Who I am, and why this blog…

I am, first and foremost, a mother to a wonderful little boy who was born in May of 2010. I am also a developmental psychologists who studies young children (I am a Postdoctoral Fellow and Lecturer at the Harvard Graduate School of Education). More specifically, I try to understand the way that adults talk to the children around them and how this shapes the child’s academic achievement through language and socioemotional development. Because I am in the field of education, I also focus on the application of research to practice. I often work closely with early childhood educators and leaders—I myself was am elementary teacher—and get to see, hear, and discuss the ways that seasoned, expert teachers navigate conflicts, emotions, and routines in early care settings. Have you ever wondered how an early childhood education teacher gets 7 two-year-olds to simultaneously nap on mats that are laid out in the classroom? Right next to all of the toys??? I have been there to watch them at work and have discussed this magic with them at length.

So why blog about it? The reasons I started this blog are twofold. First, I would love to share the wealth of information from experts and researchers, in ways that are connected to everyday family life with young children. In academia, information trickles out very, very slowly. Many years pass between the time a research study starts, data is analyzed, papers are written, and then published in peer-reviewed journals or other outlets. The findings may never reach a broad audience, let alone inform our everyday approach, even though researchers often have some very concrete and usable ideas that they can easily identify from their research. We just haven’t found a good mechanism to disseminate this knowledge, so why not try blogging?

Second, I started this blog to give me an intentional space to wrestle through my own issues of parenting and to reflect on my goals, behaviors, and motives. I may have read more books and journal articles than most parents out there, but that does not mean I have all the answers, or that my toddler never has a tantrum, or that I have found the one true route to potty training success. To the contrary, I deal with the usual struggles of working mothers and their toddler kin. I hope to learn from you so that we can combine our insights towards a space where the littlest people and their families are better understood. I am glad to have you along for the conversation!

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