Episode 1: The Raising of America Signature Hour
This hour-long episode interweaves the latest discoveries from neuroscience with the stories of families and communities struggling to provide the nurturing environments all babies and young children need to thrive—while too often hindered by social conditions that put their children on low developmental trajectories.
Episode 2: Once Upon a Time
Just imagine how things might be different if, for the past four decades, all American children had access to high-quality early care and ed. It almost happened. Back in 1971, Congress passed a bill providing high-quality, universal childcare, home visiting and other services from birth to age five to every family that wanted it. President Nixon’s 11th hour veto marked the first time “family values” was invoked to undermine pro-family and child initiatives. The veto marked a critical inflection point from our path towards a more inclusive nation to today’s “you’re-on-your-own” society.
Episode 3: Are We Crazy About Our Kids?
Investing in high-quality early care and education pays for itself in many ways and many times over. This episode brings to life the classic economic studies of Perry Preschool and other initiatives conducted by Nobel laureate James Heckman, former Federal Reserve economist Arthur Rolnick and others which illustrate how we can either invest early for success or pay more for failure later. So, what is holding us back?
Episode 4: Wounded Places
Too many children in America, especially children of color in neighborhoods of concentrated poverty, are exposed to adversity, violence, neglect and other forms of trauma and show symptoms similar to PTSD—except there is no “post.” Traveling to Philadelphia and Oakland, this episode chronicles the stories of children shook by violence and adversity and asks not “What’s wrong with you?” but “What happened to you?” and how can traumatized children and neighborhoods heal.
Episode 5: DNA Is Not Destiny
New scientific discoveries reveal how fetal and early childhood environments quite literally change brain architecture and other bio-regulatory systems—from the stress response to metabolism. Early environments—be they chemical or socioeconomic—can alter not the genes babies inherit but the epigenetic “volume controls” which turn genes on and off. These epigenetic switches can influence the self-regulation of emotions and behaviors, cognitive function, even the susceptibility to chronic diseases as people age.