In a recent article in The New York Times, Nicholas Kristof reported on a landmark policy statement just issued by the American Academy of Pediatrics, the leading association of American pediatricians. Based on several decades of scientific research, the Academy has identified “toxic stress” as the most widespread peril facing young children. What does this mean? Exposure to high levels of toxic stress early in childhood has been shown to result in a range of poor physical, social, emotional and cognitive outcomes.

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These last few weeks, the 8,000 members of the Class of '25 took their first tentative steps along their journey into school, toward high school graduation and beyond. Today, they’re just five years of age, and are learning about cubbies and backpacks, kindergarten schedules, and successfully navigating naptime. But in little more than a dozen years, these same kids will be newly minted high school graduates.

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The growing racial and ethnic diversity of young children in Memphis reflects national trends. Growing up in an immigrant family can pose special challenges for early childhood development.

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