Early Childhood Investments Last a Lifetime
The first 5 years are the most rapid period of brain growth, with nearly 90% of brain development occurring by age 3. This remarkable growth happens in response to a baby’s experiences. Experiences in the early years affect the physical structure of the brain and shape the capacities children will have for the rest of their lives.
Babies need stable responsive relationships with caring adults. Every time a parent responds to a baby’s cries or needs, it builds trust and attachment and leads to healthy brain development. When this repeatedly doesn’t happen, or if a child experiences toxic stress from exposure to violence, physical or emotional abuse, caregiver substance abuse or mental illness, chronic neglect, or the ongoing stress of growing up in poverty, it disrupts brain development.
A Solid Return on Investment
Numerous studies confirm that effective early childhood programs can reduce the need for more expensive tax payer-funded services, such as foster care, special education, and welfare programs. Further, children who attend high-quality preschool do better in school, are healthier, and earn more money as adults.
Investments in the early years – when children’s brains are developing and taking permanent shape – are the best investments we can make. That’s why First 5 is here.