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Early Childhood Development & Education

Framing the Issue

During the first five years of life, a child’s brain is developing rapidly. Experiences and interactions during this time profoundly impact early brain development, cognitive abilities, behavior, and the lifelong health of an individual. Unfortunately, many families, especially those with limited resources, face a variety of barriers that may negatively impact the development of their young children during their most formative years.

High-quality early childhood services can reduce socioeconomic and health disparities among children of different backgrounds, while helping to avoid costly interventions later in life. Working to ensure that every child has a great start in life will not only have a lifelong impact on the child, but also on the child’s family and community.

Key Areas for Investment

Systems and advocacy support related to quality child care and Pre-K:

  • Supporting systems seeking uniform quality assessment in early education, including tools and supports for educators.
  • Nonprofit advocacy organizations are working at state and regional levels to direct funding towards universal early childhood services.
  • Key efforts include financial support for in-home child care providers, who are often under-resourced and underpaid but who provide vital care to young children so parents can work.  
Home visitation and coaching for children and parents
  • These interventions for ages 0-2 years old affect health, socialization and preparation for schooling.

Strategies for literacy competency by 3rd grade:

  • Failing to address childhood literacy now has future impacts on adult literacy, which creates further challenges for success later in life.
  • This focus includes providing reading resources to parents and supplementing what is available during the school day through afterschool programs.

Read More

Boldly Reimagining Virginia's Early Childhood Education System

Early Childhood Development & Education Impact Report [Summer 2019]