Foundations for Young Adult Success: A Developmental Framework

Posted by Wallace Foundation on June 29, 2015

Every society in every age needs to grapple with the question of what outcomes it hopes to produce in raising its young. What exactly do we hope our children will be able to accomplish as adults? What vision guides our work? How do we make that vision a reality for all children? How do we better harness what is known in the research, practice, and policy arenas to ensure that all youth have what they need to successfully meet the complex challenges of young adulthood? Preparing all youth for meaningful, productive futures requires coordinated efforts and intentional practices by adults across all the settings youth inhabit on a daily basis.

To address these questions, this report aims to build a common understanding of young people’s developmental needs from early childhood through young adulthood and proposes a developmental framework of the Foundations for Young Adult Success. The framework is the result of synthesizing research, theory, and practice knowledge from a range of disciplines and approaches. This work is influenced by ideas spanning the last century, from Dewey’s theory of learning from nearly a century ago to cutting-edge findings in neuroscience on how the brain works. It integrates these perspectives into an accessible framework designed to guide the efforts of all adults who are responsible for raising, educating, or otherwise working with children and youth.

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