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Why Early Childhood Education

Inequality starts at birth and the impact lasts a lifetime. A child’s brain develops faster from birth to age 5 than at any other time. Change the first five years and you change everything.

Quality Early Learning Programs Work

Decades of research have proven that quality early learning and care programs are a smart investment. Economist James Heckman has demonstrated that early interventions can break the cycle of poverty for multiple generations. Parents do better. Children do better. And when those children become adults, their children also do better. For every dollar invested in early childhood programs, society yields a $6.30 return, improving education, employment and health outcomes and saving on later remediation costs.1

Children who experience quality early learning and care programs:

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Are 25% more likely to graduate high school 2

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Are 4x more likely to have completed a bachelor’s degree or higher 3

Male doctor

Earn up to 25% more in wages as an adult 4

The Research that Proves Early Childhood Matters

Dive into some of our favorite research studies that reveal why quality early childhood experiences matter.

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Let’s Close the Opportunity Gap

The first five years of a child’s life are the most important for healthy development and long-term well-being. The experiences and relationships formed during this period of rapid brain development build a foundation for future learning and success.

Yet, this critical development is in jeopardy for many children whose families lack access to quality early education and care, especially those living in communities left under-resourced by decades of historical and institutional racism. The impacts of the “opportunity gap” are measurable as early as 9 months.

Each year, more than 1 million children enter kindergarten unprepared to learn.

We can change the course for our youngest learners. Quality early learning and care helps address the long-standing injustices in our communities and is a proven solution to breaking the cycle of intergenerational poverty.

That’s why Start Early is leading the way. Since 1982, we have worked to close the opportunity gap by providing and championing early learning experiences for children and families from before birth through the first five years of life.

Support Our Work

Our Impact

Learn more about how we’re supporting children, families and early childhood professionals as we improve the state of early learning in America.

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