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Building Blocks for Learning: A Framework for Comprehensive Student Development

Year: 2020

This paper began with a conversation about children. At Turnaround for Children, we wanted to understand how they acquire the skills and mindsets for learning. Which skills do we need to build in children for them to be successful in school? And if we know what they are, can they be taught? How does growing up with adversity impact the acquisition of these critical skills?

Brooke Stafford-Brizard set out to answer these questions. What emerged after a deep dive into scientific research from diverse fields is Building Blocks for Learning. It’s a framework for comprehensive student development, grounded in science, in service of equity. It suggests a developmental continuum that starts in early childhood but doesn’t stop there. It acknowledges that children don’t always get the same start in life and they don’t all follow the same smooth path through it. The paper contains the background and rationale to support and develop Building Blocks for Learning among all children, especially in grades K-12.