Introduction

Today’s children are facing stress and adversity at higher rates than children just ten years ago. At the same time, research and practice highlights the role of high-quality early learning opportunities in buffering and reducing the impact of stress on children’s development.

Therefore, Buffering Stress and Adversity Through Early Learning is an online professional development program for leaders and teachers in early education centers and programs across the mixed-delivery early education system. Based upon the work of HGSE Professors Nonie Lesaux and Stephanie Jones, this program presents the latest research on today’s population of young learners — including their socio-demographics and early childhood stressors — and explores the features of strong early learning environments that can buffer children’s stressors and promote early learning and development.

Offered as a part of the Saul Zaentz Professional Learning Academy, Buffering Stress and Adversity Through Early Learning is squarely aligned with the Academy’s mission to equip leaders with the cutting-edge knowledge, strategic tactics, and collaborative networks needed to design and implement approaches and policies that improve young children's learning environments. Through video lectures, readings, and facilitated online discussions, participants will engage with research and practice to learn how strategic decision-making in early education can buffer the adverse circumstances facing many young learners today. 

Meet The Faculty

Nonie Lesaux

Nonie Lesaux

Juliana W. and William Foss Thompson Professor of Education and Society

Nonie K. Lesaux is the Juliana W. and William Foss Thompson Professor of Education and Society. Her research focuses on promoting the language and literacy skills of today's children from diverse linguistic, cultural and economic backgrounds, and is conducted largely in urban and semi-urban cities and school districts. Lesaux's work has earned her the William T. Grant Scholars Award, and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers, the highest honor given by the United States government to young professionals beginning their independent research careers. She has served on the U.S. Department of Education's Reading First Advisory Committee, and the Institute of Medicine and National Research Council's Committee on the Science of Children Birth to Age 8. In addition to her faculty appointment at HGSE, Lesaux currently serves as the chair of the Massachusetts' Board of Early Education and Care. Lesaux's developmental and experimental research on school-age children and youth investigates language, reading, and social-emotional development; classroom quality and academic growth; and strategies for accelerating language and reading comprehension. Her research on our youngest children, with colleague Stephanie Jones, focuses on the challenge of simultaneously expanding and improving the quality of early childhood education, at scale (The Leading Edge of Early Childhood Education, Harvard Education Press, 2016).

Stephanie Jones

Stephanie Jones

Marie and Max Kargman Associate Professor in Human Development and Urban Education Advancement

Stephanie Jones's research, anchored in prevention science, focuses on the effects of poverty and exposure to violence on children and youth's social, emotional, and behavioral development. Over the last ten years her work has focused on both evaluation research addressing the impact of preschool and elementary focused social-emotional learning interventions on behavioral and academic outcomes and classroom practices; as well as new curriculum development, implementation, and testing. Jones serves on numerous national advisory boards and expert consultant groups related to social-emotional development and child and family anti-poverty policies, including the National Boards of Parents as Teachers and Engaging Schools. She consults to program developers, including Sesame Street, and has conducted numerous evaluations of programs and early education efforts, including Reading, Writing, Respect and Resolution, Resolving Conflict Creatively, SECURe, and the Head Start CARES initiative. Across projects and initiatives, Jones maintains a commitment to supporting the alignment of preK-3 curricula and instructional practices.

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