Jump-starting early childhood education at home: Early learning, parent motivation, and public policy. Nov 2015 By Benjamin ConverseChloe GibbsE.A. MahoneyS.C. LevineS.L. Beilock Jump-starting early childhood education at home: Early learning, parent motivation, and public policy. Jump-starting early childhood education at home: Early learning, parent motivation, and public policy. By the time children begin formal schooling, their experiences at home have already contributed to large variations in their math and language development, and once school begins, academic achievement continues to depend strongly on influences outside of school. It is thus essential that educational reform strategies involve primary caregivers. Specifically, programs and policies should promote and support aspects of caregiver–child interaction that have been empirically demonstrated to boost early learning and should seek to impede “motivational sinkholes” that threaten to undermine caregivers’ desires to engage their children effectively. This article draws on cognitive and behavioral science to detail simple, low-cost, and effective tools caregivers can employ to prepare their children for educational success and then describes conditions that can protect and facilitate caregivers’ motivation to use those tools. Policy recommendations throughout focus on using existing infrastructure to more deeply engage caregivers in effective early childhood education at home. Perspectives on Psychological Science Areas of focus Education Benjamin Converse Benjamin Converse is an associate professor of public policy and psychology at the Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy and the Department of Psychology. His research focuses on motivation, social judgment, problem solving and decision making. He teaches courses related to leadership and negotiations. Read full bio Chloe Gibbs E.A. Mahoney S.C. Levine S.L. Beilock Related Content Benjamin Converse People systematically overlook subtractive changes Research A series of problem-solving experiments reveal that people are more likely to consider solutions that add features than solutions that remove them, even when removing features is more efficient. Next Week, Next Month, Next Year: How Perceived Temporal Boundaries Affect Initiation Expectations Research To move from commitment to action, planners must think about the future and decide when to initiate. We demonstrate that planners prefer to initiate on upcoming days that immediately follow a temporal boundary. We instinctively add on new features and fixes. Why don’t we subtract instead? News Across a series of studies published this month in the journal Nature, Batten’s Gabrielle Adams, Benjamin Converse and co-authors demonstrated that people tend to overlook the option to subtract parts when asked to change or improve something. In an op-ed for The Washington Post, they explore why ‘less is more’ is a hard insight to act on. Why People Forget that Less is Often More News Why, when solving problems, do people prefer adding things to getting rid of them? In an article for The Economist, Batten’s Gabrielle Adams and Benjamin Converse explain their research on subtractive improvements.