Building Blocks for Learning

Building Blocks for Learning is a framework for comprehensive student development created by Turnaround for Children, a nonprofit that helps accelerate student development and academic achievement in schools facing adversity. The framework focuses on the inter- and intrapersonal skills and mindsets children need to succeed in school, college, and life.

View All Term Definitions

Building Blocks for…academic tenacityagencyattachmentcivic identitycuriosityexecutive functionsgrowth mindsetself-efficacysense of belongingrelevance of schoolrelationship skillsresilienceself-regulationself-awarenesssocial awarenessstress managementself-direction

Breakdown by Domain

Domain Key


Key Features

Context & Culture

  • Notes that race, gender, and other aspects of identity impact whether certain skills and mindsets are perceived as positive or negative attributes
  • Calls for more research around the impact of age, gender, and race on the acquisition, application, and perception of skills and mindsets
  • Discusses the importance of social contexts and the impact of relationships on child development
  • Calls for more research on how to teach skills and mindsets in schools and afterschool, mentoring, and alternative education programs

Developmental Perspective

  • Organizes skills into a research-based developmental hierarchy: building blocks at the bottom of the pyramid represent foundational skills that support higher-order skills at the top of the pyramid
  • Includes some information about which skills should be built in early childhood but does not consistently provide age ranges for every building block

Associated Outcomes

  • Notes that all skills have strong evidence of impact on academic achievement

Available Resources

Support Materials

  • Provides an informational video on the framework
  • Offers supplemental videos on brain development and the science of adversity

Programs & Strategies

  • No programs or strategies provided

Measurement Tools

  • Discusses problems with the type of self-reports commonly used to measure skills and calls for more behavior-based measures
  • No tools provided

Key Publications

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