The Value of Nursery Rhymes
The first-ever study of hand-clapping songs reveals that they improve motor and cognitive skills. Research by Dr. Idit Sulkin shows a direct link between those activies and the development of important skills in children and young adults.
Long, Joanna Rudge. "How to Choose a Goose." The Horn Book Magazine. Jan/Feb 2008, 84:1, 49-57.
Executive Function Skills / Self-Regulation
A good article on simple ways to use activities to help children learn to listen, be patient, and follow directions is "Developing Young Children's Self-Regulation through Everyday Experiences" written by Ida Rose Florez, in Young Children, July 2011, p. 46-51.
This British online resource (Kid's Development) for parents features dozens of articles about child development, including information about kids' progress, behavior, learning and thinking.
Health information about young children in easily understandable language can be found at kidsgrowth.com.
Research from the National Scientific Council on the Developing Child
The National Scientific Council on the Developing Child has great information about brain research, the importance of the early years for child development, and the consequences of children having an inadequate start. Under “Featured Publications” are a number of working papers which are written in an easy-to-read fashion, and use research results to validate their statements. The titles of these working papers accurately reflect the topics addressed:
Working Paper #1: Young Children Develop in an Environment of Relationships
Working Paper #2: Children's Emotional Development Is Built into the Architecture of their Brains
Working Paper #3: Excessive Stress Disrupts the Architecture of the Developing Brain
Working Paper #4: Early Exposure to Toxic Substances Damages Brain Architecture
Working Paper #5: The Timing and Quality of Early Experiences Combine to Shape Brain Architecture
Working Paper #6: Mental Health Problems in Early Childhood Can Impair Learning and Behavior for Life
Working Paper #8: Maternal Depression Can Undermine the Development of Young Children
Working Paper #9: Persistent Fear and Anxiety Can Affect Young Children's Learning and Development
Working Paper #10: Early Experiences Can Alter Gene Expression and Affect Long-Term Development
Brain Hero - a wonderful video about the importance of healthy brain development in young children.