia E. Hostinar
Candice L. Odgers
Carlo Schuengel
Carolyn Pape Cowan
Charlie Lewis
Christopher Trentacosta
Chrystyna Kouros
Cristine Legare
Deborah Lowe Vandell
Deirdre Brown
Diane Lickenbrock
Donna Berthelsen
Dorsa Amir
Douglas H. Clements
Douglas M. Teti
Drew Rothenberg
Eddie Brummelman
Elena Nicoladis
Elizabeth Gershoff
Elizabeth Riina
Elizabeth Ware
Emma Sciberras
Enrique B. Arranz-Freijo
Felix Warneken
George P. Knight
George W. Holden
Hirokazu Yoshikawa
Iheoma Iruka
Irwin N. Sandler
Jaipaul L. Roopnarine
Jamie Hanson
Jamie Jirout
Jan Nicholson
Janeen Baxter
Jason Downer
Jeanne Brooks-Gunn
Jelena Obradovic
Jenalee Doom
Jennifer E. Lansford
Jeremy I. M. Carpendale
Jody Nicholson
Kate C. Prickett
Kate Williams
Katelyn Fletcher
Kathryn Humphreys
Kathryn Modecki
Kathy Hirsh-Pasek
Kenneth A Dodge
Kevin Wong
Kimberly Noble
Laura Di Giunta
Laurie Bayet
Lisa A. Gennetian
Lisa M. Gatzke-Kopp
Luke Hyde
Lyndall Strazdins
Marcia J. Carlson
Marcia Winter
Margaret O’Brien
Margaret Sheridan
Marije L. Verhage
Marinus H. van IJzendoorn
Mary Gauvain
Matthijs Kalmijn
Naomi Ekas
Natalie Brito
Natasha J. Cabrera
Pasco Fearon
Paula Fomby
Phil A. Cowan
Philip Hwang
Richard A. Warshak
Robert J. Duncan
Robert Pianta
Robert Serpell
Ross A. Thompson
Ross D. Parke
Sabina Pauen
Sarah-Jayne Blakemore
Seth Pollak
Sharlene A. Wolchik
Sharon Wolf
Shawna J. Lee
Sheina Lew-Levy
Sheri Madigan
Stephen Braren
Suniya S. Luthar
Susan Engel
Susan Golombok
Tanya Broesch
Vaheshta Sethna
Vanessa LoBue
Wendy S. Grolnick
William Fabricius
Xinyin Chen
Xutong Zhang
Yalda Uhls
Yossi Shavit

Alliance members are not making financial contributions, nor giving a lot of time. They are providing ideas about how to get our work into the world.

  • They share ideas about potential communication partnerships and about how to secure resources for the work.
  • They attend occasional on-line webinars to brainstorm ideas for communicating our research to families, practitioners, teachers and policy makers.
  • They suggest projects and serve on a project advisory group and/or contribute directly.

lockdown learning

 

The plan

Every two months, we will choose a topic of child development to focus on. We will invite other communicators of child development science to work together on this, so that as many organisations across the world as possible are communicating the same knowledge at the same time, so creating a valuable cumulative effect.

If a story breaks in the media that can act as a hook for child development knowledge, we will mobilise quickly around it and reschedule our future content timetable. We will invite other organisations to do the same and act together.

Around each topic, we will seek as many channels of communication as possible, for example:

  • Invite Alliance members to produce content for the Child & Family Blog on the topic.
  • Invite major parenting channels to partner with us to communicate messages to their communities.
  • Invite international organisations, such as UNICEF and WHO, to run webinars for practitioners and policy makers globally.
  • Run social media activity linking to organisations and networks with particular interest in the topic in question. All the participating organisations can promote each other in this way.

Building a Google resource

In the background, on the home page of the Child & Family Blog, we will build a new resource.

Each month, 29,000 people across the world search for the terms “child development” and “early childhood development” on Google. These people are policy makers, practitioners, writers and enquiring parents. When they do, we want them to find, in the top 10 results, the following:

Child development: the influence of families
How families can support healthy child development | Child & Family Blog

We want this to be the best exposition of this topic on-line anywhere in the world. We will build this during 2020 on Child & Family Blog. Members of the Scientist Alliance are advising on how this resource will be configured.

If you are a child development scientist and interested to participate, please contact us now!

Children Racism
Covid-19 slump in learning
pretend play

Images:

Victoria Pickering. Creative Commons.

Nenad Stojkovic. Creative Commons.

Shutterstock.

Victoria Pickering. Creative Commons.

Dan Gaken. Creative Commons. 

Katie Chao and Ben Muessig. Creative Commons.