In fact, early experiences, whether positive or negative, can follow a child throughout his/her lifetime. Each positive interaction with a baby or young child is an opportunity to learn and build trust, which sets the stage for future learning and school success. Conversely, exposure to excessive stress, fear and anxiety can add up over time to impede a child’s development and ability to learn.
The connection between a child’s early experiences and the lifelong impacts that follow brings to light the critical role of early care and education programs.
According to research, investment in high-quality early education programs pays-off. Professor James Heckman at the University of Chicago has found, “the rate of return for investment in quality early childhood education is 13% per annum through better outcomes in education, health, sociability, economic productivity and reduced crime.”
The Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, which has been conducting research into this topic since 2003, has also found that investment in early health and learning achieve high public returns (Rob Grunewald, economist).
Efforts to raise awareness about the importance of high-quality early education programs are already underway in Racine County. Learn more about this movement by attending a virtual film screening and discussion of the documentary, No Small Matter. The film explores the current state of early education in America including the challenges families face and the powerful force for change that high-quality early education could be for children, parents and the country.