New national early years guidance draws on the latest developments in neuroscience.
Those involved believe it breaks new ground internationally, with its emphasis on the importance of pregnancy and the first years of life in influencing children's futures.
A DVD and CD to support all adults who work with and for Scotland's youngest children have also been published.
The guidance and resources were produced by the early years team at Learning and Teaching Scotland (LTS), with help from various other bodies.
"There has been an emergence of new knowledge and awareness around the importance of brain development and research in recent years and this needed to be reflected in the guidance," said an LTS spokeswoman.
There was also a need to highlight children's rights and multi-agency approaches "more explicitly and meaningfully" than in previous guidance, she said.