The Center for the Study of Child Development includes a group of around 10 internationally leading senior researchers and their 30 post-doc and graduate students, who are devoted to the study of children’s development, with a particular emphasis on their emotional health and well-being. We focus on basic science questions regarding the nature of socio-emotional development across the life span and its implications and applications for the “real-life” of children and their families.
Researchers in the center and their students examine the idea that sensitive, responsive and cognitively stimulating parent-child relationships lay the foundation for healthy development in various domains of life, whereas insensitive, unresponsive, and depriving relationships early on may have detrimental and risk effects. We feel that our work is contributing to an improved understanding of these issues thanks to empirically rigorous and conceptually grounded research methods we apply and develop.
The work conducted in the center involves not only basic science and academic questions, however. We have various application interests by bringing science to the real world. The knowledge and expertise acquired in the center have relevance for a host of domains, including:
– Public policy, for example, questions related to the interplay between the increasing rate of mothers’ participation in workforce and the need to provide early child care of high quality;
– Social, family and educational legislation, for instance, foster care and adoption and dilemmas around child custody decisions in the context of marital disputes;
– Prevention and Intervention, e.g., development and assessment of prevention and intervention programs for children and families from underprivileged ecologies (one illustration is our empowerment project with Bedouin mothers in the northern region of Israel).
Researchers in our center have an impressive track record publishing papers in leading journals in the field and securing research funds from highly competitive scientific foundations. These include: The Israel Academy of Science, the USA-Israel Binational Science Foundation (BSF), The German-Israeli Foundation for Scientific Research and Development (GIF), National Institute of Health (USA), Israel Foundation Trustees (Ford Fund), The Spencer Foundation, and the Chief Scientists of the Ministries of Health and Education, German Ministry of Research and Education (BMBF).