Research shows that children’s experiences in their first few years have the most impact on health and well-being later in life. In the early years, the basics really matter: evidence strongly indicates that investment in early childhood education and healthcare initiatives pays tremendous dividends by reducing the likelihood that those children will face health problems, end up underemployed, or rely on government assistance. Yet in spite of proven benefits for children, their families, and the economy at large, policies aimed at establishing federal and state standards to provide young children with a solid foundation are often siloed; and nationally, significantly more money is spent treating problems later in life than working to prevent those problems right from Day One.
We know what children need in those critical early years to start life prepared for success – and we can imagine better outcomes for families and society. What will it take to achieve them?