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Early Childhood Education Workshop

Evolution Institute Workshop on Early Childhood Education (November 2008)

Evolutionary theory is profoundly relevant to understanding and improving the human condition but has virtually no impact on public policy. The Evolution Institute was created to solve this problem, providing a conduit from the world of evolutionary science to the world of public policy for a diversity of issues vital to our welfare.

Early childhood education is an example of a system that isn’t working, despite everyone’s best intentions. Some of the foremost authorities on child development and education are already stressing the need for an evolutionary perspective. The Evolution Institute brought them together in a workshop that was held at the University of Miami on November 14-16, 2008, followed by a public roundtable discussion on November 17, 2008.

The workshop presentations provide a vivid account of why evolutionary theory is needed to address public policy issues, in general and for the specific topic of early childhood education. The roundtable discussion shows how evolution can be presented in a positive way to the general public, swiftly moving beyond the sterile debates of the past. The bibliography provides access to the scientific literature for those who wish to deepen their understanding.

The Evolution Institute is continuing to work with the participants to publicize and implement the recommendations of the workshop. We are also developing additional focal topics to address from an evolutionary perspective.

We thank the Humanists of Florida Association, the University of Miami, and the private donors who partnered with the Evolution Institute to make its first workshop possible. Please contact David Sloan Wilson or Jerry Lieberman for additional information about the Evolution Institute, our current focus on early childhood education, or future focal topics.

Video Presentation

Select a video below to view the presentation.

Workshop Presentations

David Sloan Wilson
Binghamton University
Evolutionary Theory, Public Policy, and Early Childhood Education: Toward an Evolutionary Think Tank

David Sloan Wilson is SUNY Distinguished Professor of Biology and Anthropology at Binghamton University. He applies evolutionary theory to all aspects of humanity in addition to the rest of life. (More…)

David Geary
University of Missouri
Educating the Evolved Mind

David Geary is Curators’ Professor of Psychology at the University of Missouri. He is a cognitive developmental psychologist with interests in mathematical learning and in evolution. (More…)

Bruce Ellis
University of Arizona
Children Vary in their Susceptibility to Rearing Experiences: Implications for Early Childhood Education

Bruce Ellis is Professor of Family Studies and Human Development and the John & Doris Norton Endowed Chair in Fathers, Parenting, and Families at the University of Arizona. (More…)

David Bjorklund
Florida Atlantic University
Why Youth is Not Wasted on the Young

David Bjorklund is Professor of Psychology at Florida Atlantic University. His research interests are in the areas of cognitive development and evolutionary developmental psychology. (More…)

Peter Gray
Boston College

Peter Gray is Research Professor of Psychology at Boston College and author of Psychology, one of the main introductory textbooks, currently in its 5th edition. (More…)

Daniel Berch
University of Virginia
The Emerging Field of “Evo-Edu”: Questions, Challenges, Constraints, and Caveats

Daniel Berch is the new associate Dean for Research and Faculty Development at the University of Virginia’s Curry School of Education. (More…)

Tony Biglan
Oregon Research Institute
Building Blocks for an Intentional Science of Cultural Evolution

Anthony Biglan is a Senior Scientist at Oregon Research Institute, Director of the Center on Early Adolescence, and past President of the Society for Prevention Research. (More…)

Dennis Embry
PAXIS Institute
Ending Youthanasia: Evolutionary Understanding Meets a Retail-Driven Prevention-Science Model

Dennis Embry is a scientist-entrepreneur who is president of PAXIS Institute in Tucson, AZ. (More…)

Roundtable Discussion

Roundtable Introduction

Roundtable Discussion


Selected articles are currently available here.