The Smart Love approach is distinctive and at the forefront of early childhood education. Increasingly, this approach is being supported by child development research and experts. Read articles, research, and reports from The New York Times, The Aspen Institute, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, American Academy of Pediatrics, The Atlantic, NPR, The Huffington Post, MotherJones, The Miami Herald, Edutopia, Scientific American, Big Think, Harvard University, University of Chicago, and Slate.

Research Supporting Our Approach

 

 

Why Does My Kid Prefer My Partner?

Jessica Grose, Mar. 4, 2020

"If a child feels comfortable actively rejecting one parent, that means she’s securely attached, Dr. Heard-Garris said. That may sound counterintuitive, but if a child were unsure of a parent’s love, she would cling to any scrap of affection, Dr. Heard-Garris said. Being able to reject a parent means that a child knows the love is unconditional."

WHAT BABIES KNOW ABOUT PHYSICS AND FOREIGN LANGUAGES

Alison Gopnik, July 30, 2016

"Parents and policy makers have become obsessed with getting young children to learn more, faster. But the picture of early learning that drives them is exactly the opposite of the one that emerges from developmental science."

KINDERGARTEN RINGING THE BELL FOR PLAY INSIDE THE CLASSROOM

Mokoto Rich, June 9, 2015

"And many veteran kindergarten teachers, as well as most academic researchers, say they have long known that children learn best when they are allowed ample time to go shopping at a pretend grocery store or figure out how to build bridges with wooden blocks. Even the Common Core standards state that play is a 'valuable activity.'"

LET THE KIDS LEARN THROUGH PLAY

David Kohn, May 16, 2015

"The idea seems obvious: Starting sooner means learning more; the early bird catches the worm. But a growing group of scientists, education researchers and educators say there is little evidence that this approach improves long-term achievement; in fact, it may have the opposite effect, potentially slowing emotional and cognitive development, causing unnecessary stress and perhaps even souring kids’ desire to learn."

THE BUILDING BLOCKS OF A GOOD PRE-K

Shael Polakow-Suransky and Nancy Nager, Oct. 21, 2014

"Play has long-lasting benefits. What is referred to as self-regulation in preschool becomes resiliency in high school."

 
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A NATION AT HOPE

The Aspen Institute, 2019

"Across the nation, communities are redesigning schools to support how students learn best. These communities recognize from intuitive experience, backed by a solid body of scientific evidence, that learning happens best when social, emotional, and cognitive growth are connected. "

 

WHY IT'S A PROBLEM THAT KIDS HAVE BEEN DEPRIVED OF PLAY DURING THE PANDEMIC

Valerie Strauss, Mar. 17, 2021

"There are many accounts of children playing out challenges and traumas they have faced in different life experiences. Children today who are experiencing the coronavirus pandemic need lots of imaginative play opportunities to help them make sense of the radical changes that have affected so many aspects of their lives."

WHY SCHOOLS - NOW MORE THAN EVER - SHOULD LET YOUNG KIDS LEARN THROUGH PLAY (NOT WORKSHEETS)

Valerie Strauss, Sep. 17, 2020

"Decades of research and theory tell us that play is the primary way that young children make sense of their world. Play is how children maintain emotional balance; it’s how they cope. Play is such a driving force in children’s lives that it is sometimes called the engine of their development. No one teaches children how to play, yet they all know how to do it."

A NOBEL PRIZE WINNER SAYS PUBLIC PRESCHOOL PROGRAMS SHOULD START AT BIRTH

Emma Brown, Dec. 12, 2016

"How to define and measure “quality” has been a matter of debate among early childhood educators. Heckman said the defining characteristic of a high-quality program, more than a certain staffing ratio or training regimen, is empathetic adults who engage meaningfully with their young charges, giving them personalized attention as they grow and develop."

THE DECLINE OF PLAY IN PRESCHOOLERS - AND THE RISE IN SENSORY ISSUES

Valerie Strauss, Sept. 1, 2015

"Research continues to point out that young children learn best through meaningful play experiences, yet many preschools are transitioning from play-based learning to becoming more academic in nature."

 

PRESCHOOL'S 'SLEEPER' EFFECT ON LATER LIFE

Alison Gopnik, May 2021

"New research shows that the biggest effect of early education isn't on children's test scores but on their resilience as teenagers and adults."

THE LASTING BENEFITS OF PRESCHOOL

Susan Pinker, Oct 2020

"Multiple studies show that going to preschool gives young children a leg up on all kinds of learning, not just academics but social skills, listening, planning and self-control. But how big is that early boost and how long does it last?"

THE PERILS OF THE CHILD PERFECTIONIST

Jennifer Breheny Wallace, Aug 2018

"Research suggests that [when children are] being too hard on [themselves], it can actually inhibit high achievement, says Ms. Dobosz. Perfectionism causes stress and can over-activate the sympathetic nervous system, which makes it harder to think clearly."

 

THE POWER OF PLAY: A PEDIATRIC ROLE IN ENHANCING DEVELOPMENT IN YOUNG CHILDREN

Nov 2018

"Children need to develop a variety of skill sets to optimize their development and manage toxic stress. Research demonstrates that developmentally appropriate play with parents and peers is a singular opportunity to promote the social-emotional, cognitive, language, and self-regulation skills that build executive function and a prosocial brain."

 

WHAT IS GOOD TEACHING?

Kristina Rizga, Sep. 16, 2020

"What matters the most is building a personal connection with your students, and then it’s the daily commitment to bringing in well-considered, purposeful practices and working child by child.”

THE NEW PRESCHOOL IS CRUSHING KIDS

Erika Christakis, Jan/Feb 2016

"A major evaluation of Tennessee’s publicly funded preschool system, published in September, found that although children who had attended preschool initially exhibited more “school readiness” skills when they entered kindergarten than did their non-preschool-attending peers, by the time they were in first grade their attitudes toward school were deteriorating. And by second grade they performed worse on tests measuring literacy, language, and math skills."

ALL WORK AND NO PLAY: WHY YOUR KIDS ARE MORE ANXIOUS, DEPRESSED

Esther Entin, Oct. 12, 2011

"For more than fifty years, children's free play time has been continually declining, and it's keeping them from turning into confident adults."

 

ARE WE RAISING UNHELPFUL, BOSSY KIDS? HERE'S A FIX

Michaeleen Doucleff, Mar. 5, 2021

"How you respond to a very young child who shows interest in helping is key to whether that child grows into a 12-year-old who wants to help around the house or (and this will sound familiar to many of us) a kid who rolls their eyes when you ask, according to Alcala."

THE CASE FOR UNIVERSAL PRE-K JUST GOT STRONGER

Greg Rosalsky, May 18, 2021

"Consistent with other studies that find preschool has a huge effect on kids, Walters, Gray-Lobe and Pathak find that the kids lucky enough to get accepted into preschools in Boston saw meaningful changes to their lives."

WHAT KIDS NEED FROM GROWN-UPS (BUT AREN'T GETTING)

Cory Turner, Feb. 9, 2016

"It is the reality that science is confirming on a daily basis: that children are hardwired to learn in many settings and are really very capable, very strong, very intelligent on the one hand. On the other hand, the paradox is that many young children are doing poorly in our early education settings."

BEHOLD THE HUMBLE BLOCK! TOOLS OF THE TRADE

Eric Westervelt, March 3, 2015

"Pratt observed that the real learning was occurring when they (kids) had unscheduled, free play time," says Winters. "Children still need those hands-on, tactile materials to make sense of the world."

 

WHY OBEDIENCE IS NOT MY PARENTING GOAL

Avital Schreiber Levy, Feb. 1, 2017

"Rather than focusing on getting my child to do as I say I believe I can focus on holding limits, where necessary, with empathy. I can focus on creating an atmosphere that communicates respect for both mine and my child’s preferences, concerns and needs."

 

WHAT IF EVERYTHING YOU KNEW ABOUT DISCIPLINING KIDS WAS WRONG?

Katherine Reynolds Lewis, July/Aug., 2015

"Teachers who aim to control students’ behavior—rather than helping them control it themselves—undermine the very elements that are essential for motivation: autonomy, a sense of competence, and a capacity to relate to others."

 

MY YOUNG SON SHOULD DREAM, NOT HAVE TESTING NIGHTMARES

Susan Jouflas, Jan. 21, 2016

"Instead, they are turning what should be the joyful childhood years into miniature versions of the competitive, soulless slog too many of us have accepted as the wages of adulthood."

 

WHY DOES MY KID FREAK OUT?

Melinda Wenner Moyer, Feb. 27, 2013

" Is it normal that my son wails if his shirt sleeve isn’t all the way down, loves the bathtub one day but hates it the next, and manically screams “MINE!” two seconds after handing our dog a ball? Yes, thankfully. And it’s not only normal, but reasonable. As five experts on child psychology recently explained to me, toddlers’ irrational behaviors are a totally understandable reflection of their inner turmoil and frustrations. In sum, their world is turning upside down and they don’t yet have the skills to handle it. Tantrums don’t mean your kid is a spoiled brat or needs therapy; tantrums mean he is normal."

 

WHY PRESCHOOL SHOULDN'T BE LIKE SCHOOL

Alison Gopnik, Mar. 16, 2011 

"Two forthcoming studies in the journal Cognition—one from a lab at MIT and one from my lab at UC-Berkeley—suggest that the doubters are on to something. While learning from a teacher may help children get to a specific answer more quickly, it also makes them less likely to discover new information about a problem and to create a new and unexpected solution."

 
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GETTING PRESCHOOL RIGHT

Melinda Wenner Moyer, Mar./Apr. 2017

"Child-centered curriculum encourages students to learn math, literacy and critical thinking via hands-on activities and play, making their education largely self-directed. Teachers are warm, responsive and skilled—they help kids navigate their emotions, they encourage and value the students’ perspectives, and they guide playtime to make it more meaningful. Young children learn best, says the nonprofit National Association for the Education of Young Children (NAEYC), in precisely these kinds of environments."

 

 
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WHY MORE CURIOUS KIDS LEARN BETTER, ESPECIALLY POORER ONES

Scotty Hendricks, May 1, 2018

"A higher level of curiosity pointed towards higher test scores in math and reading regardless of other factors.  Curious students also showed better social skills and emotional control than their peers. The benefits existed even in cases where the child exhibited low “effortful control” or was otherwise unable to focus or control their impulses."

 

 
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THREE PRINCIPLES TO IMPROVE OUTCOMES FOR CHILDREN AND FAMILIES

Center on the Developing Child, Harvard University

"Responsive relationships early in life are the most important factor in building sturdy brain architecture. Think of building a house; it’s constructed in a certain order and the foundation establishes a base upon which everything else is built. The same is true with developing brains."

 

 

PRESCHOOL EDUCATION CAN BENEFIT GENERATIONS OF FAMILIES

Jack Wang, May 14, 2019

"Early childhood education programs can impact life outcomes in ways that span generations, according to new research from Nobel laureate James Heckman. In a pair of companion papers released this week, the pioneering University of Chicago economist found that the children of those who participated in a landmark 1960s study still saw improvements in education, health and employment. The children saw such benefits without participating in the same preschool program as their parents—suggesting that early education can contribute to lasting upward mobility and help break cycles of poverty."

 

 
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CULTIVATING SELF-MOTIVATION IN PRESCHOOL

Tom Hobson, Nov. 3, 2020

“Educators who understand their role as facilitating rather than instructing find that allowing children to own their learning leads to more eager and productive engagement, although it does require setting aside adult notions of the proper way to go about learning something.”

 

WHY AGES 2-7 MATTER SO MUCH FOR BRAIN DEVELOPMENT

Rishi Sriram, Jun. 24, 2020

“When Albert Einstein was a child, few people—if any—anticipated the remarkable contributions he would make to science. His language development was delayed, worrying his parents to the point of consulting a doctor. His sister once confessed that Einstein “had such difficulty with language that those around him feared he would never learn.” How did this child go from potential developmental delays to becoming, well, Einstein?”

 

WHAT'S LOST WHEN WE RUSH KIDS THROUGH CHILDHOOD

Emily Kaplan, Aug. 23, 2019

“Instead of imposing adult expectations, she argues, parents and teachers should try to “take their blinders off” and see the world through the eyes of young children—a change in perspective that might allow us to better understand and cultivate their unique abilities.”