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Nurturing Nature: How Brain Development is Inherently Social and Emotional, and What This Means for Education

New advances in neurobiology are revealing that brain development and the learning it enables are directly dependent on social-emotional experience. Growing bodies of research reveal the importance of socially-triggered epigenetic contributions to brain development and brain network configuration, with implications for social-emotional functioning, cognition, motivation and learning. Brain development is also impacted by health-related and physical developmental factors, such as sleep, toxin exposure, and puberty, which in turn influence social-emotional functioning and cognition. An appreciation of the dynamic interdependencies of social-emotional experience, health-related factors, brain development and learning underscores the importance of a “whole child” approach to education reform, and leads to important insights for research on Social-Emotional Learning (SEL). To facilitate these interdisciplinary conversations, here we conceptualize within a developmental framework current evidence on the fundamental and ubiquitous biological constraints and affordances undergirding SEL-related constructs and learning more broadly. Learning indeed depends on how nature is nurtured.

Keywords
social-emotional, brain development, social relationships, whole child
Education level
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
10.26300/5yqn-1d09

EdWorkingPaper suggested citation:

Immordino-Yang, Mary Helen, Linda Darling-Hammond, and Christina Krone. (). Nurturing Nature: How Brain Development is Inherently Social and Emotional, and What This Means for Education. (EdWorkingPaper: -106). Retrieved from Annenberg Institute at Brown University: https://doi.org/10.26300/5yqn-1d09

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