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The relative lack of attention to early childhood development in many developing countries remains a puzzle, and an opportunity. There is increasing evidence that investments in the nutritional, cognitive, and socio-emotional development of young children have high payoffs.

To be successful takes creativity, flexibility, self-control, and discipline. Central to all those are executive functions, including mentally playing with ideas, giving a considered rather than an impulsive response, and staying focused.

OBJECTIVE: An estimated 178 million children younger than 5 years in developing countries experience linear growth retardation and are unlikely to attain their developmental potential.

If we want the best academic outcomes, the most efficient and cost-effective route to achieve that is, counterintuitively, not to narrowly focus on academics, but to also address children's social, emotional, and physical development.

Human brain development occurs within a socioeconomic context and childhood socioeconomic status (SES) influences neural development, particularly the systems subserving language and executive function.

Social experiments are powerful sources of information about the effectiveness of interventions. In practice, initial randomization plans are almost always compromised. Multiple hypotheses are frequently tested.

The effects of early life experience on later brain structure and function have been studied extensively in animals, yet the relationship between childhood experience and normal brain development in humans remains largely unknown.

Children enter kindergarten with disparate rudimentary reading and mathematics skills; capabilities for paying attention, sitting still and making friends; mental health; and inclinations for aggressive behavior.