Noteworthy ECD resources (v3): Building resilience

[This post is part of my Noteworthy Early Childhood Development (ECD) Resources series, which rounds up and highlights key resources on particular topics.]


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Resilience – the capacity to adapt to and cope with change and stress – is fundamental to well-being. Building resilience in early childhood lays the foundation for long-term academic and social success. In today’s edition, I’d like to share with you four resources which describe research on and/or offer suggestions on how to foster resilience in young children.

The Science of Success – Lecture by Paul Tough (Video): Paul Tough talks the importance of focusing on children’s non-cognitive skills such as ‘grit’ and persistence, and how they contribute towards building success. After the lecture (about 30 minutes long), interesting comments and thoughts are shared by a panel of experts. (I have previously discussed some of Paul Tough’s work in this post.)

Mindsets: Interview with Carol Dweck (Podcast): In part 1, Carol Dweck explains the difference between a growth mindset and a fixed mindset, and how the way we praise children can affect their motivation to learn. In part 2, she explores how to model a growth mindset for our children and also talks about how having a growth mindset helps children in bullying situations. (I have also previously discussed some of Carol Dweck’s work in this post.)

A Guide to Promoting Resilience in Children: Strengthening the Human Spirit by Edith H. Grotberg (published by the Bernard Van Leer Foundation): The International Resilience Project was a global research study aiming to understand resilience across cultures, that is, what do families and communities do around the world that supports children to cope with adversity. The findings indicate that there may be a common set of factors across cultures which are used to promote resilience in children; however there was a lot of variation among individuals. This guide, based on the initial findings of the project, is a work-in-progress document looking at what we know internationally about how resilience can be promoted in children.

Building Resilience in Young Children (pdf) from BestStart (also available in French):  This resource book for parents and caregivers of children from birth to six years includes information, tips, and resources on how to foster resilience in young children in different ways – e.g., developing self-regulation, developing thinking skills, building confidence, and encouraging responsibility and participation.

Please share thoughts, ideas, and additional resources in the comments section or via email! Thanks.

Sadaf Shallwani

For more resources, check out other Noteworthy Early Childhood Development Resources editions.

6 thoughts on “Noteworthy ECD resources (v3): Building resilience

  1. Hi Sadaf These look like really interesting resources — will definitely track them down. You also may be interested in another strand of discussion here — a growing reaction to the use of the term resilience, with a concern about the potential political misuse of the concept (i.e. if children can be helped to be resilient, it can possibly have the unintended effect of letting authorities off the hook around addressing larger realities that may be contributing to the need for resilience.) Here’s a good source on that: Jo Boyden and E Cooper (2009) Questioning the power of resilience: are children up to the task of disrupting the transmission of poverty?, in J Addison, D Hulme, and R Kanbur (eds.) Poverty Dynamics: Measurement and Understanding from an Interdisciplinary Perspective, Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press
    Take care

    • Dear Sherry,

      Thanks so much for your comment and for highlighting the political implications of the concept. I agree completely. Much of the early childhood discourse focuses on the child rather than the socio-political context that so fundamentally shape childhood and child outcomes. I will definitely check out the article you mention.

      Hope you are well!


  2. Hello Sadaf, Thank-you for the above noted resources, they will be quite useful in my work supporting and educating early childhood professionals. You may find the following interesting as it relates to the development of ‘non-cognitive’ skills (to borrow a phrase from Heckman) in ALL children.

    I concur with the poster above that we do not want to place the burden of overcoming poverty solely on children. Although much of the research focuses on children living in economically disadvantaged circumstances and the effects of toxic stress, children (and even adults for that matter) from higher socio-economic backgrounds can clearly benefit from developing the skills related to resiliency for managing every day stressors and typical adversities in life.

    Lastly, you may be interested in attending key speakers will be Dr. Stuart Shanker, Dr. Jean Clinton, Dr. Tracy Vaillancourt, Dr. Chya Kulkarni (Sick Kids IMHP), Nora Spinks (Vanier Institute on the Family) , Paul Kershaw (UofBC) and Jill Bella (McCormick Centre), to list a few.

    Be well

    • Dear Tracey,

      Thanks for your comment!

      The Center on the Social and Emotional Foundations for Early Learning is a great resource. Their training modules in particular seem very useful.

      I won’t be able to make it to the conference but it seems like a great line-up of speakers. Thanks for sharing!

      Warm wishes

  3. Thank you for sharing these resources Sadaf! They are great for us parents and researchers. I especially like the Guide to Promoting Resilience in Children: Strengthening the Human Spirit by Edith H. Grotberg. So many helpful strategies for communicating with children and helping them grow in this area.

    • Hi Lani!

      Thanks for your comment. Yes the Guide to Promoting Resilience in Children is really interesting. 🙂

      Hope you all are well.

      Warm wishes

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