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February 5, 2024

11 Simple Rules to Create Thriving Communities for Children (and Adults)

Just believe that you can do anything and everything until you find out you can’t.
—Chita Rivera, 1933-2024, Broadway dancer and actor

“Imagine our communities as places where all relationships and interactions among adults and children are honest, open, trusting, and two-way. Where our environments—our homes, workplaces, parks, libraries, or early-learning programs—are safe, calm, organized, and respectful. Where adults and children together learn with and from each other in ways that are meaningful, exploratory, and actionable. How would that feel? How would it feel for you? How might it feel for children?” ask Judy Jablon and Nichole Parks in 11 Simple Rules to Create Thriving Communities for Children, in the latest issue of Exchange magazine.

“We initially conceived the 11 Simple Rules as a way to ensure quality early learning for young children—creating a safe and nurturing environment while promoting young children’s physical, social, emotional, and intellectual development,” note Jablon and Parks, “However, we quickly recognized three important ideas: These simple rules apply to all spaces where children spend time, they also apply to adults, and together, they can create a healthier climate for everyone. When adults thrive in collaboration communities, children have a better chance to thrive!” Harvard’s Center on the Developing Child would concur:

”The science of child development and the core capabilities of resilient adults point to a set of ‘design principles’ that policymakers and practitioners in many different sectors can use to improve outcomes for children and families. To be maximally effective, policies and services should:

  1. Support responsive relationships for children and adults.
  2. Strengthen core skills for planning, adapting, and achieving goals.
  3. Reduce sources of stress in the lives of children and families.”

Jablon and Parks invite you to use their 11 Simple Rules framework “to ignite inclusive conversations that build on the strengths, wisdom, and experience within your community.”

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